Kill your darlings? Can I just maim mine, instead?

Originally posted on Demons in My Head:

I keep hearing this advice as the end all, be all of writing.

Kill your darlings.

Trim the fat.

Cut everything.

Bring your word count down.

That’s all great and good, there is not one single way to do it. More often than not you will see the advice stated as “take your word count and strip it by 25%. That’s what you should be left with when you’re done editing.” How…titillating. No, really. How about the person who goes back through every chapter and fixes all her contractions, maybe adds words for the sake of clarity (who hasn’t eaten several words ahead of the end of a sentence?). Maybe they take out repetitive expressions, maybe they add a bit of foreshadowing. The word count fluctuates. So what is it going to be? The words you have written after you write down “The End” or the words you had when…

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New Book coming soon!

I’m staying in a beautiful cabin nestled in the Appalachian mountains. This week I’m taking a much-needed rest while working on several upcoming Sweet & Steamy Steampunk Romance novellas. Three (3) more novellas are coming out this year. Book #2 in the series titled “The Men of Summerly” is out August 7th.

Summerly is a Cinderella-type story with two heroes as the Cinderfella and Prince Charming. Of course, summertime food recipes are included in the series second installment.

I am in love with this couple and their story has charmed me to pieces. I can’t wait for you all to get to read it and let me know what you think! Soon my darlings. Soon!

Until then, it’s back to research. Tonight I’m making homemade mini waffle cones to go with the homemade ice cream I’m making for my family. All for research of course.

xoxo,

Nikki

Vampire Trouble Special Pre-Order Gift Opportunity!

9781402274091-300

Send proof of your pre-order of Vampire Trouble by Sara Humphreys (PUBLICATION DATE: July 1 2014) and Sourcebooks will send you a special Dead in the City bookmark and an “I <3 #NYCVamps” button!

Sourcebooks will send these gifts to anyone who shows them their pre-order receipt until June 30th, or supplies run out. Just email your receipt to casablanca@sourcebooks.com.

Additionally, everyone who sends us their proof of pre-order will also be entered in a random drawing to win a necklace just like the emerald one Maya wears in Vampire Trouble. These necklaces will be given away as the preorders hit the 250, 750, and 1,000 preorder mark!

And if preorders hit the 2,000 mark, then one lucky entrant will receive a $250 gift card to Barnes & Noble!

Be sure to follow Sara Humphreys on Facebook, Twitter, and her Website for more details leading up to the release of Vampire Trouble, including more exclusives, and MUCH MORE of her fabulous paranormal romances!

The winners of the jewelry will be announced on Sara Humphreys Facebook page and website as each threshold is reached!

So spread the word about #NYCVamps!

Pre-Order your copy today! (Links below)

Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/o4ougyf
Apple iBooks: http://tinyurl.com/qxoyjqz
Barnes and Noble:http://tinyurl.com/oknxgfg
Book Depository:http://tinyurl.com/qxa7mqn
Indigo Books: http://tinyurl.com/qhlozdr

VAMPIRE TROUBLE….
A fledgling vampire ignites a war…

Maya remembers the last moments of her life as a human with haunting clarity, and every man she meets pays the price…until Shane. Finding herself in the middle of a bloody fight between vampires and werewolves, Maya has no choice but to let the devastatingly sexy vampire guard get close to her.

And that’s not all that heats up…

Shane Quesada, a four-century-old vampire sentry, is known for his cold, unemotional precision, but once Maya begins to invade his dreams, his world is changed forever. His job to protect her is swiftly replaced by the all-consuming need to claim her as his own.

Praise for Tall, Dark, and Vampire (Dead in the City #1):

“Shines with fascinating new characters… from the very talented Humphreys!” —RT Book Reviews, 4½ Stars, Top Pick of the Month

“Laughter, action and a steamy love story.” —Long and Short Reviews

“Riveting, outstandingly written… A must read for all vampire lovers.” —Bitten by Love Reviews

“Engaging… Humphreys skillfully blends intrigue and romance.” —Publishers Weekly

 

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Writing Process Blog Tour

It’s my turn in the Writing Process Blog Tour meme. The lovely A.S. Fenichel tagged me last week, so here I go, answering four questions about how I write. On April 7th, visit the authors I’ve tagged to participate– Jamie K. Schmidt and Sorcha Black.

1. What am I working on?
My elevator pitch answer is: A lesbian Steampunk couple solves a murder.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I tend to blend genres and interweave them with humor, action and mystery into my stories. I’ve been told that I have knack for doing a properly balanced mash up of genres. I’ve been told that my romances are unpredictable and my mysteries are complex, yet fun to solve alongside my hero/ine.

3. Why do I write what I do?
Life is hard and I want to laugh. As a former psych major one of my professors told me the reason he scattered humorous scenarios and jokes throughout each exam was to make the students laugh. Laughter is a stress reliever and he found that students tended to do better on their exams when he included humor than when he did not. I used that as a daily mantra of sorts throughout my life.

When I was working on my current Steampunk story I thought what if I created two heroines and made them a couple? I used the essence of Lucy and Ethel from “I Love Lucy” as inspiration. Then I asked myself, How much differently would they, as this goofy couple, solve a murder? In my rewrites I ask myself, “How can I make this funnier? How can I make a reader laugh until they cry and then want to reread that same section out loud to someone so they can join in on the laugh?”

4. How does my writing process work?
I prefer to write in scenes with focus on dialogue. I grew up watching lots of films and television so I love writing dialogue based first drafts. It’s throughout the revision process that I begin adding layers of scenery to my story in the form of setting description, pacing with clear prose.

