Enemy Of My Enemy

Posted: February 27, 2016 in Books, Writing

Enemy Of My Enemy Available on Amazon

ENEMY OF MY ENEMY PRESS RELEASE

Authors Melissa Mayberry and Travis Casey have joined forces to create a truly unique novel. What makes this suspense thriller exceptional is the fact that they wrote the 70,000 word book with alternating points of view – Melissa writing as Gemma Gage and Travis writing as Thaddeus Kline. There was not a definitive plot to speak of when they began writing it. Throughout the book, neither of them had any idea what the other one would write in response to their own chapter. Now that’s how you keep the readers guessing when the authors don’t even know what’s coming next.

Casey began the book writing the odd number chapters as US Embassy officer, Thaddeus Kline, stationed in London, England. When his wife turns up dead, he blames crime boss Bruce Gage and makes it his mission to find and kill him. Kline sets out for North Carolina determined to settle the score. What he doesn’t count on is coming up against his adversary’s wife, Gemma Gage.

Miss Mayberry followed by writing the even numbered chapters as Gemma Gage. Gemma has her own problems when she makes an unwanted discovery about her husband’s business. When Bruce catches her red-handed scrutinizing his dealings, he retaliates by keeping her captive in her own home facing inevitable death by a Bengal tiger.

When Thaddeus breaks into the Gage mansion looking for Bruce, he gets a whole lot more than he bargained for. The story takes one twist after another when Thaddeus takes Gemma as a hostage cum bargaining chip – but Bruce Gage didn’t get where he was by rolling over easily. Thad and Gemma soon become the hunted themselves and their clashing personalities must join forces to combat a common enemy. As their thirst for revenge deepens, so does their involvement in the fractions of the criminal underworld. Rival gangs fight for their allegiance which leaves them with no alternative except to trust each other. But can they even do that?

 

EOME Front Cover

Book & Chapter Length

Posted: February 25, 2016 in Writing

When I started writing I had a lot of questions because I wanted to do things right. I wanted to get a publishing contract the traditional way (and still do) so I didn’t want agents and publishers to turn their noses up because I wasn’t aware of industry standards. There’s nothing to say you can’t break the rules, because after all the rules are pretty flexible anyway, but to put it another way – I didn’t want to look stupid. If one self-publishes you really can please yourself but there are still certain ideals that will make the readability more appealing to readers.

One pertinent question is: How long is a novel? I hate the smart-ass answers of; Its as long as it takes to tell a story. Well, Ernest Hemingway proved you can write a story in six words.

Baby shoes.

For sale.

Never worn.

Try taking that to a publisher and see how far you get. For a first time author most agents would be looking for about 70-85,000 words. That would make for a book length of about 300-350 pages. Which by the way, if you’re going to talk in writing circles learn to talk in word count and not number of pages.

I attended an author’s fair in London in 2014 and pitched my third novel to an agent face-to-face. She asked how long it was and when I said 108,000 words she scowled. She said I should be aiming for 70,000. When an agent sees a novel in excess of 100k they will assume there is a lot of unnecessary waffling and wonder why the story couldn’t be told more succinctly. On my many research missions on agent’s website offering guidelines, some had stipulated minimum word counts of 60,000 words. Less than that and it is more in the novella category, not a full-length novel. And although more established authors invariably write more than 100k, for the average unknown that would be a maximum word count.

As for chapter length, one of my first exploratory missions suggested 5,000 words was a good chapter length. I thought that was perfect. Since many agents set their submission guidelines at submitting the first three chapter of a novel, I figured that gave me 15,000 to woo them. But most of that is never going to get read anyway. An agent will know in the first few pages of submission whether they’re interested or not. If you haven’t grabbed them in the 1,000 words they’re not going to read 15k to see if it gets any better. You want readers to finish one chapter and anxiously turn to the next one, not wondering when the current chapter is ever going to end.

