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JAN 26: Dakota in the saddle...

Welcome to dakotaflint, a great author whom I had the honour to share the sheets with in the Torquere Press Taste Test
Horns and Halos. ( <--- shameless BUY link!!)
Her work is well written, witty and hot and she *loves* her cowboys!

And now I'm hoping to share a Release Month with her too *lol*. Her story Seeing You is appearing in February in the new anthology Studs and Spurs at MLR Press.

Saddles, spurs, Stetsons . . . and love? Sexy cowboys grab hold of more than a saddle in these entrancing stories from four talented authors of the genre. Kiernan Kelly takes us on an adventurous cattle drive to the Oregon Territory with a greenhorn and an old hand. Angela Fiddler's retired rodeo men accept each other and the black riders. Two men overcome grief, rebuild a ranch and find love in Dakota Flint's story. And JL Langley offers a light-hearted tale of a city boy and a rancher filled with love, laughter and a marriage of convenience?

Blurb for Seeing You:
Everything changed for Dylan the night his brother, Simon, was killed in an accident. Unable to face the pain—or Simon's partner, Wade—Dylan leaves life on the Lazy G ranch behind. Over a year later, Dylan gets a call saying he's needed at home and he returns to find both the Lazy G and Wade in bad shape. Will Dylan and Wade be able to deal with their grief and rebuild the ranch? And will Wade see that sometimes you can find happiness again?

Find out about Dakota at her website HERE.

And... today?
She posts about Research
- that character who can appear intimidating and/or aloof, and yet when you get to know him, can give support and context to your writing and just plain, pure, unadulterated delight...

Yes, you know him! But will you admit to it as charmingly as Dakota?! ^_~

A Love Story...

A Love Story

I still consider myself a newbie writer. (I think I'd be called a noob. Now that's a nickname to make Mama proud.) Notice I didn't say a newbie author. I'm definitely one of those.

But I'm actually still very new to this whole writing gig. Which is not say I haven't been writing my whole life, because I have. No, this past year is the first time that I've been striving to write longer works--novels--and writing them with the idea that I would publish them. That might not seem like a huge distinction, but trust me, it is. It's a whole different mindset that I have when I sit down at my computer.

So in many ways I've been feeling my way through a lot of things. I'm not sure about other writers, but when I first tried to visualize writing a novel length piece, I had enough on my mind trying to plan out something that didn't read like a runaway train headed toward the bridge that's under construction. I didn't need to bring in things like unique professions or exotic locales that I'd have to research extensively. So I started out in my comfort zone and I've slowly been spreading my wings with each piece I write, doing more and more research.

And I've fallen slowly, quietly, and completely in love.
With Research.

It's true. Oh, Research didn't ride up on a motorcycle, unshaven look giving him a dangerous and edgy air, and ask me to hop on so we could ride off into the sunset in gloriously rebellious spirit. And Research didn't walk by me on the beach, richly tanned muscles rippling as he winked at me and motioned to a secluded sand dune.

No, it wasn't anything like that. Actually, it more of a blind date.
One day I was hanging out with my Muse, rolling my eyes--politely...I'm not such an idiot that I'd piss off my Muse--as my Muse complained I wasn't trying any new things, that I wasn't open to having a great time because I wouldn't give it a chance. My Muse told me about a friend of his, said he thought I'd really like him if I just agreed to meet him. (Isn't it funny that all the imaginary people in my life are men? Funny, but not surprising.) I refused, and so my Muse finally invited Research over without telling me. I had no choice, I had to entertain him.

At first I wasn't sure I liked him. I thought he seemed kind of cold and distant. He didn't seem to really respond to me, and I wondered what he got out of our nice-to-meet-you-chats. But he listened quietly and then he took me to Africa and helped me to meet a bunch of his State department friends. It was such a neat experience, and I was really grateful.

And then my Muse hit me with something big, and before I knew it, Research and I were spending every day together. The more time I spent with him, the more I was impressed with his resourcefulness and his quiet support.

Soon I just couldn't get enough. I was coming to rely on him more than anyone. In fact, my Muse even threatened to leave me if I didn't stop giving Research all my time. My Muse said it wasn't healthy to spend all my time with one person--and he sniffed, saying he was feeling neglected.
I've reluctantly agreed to cool it with Research for a while, even if it's hard. Research is easy to be with, a truly strong and silent type (Actually not very silent, he just makes what he says really count). My Muse is pretty temperamental, and, um *looks around to see who's listening* high-maintenance, and I really don't want to give him an excuse to leave me. I have no idea which one of us would get custody of our WiPs.

So my advice to other writers is to spend some time with Research--you might be surprised at the depth of feeling that develops and the really awesome things you learn, even if you're writing contemporaries. (If you're writing a historical, then I think you need to free up some space in the closet and the bathroom counter because Research is moving in.) One of your characters wants to be a nuclear physicist and you have no idea what that even means? Cool! Just ask Research. Another character wants to study the ecology of an uninhabited island in the South Pacific? No prob, Bob! Research is the guy for you. All you two need to get further acquainted is a library card and the internet. (Can't you just hear Bogart now, "This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship...")