Before the scene writing begins I work with an idea which is followed by brainstorming. The brainstorming usually happens while I’m listening to music and cooking or baking. On the outside my actions look mundane but internally I’m weaving a story with the intention of being fun and unpredictable. At these times I may bounce a plotting idea off a trusted writer friend before I draft an outline that doubles as a synopsis.

Once those items are in order I write in the form of scenes that build on one another. Referring to my outline I have an idea of specific plot points I need to hit in order to have my story make sense. It’s like cross-country driving. You know the destination goal, but it’s the travel in between from where you begin to where you end that has the most intriguing and adventurous tales to tell.

Nikki

 

Next Monday, click over to my friends’ blogs to read about their writing processes.

Jamie K. Schmidt has over thirty short stories published in small press and ezines. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the State University of New York at New Paltz in Secondary Education English, which is a fancy way of saying she went to college to teach high school English. When that didn’t pan out, she worked as a call center manager, a Tupperware consultant, a paralegal, and finally a technical writer for a major conglomerate company. She is an active member in the Romance Writers of America (RWA), serving as the President for her local chapter Connecticut Romance Writers of America (CTRWA).

When not writing, Jamie relaxes with a mug of hot tea and knits or makes beaded jewelry. She sells her handcrafted items at The Dudley Farm during the summer. A voracious reader, Jamie has a Kindle and is not afraid to use it.

Sorcha Black is the author of the fantasy novel, Ein, and co-author of the Badass Brats romance series. She’s a fan of tattoos and foul language. Sorcha lives in Canada with her husband and their shoe full of children.

Lady Astronomers in Steampunk

As a kid I grew up around science, whether it was astronomy, computers or aerospace engineering in the California Bay Area. When not overseas on deployment, my father would take me out stargazing a few miles away from the naval base we lived on. The beauty about living on the Moffett Field was that it housed the, still functioning, NASA Research Facilities. If I had a question about the stars I only had to walk from Hangar One and ask some of the most talented people on the base.

When I set out to write my Steampunk romantic novella, “The Winter Triangle” I knew that stargazing and astronomy had to be a part of this Valentine tale. Professor Morgan Thibodeaux was created and based on my research about two of the “Pickering” women—Henrietta Swan Leavitt and Annie Jump Cannon. Both ladies worked at different times for Pickering as human “computers” to measure and catalog the brightness of stars.

These findings were later produced into the Henry Draper Catalogue. Annie Jump Cannon, while an undergraduate at Wellesley, contracted scarlet fever and became partially deaf. Not letting that stop her she went onto invent the Harvard Classification Scheme for stars. Henrietta Swan Leavitt’s discovery allowed astronomers to measure the distance between the Earth and distant galaxies. Her discovery of the period-luminosity law for Cepheids is still used by astronomers today.

That kind of dedication and love for the night sky is what I brought to Professor Morgan and she brings that love to Cassandra with the help of her sign language interpreter, Hunter. Professor Morgan has Leavitt’s cheerful personality and it shows throughout “The Winter Triangle”. Morgan’s silent world is not a hindrance. She sees the world around her in all its vibrancy and brings a sense of fun to Cassandra’s world during the eve of Valentine’s Day.

With good humor and cheer, Professor Morgan inspires both Cassandra and Hunter to look at the night with new eyes. Throughout their evening in “The Winter Triangle”, the trio’s adventures fill them with the same awe and wonderment only a clear West Virginia winter night sky can offer.

Chocolate Mud Cherry Cheesecake Squares Recipe

Today I had the pleasure of guest blogging on Ellora’s Cave author A.S. Fenichel’s Foodie Friday. As I promised, dear readers, here is The Winter Triangle’s most talked about dessert “Chocolate Mud Cherry Cheesecake Squares” recipe for you to experience at home! Enjoy!

 

Chocolate Mud Cherry Cheesecake Squares

Cherry Cheesecake topping

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 2 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons maraschino juice
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon cherry flavoring
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Chocolate Mud batter

  • 6 ounces chopped 70% Bittersweet Dark Chocolate
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  •  ¼ cup golden brown sugar, packed
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup maraschino cherries, roughly chopped (optional)

Things you’ll need

  • Skewer
  • Vegetable oil
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Metal Bowl
  • Sauce pan

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray pan with vegetable oil and sprinkle cocoa powder into a 9-inch baking pan making sure to dust corners and along the baking pan wall. Discard excess cocoa powder.

Make Chocolate Mud:
In a sauce pan, with an inch of simmering water, place metal bowl on top of sauce pan (a makeshift double boiler) and melt chocolate and butter using a whisk to stir. Once the chocolate and butter are fully melted whisk in sugar and eggs, one at a time, then add in vanilla and salt. Remove from heat and whisk in sour cream and flour until combined. Set aside ¼ cup of batter before stirring in the (optional) chopped maraschino cherries. Spread the rest of the batter evenly in cocoa dusted baking pan.

Make Cherry Cheesecake topping:
In a standing mixer, using beater attachment, on medium speed cream both cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. On low-speed beat in egg, maraschino juice, cherry flavoring, sea salt and sour cream. Once fully incorporated mix in flour. Evenly spread cheesecake batter onto chocolate mud batter.

Place a dollop of chocolate mud batter on the top of the cheesecake batter. Use skewer to make swirl patterns throughout the cheesecake mixture.

Bake Chocolate Mud Cherry Cheesecake on middle rack in the center of oven for 35 minutes, or until a tester comes out with crumbs adhering to it. Allow to cool completely before chilling in refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight.

Once chilled either cut or bring to room temperature and cut into squares and serve. Enjoy!