Then I got some of the best advice I ever had with regard to chapter length. Any author’s dream is for people to read their book in one sitting. Or to keep them up all night reading their work because it is so gripping. Think back to books you’ve read. The really good ones have us up late into night. How often have you got to the end of a chapter and thought “If it’s not too long, I’ll just read one more.” Then flip through the pages to see how long the next chapter is. Nine or ten pages is quite doable. Twenty or thirty? Turn out the light and go to sleep.

So it’s a good idea to keep the chapters short enough that the reader keeps trying to sneak in just one more, but there has to be enough meat in it to draw them deeper into the story. Sometimes a great chapter ending with a cliffhanger will hit at 1500. That’s fine. Don’t push it past a natural climax. And if it takes 3k to get that cliffhanger ending, that’s fine too. As a general guideline if you aim for a chapter length around the 2,000 word mark it will be a pretty good chapter length.

 

Getting one’s book noticed isn’t the easiest task to accomplish. After all, there are millions if not billions of books out there for the general public to choose from. So getting the right search words is essential to guiding the public at large to find your book.

I don’t feel that I’m unusual in Googling my own books to see if I can find it via Internet search engines. How else will I know if I got it right? It’s a good thing I’m not a celebrity because I’d probably spend more time searching myself than I would, umm, celebriting. Anyway, I’m not interested in that.

I went onto Smashwords.com, one of the outlets where my books are available, and punched in various search words to see if I could them easily.

I started with Romance: I gave up after none of my books had appeared by page twelve, however I was intrigued by “Romanced by My Lesbian Billionaire Boss” and bought a copy.

Next I tried Navy: I got sidetracked and read 15 sample pages of some guy’s memoir. Interesting, but it wasn’t as good as mine – naturally. It was a telling book instead of showing in a novel type format and I spent more time mentally critiquing his work than I did getting totally engrossed in the story.

One of my books had a central theme regarding blackmail. So I tried that. Holy crap. It was all about incest and bondage. Whatever happened to “I saw you cheat on your wife. Give me $100,000 and I won’t tell.” No, I didn’t read the sample of “Blackmailed by my Step Son (Family Pseudo Incest Taboo).” I’ll pick it up when it hits the New York Times Bestseller list. Not.

Military: Holier crap! Chief’s Gay Gangbang and Military Sissy Boys was not what I had in mind.

Nevermind. Just type in Trouble Triangle, Oceans of Trouble or Forbidden Trouble.

There was a line in the movie “DC CAB” where a Hispanic guy with an open shirt displaying his abundantly hairy chest and wearing a gold medallion repeatedly states: “It’s tough to be a man, baby.” This is especially true when a male takes on the task to write romance. I know. My name’s Travis and I’m a closet romanticist. Since I’m bearing my unmanly soul, I may as well admit I like ABBA as well. So that’s me off the Alpha list. Anyway…

Men, in general, have to step out of their comfort zone to write effective romance. The male perspective of romance is a chick in a ponytail and wearing a baseball cap. She brings her fella a beer and rubs his back while he watches the football. Men don’t require a complex character. A 36-24-35 non-speaking bombshell will usually do the trick.

Women, on the other hand, are less likely to settle for a one-dimensional character. They want to delve into the feelings and thought side of a relationship. When a female character asks her male counterpart, “What ya thinkin’?” the female reader expects a more elaborate answer than, “If I wanted you to know what I was thinking, I’d be talking.”

Although I’m working toward it, I don’t think I can be classed as a romance writer as yet. I’ve been told I break too many of the rules. Okay, if you must know, my male MC wasn’t completely faithful to his girlfriend in my first book, and it probably goes against me that the female MC had lesbian tendencies. And no, that is an intricate part of the plot and not there to set up a threesome. Other than that, it was pretty romantic. He didn’t hire a skywriter to spell out “I Love You” in red, white and blue, but they did share a chilidog in the park. Male romance at its finest.

