by Nita on July 1st, 2009
filed under Guest Bloggers
Years ago, we were on a lovely cruise, and while at sea, we chose a presentation to attend-Body Language. I remember little about it, except the woman was dressed impeccably in a designer suit, high heels, and flashy diamonds. She gave a good presentation, accompanied by physical examples. The only one I remember, though, was how to tell if a person is lying. She said: If the person speaking lowers and cuts his eyes to the left and down-he is lying. Every time I watch and listen to a politician expounding on some grand theme during an interview, I watch and wait for the signs. Yes, I assure you. You will see this more often than you think.
I’m sure you’ve heard the current phrase-”He’s just not that into you.” How do you know? What signs could one look for, if one wanted to? The actions are subtle, but clear-cut. Believe me, you can find hundreds of examples and variations of body language. I’ll only speak of a few.
When writing a romance novel, editors and teachers admonish us to show, not tell. Knowing just a few facts about body language between a man and woman can show your reader how each feels about the other.
The male actions:
-If he remains a few feet away, he’s not interested. If he closes the distance, moves closer, he likes what he sees.
-If he speaks softly, good. If he sounds like your automobile mechanic, not so good.
-If he speaks fast and doesn’t give you a chance to speak, no way. But if he talks slowly, excellent.
-If he likes you, he can’t take his gaze away from your face, but if he doesn’t care for you, he’ll stare at your mouth.
-If he stands straight with his hands in his pockets, uh-uh. But if he rounds his posture, he’s hooked.
The female actions:
-If she likes the man, she will smile, tilt her head, and perhaps nibble on her lip.
-If she likes him, she may flick her hair, twirl a strand of hair, or stroke her neck. She glows, or blushes, and her pupils dilate. If she’s sitting with her knees crossed and pointing toward the man, she’s into him. But if she swings her knees away-no go.
-To show she doesn’t care for the man, she’ll cross her arms, speak very fast, lift her chin and smile, and may place something between you, such as her bag.
Remember the 1942 Classic movie Casablanca? A reviewer wrote: “Sublimely romantic, a soul-satisfying movie.” The movie contained many action scenes, fraught with danger and excitement. The romantic scenes between Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman showed a sizzling undercurrent of passion. Long gazes, slow touches, reaching, soft caresses, close embraces, gentle kisses. Ahhh, romance-and not just the old-fashioned kind.
Any good romance should have these qualities and more. As writers, we need to know the body language of men and women and apply those actions to our characters.
V for Vendetta movies If you want to learn more about Body Language to spice up your writing, Google that term and start reading. I found several wonderful sites accompanied by photos.
If you’d like to watch a movie trailer about Casablanca, Google it and select Casablanca movie.
Muppets from Space dvd “Here’s looking at you, kid.”
Excerpt from: All My Hopes and Dreams-a Western Historical Romance
Cynthia happened to glance out the window as the sun disappeared over the horizon. The subject of her musings, at this moment, stalked across the yards of the foreman and five small houses to reach the third one from the end. His hat rode low on his forehead, and his long strides angrily ate up the distance.
Her emotions circled three-hundred-and-sixty degrees, from self-satisfaction and peace to surprise and not a little fright. Her unhappy husband was on his way.
Ricardo did not knock on the screen door. Instead, he opened it, slammed it back against the outside wall, and stepped inside.
In a low voice laced with anger and with his hands low on his hips, he asked, “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
Cynthia stood barefoot in her disheveled state, raised her chin, folded her hands at her waist, and with as much haughtiness she could muster, replied, “Do not use that sort of language in my presence, you…you clout!”
Some of his bluster disappeared. He swept off his hat and bowed. “Well, excuse me, Queen Mary,” he said in an exaggerated moderate voice. “What I should have said was ‘what the Sam Hill do you think you’re doing?’ Is that better?”
“What do you want?” she asked, never batting an eyelash.
“You know damn well what I want. I want to know what’s come over you to create such a stir and pull such a stunt. And I want you to pack and march your little fanny right back over there to my house.”
“Your house? Your house? Sir, you are deluded if you think that is your house, because I know who’s in charge over there. And it’s not you!”
“I have no idea what you’re referring to. But I do know that as my wife, you…”
“Stop!” She held her hand up, palm out. “Your wife? Since when am I your wife? I have no husband whom I can call my own. Our marriages were shams-both of them. Why? Because the man I thought I married will not consummate the union to make us as one. No, he must wait because his parents say so, to have a third wedding to cement the vows.”
“I married you, Cynthia,” he said reasonably and now without a trace of annoyance, “and you are my wife. You wear that ring to prove it.”
She glanced at the beautiful piece of jewelry, and more than anything, she wanted to continue wearing it, forever and ever more. Now, it was just a ring with no benefits. With great sadness, she removed it. “Here. Take it, Ricardo, it means nothing. I thought it did; oh, how I wanted it to.” Tears formed in the corners of her eyes.