Just don't go overboard, and definitely don't ignore your Muse. Trust me: that way madness...

And for the readers...I hope I didn't scare you away. *g*

And hey, here's a question for you: what's the most unique/interesting location or profession you've read about in a romance novel? Feel free to speculate exactly how cozy you think the author got with Research...(I'm not the jealous type *g*)

Sez Clare (covering up her Muse's eyes while she phrases her own comment): come and bare your souls to us! You know you want to! LOL


Follow this month with Clare (yes, it's all about the MEEEE...):

COMING SOON: dakota flint, charlie cochrane, marquesate, K Z Snow.

Week 4:
Jan 23 : jaime protests the use and mis-use of labels...
Jan 24 : clare pimps the imminent release of FREEMAN...
Jan 25 : ginger simpson shares an interview with her latest fictional heroine...

Jan 16 : jenre discusses what she loves best about m/m fiction...
Jan 17 : clare posts YouTube frippery and her brief skirmish with a recording career...
Jan 18 : report from the prestigious *cough* OTP Con UK 2009...
Jan 19 : emily chats about the principles of good reviewing...
Jan 20 : josh lanyon talks about the proper place for your green-eyed feelings...
Jan 21 : sharon offers great advice and support for all of us trying to live a healthy life...
Jan 22 : merith writes about the slow but steady epiphany of love...

Jan 09 : ravensilver describes the creativity of independent manga publishing - and the challenges...
Jan 10 : kitzheng talks about Kink...
Jan 11 : chrissy munder shares the struggles of writing, NC17 penguins and mantyhose...
Jan 12 : 1more_sickpuppy bares her soul about confessing her love for m/m fiction...
Jan 13 : erastes talks about taking that leap from fanfiction to the 'original' world...
Jan 14 : meet my Muse, the 'man' who has way too much power in my writing house...
Jan 15 : Sloane Taylor heats up those chill new year nights...

Jan 01 : the Cheeky Cherubs welcome us to 2009 with a pithy verse or two and the threat of piercings...
Jan 02 : sweet, sexy fiction from lilzazu, all about the perennially tricky problem of a sticky shift...
Jan 03 : excellent editing tips for all authors who ever wondered whether to be cruel to be kind to their prose, hosted by jolilightner...
Jan 04 : Clare pimps the fabulous I DO anthology, now available in ebook and all proceeds to Lambda...
Jan 05 : abstractrx ponders the changing role of Romance and its reflection of - or on?! - the society around it...
Jan 06 : FREE FICTION from me and my friends!
Jan 07 : Jordan Castillo Price discusses what tempts us to try out a new author...
Jan 08 : Clare rambles on about perceived plagiarism and posts excerpts of her Torquere titles...

Want to grab a day to pimp, pose or pontificate? (only the 27th left now!)
Comment HERE!!


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 26th, 2009 12:15 pm (UTC)
LOL - a nice post to wake up to and so true! It's amazing how seductive the lure of Research can be (actually, mine did ride up unshaven on his motorcycle - but that's a whole 'nother post). There's quite a few days when he's far more fun than the work side of things.

I have to admit that despite all the press for vampires and the like when I come down to it nothing beats a cowboy story. The mystique there is still going strong.
Jan. 26th, 2009 04:05 pm (UTC)
when I come down to it nothing beats a cowboy story. The mystique there is still going strong.

Now I definitely won't argue with that! It doesn't seem to matter how many cowboy stories I've read, I still love them. And I even decided to write them. *g*

And I think most people would be surprised at the hours I spent researching things like vegetation in Montana. Even if the specific details from my research never made it into the story, I'd never been to Montana but researching made me feel like I had.

Cheapest travel I've ever done! *g*
Jan. 26th, 2009 04:20 pm (UTC)
I think you have a point there about researching things that never make it into the manuscript but you need to know it, and i think it's a lot of what's so offputting to writers who bluff it, that so much work appears to go unused, when really the opposite is true, the more you know the more you can evoke with very little.
I love research but I came to it late, and the difference it made was astonishing.
Jan. 26th, 2009 07:36 pm (UTC)
i think it's a lot of what's so offputting to writers who bluff it, that so much work appears to go unused, when really the opposite is true, the more you know the more you can evoke with very little.

Exactly! It brings to mind that saying: you don't know what you don't know. You never know when you might stumble across a phrase or an idea in your research that helps give that extra oomph to your story, that extra layer of authenticity that can just be...magic. And I say that more as a reader than a writer, really, since I'm still so new to the researching and writing bit.
Jan. 26th, 2009 04:02 pm (UTC)
bonjour mon petit
i intend to phone you this evening, first warning
but i just noticed your icon - when's it coming?
and freeman looks like Gavin rossdale - this is a good thing
I haven't spoken to you since before christmas so I fully intend to be available for long winded chats!
Jan. 26th, 2009 05:17 pm (UTC)
I think I'm going to have to check this research fellow out...