I gave my male MC far more inner dialogue than I would have if I was left to my own devices. However, I have learned what women want, theoretically speaking. Oh yes. They like their men to growl and the women to purr. The Alpha male taking control and dominating the vulnerable woman, pulling her ponytail and throwing her to the bed for mad, passionate lovemaking, while she screams, “Treat me like a whore, Batman!” Wait. *Travis lights a cigarette.* See the male problem? It just kind of slipped in there before I was even aware what was happening. I must stay focused.

So, romance isn’t all about, umm…it…for lack of a better word. Being fiction, a woman wants an escape from reality. This being the case, the man needs to be considerate. Tough in the face of adversity, yet gentle and caring enough to change a baby’s diaper without being asked. He probably cooks and cleans the house when he’s not out doing his spy work. He puts her feelings before his own. A male writer must suspend his beliefs from reality and concentrate on the fairytale aspects of love to be considered truly romantic.

I’ve been reading romance lately to help sharpen my awareness of the female perception of the perfect male. Okay, there is no such thing. Male MC’s should have some flaws. I must admit, I do like it when they carry that thick male gene that all men are cursed with. The super hero can be as Alpha as anyone can stomach as long as he’s not so in tune with female feelings that he would actually have to be gay to be that understanding. That kind of kills the tingle.

When it comes to being a self-published author, it’s not about learning and respecting the craft, it’s about how many Facebook likes you can achieve or how many followers on Twitter you can get. The general opinion is that if you don’t write well you’ll never make it in the writing world. In traditional publishing that may be true. In today’s world of self-publishing, it doesn’t make a lot of difference whether you write well or not.

The problem with self-publishing is that there are about a gazillion authors in the same boat. All of them trying to get their books read so people will say nice things about it so more people will buy their books so they can eventually give up their day job and live in a world of fantasy. Sounds good, huh?

No one is born knowing how to write. It is a learned process. Especially when it comes to fiction, one should study how to show, not tell. What is passive writing and how to avoid it. How filtering distances the reader from the story. There are many techniques at a writer’s disposal to create the best possible story and draw the reader in. But these are methods that must be learned and practiced. Instead, many of today’s authors simply string 80,000 words together and, Shazam! They’re an author.

I have read stories that I hated but have been able to appreciate the writing. Personally, I find it difficult to enjoy a story with poor writing no matter how good the story may be. That seems to put me in a minority.

Some time ago I read an author’s debut novel and although she made a valiant attempt, it was nowhere near ready for the public market. She had a good concept, but any time the plot would begin to thicken, a coincidental miracle would come along and the problem would be resolved – time and time again. It ended up being absurd. There were other issues that made the entire book laughable. I suggested that perhaps she spend some time with a critique group only to be told, by her, that she was far too busy and she didn’t have time to learn to write properly. So I figured I’d stand idly by and watch her fall on her face. However, instead of spending time learning the craft, she spent time Facebooking. As her number of ‘Likes’ grew, so did her number of five star reviews.

The thing is, once an author gets dozens of reviews, no one really reads them. You just see the stats and out of 100 reviews, 87 are five star, albeit generic or shallow. So the reader is led to believe it’s a great book and buys it. But many of those 87 are stooges or authors are just tit-for-tatting one another with five star reviews. And whether the book is good, bad or indifferent, most readers won’t take the time and bother to leave a genuine review.

I’ve met loads of authors on FB and many of them have what sounds like an interesting story. So I’ll go in and read the sample pages provided on Amazon and discover the writing is shockingly bad. You would think that because the mechanics of writing can be judged objectively, poor writing would be identified by reviewers. Sadly, it rarely is.

Most reviewers seem to focus solely on the story itself and ignore everything else. I don’t object to that, but a book riddled with typos, punctuation errors, gaping plotholes, and bad grammar cannot be five stars. Four if the story is really that good. Yet I see it time and time again, rave reviews for books written at junior high level.

