June 2013 Update – Editing and Retooling

This update thing isn’t working as well as I’d hoped, but I’ll try to remember to do this every month. Can’t promise a date!

Originally, I wanted to complete four long works this year – The three books in the Rose Gold Collection and the completion of Amber and Kevin’s story. 

Thankfully, I got June’s update in and here’s what’s going on…

The completion of Amber and Kevin’s story, The Beginning of Forever, was contracted by Amira Press.  I have to say that this was my toughest editing process to date and I feel like it helped me as a writer even though I cried through most of it! Still in the finalizing stages –  final edits and a release date. I can’t say too much but here’s the blurb and a sneak peek at the cover:

VV_The Beginning of Forever_bannerAmber Grayson, a conservative executive, found true love with fiancé, Kevin Miller. He infused her life with a sense of adventure and challenged her thoughts about appropriate bedroom behavior. After such a steamy affair, Amber was expecting nothing less during their engagement.

Even with the rushed timetable for the wedding combined with the stress of merging their households and finances, Amber is excited to begin a family with the man of her dreams. However, the beginning of forever is more difficult than either Amber or Kevin thought.

Locked in a battle of wills, Amber and Kevin find their commitment to each other and their future tested. Is this the beginning of their lives together or the end?

IIA blog button2A Twist of Fate – A poem I wrote, The Pearl,  was accepted into the Twist of Fate anthology. This collection of poems and short stories by indie authors from around the globe will benefit those who suffered losses during the 2013 tornadoes that ravaged Oklahoma. As a survivor of Hurricane Katrina, I’m well aware that help is needed beyond those first few days. I’m so proud to be a part of this effort. I’ll get you the the links to the work when they are available.

A Loving Affair – The next installment in the Rose Gold Collection is begging to be written. So I’m off to write a leisurely pace.

Happy Reading ~Val

If You Asked Me To…

Thanks to Amira Press, the conclusion to Amber and Kevin’s story of In the Moment will be published!

Last week, I asked Kevin what he thought the theme song of the novella should be and this week and I’m asking Amber.

If You Asked Me To as sung by Celine Dion

Everything

Everything, baby

If you ask me to

If you haven’t read In the Moment, why not? It’s available at AmazonBarnes and Noble and Smashwords!

Scandalous! And Me Not Knowing a Thing.

I’ve been writing for the last two years.

Meaning that I come home from the day job, make dinner, eat, talk to the fam and then head into my writer’s den. Literally, I have not watched a moment of television in two years.

About a month ago, I’m working through a project with a co-worker via video conference and she says – “So, Miss Interracial Romance, what do you think is going to happen with Olivia and Fitz?”

To which I respond, “Who in the hell are Olivia and Fitz?”

I’m mining data, trying to come up with a database design that incorporates a ridiculous amount of information. Are these new VPs?

No! Scandal is the hottest show on network television featuring a powerful African-American woman, developed by an African-American woman…and let’s not forget that the love interest happens to be the President of these United States of America.

Crap! I really have to come up for air at times. Infidelity. National Security. References to Sally Hemmings and Thomas Jefferson. Babies in cardboard boxes. Scissors in the neck!

This show has it all and if you are not a fan now, watch the 11 Most Devestating Olivia and Fitz Moments on ABC and become an addict like me.

Or maybe not because there has been criticism.

In an article by the Washington Post the show was called ‘deliciously dumb’.

I for one am taking my dumbness with a double helping of whipped cream and enjoying every mouthful!

Young couple naked Man and woman in love kissingThere is also criticism about the relationship between Olivia and Fitz.

He is married. As a married woman, that single tidbit taken entirely unto itself I understand.

But the criticism goes on to say that the reason that the relationship between Olivia and Fitz is secret is because it is an interracial one. That the show demeans interracial relationships making them something unsavory.

To that I say, he is the President and that makes a difference. If he was Fitz, the local mail carrier, then I would have a different response.

But this is the modern day Camelot! Fitz is designed as the one to draw a splintered nation toward one common goal of ultimate goodness (and mind you, he is damn sexy doing it). Guenever and Lancelot knew this.

Mellie Grant, the First Lady, knows this. Saying to Olivia – And you broke his heart. What wife can you imagine saying this to her husband’s mistress?

