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Blog, Publishing, Romance

Tips on being a romance writer

I don’t have ALL the answers, but here’s what I’ve learned about being a romance writer.

Being a romance writer does require creativity. But, just like any other job, it requires some work. Here is what I’ve learned during my journey as a romance writer:

  1. Do the research.

    Romance researchNo, I’m not suggesting you do THAT kind of research. Surely you know enough about sex to get through a rough draft of sex scenes. And if you don’t, just fake it till you make it, like you did with that one boyfriend who thought the clitoris was a kind of dinosaur. What I’m suggesting is basically a professional form of eavesdropping. Observation and attention to detail are your best friends as a romance writer.

    Study couples—how they interact, how they speak, their body language, how they fight, and most importantly, how they make up. Take notes (discreetly) in your phone of phrases or actions that resonate with you. But don’t go too far. You don’t want to be that person dictating the scene in a coffee shop like a nature documentary narrator. The people around you are your greatest inspirations. Use them. You may even interact with them. If things go further than that, remember to use protection and at least offer breakfast in the morning. Yeah, baby!

  2. Grow some balls.

    Become your book characterThis is figuratively, of course…because…eww. I mean that the publishing world can be a tough place. If you’re a timid introvert who would rather die than socialize and promote yourself, this is going to be difficult. Of course, romance writers are notorious for living in their pajamas for days at a time—greasy hair pulled up in a knot, surviving only on peanut butter crackers and room temperature coffee—so that they can make deadline.

    But there comes a time when you have to put your big girl panties on (and pants too—sorry not sorry). You have to become that outgoing, social butterfly you’ve always avoided. If you have to, create an alternate persona for these times. Make her anything you want her to be, like a character from your book. Let her wear glasses or sexy underwear, whatever works. You’re the author; write your character’s personality. Inside, you can still be the hot mess that you’ve always been. But outside you’ll need to be a bad ass, confident writer with a tough veneer and a killer vocabulary.

    Once you’ve mastered this technique, it will also come in handy when you’ve got to face your five aunts who read your books and want to discuss blow job techniques over Thanksgiving turkey and green bean casserole.

  3. Don’t ever apologize.

    Love your smutMany times, the romance genre is dismissed as fluff. “It’s just smut,” they’ll say. When my first book was published and I told people I was a writer they would ask, “What do you write?” I would always look at the floor and mumble “romance novels,” in a quiet voice that was contrite and begging not to be judged. Right away this sent the message that I was insecure about what I wrote. That wasn’t the case at all! But our misogynistic society told me to be ashamed of romance, and so I played my role perfectly. Until one day, I realized… “I published a book! No, wait! I published THREE books! That is nothing to be embarrassed about!”

    There was a whole epiphany that followed with lots of internal monologue. There may have been dancing, a chorus of “I am Woman,” and maybe a crotch grab or two. I knew there was nothing to apologize for. I am proud of my books. I work hard. I invest time, heart and soul in everything I write. And it took me a while, but I know now that no one can tell me how to feel.

  4. Be original.

    Be a romance writerSomeone once told me that there are no original ideas anymore. I call bullshit. Sure, art inspires other art, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t original. A lot of things happen in real life that readers would be quick to call out as “unrealistic” in a novel. That’s where things get tricky. Keep your stories fresh and inventive. Find a balance between what works for your characters and what works in the world you’ve created. Sure, there are tried and true (and predictable) formulas that work for some authors (cough-Nicholas-Sparks-cough).

    But what works for one book writer, doesn’t necessarily work for you. If your story is reminiscent of others, then find a unique way to tell it. Don’t ever, ever, ever write to create a bestseller. Just when you think you’ve written an amazing new release of what’s trending now, the trend will change. Then you and your novel are left behind. Plus, if you’re writing just for the money… you’re in the wrong business. Most of us still have our day jobs. Basically, write for you!

  5. Make friends.

    Romance writers networkIt is a great time to be a romance writer. The romance genre is filled with authors of every race, sexuality, gender, and background. It’s so easy to find people to connect with. With the wide world of social media, it is easer than ever to stalk—I mean befriend—your favorite authors. Of course there are divas who exist in every profession. But I promise, most of us are super nice.