Ricardo’s shoulders almost slumped, but he did not bend. She watched his face, as anger turned to bewilderment. Slowly and cautiously, he took two steps to gather her in his arms. She sniffled once, twice, and with her face pressed to his shirtfront, mumbled, “Let me go. Take the ring and leave.” A Foreign Affair trailer
He loosened his hold but did not release her. He tipped her chin up and looked down into her face. With the pad of his thumb, he wiped away one lone tear, and lowered his lips to hers. The kiss began sweet and gentle, but soon changed to sensuous and warm. Against her will, she kissed him back, the best she knew how, but still, a sob escaped. “Don’t,” she whispered.
When he raised his head, he took the ring but lifted her left hand and replaced it where it belonged. “Cynthia, listen to me. Can’t you tell me what this is all about? Have I neglected you too much since the wedding? Whatever I’ve done, I did it unintentionally. Do you understand?”
She moved away from him to talk. “I think it best that I stay here for a while. I considered finding a way back home, but I’m not a little girl anymore, and I can’t run home to Father. In a couple of days or so, you should be able to learn what’s going on. I can’t tell you. It’s not my place to explain.”
“You’re not making any sense,” he said gently. “You know that, don’t you? Should I court you? What?” His exasperation increased as he talked.
“You need not do anything. Just leave me alone.”
“No, sweetheart, I won’t do that. You can’t manage on your own. Don’t you see? How are you going to eat? Who will do your laundry? You’ve been reared as a lady, and you don’t know how to do anything.”
She flashed her eyes at him. The tears were gone, and in their place, cold anger. “You may leave now.” Back to the Future Part II on dvd
Ricardo did not slam out the door or stomp out angrily. Probably his rearing was as ingrained as hers was, so he strolled out as if he had all the time in the world.
ALL MY HOPES AND DREAMS-a Texas Historical
Available in eBook: The Wild Rose Press
Available in print: Amazon.com, B&N
by Nita on June 29th, 2009
filed under Guest Bloggers
Hi, Cate! Thank you so much for letting me interview you for my blog. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve been married forever to my husband and lifelong friend. He’s my support system and cheerleader! Our three kids are grown, which is why I now have time to focus, finally, on my writing. Other hobbies take a backseat to writing: photography, gardening, beading, painting – you name it, I’ve tried it! Likewise with jobs – I’ve held positions from cashier to deputy press secretary. Every life experience seems to come into play in my writing.
How long have you been writing, and have you always wanted to be a writer?
I can’t remember actually thinking: I want to be a writer. I just did it, from about age ten I began writing poetry. In school, I wrote for the newspaper. My initial aim was to be a journalist, but life, as they say, had other plans.
Why did you decide to write romance novels?
I love the positivity of romance. No matter how awful the situation, the heroine ends up with a happy ending. And I love that today’s romance includes so many sub-genres. Definitely not your mother’s bodice-ripper (*cringe* I hate that archaic term). I came late to the romance genre, but have had a blast since finding it. I’ve never known a more supportive group of writers, either.
What type of books do you write?
I love to experiment. Creating fictional worlds really lets my imagination cut loose, but I was surprised at how much I also enjoyed bringing history to life. I was never much of a history buff, but I found it very exciting to place a character in a historical setting, and challenging to include accurate details. So far, I’ve written contemporary, paranormal, historical, speculative and mainstream women’s fiction, from flash-length to novel.
Tell us a little about your writing routine.
Turning on the computer is the first thing I do in the morning. I’ve become a bit obsessive-compulsive about writing, and work it in at every opportunity. While I was unemployed, I treated it as my day job – putting in longer hours writing than I’ve ever worked before! Now I work part-time, and treat my writing as a second part-time job. Domestic chores fall to the wayside, unfortunately, but I’d rather be known for my writing than having a clean house.
What about your family, do they know not to bother you when you are writing – or are there constant interruptions? Like Mike download
We moved a few years ago, and was lucky enough to finally have a writing room of my own. Some people can write anywhere, but I find I need to really concentrate when I write. No music, hopefully no interruptions, but I don’t pretend to be so precious that no one can approach me. It does break my momentum, though, and I have to work to get it back.
Momentum is nice to have. Wish I had it more often. J What are your thoughts on love scenes in romance novels, do you find them difficult to write?
Only in the technical aspect. I have no problem writing them, I just worry that what’s on the page won’t evoke the scene in a realistic enough way. I recently wrote an erotic novella called Wilderness Girl and found it difficult to describe love scenes in a detailed way. Each story seems to demand its own level of intimacy.
Where do your ideas come from?
A really difficult thing to define! Anything, really, can spark a story idea. I’ve heard a distinct voice in my head reciting a line from a story (Wilderness Girl started that way). Reading the word definition from A Word A Day can spark an idea (it happened for The Duende and the Muse). When we visited Key West, the story flashed through my head in a vivid (scarily so!) way while we were at a museum. I like Neil Gaiman’s response to this question: I make them up in my head. My real answer is: I don’t know where they come from, but I hope they keep coming!
Do you have a writing partner to bounce ideas off of?
I have several. Critique partners are an essential part of the writing process, for me. Sometimes I am so much in my own head that what I’m visualizing doesn’t quite make it to the page, and they have no qualms about pointing that out – which is exactly what I need.
