How to Deal with Stans

Stans can’t be reasoned with. Why is this even a post? I asked myself that when I sat down to write it. It would seem that this is common knowledge. But nah! It’s not…either that or some people don’t possess commonsense. (Make of that what you will.) It is stans that are harming society and creating chaos. Now, this is not aimed to be a political post; although, much that will be stated can be applied to politics. However, it cannot be applied more to one position and/or party than to another. This is something that expands across any board and is bipartisan. However, it is important to note that a stan is an individual. Any large group will undoubtedly have stans embedded. Thus, it may be the few stans that cause an entire group to be labeled, stereotyped or discredited. That isn’t fair, but that how it goes. However, I’m jumping ahead.

So, where to begin? Let’s start with the standard definition of a stan. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a stan is an extremely or excessively enthusiastic, overzealous, obsessive, and/or devoted fan of a particular celebrity—and I’m going to add cause or movement to this definition as well. Another definition is also required and that is the meaning of fan. By definition, a fan is an ardent admirer, enthusiast, or devotee of a celebrity, sport, performing art, or pursuit and who is usually a spectator. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that a stan is not a fan. Why? Because a fan, at least on the surface although not defined as, appears to be a positive influence. Stans are anything but positive. But wait? How can I say that when stans say positive things and support the person or cause that they stan for. It’s because stans are biased. Stans have no perspectives. Stans cannot and will not hold their celebrity at cause to any accountability for wrongdoing.

For example, let’s rip an event that happened years ago and made national news. A woman claimed to have had her car carjacked. In the rear seat were her children. The car was later found in a lake with her children deceased in the backseat. The cause of death was drowning. The woman later confessed to having killed her children and lying to the police. CONFESSED. Let’s break it down.

Prior to her confession, her stans who rushed to her side swore this was something that she simply could not and would not do. They claimed that she was an excellent mother who loved her children; although, there was some evidence to suggest she had been neglectful to them for quite some time (more emotionally than physically). Persons who were closer to her, who grew up with her, stated that they questioned if she could have done this. However, her stans who never met her a day in their lives stated that it was impossible to have done it because she looked like a good mother during a news interview. So, we’re basing the quality of motherhood on how someone looks on the five o’clock news. Okay. She looked innocent. How many people have fallen prey to serial killers because the serial killer did not look dangerous? Stans will disregard information given by credible people and persons who have more insight and knowledge of the situation. Stans do not care about the truth.

Now, if you’re saying that’s not true and this woman’s stans would have changed their opinion after her confession, you’d be absolutely wrong. They didn’t label her a monster for killing her babies. Instead, they diverted and defended. Rather than focusing on the crime, her stans brought up all the good she’d done in the past. They pointed to her work history. When that didn’t seem to wash, they focused on her mental health and how she was driven to do it out of postpartum depression. No, she didn’t. She murdered her children because they were in the way, plain and simple. She wanted to be with a man who did not (according to her) want children (at least, not children who had been fathered by another man). She determined the only way to be with this man was to get rid of her children. Now, in my mind, a logical person would have chosen their children over someone who may or may not have remained in his/her life. However, I understand that some people aren’t equipped to be parents. Parenting is difficult, and some parents crumble under the pressure. That doesn’t mean they kill their kids. She had options. She could have transferred custody of them to their father. She could have allowed her parents or family to raise them. If those were not options, she could have called child social services to intervene. But stans overlook her options use mental health to excuse her act of murder.

Her horrible behavior didn’t just include murder. First, this woman was married which meant she was cheating on her husband with this man who didn’t want children. This shows she exhibited very little regard for the sanity of marriage or the feelings of her husband. She didn’t care how if this affair (even had it not come to murder) would tear her family apart. Since she was still with her husband, did she plan to kill him, too? Why would she choose to take his children away from him?

Another issue was her blatant lying. People gathered in search parties and spent days looking for her children. The police spent time and officers looking for these babies when those resources could have been going to help someone in true need. Her lies stole and robbed her community. Furthermore, her accusations worsened racial tensions.

For the stans who do acknowledge her behavior as being irreprehensible, they diminish it by stating she is remorseful. Remember, this is a woman they have never met. Their opinion of her remorse if from what they see on television. Other viewers who watched the same news footage would disagree. They would point to the fact that she doesn’t cry or make eye contact. I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt because people grieve differently. Not everyone cries, cries immediately, or cries in front of others. However, if one listens to her words, she only seems sorry that she was caught. She was sorry that people criticized her lying and believed that she should be punished. She appeared sorry not to have won the affections of the man she wanted since he left her after this incident. She didn’t speak on the hurt that she caused others and focused on her own pain. Yet, stans excused her. The beautiful lives of two innocents who had no chance of saving themselves perished at the hands of a person who was supposed to love and protect them. Instead, she discarded them like garbage for a man she wanted to a future. She took her children’s future to enrich her future.

When she was found guilty and sentenced to prisons, her stans claimed the sentence of life in prison was too harsh. But at least, she has her life which the same cannot be said for her children. They will never have a first day of school, graduate, get married, or have children of their own. The world will never know what they would have contributed. Maybe one of them would have grown to become the person who invented a cure for cancer or become president. But her stans do not acknowledge this either, and it wouldn’t matter if they did. They respond with “Haven’t you made a mistake?” or “It happened so long ago people need to stop punishing her.” The worst excuse stans make is that she has apologized; therefore, she should be given. Again, wrong!

Apologies are for the person(s) who has been hurt or offended. It is theirs to accept or decline. While outsiders may have an opinion, the apology isn’t intended for them. In other words, the majority of her stans who are accepting her apology are accepting an apology not meant for them. A clearer example is if someone vandalized your car. The person apologizes to your neighbor. The neighbor then says to you that you have to accept the apology. Stans dictate how others should feel about a given situation. If a person’s opinions differ from that of the stan, the stan often will engage in bullying behavior.

As long as stans exist, truth and justice become irrelevant. Progress becomes unachievable because their stans are not open to compromise or admitting failures. Their mind and ideas are single-focused, not for the betterment of the hole but only in support of one cause or purpose. They will allow an entire city to burn to the ground in order to save a single person. They will never look beyond themselves and their point of view. They will never care about others. They will always internalize every situation to revolve around what they believe of the person or thing they are stanning for. They will bring in extraneous and immaterial (and at time inappropriate) factors that distract from the main issues.

So, how should one reason with a stan?

  1. Don’t waste your time.
  2. Don’t waste your breath.
  3. Don’t waste your energy.
  4. Move onto something better.
  5. Ignore stans, and eventually they fade away. It’s hard to argue with self.
  6. On social media, block them. Do not repost anything they publish. In isolation, a stan isn’t as damaging. His/her voice isn’t loud unless it’s in a crowd.
  7. Many stans are keyboard warriors. In real life, they are cowards and will not act unless in a group. That’s why they seek out other stans. And the way they find other stans is through people spreading the word.
  8. Stans turn on other stans. They get so wrapped up in their cause that they will actually argue with people who hold the same beliefs as they do.
  9. Stans believe that they are in some type of relationship with the person they stanning for when the majority of the time they do not know the person. They do not grasp that the person who they are stanning for likely does not care two cents about them. That person doesn’t know their name or owe them any allegiance. That is why stans are often devastated when they meet the person they stan for and that person is cold or indifferent to them.
  10. Stans have closed minds. Nothing said against their beliefs will cause them to change their beliefs. Write them off as a loss and have a conversation with a rational person instead.

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of my new steamy, sports romance, Ice Gladiators, guaranteed to melt the ice. It’s the third book in my Locker Room Love series. Available at https://amzn.to/2TGFsyD or www.books2read.com/icegladiators.

Taz has problems: a stalled career, a coach threatening to destroy him, a meddling matchmaking roommate, and a thing for his other roommate’s boyfriend. The first three are manageable, but the last… well, that’s complicated. Because as much as Taz is attempting not to notice Liam, Liam is noticing him.

IG GC AN

Missed the two books in my sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty. Defending the Net can be ordered at https://amzn.to/2N7fj8q or www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

2777b4e8-45db-46a1-b4ac-257a218ff424

Life’s Roux: Wrong Doors, my steamy romantic comedy about what could go wrong on vacation, is available at Red Sage Publishing. To order, follow the link to http://bit.ly/2CtE7Ez or to Amazon at http://amzn.to/2lCQXpt.