 

London Author Fair 2014

One year ago I attended the London Author Fair. The aim was to put authors in direct contact with literary agents and experts in the publishing industry to learn more about how it all works. This was my experience:

London was stupidly busy as I expected. When I got the London Victoria train station, the first thing I did was pay 30p (50 cents) to pee. Welcome to the big city. Next, I quickly looked over the routes for the Undergound and made my way to an escalator heading for the Piccadilly line. The moving staircase was extremely long and steep — like taking a ride into the bowels of hell. Adjacent to my downward spiral were two escalator going up. The thousand faces going the other way hardly looked angelic on the way to heaven, but at least they were heading in that direction. Halfway down my descent, an announcement was made that the Holborn Station was closed due to a person under the train. There are times I think it would be wise for the London Transport Authority to lie.

I made my way to an inconspicuous building, The Hospital Club, in Covent Garden. I looked smart in my baby pink sweater with black pants, complemented with my newly highlighted hair. If I didn’t get a publishing deal I still might have gotten lucky in the men’s room.

As I checked in, the organizers insisted I don my pre-printed author identification tag, but I was reluctant. After all, I was there to learn and absorb information and didn’t want to be distracted by an endless stream of autograph hunters. Fortunately, everyone respected my privacy and I was not hounded or asked for one autograph the entire day.

The fair was spread over three floors with various workshops and seminars such as: Marketing Your Book, Discoverability, Working with a Literary Agent, Book Cover Design and much more spread throughout the building. Because of the logistics, it was difficult to judge, but I would guess there were somewhere between 300-500 people in attendance.

I grabbed a free coffee and stuffed two free coffee mugs in my free “London Author Fair” canvas bag before heading to the seminar room in the basement. Black velvet curtains blacked out everything around the audience except for the panel of literary agent on the stage. They each spoke about the changes in the book industry and the rise of the self-publishing market. The more they spoke, the more my heart sunk.

Superb writing is not the most important element in the publishing industry. An amazing story, is. They still expect anything submitted to them to be error-free, but story concept may outweigh the odd missed comma. An agency receives circa 100 submissions A DAY. So what makes your story so AMAZING? That’s what one has to convey in one page.

Besides being an amazing story (they did use those exact words repeatedly), it has to be marketable. If the publisher doesn’t think they can capture 5% of the market with it, they’re not interested. They all confessed that there are some fantastic stories out there, but no place in the market for them, so they get passed over. Celebrities get rushed to the top because publishers know that will sell. They already have a “platform” so it’s far less of a gamble. Even if you would manage to get picked up by a mainstream publisher, they still choose to put their marketing money into a name where they know will get a return.

When an agent takes on you and your story, it may take him or her a year to sell it to a publisher. Then it may take another year to get it into print, and the chances of striking it big are slim. It is a slow process unless you happened to be lucky enough to sleep with Mr. or Mrs. Obama — in that case they would rush you into print the following week.

My moment of glory came from stumping the panel — but I didn’t want to stump them, I wanted answers. When they asked for questions from the floor, I raised my hand and I was identified as the man in the back wearing the pink sweater, and invited to ask my question. I rose and took the mike.

“Most submission guidelines request a one to two page synopsis. So if I have to whittle my 80-90,000 word manuscript into 200-400 words, what is the most important thing to focus on and what can be left out?” The man in the pink sweater sat down as a collective gasp rippled through the audience.

The panel remained silent. Really silent. Finally, the chairperson commented, “Well, that shut them up.” One of the agents remarked, “I hate questions like that.” After more humming and haa-ing from the panel of experts, it was agreed that writing a synopsis is an art and skill in its own right. They conceded that it was not easy, then admitted that many times they don’t even get read unless they are excited by the covering letter and the first three chapters. So the man in the pink sweater still doesn’t know how to write an effective synopsis.

I requested, and was granted, a slot to try and sell my book idea to an agent for her to take me on as a client. After causing disarray to the panel, it was time to go make my pitch to the agent. This would be my defining fifteen minutes of fame. I was pleased to have a woman agent to pitch to. I usually connected well with women. We sat down and I handed her my presentation: Cover letter, synopsis, and the first three chapters of my latest novel, Forbidden Trouble.