For Mellie, it’s not about the man, it’s about the mission. Whether she believes in it or not, she is all in for the ride! Got to love, Mellie. And the fact that she has the same name as Olivia de Haviland in the Gone with the Wind endears her to me even more.

With bated breath, I’m waiting for the next season. I’m rooting for Olivia and Fitz, knowing that their relationship is doomed but hoping none the less.

Love to hear your thoughts on the show – good, bad and indifferent! And any pointers to others who share my obsession would be helpful!

Happy Reading, Writing and Re-run Watching ~ Val

Hump Day Hook – Deja Vu (The Rose Gold Collection)

humpdayhookWelcome to the Hump Day Hook! This is a weekly blog hop in which authors give you a peek at their work. To check out the other authors participating in this event, click here. You may just discover your next read!

This week, my hook comes from Deja Vu. I’ve been thinking a lot about heroines lately. And Darcey is special – she isn’t in need of a knight in shining armor. In fact she’s dead set against the idea.

BookCoverImageAmazon“You could work for me. I told you about the reception hall in the Northern Bluffs.”

Her head popped up, bright eyes and a seductive smile. “You just want me at your disposal.”

He did. He wanted her all the time. He hadn’t felt like this since Melissa three years ago; an attorney he’d met at some event. In the end, Melissa hadn’t been able to deal with his work schedule and he hadn’t been willing to deviate from it.

But for Darcey.

He had rescheduled meetings, delegated authority, actually taken a vacation to be close to her and have those bright eyes shining down on him.

“I love you.” The words were expelled by the crushing sensation in his chest and he waited.

What he wanted was for her to say that she loved him as well. What he expected was an argument about the nothing serious rule. What she did was startling.

Dèjá Vu is available from All RomanceAmazon, Amazon UKBarnes & Noble and Smashwords.

Short Story Writing Class Lessons

I recently took a short story writing class. This wasn’t an in depth exploration rather a general overview with time to practice and share with other writers.

Thought I’d share a little of what I learned with you and why I’m questioning if this works in romance.

Couple asleep on a bed head against headAs a reader, I love romantic shorts. But now I’m reading and seeing that maybe the ones I love are short novels and not short stories?

The short story compared to a novel:

Word Count: For the purposes of the class the short story was defined as having a length of between 5000 and 20,000 words. Beyond that was a novella, less than that was flash fiction (another favorite of mine!). Novels were defined as having 80,000 words or more.

Timeframe: Depending on length, short stories take place in a short amount of time. Think a day, a week, no more than a month depending on word count. Novel of course can span years and generations.

Characters: The short story has very few characters. The professor warned against having more than five at the high end of the word count. Her reasoning was that to fully develop even a minor character, word count is used up and takes away from the plot development. The novel can have as many as you dream up because the word count can sustain them.

Setting: The short story has one or two fully visualized settings (see prof’s reasoning above). This is one I struggled with accepting, personally. I don’t want to be in one or two places for 20,000 words for a romance. But then I thought about a murder mystery and I liked the idea.

Plot: The short story has one central crisis for the protagonist to overcome and move him or her towards resolution. According to the prof, the novel has this freedom to twist and turn and evolve into something different that what it seemed to be in the beginning.

For the most part, short mysteries follow these guidelines. I looked through the Kindle and yes there were few characters, limited settings in a tight time frame and yes there was only the central crisis – solve the mystery.

Back to my question – does this work for romantic shorts? Do readers only want to get lost for a long time in a different world or is there an audience for the quickie?

Books I Liked During the Class:

Crafting Novels & Short Stories by Editor’s of Writer’s Digest

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Becca Puglisi and Angela Ackerman

Who Are You When I’m Not Looking?

The conclusinon of Amber and Kevin’s story has been contracted by Amira Press! I’m so excited to be able to present the finale of this couple’s tale with you.

I asked Kevin what he thought his story’s theme song should be.

His answer: Who Are You When I’m Not Looking as sung by Blake Shelton.

And when it feels just right

Are you thinking of me?

Enjoy!

How Cool is This?

My writing journey has had its ups and downs, but here is a definite UP!

The cover for In the Moment was voted Readers’ Choice Swirl Award for Best IR/MC cover of 2012.

How freaking cool is that?

I would like to thank my cover designer, Tatiana Vila for her amazing artistry and the readers who voted for the cover. As an IR romance author, there is often criticism about the same covers being used over and over again. And while there aren’t many stock photos to choose from, there are true artists out there who can in the words of Karl Kraus “turn the common prostitute into a virgin”

For the indie author looking for a cover designer, visit Tatiana!