Life_s Roux- Wrong Doors

For more of my stories, shenanigans, giveaways, and more, check out my blog, Creole Bayou, www.genevivechambleeconnect.wordpress.com. New posts are made on Wednesdays, and everything is raw and unscathed. Climb on in a pirogue and join me on the bayou. If you have any questions or suggestions about this post or any others, feel free to comment below or tweet me at @dolynesaidso. You also can follow me on Instagram at genevivechambleeauthor or search me on Goodreads or Amazon Authors.

Until next time, happy reading and much romance.

 

Practical Tips for Writers

And here is why writers should develop their own process and take advice with a block of salt.

On my current Work In Progress (WIP), I’ve been struggling with story block. Well, some time ago, I learned that there was a distinction between writer’s block and story block, and I determined that what I was experiencing was most definitely story block. Story block, you wonder? For those unfamiliar with the term, basically, writer’s block is an inability to develop ideas for a project. Story block is having a story idea but lacking the ability to produce content for a particular story.

Anyway, writing on my WIP has been a struggle for months. Mainly, I would write a paragraph, scene, or chapter, and then, I’d get stuck. Where does the story go from here? How do I advance forward? Am I hitting arc beats as I should? Now, the last isn’t a question I normally ask myself, and I didn’t start asking that until I notice I was receiving a consistent suggestion in reader feedback. Quick aside…Bear with me. It plays a part in the points I’ll later make.

I became a writer to entertain others. I’m constantly striving to improve and advance my craft. I 100% listen to reader feedback. So, when readers inform me they want something specific, I’m going to try my best to give it to them. This may not be without challenges or hurdles. Thus, the fact that I was adding something to my non-routine routine was throwing me. See, I’m not a plotter. (Oh, don’t start with me, plotters.) For me, intentionally adding specific elements require a certain degree of planning. Well, my avid (and vocal) plotter peers attempted to convince me that my panstering ways were the culprit of my story block dilemma. (Uh-huh!) And they almost had me convinced until I analyzed my situation further. Now, back to the regularly scheduled post.

So, it’s Wednesday, and I wake up early to a good start. Of course, Wednesday is when I post on my blog, and it tends to be my busiest day of the week. Posting rarely goes smoothly (always a tech glitch), and I end up getting the post uploaded close to the wire. Today, I had seven minutes to spare, which I think is a record for me. Even when I call myself doing it early, it always comes down to having to do something on Wednesday morning. And as is par for the course, things start to get stupid busy. I’m suddenly sleepy even though I’ve had a restful night, and I’m making all sorts of mistakes—I mean mistakes I generally don’t make. I tell myself I need to take a few minutes to break, wake up, and regain my focus. I take the break, but it doesn’t help much. However, I’m able to get the post uploaded. My intention is to return to working on my WIP, but I can’t. Story block is in full swing. Each word I try to write is a mumbo jumbo to my eyes. I can’t make sense of the text I’ve written. The story isn’t making sense. I’m not liking the scenes. So, I stop and decided to do the unspeakable. Edit. Yes, I’m going to start editing what I have before it’s close to being finished.

Editing as I go is nothing new to me, but it seems to be taboo—just ask my critique partners who nearly stoked out when I informed them what I was doing. Every time I have mentioned it to a writer friend, I’m dragged through the gutter for it. It’s a carnal sin to edit as one writes. Who knew? Fortunately, I don’t listen well. However, before I begin editing, I decide to give outlining one last-ditch go. Dumb, dumb, dumb! The small functioning part of my brain convulsed and died on the spot. I was in worse shape after having attempted outlining that when I was staying in my panstering lane. So, this is where it gets interesting.

I printed a hardcopy. Normally, I don’t print hard copies until I’m double-digit drafts in and close to sending it to my publisher who will ship it off to editing. On the title page, I attempt to map out the arcs for the two main characters. OMG! I was so lost. I went to YouTube and watched fourteen billion videos. None helped. I couldn’t see how my characters plugged into the model. They probably did (do), but my brain doesn’t function that way. Desperate, I began writing the things that I did know about my characters to see if I could make any of that fit into some type of outline. Nope. The only thing I was doing was wasting more time and creating more chaos. I needed to do something productive. Therefore, I began editing.

On the first page, I didn’t find many corrections. Granted this is a draft, so missing something at this point isn’t a big deal. I’ll go over it plenty more times. But on the second page, there was a sentence that popped out. I asked, “Should this character know this?” I highlighted it and moved on. A few pages over, there was a paragraph, and I asked “Should this be the behavior of the assigned character?” Next, I saw mention of a minor character that I completely forgot about but makes total sense he would be there. And slowly, it began to make sense as to why I was struggling. I have small gaps in the flow. (Stop it, plotters. I know what you’re thinking. That wouldn’t have happened if I’d had an outline. Oh yes it would have because I wouldn’t have realized the problem in outline form, either.) The overall story works, but these small gaps are what’s making it difficult to go from A to B. My writing needs to stop, and I need a full edit of what I have so far. The elements that were requested in feedback that I’ve been trying to work in, can plug in the gaps.

The takeaway is each writer needs to develop their writing process from scratch and not be convinced there is only one correct way. Do not allow others to convince you that your process is wrong if it has been working for you. The snarky remark that I received from one writer that being a panster wasn’t working for me couldn’t have been the farthest off base. It wasn’t working because I had altered it into a form that no longer worked. I changed my panstering which is natural (to me) to intentionally (i.e., plotting which deviates so far from my norm) to include certain requested elements. It was the attempting to force add (i.e., plotting) that was tripping me up. By editing, the elements will organically fit into what I’ve created instead of me attempting to create the situation for these things to occur—chicken or egg. I can’t explain my process to others well. I only know when it works and when it doesn’t work. I know editing as I go is something that works well for me. When I get stuck, I edit. It clears out the garbage and gives me a cleaner slate. I look at it like cooking.

When I’m cooking, I have all the bowls, utensils, and ingredients spread across the counter. As I use and dirty them, I set them aside. If I run out of counter space, I wash them at that time. I don’t wait until I’ve completed the entire meal before I do the dishes. I clean up as I go along. By the time I’m finished cooking, there’s little cleanup left. I like it when I finish my first draft that it is pretty good shape. In editing, it allows a different part of my brain to work. I’m not creating something. I’m improving what already exists. It allows me to refocus and sense a new perspective. I know to stick to my guns. Why I wasn’t doing that early on, I have no idea.

So what is the takeaway?

  1. I took a moment to write about this experience because I felt it may help another writer struggling with self-doubt. However, in reality, this could apply to any given situation. You must understand your self-value and capability. Do all those clichés. Listen to that small voice inside of your head. Follow your heart. Go with your gut instinct. Believe in yourself.
  2. Another reason I wrote this is because I’ve been requested to get back to doing more writing-related posts. At the beginning of 2020, I announced that I likely would stray from doing a writing-related post on the first Wednesday of every month, as I was beginning to experience scheduling conflicts. But that was back in January, and since then, we’ve all seen how 2020 has been working out. After I meet some obligations, I will re-evaluate it this needs to continue to be the situation or if it is feasible for me to go back to the old way. Let me know what writing topics you’ll like to me cover.
  3. There are very few writing rules. However, there are plenty of guidelines. Guidelines may be helpful, but they do not have to be utilized. That being said, many guidelines are useful and should be followed.
  4. You’ll never get ahead if you’re chasing the pack. In a race, if you’re chasing the leader when you cross the finish line, you’re not in the first place. You didn’t win. You did well, but you may have done better. It is the same with writing. If a writer spends his/her time merely trying to copy an established writer, the writer copying will never produce anything original. The most popular writers are popular because they found a style unique to them to tell their stories. When readers reach for stories written by them, there is a certain level of expectation.
  5. Use everything as a learning experience. There are no bad lessons. Even if something works out negatively, there’s a value in it. You learn what to avoid and how to avoid it the next time.
  6. Forms and styles change. You will never advance your craft if you don’t push yourself to try more.
  7. It’s all about trial and error. Very rarely will a writer get it right the first time.
  8. They are words on a screen or piece of paper. They can be changed and corrected. There’s no need to become frustrated because anything can be fixed. Becoming frustrated will slow and worsen the process.
  9. Story block and writer’s block happens to everyone from time to time. Many times, it can be overcome by eliminating the stress that frees the mind to be creative. Finding ways to relax will help with writing.
  10. There are lots of videos on YouTube about popular author’s writing processes. If you don’t have a writing process that you’re happy with or that is working for you, gain some ideas of what works for others by viewing these types of videos.