As she looked over my papers, I remained respectfully quiet. “Go on,” she said, “we only have fifteen minutes, start making your pitch.” Damn multi-tasker. It was a little unnerving to talk about my yet to be discovered bestseller while the master of my destiny was not looking at me. My blue eyes are my greatest asset above the belt. You should see my legs. Anyway… I pitched. By this time, she had made it to the first paragraph of the novel.

Why I remained heterosexual was beyond me. I found the good looking chicks, but they either turned lesbian on me or wouldn’t leave their shithead husbands. At least gay guys didn’t have women trouble.”

Her jaw dropped. “That’s some opening,” she remarked, yet void of any reaction. I couldn’t read her.  So I shrugged. “It was either that or ‘It was a dark and stormy night.'”

I smiled. She didn’t. Oh shit.

My time with her went quickly. Perhaps she was in shock by a guy in a pink sweater writing a heterosexual romance.

Then she gave her advice: She said I shouldn’t have been pitching that novel, I should have pitch my current WIP. My current work should cut all ties from my past books to prove I can write fresh material and not count on past characters or settings to fall back on. Write third person, not first. I took exception to that advise. She kept repeating how difficult and limiting first person is, which I realize. That’s why I have studied it in-depth and am well versed in the pitfalls and traps, as well as the do’s and don’t’s. But she seemed to be making the assumption without reading my work. And 108,000 words was far too long. I should be aiming for 70,000.

My time was up and I felt slightly more dejected, but I was there to learn, not to be discovered — not yet, anyway.

So, that leaves self-publishing. Being a self-published author means one has to be an entrepreneur: Marketer, Salesperson, Twitterer, Goodreads Reader, Facebooker, Public Speaker, Blogger… who the hell has time to write?

So my journey to enlightenment ended in the conclusion that there is no easy way — which I knew.  But after speaking to the experts, it seems to have become even more difficult.

As I boarded the train for the journey home, at least the conductor smiled at me – then I noticed the pink handkerchief streaming from his back pocket…

Forty-nine years and nine months ago, my mom and dad fornicated. It was only the third time they ever had sex and I have a brother and sister to prove it. Okay, maybe they did it on their honeymoon out of curiosity, so that’s four times. But that’s it. In their generation sex was to procreate, not a recreational activity.

Every birthday I ask myself, “Why am I getting all the glory?” It’s not like I had a say in the matter or had anything to do with it. I was just a passenger at the time and a by-product as a result.

If anyone should be celebrating it should be them. People should be giving my parents gifts (or hate mail) for what they’ve done. Why do people say Happy Birthday to me when they should be saying “Nice shot, Mr. Casey” to my dad. It’s like giving credit to the model for just standing there when they should be addressing the artist for what (s)he created.

I went to a birthday party a while back for Hubert who was celebrating ninety years on planet earth. When it was announced, everyone applauded. I thought, “What the hell did he do?” He managed to avoid getting run over by a bus for nine decades but I fail to see how being born is worthy of being congratulated.

I do love hillbilly sayings and metaphors. They’re so colorful and flamboyant. I heard a hick cutting another guy down once and he told him “Your daddy shoulda shot you in a hankie.” Once I got it, I laughed. I thought later how close any of us could have come to being non-existent by such a fate. All it takes is a lonely night without a mate and that could be the fortune for any of us. Perhaps that’s what inspires the urge to celebrate.

Then there’s the agitating question of “What do you what for your birthday?” I already know the budget question is worth about twenty bucks. That being the case, if there was something I wanted in that price range I would already have it. Yes, I please myself the other 364 days and don’t wait for permission to be extravagant for something I don’t really need anyway.

The only birthdays that held any significance for me were eighteen and twenty-one. Turning legal to do certain things were momentous occasions and worthy of celebrating as I passed a milestone. These days I’m more likely to pass a mild stone.