And for that cover, that won….here it is:

Amber Meets Her Cowboy3

Loving Day 2013 Blog Hop Winner!

71011-20130209Thank you to everyone who commented on the Vallory V blog for Loving Day 2013! I had some wonderful comments about what to do for Loving Day and wanted to share some ideas for next year:

Date Night: Get dressed up and spend some quality time with that person who curls your toes.

Something For Him / Her: Do something that your other half likes to do. If I would peruse the aisles of a comic book store with hubby and then come back home and read them together, he’d get a real kick out of that! I’m planning on this for one random Saturday.

Tell Parents You Love Them: Now that I’m a parent, I know the joy of my little one saying “I love you” I don’t think I’ll ever tire of that. I don’t think my dad has either.

Card And Something Special: A wonderful idea! A card that says – You were LOVED today, followed up by an act of kindness. Now wouldn’t this promote goodness and loving all day? Thanks M.E.!

And the winner of the hop (chosen by Random.org) is Tina B.

Thank you Tina and everyone for hopping with me. See you next year!

~Val

The Loving Day Blog Hop ~ 2013

375756_643056912384666_1635496242_n_swirlawardsWelcome to my stop on the Loving Day Blog Hop

Loving Day, celebrated on June 12th, marks the anniversary of the 1967 United States Supreme Court decision Loving vs. Virginia which made all anti-miscegenation laws in the U.S. null and void. In this usage, the term ‘miscegenation’ refers to marriage, cohabitation, sexual relations and procreation between Whites and non-Whites.

Mildred and Richard Loving, an interracial couple, were legally married in Washington in 1958. Not knowing this was illegal in their home state of Virginia, they returned to Richmond. It was here, after numerous arrests and home invasions by local authorities, that the couple began their fight to have their union legalized.

As a family we recently watched the documentary, A Loving Story, about the Lovings. So I asked the kiddos if they had feelings they could share about growing up with a Black mom and a White Dad and how different it was for the Lovings’ children.

MagLane

Girls are 9 and 6 in this pic. It’s one of my favorites.

Vallory: Girls, please tell the readers how you feel after watching the documentary about the Lovings.

Magdalene: It was really sad and I couldn’t believe that it happened. If that was still a law, half of my friends’ parents would be in jail.

Laneybell: I cried. I wouldn’t want you and daddy to go to jail.

Vallory: Do you think people treat you differently because you have a Black mom and a White dad?

Magdalene: People are surprised when they meet one of you without the other. Then when either you or Dad shows up, they’re like – Your mom’s Black? Or, your dad’s White? I thought you were Mexican! But they are just surprised. That’s all.

Laneybell: Everybody thinks I’m Mexican, Puerto Rican or Indian and then I tell them my mommy’s Black and my daddy’s White. Then they’re like – Okay!

Vallory: Thanks girlys!

A lot has changed in the 46 years, since the Supreme Court’s decision and I think my happy little ones are proof of that. But there is still work to do and bringing attention to Loving Day is a start.

To celebrate, I’ll be gifting a $10.00 e-card for either Amazon or Barnes & Noble to one lucky commenter. To be eligible to win, please leave your email address and let us know how we should celebrate Loving Day.

I think it should a special dinner with the one you love! Kinda like a national date night. And speaking of a date, that’s where my latest release starts.

Déjà Vu begins with one date.

BookCoverImageAmazonDarcey St. Claire is never surprised when a man is attracted to her. In fact, her style revolves around that assumption. From her short skirts to her thigh-high boots to her flirty laugh, Darcey flits along the edge of provocation to sell the overpriced services of the Hayden Court Hotel and afford her the spot as top Sales Manager.

So the lustful looks Vincent Guidry cast in her direction didn’t faze her. It was the feeling of déjà vu creeping up her spine that made her run at breakneck speed away from the handsome former quarterback.

And she wouldn’t have ever sought him out again. Not for herself. But there was someone else to consider…

View the trailer on Youtube: Déjà Vu

Now available from All Romance, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords

Good Luck and don’t forget to visit the next author on the hop, Eve Vaughn

**PS – Miss Magdalene says that anyone who says her name is beautiful should get a double entry.** Winner will be announced on Thursday!