**Yes, I know this article states Wednesday but it’s posted on a Monday. That is because it was uploaded for last Wednesday but I decided at last minute not to upload due to having a bonus post.**

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of my new steamy, sports romance, Ice Gladiators, guaranteed to melt the ice. It’s the third book in my Locker Room Love series. Available at https://amzn.to/2TGFsyD or www.books2read.com/icegladiators.

Taz has problems: a stalled career, a coach threatening to destroy him, a meddling matchmaking roommate, and a thing for his other roommate’s boyfriend. The first three are manageable, but the last… well, that’s complicated. Because as much as Taz is attempting not to notice Liam, Liam is noticing him.

IG GC AN

Missed the two books in my sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty. Defending the Net can be ordered at https://amzn.to/2N7fj8q or www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

2777b4e8-45db-46a1-b4ac-257a218ff424

Life’s Roux: Wrong Doors, my steamy romantic comedy about what could go wrong on vacation, is available at Red Sage Publishing. To order, follow the link to http://bit.ly/2CtE7Ez or to Amazon at http://amzn.to/2lCQXpt.

Life_s Roux- Wrong Doors

For more of my stories, shenanigans, giveaways, and more, check out my blog, Creole Bayou, www.genevivechambleeconnect.wordpress.com. New posts are made on Wednesdays, and everything is raw and unscathed. Climb on in a pirogue and join me on the bayou. If you have any questions or suggestions about this post or any others, feel free to comment below or tweet me at @dolynesaidso. You also can follow me on Instagram at genevivechambleeauthor or search me on Goodreads or Amazon Authors.

Until next time, happy reading and much romance.

 

How to Write Sports Romance – Part II

In February, I wrote a blog post titled: Sports Romance Writing Tips: How to Write Sports Romance (https://bit.ly/2U4nmav). In that post, I created a list of generalized tips that I have found useful in writing my sports romances and thought may be helpful to any writer who wishes to explore this subgenre. What I failed to realize is just how sparse the information on this topic is. Now, if you’re asking how could that be since I already wrote one post about this topic and should have discovered it then, I at that time did discover that it wasn’t a widely covered topic. However, after the first post, I began to think that perhaps I had not having conducted enough research. First, I went old school to several brick and mortar libraries (yes, they still do exist) in the area. I believe I visited six all total. I found a lot about sports and a lot about romance. I even found a good deal of sports romance novels. What I did not find was the process of writing a sports romance. Mostly, the how-to discussed how-to-write romance—which is important. However, there are some considerations that are unique to sports romance that isn’t included in general romance.

Therefore, I expanded my internet search to include more media outlets. I still did locate much. And when I searched for specific questions about sports romance novels, I came up with even less. So, I’m back with some additional information. Strap in and away we go.

  1. Explore sports. Many sports romances are about characters who play football, baseball, basketball, or hockey. Occasionally, one may find a story about tennis, soccer, rugby, swimming, or gymnastics stars. These are sports that have huge fanbases and are widely popular. However, there are so many other sports (e.g., lacrosse, bowling, archery, fishing, skiing, wrestling, skating, etc.) that are very underrepresented in sports romance novels. Don’t be afraid to change pace, switch it up, and bring readers something new. It may not be that readers are uninterested, but rather, writers know little about these sports. Many readers who enjoy this genre are sports lovers in real life, and they would not mind seeing other sports. For example, I’m not a huge basketball fan, but that doesn’t mean I’m not down for a good basketball romance. Why? Because there’s something about athletes and the way they approach issues pertaining to their profession. Ever been to a sports bar and notice that most of the patrons don’t care what team or sport is on the screen? Take, for example, Buffalo Wild Wings. When patrons come in, many will ask to sit in an area that their favorite team is playing or ask the screen to be switched to a game. However, if they are told that their team isn’t being shown for whatever reason, most enjoy whatever game(s) is (are) showing. In fact, many times, they enjoy watching several games while they eat. There are plenty of restaurants (many cheaper) that patrons can purchase wings. However, BWW is a popular hangout because people want to watch sports on big screens with other sports fans. They are there for the experience. Books offer experiences. Give the reader a good sports to cheer, whoop, and holler for, and they are happy. In the past, I’ve found myself engrossed reading (and watching) novels about sports I thought I had no interest in (e.g., roller derby, monster truck, and darts).
  2. Sports romance is still romance. As mentioned in my previous post, sports romances follow the same guidelines as all other stories in the romance genre. The romance comes first. If the romantic relationship between the lead characters can be omitted without altering the plot, then it is not a romance and falls into some other genre. The romance must be the focal point and not an afterthought. And a huge point of contention that it must have a happy ending. Yes, I said it. If it does not have a HEA or HFN, it’s something other than a romance. Now, does HEA and HFN mean everything is smooth and easy peasy for the main characters? Nope. They may have suffered a lot along the way and lost much on their journey. It doesn’t even mean these characters won’t have future problems. However, it does means that the two love interests are together as a couple. But what about Romeo and Juliet? What about it? It was a tragedy. Not a romance. Often, it’s listed as a romantic tragedy. I think it’s fair to say that stories such as these now are more commonly referred to as dramas. Now, I know many of my fellow romance writers will disagree with me on this point, and that’s okay. That’s why I previously stated that it was a point of contention, and I’m not here to debate the issue. At the end of the day, a story belongs to the writer. Writers are free to label and market their story however they like. It’s not my place to say otherwise. However, do not be surprised that when a novel labeled as “romance” does not have a HEA or an HFN ending, that a large portion of the readers may be unhappy. NOTE: there is one huge exception to this rule. If the writer is writing a series that the romance is spread across several books, the HEA or HFA may not occur until the final book in the series.
  3. Percentage of sports incorporated. The amount if sports included in a sports romance novel is determined by the author. This is an area that I personally find the most trying at times. There’s no secret formula that dictates a percentage or how many scenes must be related to sports. However, as with the romantic relationship, the sports element must be included and related in some way to the plot. As the romance can’t be viewed by the reader as an afterthought, the sports elements included can’t, either. Just because the main character is an athlete does not by default categorize that book as being a sports romance. Let’s take this real old school for a moment and think about the 1950s sitcom, I Love Lucy which aired from 1951 to 1957 on CBS. In the sitcom, breadwinner Ricky Ricardo was a musician who performed in a nightclub while Lucy was a housewife. Ricky’s profession was important because many of the episodes centered around Lucy wanting to be famous, perform in the nightclub, or meet a famous person performing in the nightclub. Now, think to Leave It to Beaver which aired from 1957 to 1963. Again, a happily married couple where the husband (Ward) is the breadwinner and the wife, June, remained at home. But what did Ward do? He worked, but what was his profession? Was it ever important to the storyline? All viewers ever saw was that wherever he worked, he wore a suit and carried a briefcase. He could have been an architect, stockbroker, real estate mogul, or anything. Where he worked never mattered to any of the plots. In a sports romance, the element of sports needs to be the Ricky Ricardo kind in that it must affect the story and shouldn’t be easily interchangeable with another profession. Sure, Ricky could have been an actor or dancer, and the character still would have worked because these professions remained in the entertainment field. However, what if Ricky was a politician, an accountant, or a mechanic? Many of the episodes wouldn’t have worked. Likewise, changing the main character from a football player to a baseball player may not significantly alter a sports romance (although it might due to football being a contact sport and baseball not). However, if a football player character can be switched to an accountant and the story still works, then likely there is a problem.
  4. Percentage of sports incorporated part II Continuing down this same path, it sometimes is difficult for a writer to know how many sports scenes are enough. If as a writer you’re struggling with knowing the writer balance of sports to include in your sports romance, understand that this is a common problem with sports romance writers. Do not allow this to frustrate or discourage. Write the story anyway and save those questions until you’re ready to begin the self-editing process. Often after a draft is completed, a writer is able to determine what is needed. Additionally, this is an area that beta readers can guide the writer in what direction he/she needs to head.
  5. Move forward. Each sports scene should move the plot and the romance forward. Having a great sports scene solely for the purpose of meeting a sports scene “quota/ requirement” will come across as fluff and disinterest readers who are invested in the story. This leads directly to the next point.
  6. Don’t underestimate the audience. Too much exposition on explaining the sport may be boring or put off some readers. Remember, much of the audience who read sports romance are sports fans. They won’t need the rules of the game explained to them. However, this does not give writers free-range to be overly technical. Just because a person is a fan of a sport does not mean that person knows or understands everything about the sport. There also may be readers who are completely unfamiliar with the sport. A good rule of thumb is to use as much technical jargon needed to keep the text sounding authentic and enough exposition to avoid or eliminated confusion.
  7. Sports romances can be either plot-driven or character-driven. This decision is up to the writer. Plot-driven stories are ones that external conflict happening to the characters. Often in this type of story, character development is secondary to the plot. This is not to say that character development does not occur in plot-drive stories. However, it is not the major focus. Character-driven stories focus on the internal conflict happening within the character. These types of stories tend to deeply explore the emotions and thought processes of the characters.
  8. Keep the audience in mind when writing. In previous posts, I’ve discussed the topic of writing to market. Now, for some writers, this is what they enjoy doing, and they do it well. It is not something without risk. I won’t go into those risks because that is not the topic of this blog. But when a writer writes to market, that writer is specifically making a conscious choice to write for a specific audience. When one writes in a subgenre, it very important to understand that mainly the writer is targeting a specific audience. For example, if an author writes a contemporary romance, it may draw the interest of readers who enjoy paranormal romance, suspense romance, romcom, chic-lit, etc. It’s a broad category that will interest many readers. When an author writes a sports romance, it’s probably a good bet the reader enjoys sports. That reader pool is smaller. Therefore, it essential that the readers wants and needs are satisfied. Now, that may sound like a “well, duh!” In all fairness, it probably is. However, many times, this is an area that gets slammed in beta reading because the writer did not carefully select the beta readers. I once got a really harsh criticism of a manuscript. I was truly bothered by it until I realize the person giving the criticism was unfamiliar with the topic. Things that she said were incorrect were actually things that I had verified with experts in the field. It wasn’t that her critique was incorrect, it was incorrect for me. The problem was that we lived in two different areas, and the procedures followed here were different. Think about it. Persons living along coastal lines react differently to the word hurricane than persons living in the Midwest. Likewise, blizzards are interpreted differently in the Southern US than in the Northern US. Following the advice of persons who are not interested in or familiar with sports romance may lead you astray. In short, be selective in critique partners, beta readers, and some editors.

