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THE ORNERY MUSE!

Today's guest is the author Cat Grant, confessing to us how her writing muse has led her astray in all kinds of ways!

About Cat

I've been writing off and on ever since I was old enough to hold a pencil. I still remember my very first 'published' story, a Jonny Quest adventure I penned in sixth grade. My teacher liked it so much, she had one of the other students illustrate it. That other student went on to become a Hollywood horror-film director.

I've poked around in many different genres. I've written fan fiction for a number of different TV shows, tried my hand at horror and fantasy, but in the end I came back to what I enjoy most - writing about the intimate relationships between men and women, and how love doesn't always happen the way we expect.

Back in 2004, when I became unable to work outside my home, my incredibly supportive husband suggested that I turn this setback into an opportunity, and pursue my dream of becoming a published author. Several years - and untold buckets of sweat later - that dream's finally coming to fruition.

Visit Cat at her website.




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The Things I Swore I’d Never Write…

I need to stop making promises to myself – at least, about my writing. Because every single thing I told myself I’d never write about… I’ve ended up writing about!


First it was kids. I’m childless by choice myself. Never felt the maternal instinct, and then I got married too old (luckily!) for the whole childbearing thing to be an issue. I stopped reading category romances back in the 90s when it seemed you couldn’t open a book without finding another bawling brat in it. I told myself then and there, “If I ever get published, I will never write a book with a baby in it!”

Then in 2009, I wrote my last Courtland Chronicles book, which not only has a baby in it, but a ten-year-old as well!


So I ate some crow, and vowed that was the first and last time I’d ever break one of my rules – which, at the time, included never writing about hookers or drag queens. They’re all so cliché, I told myself. Everyone else is writing them, which means there’s twice a much pressure to put a new spin on the idea. And in my opinion, if you can’t say something new about an old idea, don’t bother. There’s enough hackneyed, derivative stuff out there already.

So, a little over a year later, guess what I was writing? A hooker book and a drag queen book, back to back!


At that point I threw up my hands and finally admitted that I am not in control of my muse at ALL. I don’t choose the stories, they choose me. Once I get a character’s voice in my head – the way I did with my hooker-hero Cameron and his drag queen best friend Mike – it’s best for me to just stand back and let them take over.


If this sounds like an undisciplined way of working… well, perhaps it is. But I’ve learned that trying to force characters to do what I think they should do only results in writer’s block. When I sit down and the words come so fast, I feel more like a transcriber than an author, that’s when I know I’m onto something. And both The First Real Thing (my hooker book) and Appearing Nightly (my drag queen romance) came to me like that. Cameron’s and Mike’s voices echoed in my head with such amazing clarity, I stumbled all over myself trying to get their words out.

And we’ve not heard the last of them. Cameron’s partner Trevor has a young son whose story’s now percolating at the back of my mind. I’m planning to get to him once I finish researching and writing my Don’t Ask Don’t Tell book. Unless, of course, my ornery muse grabs me by the lapels and scoffs, “Plans? I don’t respect your stinkin’ plans!”

There’s always that possibility. :)


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AND JUST FOR FUN, A FICTION PROMPT CALL...!!

Like to stretch your writing fingers after Christmas' excesses? Take the prompt "A NEW RESOLUTION" and write something for the visitors this month. It can be anything from a flashfic 3 sentences to a drabble of 100 or so, or even more. Any genre, any theme, any rating, any character(s). Maybe ones you already love, maybe the chance to try on a new character for size.

I'm holding a FREE FICTION DAY on the 28th, so send me new fiction - links to your existing work also welcome! - to clarelondon11 AT yahoo.co.uk and I'll post it all then :).




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Follow this month with Clare - and the goodies so far:

JAN 22: Sexy or sweet, men in fiction? dontkickmycane.
JAN 23: The release of my short story THREADBARE at JMS books.
JAN 24: Where are all the star-crossed lovers? asks josephine_myles.
JAN 25: The release of the anthology WISHING ON A BLUE STAR at Dreamspinner Press.


JAN 15: Favourite worldwide travel with cdn_tam.
JAN 16: 10 cautionary tales from ZA Maxfield! zamaxfield.
JAN 17: The business/pleasure balance of writing from libby_drew.
JAN 18: Why M/M? And who wants to know? from jordan_c_price.
JAN 19: What makes fiction short and sweet for jenre.
JAN 20: The pursuit of beautiful things by wrenboo.
JAN 21: Bawdy and brazen humor in the new release from Rick R. Reed.