I'm doing Wyoming now, and I very much fear I have a long weekend planned with research and possibly a lot of follow up dates, irritating to the hubby, but I tell him it's for my ART...
Jan. 26th, 2009 08:00 pm (UTC)
Yeah, though sadly research doesn't cut the checks for the bills, and research definitely doesn't cook dinner. Shame...

Wyoming...I really, really want to travel west someday soon.

Good luck on the research! You never know when you might find something that takes your story to that whole other level. It's in the small details sometimes (at least I think so, from the reading I do) and I always enjoy m/m stories with a unique place or job, with the little details ringing with authenticity.

I think that's not always easy to achieve and of course I'm saying this now after doing very little to no research for most of my previous stories. Even my cowboy story, I wish I had done more research into the running of a ranch. So it's something I'm trying to work on more and more too, lest anyone think I'm claiming to be an expert or anything. Far from it.

Jan. 26th, 2009 05:21 pm (UTC)
I'm afraid that Research moved in with me and I can't do without him.

I wish he made tea from time to time, though.
Jan. 26th, 2009 08:10 pm (UTC)
Well, hopefully he's not adding insult to injury by hogging closet space as well. *g*

But on a serious note, one of these days I'm going to write an open letter of admiration to you Macaronis or something. When I think of how I can spend hours at a time researching something for a contemporary (I'm probably not as strict as I should be about cutting it off, reading far more than I need to)...man, it's awesome what you guys do. I don't think I'd ever get any writing done, let alone a whole novel, when the research is that intensive.

So my hat is off to you. Feel free to take a big swig of Squee.
Jan. 26th, 2009 09:32 pm (UTC)
I love the tin of Squee, thank you! *glugs*

It makes me happy to hear that you do a lot of research for contemporary fiction, the few times I've done that, I've found myself poring over maps of London, checking London Zoo opening times and worrying about where the wolf enclosure is in relation to the entrance gate...

Jan. 26th, 2009 10:00 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm glad to hear that. I sometimes wonder if I maybe go a little overboard now that I've "discovered" the usefulness of research for contemporary stories. And I'll be the first to admit that my previous stories probably required research that I didn't do--mea culpa, and I can only learn from my mistakes going forward. For example, last spring I wrote a short story about two professional ballet dancers set in San Francisco and didn't really do any research into San Francisco beyond really really basic stuff. The other day I pulled it out for a rewrite and I spent hours reading a book on San Francisco, looking at pictures, and walking the little person around on the real street view on Google maps. This is for a story that at most will only reach 15k-ish, and most of my newly acquired knowledge won't make it into the story, but at the very least, it makes me feel much, much more confident in the setting I writing about and the world my characters live in. That can only be a good thing, right? (It's what I tell myself, anyways *g*)

Someday I'm going to write that m/m WWI story that's been buzzing around my brain for quite a while, and you all won't see me for a year. *g*

Jan. 26th, 2009 10:15 pm (UTC)
From a reader's POV, it's important that I know that an author has spent some time with Research, but even more important that Research doesn't try to visit with me whilst I'm reading.

In other words if I don't need to know something, don't tell me. There's nothing worse than reading a book where the author tries to tell you every single fact or bit of info he or she has managed to amass whilst writing their book. In some ways the best researched novels are those where the reader doesn't necessarily notice all the research you've done.

I read for entertainment not for history/geography/geology/botony 101.
Jan. 26th, 2009 10:28 pm (UTC)
Oooooh, that's a great point!

I can see where there might be temptation to include all the shiny new information an author has acquired, but it's important to resist and use research info judiciously. Yes, yes, very good point to keep in mind.

It makes me think of something we used to say/hear in the dance world, "Let them see the movement, not the effort behind it."
Jan. 27th, 2009 02:18 am (UTC)
I know how you feel, Dakota. But research can be evil. Research can be an incubus. It has a sinister allure that makes it difficult to turn away from. Recently, I've found myself fascinated by a particular aspect of life in the late 19th century. Just got two books on this subject...and already I'm being sucked in.

But I have a WIP to tend to!

When I studied the 14th century (and its Black Plague outbreak) for a book that wasn't even set in the 14th century, I actually balked at getting on with the writing. I wanted to keep reading. Now I'm being tempted to put aside a project nearing completion just to follow the Siren song of research again.

I wonder how other writers overcome this weakenss. AAACK! It makes me crazy!

Feb. 6th, 2009 04:52 pm (UTC)
Research is alluring and seductive -- it is its own reward because research makes you smarter! It's true!

And it makes you a better writer (once you learn how to piecemeal it into the work).

I love research. Even when I'm fretting about how much time the research is taking...
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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