    Those who have been in the business for a while are almost always willing to offer advice or answer questions. It’s rare to find such a large group of women who empower and encourage each other so freely. You will find a reliable network in the romance writers’ community. Build your tribe and work to be a contributing member. These are friendships that will last a lifetime.

  6. Have fun.

    Romance writers' partyLastly, don’t take everything so seriously. Writing is a job, but it is an exciting one. It is something that makes you giddy when you sit down and get to spill your brain onto a keyboard. It grants us a high, an adrenaline rush, just to be doing what we love. And if it doesn’t, then you’re not doing it right.

    Learn about my next sexy adventure in Chaos and Control.

 


Season Vining is the author of romance novels, lives in the dirty South, has sriracha in her purse, needs more shoes, and doesn’t give a shit about the Kardashians. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.

Blog, Learning, Publishing, Romance

Louisiana Book Festival

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This year, I’m honored to be one of the many featured authors at the 12th Annual Louisiana Book Festival. The 2015 Louisiana Book Festival is Oct. 31, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m, in downtown Baton Rouge at the State Library of Louisiana, the State Capitol, the Capitol Park Museum and nearby locations. There is live music, festival food, and tons of books! There are talks all day from featured authors, a children’s tent, activities, and a great time!

At 10:45 a.m., I will be speaking in the Senate Committee Room C in the State Capitol building. Come join me to hear about my writing process and the whole story building process behind my latest novel, PERFECT BETRAYAL. It will be a casual talk along with plenty of time for any questions. Please come by, say hello, and stay for some fun information.

I will be signing in the Barnes & Noble tent directly after. I hope to see you there!!!

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Blog, Contests, Novel, reading, Romance

WIN an advance copy of PERFECT BETRAYAL

23014639My third novel, Perfect Betrayal, will hit shelves on August 18, 2015. You can win an advance copy HERE! Get your hands on Taylor and Levi’s story before anyone else.

All you have to do is provide a link to your review of one of my previous novels, Beautiful Addictions or Held Against You. Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, blogs…no matter where you reviewed, you’re in. Didn’t get around to reviewing? Do it now and then enter to WIN!

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Blog, Novel, reading, Romance

HELD AGAINST YOU success!

Held Against You finalMy second novel, HELD AGAINST YOU, is now out in the world. It is inspiring road trips and the re-watching of John Hughes films. tumblr_n1tt4pKDDL1ssqbk0o1_500Kat seems to keep everyone laughing and her mysterious bounty hunter seems to keep them sighing. It’s been a long road and there are too many people to thank individually, so I’ll say a collective THANK YOU! giphyThe audiobook for HELD AGAINST YOU is in production now with Audible.com and will be released soon! I’ll post again when I have a release date for that!

Meanwhile, my second Barnes & Noble signing was a great success. I did a reading from Kat’s point of view and gave everyone a taste of her craziness. So many people came to show their support, say hello, and get their book signed. I appreciate each and every one of you. It was nice seeing some old familiar faces and meeting some new ones!

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Blog, Contests, Novel, reading, Romance

HELD AGAINST YOU pre-order giveaway!

Held Against You finalDo you like sexy, adventurous books? Do you like free stuff? Well, I’ve got a treat for you. Pre-order HELD AGAINST YOU in print or ebook before January 11, 2015 and enter the giveaway below to win a grab bag of PRIZES!

Accused of a horrible crime and on the run, Kat has been rejected by everyone she loves. She’s a fugitive from her past, flitting from town to town with nothing but the clothes on her back. Until she meets a man who literally stops her in her tracks.

This notorious bounty hunter, with his stunning good looks and powerful instincts, never fails to capture his prey. But there’s something about his newest mark that gets under his skin–and it’s not just the naked innocence he sees in her eyes. Behind his ice cold demeanor, he has his own secrets… and now his lively, vulnerable captive is about to crack him wide open.

As they drive across the country together, neither of them can deny the spark of attraction between them. Will their journey force these two passionate opposites together…or will their dangerous secrets be too much to bear?

PRE-ORDER LINKS:
Barnes & Noble     Amazon     BAM

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