JAN 08: A great new novel and sequel from mickieashling.
JAN 09: Fiction and beautiful illustrations from essayel.
JAN 10: Forthcoming menage release from lc_chase.
JAN 11: Fabulous mix of SF and erotic romance from Sloane Taylor and Robert Appleton.
JAN 12: Follow the bizarre photographic history of Wind in Hair Guy with egret17.
JAN 13: When only your family understands the joke, with charliecochrane.
JAN 14: A top 10 of gay books you should read from erastes.



JAN 01: A FREE short from me, revisiting Nic and Aidan from Sparks Fly.
JAN 01: Delicious m/m icons from luscious_words.
JAN 02: Why I want to be a Bond villain! by chrissymunder.
JAN 03: The world of inspiration between 'historical' and 'contemporary' with stevie_carroll.
JAN 04: Some fascinating Swedish proverbs from 1more_sickpuppy.
JAN 05: A round-up of a great year just gone from angelasstone.
JAN 06: The countryside and history that inspires author sandra_lindsey.
JAN 07: The challenge of trying to balance edits, with diannefox and anahcrow.


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Check up on the original post and the Guest Schedule for January HERE.

Want to join in but missed the original call? Email me at clarelondon11 AT yahoo.co.uk and I'll happily find you a space ♥

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Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
josephine_myles
Jan. 26th, 2011 09:29 am (UTC)
Oh god, I think all muses must be like this. I've learnt not to give myself things I "will not" write about, because I swear it makes the muse rebel. I wasn't going to write about kids either (I get enough of them in real life), so now my muse is determined to get me writing a romance between a primary school teacher and the father of one of his pupils. I keep telling the muse I don't want to write it, and he keeps saying "Ah, but these characters will keep hanging around in your brain until you do!" Bastard!
bittermint
Jan. 26th, 2011 10:42 pm (UTC)
But a rebellious muse can be a very good thing. It's helped push me out of my comfort zone and made me write stuff that really challenged me. I've grown more as a writer in the last year and a half than in the previous decade, mostly because of my muse's restless streak. :)
josephine_myles
Jan. 27th, 2011 07:08 am (UTC)
That's a good way to look at it *ponders* I am probably going to write that novel. It's got way too much angst for my usual taste, but it would be a great, meaty story...
egret17
Jan. 26th, 2011 05:45 pm (UTC)
Maybe you have a contrarian muse and if you stop the "I'll never write about that!" statements, your muse will get made at you... ;)
emlynley
Jan. 26th, 2011 06:14 pm (UTC)
I've never given myself rules, but I know what you mean about having no control over the ideas that spring into your brain. I also have no kids and little experience with them, but my last story ended up with two kids who turned into a huge part of the plot. And I realized it was fun writing about them. Not sure my main characters will ever have their own, but a niece or nephew add a nice change of pace.

What about genre? Have you got some ideas which aren't contemporary? I've recently been exploring fantasy and sci-fi and it's been a really great experience to break out of my comfort zone and see what ideas flow.
bittermint
Jan. 26th, 2011 10:40 pm (UTC)
I tried writing sci-fi and fantasy for about five years, but never sold a single story. I love reading it, but I suck at writing it. Contemporary is my true voice, so I'm sticking with it.
tracyrae
Jan. 26th, 2011 07:12 pm (UTC)
There are some things in life we just don't have control over and apparently your muse is one of them! lol It's all worked out in the end so it's all good. :)
chrissymunder
Jan. 26th, 2011 07:17 pm (UTC)
What a lovely group of covers, Cat. And yep, never say never. LOL.
bittermint
Jan. 26th, 2011 10:40 pm (UTC)
I've been very lucky in the pretty-cover department. And what's between the covers ain't bad either! ;)
cdn_tam
Jan. 27th, 2011 01:57 pm (UTC)
Oh, I loved your hooker book. Really, there can't be too many hooker books. As Tracy and I noted today, a fave trope for sure. Glad to hear there will be more on that front. Wasn't it James Bond who said "Never Say Never"? Or was that the villain? Someone said it. :-) It would be awful to cut off something amazing because of an artibrary list somewhere.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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