Let me know if you found these tips helpful and if you would like more posts on this topic.

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of my new steamy, sports romance, Ice Gladiators, guaranteed to melt the ice. It’s the third book in my Locker Room Love series. Available at https://amzn.to/2TGFsyD or www.books2read.com/icegladiators.

Taz has problems: a stalled career, a coach threatening to destroy him, a meddling matchmaking roommate, and a thing for his other roommate’s boyfriend. The first three are manageable, but the last… well, that’s complicated. Because as much as Taz is attempting not to notice Liam, Liam is noticing him.

IG GC AN

Missed the two books in my sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty. Defending the Net can be ordered at https://amzn.to/2N7fj8q or www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

2777b4e8-45db-46a1-b4ac-257a218ff424

Life’s Roux: Wrong Doors, my steamy romantic comedy about what could go wrong on vacation, is available at Red Sage Publishing. To order, follow the link to http://bit.ly/2CtE7Ez or to Amazon at http://amzn.to/2lCQXpt.

Life_s Roux- Wrong Doors

For more of my stories, shenanigans, giveaways, and more, check out my blog, Creole Bayou, www.genevivechambleeconnect.wordpress.com. New posts are made on Wednesdays, and everything is raw and unscathed. Climb on in a pirogue and join me on the bayou. If you have any questions or suggestions about this post or any others, feel free to comment below or tweet me at @dolynesaidso. You also can follow me on Instagram at genevivechambleeauthor or search me on Goodreads or Amazon Authors.

Until next time, happy reading and much romance.

 

Good People Exist and So Does Silence

I have to say it, despite any political views. Good still exists in the world. Good people are real. They aren’t myths. But the problem with most good and good people is that they are overlooked because as the cliché goes, one bad apple does spoil the lot.

During my school years, I attended a private school. The rules were strict. Believe it or not, speaking was viewed as a privilege. Talking was not allowed in hallways at any time other than the end of the school day, in the classroom only when called upon by the teacher, at lunchtime in the cafeteria, and on the playground and/or gym at recess. All other times, students were expected to be silent. Literally, a pin could be heard to drop anywhere in the school for 85% of the time. As adults, I’ve had other adults argue with me that was not possible. I’m here to testify, as will my classmates, that from kindergarten to sixth grade this was the truth. (The high school, which began at seventh grade, wasn’t as strict.) The silence existed because as students we didn’t know there to be any other way. We were told by our parents and teachers and punished if we didn’t. Yes, I said punished. I don’t recall anyone ever getting whipped by a teacher, but plenty got popped a time or two by a ruler or was forced to stand in a corner. However, the three most frequent punishments were writing lines, being denied recess, and having talking privileges taken away.

But, Genevive, what does this have to do with the title of this post you ask? Bear with me a little longer and I’ll explain.

The school set the rules. The students followed the rules. When the students didn’t follow the rules, there were consequences both at school and home. The general rule was for most of us, if we got in trouble in school, we also go in trouble at home by our parents for getting in trouble at school. The problem here is that the teachers weren’t perfect. They, at times, did get it wrong. Therefore, students, at times, were unduly and unjustly accused and punished. As a result, some students who go in trouble at school (even if they were wrongfully punished) would not communicate this with their parents out of fear of further home punishment. But also, they remained silent because they did not believe their parents would believe them over the word and accusation of a teacher—an adult who had been placed with authority to maintain obedience. This was a silence that was chosen by some students.

A second silence was enforced. This was when the teachers took away students speaking privileges. This was especially the punishment administered if the teacher felt a student was being too boisterous or had said something inappropriate. How? Simply, they would tell the student(s) that he/she could not speak during lunch. Sometimes, this punishment was given to a single student or a handful. Other times, it may be administered to an entire table (and, by the way, we had assigned seats in the cafeteria as well as the classrooms) or a class, or a grade, or the entire school. Yes, the entire school of 500 students (elementary school) eating their lunch in complete silence. (In high school, lunch silence wasn’t a typical punishment, as the preferred method of punishment there by teachers was after-school detention, in which silence was a part of that.)

Now, if silence seems like a harmless punishment, don’t be easily fooled. One of the worst things a person can have done to them is to have their voice stripped away and not be heard. The saying children should be seen and not heard is something I personally believe my school adopted as a motto; although, no one ever said that. It most certainly wasn’t written anywhere that I know. But that is how it felt. It felt that our opinions didn’t matter, that our thoughts and feelings didn’t matter. And parents and teachers saw nothing wrong with this. After all, that is how it had been handled for years. The silence didn’t bother adults. In fact, many of them preferred it.

But there was a second issue with this silence, and that is in how this punishment was administered. First, it could be administered for any infraction. Chewing gum—no talking. Running in the hallway—no talking. Not using an inside voice—no talking. However, the most problematic administration was when it was globally applied. For example, if one person at a table was deemed to be speaking too loudly the entire table or class may have talking privileges restricted. The innocent suffered the same consequences of the guilty. The ideology was that the peer pressure from the other students would check the disobeying student(s). And this was an effective strategy… until it backlashed. If the innocent is already condemned and punished, what is the incentive for that innocent person to remain following the rules and doing as instructed? How many people would continue to obey speed limits if there was a zero chance of ever getting a ticket? Some would, and some wouldn’t. I remember once being informed that I had class detention when I had been absent the day the detention was given. When I got up to leave at the bell, the teacher yelled at me for attempting to skip detention. When I informed her that I had no idea what she was talking about and she checked the roll and verified I had not been there, she said I still had to serve it. I complained to the principal, and his words were that he understood my complaint, but that staying for detention was not a huge deal because all of my friends would be there. Ironically, these same teachers are the ones who complained that they had to pay healthcare for other people and opposed any bill for student loan forgiveness by the government. They question how is it just that they are forced to pay for the actions of someone else. That they see because it affects them. But they don’t see that same principle/concept in action when they silence their students with an across-the-board punishment. Perspective.

The interesting thing is that the majority of my classmates are vocal and garrulous and will strike up a conversation with a brick wall. A great many are now attorneys or in other professions where communication is a major portion of the job. I can’t prove it, but no one can disprove that the educational system we attended for those thirteen years didn’t have an effect.