Tyler Chambers:

My Life is an Open Book (well, three actually)

Hi. I’m Tyler Chambers, the star of Travis Casey’s series, ‘Tyler’s Trouble Trilogy.’

My author thought it would be funny to stick me in the 1980’s. Granted, it was a cool decade – but seriously? No cell phones or internet?

Anyway, I was about to get banged up in jail – just juvenile stuff really, but the cops lost their sense of humor – so Travis made me join the Navy instead of serving time with some guy named Tyrone. Wow! What an adventure that turned out to be. I spent a couple of years in Hawaii but got mixed up with two chicks that had me in a Trouble Triangle. I’m still not sure if it was love or lust, but it really did my head in. So I jumped at the chance when Travis offered to put me on a sea going ship traveling the world – little did I know the ship was setting sail into Oceans of Trouble. I would have loved it except the Captain of the ship wanted to lock me up for something I didn’t do and some whack job tried to kill me just for fun. You should see what they did to do to me in Singapore. It was a nightmare.

Somehow I managed to survive, so Travis lined me up for another cruise. I was really looking forward to it, but guess what? Some jerk in the book switched my orders and I ended up fixing submarines in Scotland! I mean, of all places.

Without any choice, I packed my bags and headed off to that rain-drenched environment on the other side of the world. I just wanted a simple little plot, but no—Travis Casey had other ideas.

I arrived in Scotland hoping to drink a few beers, have sexual liaisons with a few of the Scottish lasses, and have a few laughs. And I fully intended to follow advice I was given and stay away from fellow co-workers – i.e. women on the ship. Besides, the Navy doesn’t allow relationships with superior officers and that was just fine with me. I didn’t want anything to do with Navy chicks – but when I saw my boss, Lt. Darcy Novak. Holy smoke! I fought urges, she fought urges, but she fell for my charm regardless. We both knew we were heading for some kind of Forbidden Trouble, but our chemistry was undeniable. And then that damn Charlotte Kemp went to get her claws into me. I had to start spinning lies to protect Darcy—I mean Lt. Novak. Things kept going from bad to worse.

I should have just taken the jail time before the first book began and it would have saved a whole heap of time and trouble and I wouldn’t have had any of the stress that shook my world in book three. You wouldn’t believe what I went through.

You can check out the entire trilogy on Amazon, Amazon UK and Barnes and Noble. Go ahead. Have a laugh at my expense. You have my permission.

All the Best

Tyler Chambers

Star of Tyler’s Trouble Trilogy

As a driver for an international shipping company, I should have known better. I wish I could say I got caught up listening to the Sammy Hagar song, “I Can’t Drive 55.” Unfortunately, I didn’t have that excuse and got busted doing 76 in a 55mph zone by a Minnesota State Trooper. To make matters worse I was in a company van.

In accordance with company policy, I reported the infraction to my supervisor. I had the added fear that I hadn’t yet passed my three month probation period. When I told my boss he was sympathetic, but also informed me that fifteen miles an hour or more over the limit was considered a serious safety violation. One more mishap and I was out of a job. So I was on strike three before I even got off the blocks.

When I told my work colleagues, I dressed it up a little.
“The cop asked me where I was going in such a hurry,” I said. “I told him I was on the way to the hospital. I worked there as a rectum stretcher.”
“A rectum stretcher?” He squawked. “What the hell’s that?”
“Well, sir,” I explained. “I get ahold of the rectum with two fingers, loosen it, work it, and stretch it. Then I hook it up to a machine and stretch it until I get it to about six feet.”
“Oh, yeah, right. And what do you do with a six foot asshole?”
“Give him a radar gun.”

