Shelley Aikens:  Hot, Steamy Erotica
Just finished the first draft of my second novel. (Finally!!!! I was worried it would go on and on forever!)  So now I'm starting in on the first round of edits.  

It comes at a good time, as I've just accepted a full time gig at the library, rather than the flexible part time that I've been used to, so for the next few months I won't have as much time to devote to my writing :(  

I'm not super-excited about the new work gig, although my bank account will be very pleased!  Just as long as I can somehow keep up some portion of my writing schedule, I won't complain.  I'm trying to make a plan to either write on my lunch hour (if I can find a suitably private space, lol) or late in the evening, so hopefully I'll keep up with all the smutty stories that are in my head fighting to get out...  

Usually my daily writing goal is 2000 words, which sometimes takes me just an hour or two to get down, but more often takes a whole day of sitting in front of the computer forcibly trying to drag my attention away from all the bright & shiny distractions on the Internet... I think I may need to go back to writing longhand to keep myself away from temptation :)  I'm not sure what my daily writing goal will be now that I'm working full time.  Can I reach 1000 words? Or is that just dreaming in colour?  Maybe have 500 words as a minimum, but aim for 1000 if it's going well?  I guess I'll soon see, as I start my new schedule next week.

Actually, I've been trying to follow Stephen King's writing advice from his book On Writing. I love that book--it's so simple and straightforward and  practical while also being quite entertaining and inspiring. His advice is to devote yourself to your writing as though it's any other career, spending a lot of time on professional development (reading) as well as the actual work of writing. 

In fact, he suggests a reading/writing schedule of 4-6 hours a day.  He suggests a daily writing goal of 2000 words (which for him seems to take about 3 hours to finish) and at least a couple of hours a day of reading. I like the simplicity of it, and it really makes sense to me.  Brilliant! Just read & write, read & write, read & write...  Sounds sort of like a perfect life :)

He summarizes it so simply:
  • "If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot." (145)
About reading in particular, he says:
  • "Reading is the creative center of a writer's life" (147)
  • "If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write." (147)
  • "Constant reading will pull you into a place (a mind-set if you like the phrase) where you can write eagerly and without self-consciousness. (150)
And he doesn't discriminate between so-called "good" writing and "bad" writing. He points out that both extremes have something to teach a writer--something to either emulate or avoid in your own writing. I really love how this gives me permission to sit around reading "junky" novels--it's part of my job as a writer!

Hmm, maybe I'll end up spending my lunch hour reading instead of writing? I am surrounded by all of those lovely books, after all... 

Now back to my revisions!
I love love love Christmas! I tuned my radio to the all-Christmas station a month ago, and I've been singing carols to myself ever since. And reading piles of Christmas novels and crafty holiday magazines.  I like Christmas stories almost as much as I enjoy the holiday itself, except that this year I've been a bit disappointed that the ones I'm reading all seem to be so sweet.  Well, okay, the Christmas erotica isn't usually sweet! But lately I've been reading a lot of non-erotic fiction too. :)

So what have I picked up lately? Here are a few of the (unusual for me) titles from the pile of books I've been reading at my library and listening to in audio: 


What's sweeter than a Cedar Cove Christmas?  Yeah, so, this one really wasn't my kind of book! Very Christmassy, though :)


Aaaaaand.... I followed that one up with an Amish Christmas! Sounds like it would be even sweeter, right? Not quite--I almost enjoyed this one :)


Hmm,  a bright red cover, the word "kissing" in the title... Has to be hot, right??? Well, no--it's sort of a cozy British mystery.  Not even all that Christmassy, unfortunately :(  But it was an audiobook, and I enjoyed the narration and the characters, and the overall feel of the book was fun for a few hours before it got a bit zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz for my taste.


I liked this one! It was sweet and pretty cheesy, but I enjoyed it :) I guess as it gets closer to Christmas my tolerance for sweetness/cheesiness goes up...


Ah! Now this is a bit more like the kind of book I really like!  Nice hot romance with a hint of cozy Christmas happiness.  Not to mention a gorgeous shirtless man on the cover surrounded by presents!  Now this is more like it!


So... What's next? Have you seen the Holiday books at Carina Press? They look GREAT! Pretty much every cover I see makes it onto my Christmas wish list :)  But this one looks like it might be sexy & spicy enough to make it to the top of the list!


Happy Holidays! And happy reading! If you know any great Christmas reads, let me know!