Now, all of this may seem to be coming off as negative, or at least as, less than stellar. But I’m going to do some bragging. The dropout rate of my school was quite low—close to zero percent, actually. Of course, some students did withdraw, but those students did so to attend other schools. They didn’t stop their education. Nor did they opt for a GED or graduate more than three months after scheduled. And more than 80% graduated from college with bachelor’s degrees. Approximately 50% continued to achieve post-graduate degrees. The school did not, overall, scar students so severely as to churn out degenerates. So, aha, the system worked. Well, sure, but there probably was a better way to reach these same end results. But that’s not the point.

The point is lumping everyone in one pile can be very dangerous. It can cause the focus to be shifted from the good (or a bigger issue) and go south quickly (or stray from the issue). It’s like screaming squirrel in the middle of a conversation. It adds a distracting element that doesn’t belong. One of the things I loved the most about the series Picket Fences is that the inciting incident at the beginning of the episode often did a 360 by the end. While this made the show interesting because it was difficult to predict the ending, in real life, this is very messy. Most people enjoy order and predictability. It is comforting for people to go to bed at night with the expectation that the sun will rise in the morning. If that didn’t happen, the sun not rising would certainly bring panic to many.

The point is, when a silence is forced, it does not only keep the negative from speaking. It also keeps the positive from being heard. Lumping all into one category is a stereotype, but not taking the time to acknowledge differences can lead to prejudice. Dismissing someone’s feelings and opinions as not being valid is as harmful as those agreeing to oppress, suppress, or ignore. Compromise involves meeting in the middle. Love involves tolerance. Humanity involves embracing. Sometimes, people must agree to disagree agree and walk separate paths. As long as no one is harmed by this, this may be a viable solution. However, the best way to find a resolution is by being willing to listen and hear. To stand in another’s shoes. Ask yourself if you would like to live life as that person for a month. If the answer is no, ask yourself why. Sometimes the answering who is right and who is wrong. Sometimes, the answer is, who has enough love to open one’s mind and heart to hear the other’s voice.

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of my new steamy, sports romance, Ice Gladiators, guaranteed to melt the ice. It’s the third book in my Locker Room Love series. Available at https://amzn.to/2TGFsyD or www.books2read.com/icegladiators.

Taz has problems: a stalled career, a coach threatening to destroy him, a meddling matchmaking roommate, and a thing for his other roommate’s boyfriend. The first three are manageable, but the last… well, that’s complicated. Because as much as Taz is attempting not to notice Liam, Liam is noticing him.

IG GC AN

Missed the two books in my sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty. Defending the Net can be ordered at https://amzn.to/2N7fj8q or www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

2777b4e8-45db-46a1-b4ac-257a218ff424

Life’s Roux: Wrong Doors, my steamy romantic comedy about what could go wrong on vacation, is available at Red Sage Publishing. To order, follow the link to http://bit.ly/2CtE7Ez or to Amazon at http://amzn.to/2lCQXpt.

Life_s Roux- Wrong Doors

For more of my stories, shenanigans, giveaways, and more, check out my blog, Creole Bayou, www.genevivechambleeconnect.wordpress.com. New posts are made on Wednesdays, and everything is raw and unscathed. Climb on in a pirogue and join me on the bayou. If you have any questions or suggestions about this post or any others, feel free to comment below or tweet me at @dolynesaidso. You also can follow me on Instagram at genevivechambleeauthor or search me on Goodreads or Amazon Authors.

Until next time, happy reading and much romance.

How to Like Yourself

Another week has passed in this self-isolating and social-distancing world. Some places are beginning to re-open and normalcy seems to be on the horizon. I know during this time, I have wanted to focus on positive energy and things that bring me joy. With that in mind, there were days that were challenging. Today’s topic was inspired by a coworker who has returned to school after many years to earn a college degree.

She enrolled last fall pre-COVID-19. Some of her classes were online but some weren’t. She stated that she was the kind of person who learned best in a classroom environment. For one, she has a young child who interrupts her constantly when she’s at home. But she also enjoys interacting with others. What she didn’t enjoy was having to walk across campus to classes.
Now, seeing how this is the south, and it gets extremely humid, there’s not much shock that many people dislike having to walk in the midday sun with a ten-pound backpack only to enter a building with a thermostat set to subzero. However, her main reason for disliking this activity was because she was obese.
Like many others, she struggled with her weight most of her life. And also like many others, she tried multiple diets throughout the years and failed. She finally decided to have gastric bypass surgery shortly before Christmas.
After losing more than 70 pounds, she has received a lot of praise, and she stated that she did not like the way she looked before the surgery, although, she seemingly had embraced it. She was never camera shy and never allowed her sized to prevent her from doing anything she wanted. In fact, she frequently made body-positive posts on her social media. This is why it came as such a shock to hear her admit that she never liked her appearance. Basically, everything she said about herself back then was a lie. She claims it wasn’t, but I don’t see how it wouldn’t be. She didn’t say that some arbitrary point that she stopped liking her appearance. No, she said she NEVER liked it.
This prompted me to asks others if they liked themselves. Now, I know it’s in human nature to have minor complaints about this, that, and the third when it comes to one’s appearance, but I was stunned at how many people I know were severely dissatisfied with their appearance.

After discovering this, I did a round-up if friends and coworkers to ask what things they do to feel good about themselves. Here’s what we came up with.

DISCLAIMER: This post is not sponsored by or affiliated with any person, agency, group, organization, or brand. No money or gifts have been received, promised, or exchanged.
1. Watch a Lizzo video. I must admit that until I began this post, I had no idea who Lizzo was. It wasn’t until movie night that I saw her in a movie. (I believe the title was Hustler. JLo starred in it.) Lizzo’s rile was small but she demonstrated such confidence. When I mentioned it, my friends were quick to point me in the way of her videos. They are such happy and uplifting songs (at least in my opinion.) WARNING: The lyrics contain profanity and may not be appropriate for some ages or places. (I definitely wouldn’t play her at a church social.)  But she can give off some good positive vibes, especially for persons with body image issues.
2. Watch TikTok. TT is a unique SM platform because it shows ordinary people having awesome moments. There takes a certain degree of self-confidence to put self our there like TicTokkers do. Not only do strangers watch, but they have the ability to comment. TT seems to be more about being self and having fun, unlike some other SM platforms that appear to center on showing off and presenting self/life as close to perfect as can be obtained.

It’s Release Day!!

She’s here. She’s finally here. After all these weeks, mt baby, ICE GLADIATORS is now live. I can hardly believe it. Each book is special. Each release is special. But I’m telling you guys, this one is extra sweet. I listened to the readers for the story that you wanted told. Thank each of you so much for the inspiration, support, and faith.

#LIVE – “𝗔 𝗴𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘁 𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗿𝘆 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗻𝗲𝘄 𝗢𝗿𝗹𝗲𝗮𝗻𝘀 𝘃𝗶𝗯𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗵𝗮𝗽𝗽𝗲𝗻 𝗴𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗻 𝗵𝗮𝗹𝗳 𝗮 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗶𝗻 𝗹𝗶𝗳𝗲.” – Goodreads review

ICE GLADIATORS

#LIVE – “𝗔 𝗴𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘁 𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗿𝘆 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗻𝗲𝘄 𝗢𝗿𝗹𝗲𝗮𝗻𝘀 𝘃𝗶𝗯𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗵𝗮𝗽𝗽𝗲𝗻 𝗴𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗻 𝗵𝗮𝗹𝗳 𝗮 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗶𝗻 𝗹𝗶𝗳𝗲.” – Goodreads review

Plus, check out book 1 for just #99c!

Available for order!
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2Lsg90b

All other links: books2read.com/icegladiators
Book 1 OUT OF THE PENALTY BOX: books2read.com/penalty

𝗢𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝗶𝘀 𝗰𝗿𝗼𝘀𝘀𝗲𝗱, 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆 𝗽𝗲𝗻𝗮𝗹𝘁𝘆 𝗶𝘀 𝗺𝗮𝗷𝗼𝗿.
Dalek “Taz” Tazandlakova is the epitome of a hockey player—tall, broad, and powerful. As a forward for the Lafayette Ice Water Moccasins, he’s also the physical embodiment of domination and intimidation.
He’s everything Liam Jolivet isn’t.

Liam possesses an inner strength and confidence Taz has never mastered. On the surface, Liam appears to be a perfect match for Taz. The problem is, Liam is dating Taz’s roommate. It’s not the only problem, either. Taz is a “playa” and has commitment issues—along with a pain-in-the-ass coach who’s threatening to ruin his career, and a second roommate who wants to dictate his social life for his own personal gain.
Nevertheless, Taz wants Liam, and Liam appears to want to reciprocate. Do they dare cross the line?