Once they stopped laughing, one of them suggested I go to court.
“Why?” I asked. “He had me dead to rights.”
“Ask for leniency. What you got to lose? They can’t jack it up to eighty, but if you can get it under fifteen miles per hour over the limit it’s not considered serious and you got another screw up in the bag without getting fired.”
He was right. I didn’t have anything to lose.
Rather than just pay the $225 fine and put an end to it, I went to court instead. After the judge arraigned the deadbeats and junkies locked up from the weekend, it was my turn to plead my case.
Once in the dock I explained to the judge that I had no excuse, but asked for leniency as it had serious implications on my job and asked if he would consider reducing the violation to reflect less than fifteen miles an hour over the limit. In effect, I was asking the judge for a 69.
The judge asked the prosecutor if she would be willing to give me a 69, but she went five better. She said that based on my clean driving record, she would be willing to offer me a 64, but stipulated that she still wanted the fine of $225 to stand.
I happily accepted the terms.
I didn’t know this at the time, but in the state of Minnesota a speeding violation of nine miles an hour or less doesn’t show up on your driving record so I have managed to keep a clean driving record. It’s not very often that I’m still pleased after receiving a $225 fine, but in this instance, I consider this a happy ending.

Top 10 Tips for Male Romance Writers

The writing world is still a sexist industry. That’s not anyone’s fault, it’s just not possible to change people’s personal preferences and tastes. Some women have told me they would never read a romance written by a man. And I would be unlikely to read a book regarding submarine warfare written by Betty Juggs. That’s not being sexist, just a preference. However, it can be refreshing to get a different perspective in a classic genre. I do my best to tailor my writing for a female audience and have gone through a huge learning curve. Here are ten things I’ve learned or adapted as a guy writing romance.

I have worked with women writers in various critiquing groups and there are different standards for male and female romance writers. For that very reason, my number one tip for a guy writing romance is to get female feedback prior to publication. I have innocently used terms and phrases that sound natural to me, yet discovered many women hate certain terms and words. I do my best to avoid such wordage, but still have an obligation to my character to speak naturally.

Men are visually driven creatures. So when I write a bedroom scene, my character wants to focus on the beauty of her nakedness in exacting detail. However, the female character and the reader wants to know if he’ll still respect her in the morning. Having female critiquing partners helps me find the right balance.

When a woman writes a sex scene, it’s hot. When a guy writes a sex scene, he’s a perv. For a guy, sex tends to be a physical act. For a woman it’s an emotional one. Writing from a male point of view (POV) it’s impossible to remove the physical side of it otherwise it sounds like a woman trying to write like a guy – or the guy sounds totally gay and has no place in the sex scene anyway. I have trained myself to incorporate more emotions from the fella and get him to acknowledge his feelings in front of the reader.

The difference between erotica and porn: If you take the sex out of erotica, there is still a story to be had. If there is no story without the sex, it’s porn.

In a conventional romance the hero is only seen (shown) to have sex with one person, the heroine. Other relationships or liaisons may be eluded to, but must be kept somewhat vague and non-graphic in nature.

A romance is two people falling in love. The circumstances may be complicated, but the basic premise is simple.

Be original. There are far too many writers jumping on popular bandwagons trying for copycat fame. Fifty Shades broke new boundaries, but instead of following the trend already set, try to set the next trend.

Writing romantic comedies takes a lot of pressure off. Using humour builds in a certain amount of forgiveness and saves the temptation of competing with the Jackie Collins’ or Jane Austens of the writing world.

Character flaws, physical as well as emotional, adds realism. It doesn’t need to be big – a small scar, a nervous habit (hair twirling), or something that shows them slightly less than perfect makes them more relatable.

One has to get over the Mommy and Wifey factor. Writing stirs a creative vein and often things flow from where we do not know. You have to go with it unsuppressed. It can be difficult when the wife presses you, “Where did you get that idea from?” It honestly does often come from the subconscious. Don’t fight it. Write whatever comes to mind. That’s what first drafts are for. Edits will cut the things that you really don’t want to have to explain.

My favorite question I was asked during an interview was:

What is the best thing about being a romance writer?

I can control what a woman thinks, says, and does.

Not many guys can say that.

Please visit, traviscasey.com

Read more: http://www.femalefirst.co.uk/books/forbidden-trouble-travis-casey-608127.html#ixzz3RmVBlI47