Monday, 21 April 2014

Writing Process Bloghop

Today I am taking part in the Writing Process Bloghop. I was tagged by Megan Michaels who talks about her own writing process here.

Question 1: What am I working on?

At the moment I am finishing my second book which is tentatively entitled Like the Lightning. The title is a reference to the hero’s work in the field of electricity and is also a quote from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet:
It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden;
Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be
Ere one can say 'It lightens.' Sweet, good night!
This bud of love, by summer's ripening breath,
May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.
Good night, good night! as sweet repose and rest
Come to thy heart as that within my breast!
I’m not sure the title will stay though. I don’t think coming up with titles is my forte. The last one was called The Marvellous Marvelo until just before publication when the publishers suggested that His Lordship’s Apprentice would be a better title. Which, to be fair, it is.

Today I have been reading the final draft of the manuscript on my kindle in order to spot any errors I’ve missed and to ensure that the plot makes sense when read end-to-end. I shall probably be sending it to the publishers in the next day or two.

Once that it is done, I’ll start on my next book. At the moment I have outlines sketched out for three books (plus one short story I want to write that might lead to more.) These books-to-be consist of a Victorian story about an heiress and some confidence tricksters, a story set in a dystopian future which would probably be quite a bit darker than my previous books and a sort-of sequel to Like the Lightning featuring the heroine’s son, Robert and his quest for true love. The short story I have in mind would feature a 1920s consulting detective called Tabitha Moriaty.

It seems a bit premature to start writing a sequel to a book that’s not been published yet (and that everyone might hate) so I shall probably concentrate on the dark dystopian future one which will make a change from the historical stuff I have been writing lately.

Question 2: How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Given that I only have one published book so far, it’s probably a little too early to tell. Feedback for His Lordship’s Apprentice definitely tends to use words like ‘gentle’, ‘lighthearted’ and ‘sweet’ which seems fair and is probably what I’m going for. Those adjectives all apply to the new book, I reckon. Quite possibly even more so.

I don’t write comedy, as such, but I think humour slips into most things I write. In my new book, a lot of the attraction between the hero and heroine comes from their ability to make one another laugh so I hope that comes across in their dialogue otherwise they’re just going  to sound like lunatics.

Question 3: Why do I write what I do?

I have always been fascinated by spanking. Right back to when I used to read Enid Blyton’s stories where characters  were threatened with (and occasionally received) sound spankings. I had a picture book collection of her stories as a child which contained an illustration which is seared into my memory. It showed a wizard administering a spanking to a crying elf while nervous elves stood queuing for their turn. There were also several elves who had clearly already had their turn and were looking most unhappy about it. I have tried to find it online (seriously, you do not want to see my Google searches some days) with no success so far.
It may have been this one. Or one of the many hundreds of others that she wrote.
One day I will find it again, you mark my words.
I don’t really remember what happened in the story (other than everyone getting spanked in the end for their naughtiness) but I think reading it was a significant landmark. When I look back to when my interest in spanking started, I think I can safely say that I have been interested for a very long time. Although as a kid I think I was just sort of fascinated by the idea. It didn’t become a turn-on until my teens.

It’s been a guilty pleasure for a long time and it was only pretty recently that I realised how good some spanking literature is. God, I love my Kindle. Discovering writers like Renee Rose and Maren Smith totally changed the way I looked at erotica and made me realise that writing romance was something I really wanted to do. Particularly if I could stuff it full of spankings.

Question 4: How does my writing process work?

I don’t have time to write at all at the moment, really.  I work full time as a Technical Author and am studying for a Bachelor with Honours degree in Computer Science which should be finished this year. I’m also job-hunting again. Or at least I should be.

Basically, if I’m writing, there is usually something else I should be doing instead. If you see me posting, tell me to get on with that bloody assignment that needs doing (there’s always at least one).

Never-the-less I make time to write because I really enjoy doing it. When the degree’s finished (if I am spending enough time on it to actually pass the thing), I shall be able to spend much more time writing but until then (assuming my whole ‘Win the lottery, quit job” plan doesn’t pan out), I just have to fit in when I can. I commute into the City of London each day which takes an hour each way so I often use that time to write. I write longhand in a 2013 diary which was surplus to requirements at one of my previous jobs. I’m on diary number four at the moment and I have about fifty of the things so I’m good for notebooks for the next ten years or so I reckon. It’s quite a lengthy process because I have to type everything up again when I get home but I prefer it to lugging a heavy laptop around with me.

I used to feel embarrassed about writing some of the more explicit stuff on public transport but it doesn’t bother so much now. I think the embarrassment went when my first book got published. “Yeah, I’m writing about sex and spanking. It’s a thing I do, you know?”

Plus if anybody IS reading what I’m writing over my shoulder, well I like to think it will give them a startlingly new insight into what might be going on in the heads of their fellow commuters.

Work in Progress

I now have to pass the Writing Process Bloghop baton onto two more fellow writers.

I am really excited that two absolutely fantastic authors, Maddie Taylor and Maren Smith have agreed to do it.

Maddie Taylor has written a ton of great books including Marshall's Law which is my all-time favourite time-travel spanking romance. You might think that that's too specific a genre for that accolade to mean much but I love a time-travel story. If it's got both time-travel and spanking in it, then I've probably read it. And Marshall's Law is the best.I was grinning from ear to ear the whole time I read it - apart from the times when I was welling up.

Maren Smith, as a mentioned before, was one of the authors who made me realise how well-written and engaging erotic books can be. Naturally I love her historical stories best. My favourite is either Angel of Hawkhaven or Black Sheep. I'd be hard pushed to choose between them because they are both so different. Her stories are always beautifully engaging with characters that are so well-drawn that you wish they would just step off the page so you could hang out with them.

Check out their blogs next week to read their answers to the Bloghop questions and find out what makes them tick as writers.


  1. I love your notebook! How cool is that? Sometimes I just try to jot down ideas at work and I end up coming home with scraps of paper that make no sense to me later. I always think they will help me remember, but that don't!

    You are certainly busy over there! Good luck with the degree, you'll get that done in no time, and I personally am looking forward to some more great works by Etta Stark!

  2. The notebook is very interesting. I could see writing by hand and then typing it up as part of the editing process, or do you type verbatim from the notes? Sometimes writing by hand is very satisfying.

    Fun to learn more about you. Congrats on your first book and good luck with all the ones you have planned. Hope you fill all those old calendars!

    1. I usually edit as I type up my handwritten text. Sometimes I leave bits blank or stick a word in that I know isn't quite right rather than stop the creative flow. In the example above I have [sexy] in square brackets as a placeholder word - it's not a very 1870s word. Sometimes these placeholders are more like [insert science-y stuff here] or a recent one which made me chuckle when I came to type it up: [spanking ensues]. I usually tackle these when typing up the first draft.

      Sometimes I have to trust my first draft self, though. Often I'll change a word when typing up to something I think sounds better only to find that I didn't use that word because I had an even better use for it in the next sentence.