GIVEAWAY: #Win this #GiftCard

http://bit.ly/2wd0E6Z

Hockey Players Exposed

Greetings everyone. As you know, my sports romance novel, Ice Gladiators, is being released on 02/15/20, and that I am blogging at least one post each day until its release in celebration. For today’s topic, I will introduce you to the cast of Ice Gladiators.

This is a spoiler-free post. I will not reveal anything about the characters that will be a spoiler to the plot. However, if you do not wish to know anything about any of the characters and prefer to read the story with no knowledge of anything that happens, please skip to the bottom of the page. Since I like to save the best for last, I’ll begin by introducing some of the minor characters first. Please note that the characters mentioned in this post are not the only characters in the story. Since hockey is a team sport, the cast is large. Some of the cast have very small parts. For that reason, some readers may be happy to learn that at the beginning of Ice Gladiators, there is a team roster to keep track of who is on what team easily. However, you’ll find that once you begin reading, it is not difficult to determine which characters are the most important and what team they are a member. However, the roster is listed for reader convenience.

The first character I will discuss is Donavan Sawyer. He is a defenseman for the Lafayette Ice Water Moccasins, the same team as the leading man, Taz. Donavan is big, broad, and mean. He is an enforcer. For those unfamiliar with hockey slang, an enforcer is a player who hits hard and responds aggressively in an effort to deter or respond to violent plays committed by the opponents. In other words, enforcers are the fighters on the team. Although Donavan and Taz are on the same team, they do not always see eye-to-eye.

Opposite Donavan is Eric Chapel. Eric, too, is a defenseman for the Moccasins. He is one of Taz’s three closest friends (along with Ian and Kaden) on the team. Eric is strong on the ice, but very levelheaded and not quick-tempered. Eric can be the moral conscience of the team.

If anyone things all hockey players are dense or not smart, think again. Ian Whittaker is the intellect on the Moccasin’s team. Perhaps this is why he is the team’s pest. A pest is a player whose main role is to agitate and distract the opponents to draw penalties on them while giving his own team a power play. He incites the other team not by with his fists but with his clever wit and silver tongue.

Next up is Kaden Blanc is the teammate who could talk Taz down the easiest. He always seems to know the right thing to say at the right moment. Kaden is a forward and on the same line as Taz. In hockey, a “line” consists of three forwards (left wing, right wing, and center) and two defensemen (referred to as partners) that play in a group. In general, Kaden is jovial and considerate. However, these characteristics do not make him weak. He is an outstanding player who scores goals.

Coach Pernell holds nothing back when coaching his team. His only goal is winning. Well, maybe, that isn’t his only goal. It boils down to what one considers winning. Pernell wants to be on top, and being on top does not necessarily equate to winning. To say he and Taz do not have the best relationship doesn’t tip the animosity between these two. They have a working relationship, and even that is tense.

Spencer is next. He’s not a member of the team, but he works for the hockey franchise. He’s also Taz’s blind date, which is arranged by Jackson, one of Taz’s two roommates. Spencer works in accounting, but he’s seen Taz on the ice and has developed a huge crush on him. He’s also used to getting what he wants.

Jackson is Taz’s ambitious roommate and a bit of a jokester. He wants to move up in the Whittle, Darbonne, & Shaw corporation and actively looks for ways to do so. He also encourages his roommates to advance their careers as well.

Victor is Taz’s second roommate. He is a videographer who wants to make an award-winning documentary. The problem is, he has not shot one millimeter of film for it. Instead, he works in editing game footage of the Moccasins. This does not make him happy, but it pays the rent. He also has a boyfriend.

And speaking of boyfriends, cue Liam Jolivet. This eccentric hottie looks as if he rolled off the pages of a 1930’s GQ magazine. He’s has a classic style that speaks the moment he enters the room and a warm nature that draws people to him, including Taz. It’s too bad that he’s Victor’s boyfriend. Well, he’s Victor’s boyfriend if you ask Victor. Liam considers himself a free agent, which means he can go after Taz.

Liam is attempting to rebuild his life after a bad business decision nearly financially ruined him. All he has left is his determination to succeed. He cannot afford to be distracted or another bad investment, including poor emotional investments. He notices in Taz that their outlooks are significantly different, and he questions if that gap between them is too large to close.

Rounding out this cast is the leading man, Dalek Tazandlakova, referred to as Taz by his friends and as Blue Devil by his fans on account of his electric blue hair and his devilish antics on the ice. There’s a story behind the hair color, and he’ll tell it if one cares to listen. Taz is what is known as a defensive forward (also called a two-way forward) is a player who handles both the offensive and defensive aspects of the game. These players are versatile and can be vital in winning the game. Taz is not the team captain, but he certainly commands this story.

Taz is from Stockholm, Sweden; so, sometimes, what he says and hears is lost in translation. Taz makes it no secret that his life is complicated. One would think he’d seek to simplify it. Instead, he decides to flirt with his roommate’s boyfriend. He’s self-assured enough that nothing will come of it. But when Liam flirts back, the fireworks spark off the ice. Game on! Taz is placed in the position of having to choose between his best friend and the man who flips every one of his sexual switches. Not to mention he has a dragon coach huffing down his neck every game.

Who’s ready for some hockey?

These are the main characters of Ice Gladiators, but don’t be surprised by the appearance in the locker room (and other places) of some of the favs from Out of the Penalty Box and Defending the Net. Ice Gladiators can be read as a standalone novel, and readers will not be lost if they have not read the first two books of my sports romance series.

That’s all I have for today. I hope you have enjoyed reading about the Ice Gladiator characters. Which character are you the most excited to read about? If you are interested in reading more about their backstories or outtakes, please comment below. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for more bonus content this month. I have plenty of additional good stuff planned as the days continue to count down until release, and it includes a little something for everyone’s entertainment and enjoyment. If during that time you have anything you’d like to know or questions answered, ask me on any of my social media accounts. I will be extremely active on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook and I love to chitchat.

If you have not entered my giveaway, what are you waiting for? Enter for a chance to win great prizes.

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Enjoy sports romance and athletic bad boys? Check out my adult romance, Defending the Net. It is the second in my hockey series and guaranteed to melt the ice. It is sold at Kindle, Apple Store, Nook, Kobo, !ndigo, Angus & Robertson, and Mondadori Store. DTN is the second in my gay sports romance novel series and guaranteed to melt the ice. Order a copy now at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

Missed the first book in my Locker Room Love sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty.

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DISCLAIMER: This post is not sponsored or affiliated with any person, brand, or franchise. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

For information about the rules of hockey or teams, visit the National Hockey League (NHL) website.

Resources:

Writer Meeting Their Characters

Writing is fun, but it also has its odd moments. I recently asked some of my writer friends if they meet their characters. After being side-eyed, one finally fessed up that she did. I smiled at the rest because I knew they were holding out on me—cause that’s just how my friends are. They like giving me a hard time and have me thinking I’m off my rocker. And I suppose for the non-writing world, this does seem odd. So, I’ll explain what I mean.

As I’m creating a character, that is what he/she is—a creation in my head, a piece of fiction or an image that does not exist. Sometimes, it isn’t even an image, but rather, an idea in a shapeless, faceless, voiceless form. My characters usually transpire from a concept. I wouldn’t call it a plot because it is too vague and abstract. For example, it may be something as simple as a person laughing on a porch. I’ll start thinking about the porch, the kind of furniture there. Is it in the country or city? What season is it? Is it day or night? As the scene begins to flush itself out, that’s when the character develops. What kind of person would sit on this porch? Is it a man or a woman? What is he/she wearing? What does this character physically look like? Eventually, the character is given a name, but I don’t put much stock in that. I usually change a character’s name five, six, fifteen times before I settle on one that I believe is fitting to his/her personality. Because at this stage in writing, names aren’t important, and they will come in time.

What’s interesting, though, is sometimes I will write an entire story, and I’ll have a vivid picture of this character in my mind. Then, while I’m out gallivanting around town, I will see a living, breathing, walking person who I’ve never laid eyes on previously, and that person will be the spitting image of one the characters in my mind.