How do you define the type of writer you are? Do you outline or go with the flow?
At first, I was a complete pantser, although I knew, generally, where I wanted each story to end up. Plotting’s too restrictive, for me. These days, I usually have a basic outline, loose enough for my characters to wander off on tangents if they’re so inclined. Sometimes they can lead me in surprising directions.
What kind of research do you do?
Depends on the story, but I can get carried away with research. I love it! For instance, for my contemporary story, Going with Gravity, I used a current news story about a plane losing its fuselage mid-flight as the starting point. A visitor’s guide from Hawaii provided setting details, and I used an online language translator for Hawaiian phrases. The web’s a great resource for just about everything. For the Key West historical, I spent an afternoon in their library copying old letters and articles, plus bought five books on local lore and shipwrecks.
Have you experienced writer’s block? If so, how did you work through it?
Writer’s block is a story’s way of forcing a writer to address something that’s missing, I think. As I said, I usually am in the middle of several stories at once, so if I hit a snag on one, I turn to another. Sometimes, taking my complete focus away from a story will help me “see” it better as a whole, and realize what’s missing, or a character will step up and assert her/himself.
If you weren’t writing, what would you be doing?
Hmm, good question. Whatever it might be, I wouldn’t be too happy. Only writing really gratifies me, makes me feel I’m fulfilling my purpose.
What truly motivates you in general on in your writing?
Whatever I do, I try to do it the best I can. There’s great gratification in knowing I put forth my best effort, and hopefully the result reflects it – in writing, or in life.
What do you find to be the most rewarding thing about being a writer?
Feeling as if I’m connecting with readers, touching them emotionally, writing stories that will stay with them longer than after they’ve stopped reading.
Among your own manuscripts, do you have a favorite? Favorite hero or heroine?
That’s like choosing a favorite child. I can’t do it. While I’m writing each one, that one tends to engage me completely (though I usually have several in various stages of completion)
So tell us about your latest release.
My urban fantasy novella, One Soul for Sale, was a lot of fun to write. Madelyn’s an artist who hates her day job but can’t seem to make any headway with her sketches. Depressed, she posts her soul for sale on UBuy, and two bidders fight for it (literally, she learns after a sleepless night of monsters battling). The winning bidder asks to meet her, and gives her tasks to perform. A shadowy figure begins to follow her, and she discovers the losing bidder doesn’t like to lose. Though the story deals with heavy issues such as life and death and fulfilling personal goals, I used a very light touch, one I hope readers will enjoy.
Sounds cool. How do we find out more about you and your books? Do you have a web site? Blog?
What can we expect from you in the future?
Hopefully lots more of the same! I have a backlog of stories ranging from paranormal to historical to contemporary, all clamoring for attention.
In addition to the historical and paranormal shorts released by The Wild Rose Press so far this year, I have a few others scheduled: a short women’s fiction from Wild Child Publishing, an erotic novella and short urban fantasy from Freya’s Bower, a women’s fiction novella from Eternal Press, two short contemporary stories from The Wild Rose Press, and a short urban fantasy from Shadowfire Press.
Thanks again for the interview, Cate!
Thanks so much for having me as a guest, Nita! I’d love to give away a PDF copy of One Soul for Sale to a commenter – tell me what draws you to a story: the blurb? the characters? the cover? What leaves you satisfied after reading the last word?
Did you hear that?! You can win a free copy of Cate’s latest release just by answering a question or two!
Before we close, here’s a link to an excerpt
Tremors II: Aftershocks dvd from One Soul for Sale, available June 7 from Eternal Press (www.eternalpress.ca):
And check out this awesome trailer!
by Nita on March 6th, 2009
filed under Guest Bloggers
BIO: Toni V. Sweeney's writing career began during an extended convalescence following an automobile accident. Since her recovery, she has survived hurricanes in the South, tornados and snow-covered winters in the Midwest, and earthquakes and forest fires in California. Somehow, she can't seem to stay away from threatening natural occurrences! She is also a member of the South Coast Writer's Association, the Pink Fuzzy Slipper Writers Time of Fear movie
website, has her own website, myspace, Facebook, and YouTube
pages. She presently has nine novels in publication, as well three others waiting for release, and several short stories featured in magazines, online, and on amazon.com's Amazon Shorts.
Her latest novel, sword-and-sorcery romance, is Blood Curse, Book Two in the Chronicles of Riven the Heretic
series, which is published in ebook and paperback by Double Dragon Publishers.
Married life has made Riven kan Ingan a love-struck fool, and he’ll be the first to admit it, but he refuses to be a cuckold when he returns from battle to discover his beloved Barbara pregnant with a child he couldn’t have sired. In a fury at her supposed unfaithfulness, he risks the wrath of the gods and sends her to her death, only to find himself driven from his domain by a deadly curse. Haunted by Barbara’s memory, Riven begins a quest to find the one who cursed him. When he loses his sight, he also loses his pride and must submit to a barbarian girl’s gentle mercy to free himself of the Blood Curse.