That recently happened after I completed Ice Gladiators and had sent it for editing. I kid you not, I was sitting in bed, channel surfing late one night. I ran across a movie I’d never seen advertised (which isn’t all that shocking for me). The scene was of two business partners disagreeing, with one on the verge of a temper tantrum. I paused to watch the meltdown play out and determine if it would be something I’d be interested in occupying my time watching—and also to determine if I would be able to pick up on the plot since I’d missed no telling how much of the beginning. It did not take me long before I was hooked. A few scenes later, I literally stopped breathing for a second and had to blink. On the screen was my Liam Jolivet, in appearance and mannerisms. He even sounded like I thought my character would sound. It gave me a sense of deja vu. There wasn’t much off about the character on the screen and the one that imagined, other than their motivation and personalities. Well, personality is a big deal; so, allow me to clarify. Much of their personalities were the same—their easygoingness and playful nature. However, the screen character was far darker than the one I envisioned for my character of Liam. And my character was slightly more modern with a different motivation and outlook on life. So, the two characters were not replicas, but it just goes to show how real characters can become to the writers who create them.

There were no other similarities between the movie and Ice Gladiators. And honestly, this is not the first time I’ve experienced this. I’ve walked into coffee shops or looked over while waiting at a red light and have seen my characters’ doppelgängers. Rarely have I ever spoken to them. That’s really very weird, and if I have, I never deluge it. I mean, how would one work that into a conversation? Besides, it may freak the other person all the way out. Heck, it freaks me out. Plus, I wouldn’t want someone to get it twisted and believe that a character is based on him/her. As I said, in the case of my Liam character, Ice Gladiators had been submitted to the publisher for weeks prior to me seeing the movie. Not only that, I had never heard or seen the movie advertised until that night. I guess it’s no different from a screenwriter who creates a character and then the casting director finds an actor who embodies or is reminiscent of the character. It just sounds really bonkers when spoken aloud.

Now, I know some people are going to ask me what was the movie. Well, I’m not going to say because I do not want people to make comparisons between the two. I think that would only serve as a distractor to both stories. And as I said, the characters’ personalities are very different. They’re also one key physical characteristic that is different between the two as well. I would like to think of the screen character as my muse, but being that I didn’t see him first, that can’t be the case. I am slightly surprised that Liam was the character that I found, though. I would have guessed it would have been another character. But then again, I spent a great deal of time developing Liam. Although it is not seen in the story (because it didn’t have a place), he has a lengthy back history. His character is complex, and there exists a certain consistency to his behavior that makes him unpredictable. I know that sounds contradictory, but once Liam is seen in the story, it makes sense.

One of the things I frequently advise other writers when we’re having a conversation about writing is that before allowing anyone to edit, proofread, critique, or beta read is to know one’s character. I firmly believe and follow this. When a writer intricately knows his/her characters, that writer is better equipped to accept and apply critiques and criticism. That is because the writer knows what he/she wants to say and the only question is the application of how its expressed. When I saw the screen character, it made me confident that I truly heard my character’s voice and envisioned his style. I knew for certain how he should come across the pages to readers.

This brings me to another point. Some writers argue that authors should reframe from providing too much detail and allow readers to fill in details for themselves. That works for some writers, but not this chic. No, I don’t want a blank canvas or even a paint by numbers. I want the reader to see what I see. As the writer, I want to create a world that readers enter and simply enjoy. I’m not going to say there’s food on the table. I’m going to details the sights, aromas, feel, and tastes of the buffet. This does not mean I’m going to bog down a story with purple prose of useless fluff. But I’m not going to leave the reader wanting for anything, either. Since I tend to write deep point of view, the reader experiences what my main character experiences, and most people don’t exist in fill-in-the-blank environments.

If you’re a writer, have you ever seen one of your characters in real life this way? If yes, how did it feel? Where were you? What was the experience like? Have you ever discussed this experience with anyone? Were you surprised? Do you generally write characters about people you know or people you know of (e.g., actors, musicians, etc.)? Have you ever introduced yourself to a stranger who reminded you of one of your characters? Let me know your experience below by leaving a comment. I look forward to reading them.

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Enjoy sports romance and athletic bad boys? Check out my adult romance, Defending the Net. It is the second in my hockey series and guaranteed to melt the ice. It is sold at Kindle, Apple Store, Nook, Kobo, !ndigo, Angus & Robertson, and Mondadori Store. DTN is the second in my gay sports romance novel series and guaranteed to melt the ice. Order a copy now at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

Missed the first book in my Locker Room Love sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty.

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Sports Romance Writing Tips: How to Write Sports Romance

All this month, I’m celebrating the release of my sports romance, Ice Gladiators. In the spirit of the release, I’m sharing posts of all my passions and how they are related in some way to Ice Gladiators. Regulars of Creole Bayou, my blog about anything and everything Creole and Cajun related as well as romance and writing, know that I dedicate the first Wednesday of every month to a writing-related post. I do not wish to disappoint today. Today, I thought I’d write about what I found useful in writing a sports romance.

Sports romance is something that I began writing about three years ago. It’s interesting because it was not my intention to write a sports romance initially; although, it did seem like the logical thing to do. What truly prompted me to attempt writing in this subgenre was I met a writer who stated he wrote rock fiction. I like to refer to it as music fiction because according to him, any type of music (e.g., classical, punk, blues, country, etc.) can be used and considered rock fiction. Basically, a story in this subgenre is based on a song or a cluster of songs, and the influence of the lyrics of that music can be seen throughout the story. This fascinated me.

Rock fiction entails more than being inspired by music. Therefore, writing rock fiction is much harder than it sounds. Music is the principle story even if is not apparent in the story’s plot. The characters may have the names of the musicians or the setting is a place sung about on the song. The title may even be the same as the music title. It’s all intricate, and I do not claim to be an expert. I attempted to write a rock fiction story and failed. The story turned out decent, but in the end, it wasn’t rock fiction, which just goes to illiterate again on another level how difficult fiction writing can be.

When I learned that music could be used to write stories this way, this further encouraged me to combine my two loves of romance and sports. I found this to be a niche for me and a genre that I could write organically. I have dabbled in multiple other genres for challenges and not all of them have turned out well. And while I believe a person could learn to write in any genre of choice, it’s my philosophy that writers tend to have natural talents in writing some genres. As the saying goes, they take to it like a duck to water. And I also will say that some writers have this natural ability to write in multiple genres. When I speak of natural ability, this is not to discredit or diminish education or learning. Many writers have discussed how they began writing in one genre but over time discovered they were better suited in another. However, that is slightly off-topic. My point was that learning about rock fiction solidified my ideas about combining the two passions that I love.

But prior to one jumping in to write a sports romance, there are a few guidelines to consider. Again, I would like to note that while some people use the terms guidelines and rules synonymously, there is a difference between the two. Guidelines are suggestions that are optional to follow. Rules are agreed upon standard practices by experts, lawmakers, and/or the general public that when deviated from will result in some type of consequence (e.g., fines, jail, criticism, rejection, etc.). These are more rigid. Grammar has rules. Writing stories, in general, mostly has guidelines. The following are guidelines that I have found to be useful.

  1. There is a difference between writing a story with an athletic main character(s) who falls in love and one where the sport has a role in the story. In other words, if you can change the character’s profession to any other profession and it makes very little difference, it isn’t a sports romance. For example, many 1950s family sitcoms portrayed a working father, stay-at-home mother, and 2-3 school children. The sitcom focused on the family. Although the father worked, many times the father’s job wasn’t specified or shown. That’s because it wasn’t crucial. In a sports romance, sports should have a part to make it noticeable in the story. Sports romances are, first and far most, a romance. Therefore, they follow all the normal rules of the romance genre. However, there are some differences that writers should be aware.
  2. It is important to know the sport you are writing about because your readers will. Funny aside. I began writing Ice Gladiator’s before I finished all of Defending the net final edits. I accidentally mixed up a detail about two of my characters. That minor mix-up caused me to write a line that broke a hockey rule. The rule was one that many readers wouldn’t have paid attention to, and it had snuck past a lot, including two editors. But one did, and I was busted. The silver lining is it was a beta who caught it. The correction involved changing two words.
  3. Knowing the sport really allows the story to sound more authentic. Readers want credible stories.
  4. That being said, if your work is fiction, there is room for creative license. For example, in you wanted to add a fictitious team to a national league, you can. If you want your favorite team who lost the playoffs to win, you can rewrite in your story that they did. Of course, someone may call you out for it. You can add and omit rules. It just has to clear to the reader that the change is intentional.
  5. While sports need to be present in the story, it does not need to dominate it. There must be a balance. If the sports overshadow the romance, then, it’s no longer a sports romance. It’s a sports story with a romantic subplot.
  6. Don’t make it too technical. Readers are coming for the romance. They may not be very knowledgeable about sports. Any noncommon sports jargon needs to be explained in order to avoid ostracizing readers. Use simple language and get through the explanation quickly. Readers want to feel included without feeling inadequate. However, don’t exclude all sports talk.
  7. On the flip side, do not dummy it down to the point of dribble. Readers do not enjoy feeling patronized. Do not assume your audience knows nothing or is a novice. Instead, consider that most are not “experts” but that they have a general knowledge of the sport.
  8. Have fun with it. People watch and participate in sports for entertainment. When writing a sports romance, the writes should have an equal amount of fun.
  9. Be sure that you acquire editors and betas who know the sport. If you make a mistake, then you want that to be resolved prior to publication.
  10. Have diversity in your players. They shouldn’t all sound the same. Avoid making them typical or a cliché. Allow them to be more than one note.

That wraps up this post. I hope that this information is helpful. Now, I’d like to know how many of you are writers of sports romance or are considering writing a sports romance. What is your favorite part of the genre? What are your dos and don’ts in sports romance? What is your favorite sport to see in sports romance? What sport have you not seen in a sports romance but are interested in seeing? Please leave your comments below. As always, I enjoy hearing from readers and will answer any comments or questions. Don’t forget to check out my giveaway that is going on this month. The details for entry are listed below.

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Enjoy sports romance and athletic bad boys? Check out my adult romance, Defending the Net. It is the second in my hockey series and guaranteed to melt the ice. It is sold at Kindle, Apple Store, Nook, Kobo, !ndigo, Angus & Robertson, and Mondadori Store. DTN is the second in my gay sports romance novel series and guaranteed to melt the ice. Order a copy now at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

Missed the first book in my Locker Room Love sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty.

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How to Buy Wine

Today, I thought it would be fun to discuss wine. In my new sports romance, Ice Gladiators, there are several scenes where the characters partake in having a glass of wine. And I must admit, I had a few glasses myself with my critique partners over the course of writing the story. Now, I’m no wine connoisseur. For one thing, wine goes straight to my head, and after a few sips, I’m done—which is strange since I do not have this same issue with cocktails, beer, or short. So, go figure. Therefore, I tend to shy away from wines. However, when it is my turn to bring a bottle to our critique meetings, I often (okay, always) show up with a bottle of Little Black Dress (LBD) in hand. (And no, this post is not sponsored in any way.) Usually, I show up with Diva Red but sometimes, I have the Merlot. (However, I’m really wanting to try their Rosé, which is neither here nor there and has absolutely nothing to do with this post. Back to the topic.) Diva Red is a great little go-to wine for this type of occasion. And it’s also a nice wine for me to celebrate Ice Gladiators release.

As I was sitting (yes, with a glass of wine on the desk) and considering what I wanted to write for today’s post, I was inspired by LBD packaging. The label has changed from when I purchased my first bottle. I don’t know which, the old or the new, I would say has a more “high-end” look about it. The wine itself is not very expensive, but I do enjoy the taste. (And again, I’m off-topic.) However, I do not think LBD is a wine most of my characters in Ice Gladiators would drink. Taz is more of a beer type of guy and wouldn’t care what was in his wine glass; although, he does have a very sophisticated taste palate. Liam, on the other hand, would be meticulous in his selection. He’d go for a Bordeaux or a Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. (Talk about a writer getting into the heads of his/her characters.) In any case, I began thinking about the selection of wines and how I had to learn about buying wines, especially since my critique group told (no, demanded) me to surprise them at our next gathering. And this is what has led me today’s post on how to buy a whine. The following are some purchasing tips I was taught many years ago but that I still use today.

DISCLAIMER: Before I begin, I would like to disclaim that this post does not solicit or encourage underage. Please drink responsibly, and know your limits. If a person suspects that he/she has a substance abuse problem, please seek professional help. This post also is not sponsored in any way by any brands named. There are not affiliate codes attached, and I make no money or obtain any sort of financial gain or gifts from the mentioned brands.

  1. Shop for wine in a place that sells quality or specializes in wines. Grocery stores may not have the best tasting even if it is at a similar price point of wines sold at a winery or liquor store. This does not mean that a tasty or quality wine cannot be purchased from a grocery store. However, in a wine store, there will be a larger selection. Now, not every city may have a vineyard, but usually, there is a locale that specializes in selling wine or a really knowledgeable liquor store. If not, there are online wine clubs.
  2. Speaking of online wine clubs, they are an excellent way to learn what one likes. The Tasting Room sends a sample of six mini bottles of wine and creates a personalized wine profile for subscribers. Later, once it is determined what the subscribers like, full-sized bottles can be ordered. If interested, visit them at tastingroom.com.
  3. Do not be afraid or too embarrassed to ask others for help. Most sale clerks in liquor stores, wine shops, and restaurants that sell wine, know about the product and can make suggestions. Plus, they enjoy sharing what they know and taking about wines in general. They are an easy and excellent resource.
  4. Learn the wine language. This will help to communicate with clerks or wine experts.
    1. Weight/Body – this is the viscosity or thickness of a wine.
      1. Heavy-bodied: wine that is thick
      2. Light-bodied: wine that is thin
    2. Taste:
      1. Fruity,
      2. savory,
      3. bright/crisp,
      4. buttery/creamy,
      5. sweet/dry (NOTE: “Dry” has two meaning when it comes to wines)
        1. Dry can mean unsweet in taste
        2. Dry can leave a drying feel in the mouth
      6. Read wine reviews. There are many online sites that provide both expert and customer reviews about wines that may be helpful to shoppers.
      7. Keep in mind the occasion for which you are purchasing the wine. The type of wine purchased as a gift for an anniversary dinner for a boss may be different than one purchased for a casual evening being spent with friends at a backyard cookout. Some wines pair better with some foods than other wines.
      8. Keep a list of wines that you have tried and liked. This can be used as a reference in purchasing wines in the future. When creating this list, be sure to list the region (if known) of where similar wines are made. The types of grapes and the pH of the soil (in addition to how it is processed) affects how wines taste. Thus, the grapes and soil may be indicative of a specific region. This may mean a consumer may prefer the taste of wine from one region above another. Along with this, if you come across a wine that you enjoy, take a photo of the bottle/label to remember when shopping later.
      9. Speaking of lists, when going to purchase wine, take your list of favorites with you. If the store does not have a particular wine you want, showing the list to a clerk will give him/her a good idea of what the shopper likes and wants.
      10. Just as one should not judge a book by its cover, one should not judge a wine by its label. A fancy label is not indicative of quality wine. A wine with a less fancy or simple label may be of high quality. Some startup wineries may be investing all of their money in products and have a small budget for packaging. Therefore, they may have a great product but not so stellar labels. But ask yourself. Which would you prefer? An astonishing label with a not so tasty wine, or a fabulous wine with a dud of a label. Of course, if the wine is being given as a gift, the appearance of the label plays a more important factor in those instances.
      11. Do not assume one must spend a lot of money or make the piggy bank squeal to obtain a quality wine. Many affordable wines (especially French, Italian, and Spanish brands) are very tasty. Along a similar line, it is helpful/useful to have a budget of the amount one wants to spend prior to going to wine shopping. Do not be discouraged from or ashamed for selecting a less expensive wine.
      12. Take advantage of wine tasting if they are available. That allows one to experience a variety of wines and determine likes and dislikes. Some wine tasting events are free, while others have an admission fee. The admission fees vary according to event/host.

Those are the tips I have to share. I hope you have found this useful or enlightening. Now, it’s my turn to ask what you think. Are you a wine drinker? What are some of your wine buying tips? What is your favorite wine? Have you ever attended any wine tasting events? If yes, where and what was your experience. Besides wine, what is your favorite spirit? I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below. Also, if you would like to have me write more posts like these, let me know that as well.

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Enjoy sports romance and athletic bad boys? Check out my adult romance, Defending the Net. It is the second in my hockey romance series and guaranteed to melt the ice. It is sold at Kindle, Apple Store, Nook, Kobo, !ndigo, Angus & Robertson, and Mondadori Store. DTN is the second in my gay sports romance novel series and guaranteed to melt the ice. Order a copy now at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

Missed the first book in my Locker Room Love sports romance series? No frets. Out of the Penalty Box, where it’s one minute in the box or a lifetime, out is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. Visit www.books2read.com/penalty.

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