Monday, 19 December 2011

Guest Author Renee Vickers

Please join me in welcoming Renee Vickers to my blog today.

Every writer has their own methods and techniques for their craft. Authors of old scribed on parchment, more recent word crafters banged their ideas out on typewriters and scribbled in notebooks. The progress of modern technology has provided writers with more options than ever before at our fingertips.  And with all of these options it could take days months or years to find just the right mix. So I’d like to talk today about some of the things that have worked for me.
Back in my day (wow, I sound like I’m old, don’t I) the PC was new, slow and difficult to get. So when I first began writing I used a lined notebook like everyone else. This was fine for me when I was writing as a whimsical hobby, but was totally insufficient when I got the notion to be serious about this craft. Yeah, I still tote a notebook around when I go off the grid or when I’m away from my computer, but just to jot down ideas and thoughts and not to write a story. (Napkins, paper towels, and yes toilet paper has been known to be kidnapped at the hands of my muse before when nothing else was available.)
Jotting notes aside, I utilize several programs to keep me happy and somewhat sane. Here’s a rundown:
Microsoft OneNote ( from Microsoft Office. Here is a digital notebook to drool over. I’ve tried other programs, both free and paid, but this one works the best for me. It’s set up like a note book, with sections and tabs to keep everything all neat and organized, but it goes even further than just that. Not only am I able to write down story notes, scenes, character sketches, and ramblings, but I can pull all of my internet research in by pasting it and it notes the website and date where it was pulled, and it allows me to pull in pictures that I can use for my stories. And because it’s a MS Office program I can pull in tables and graphs and a bevy of other compatible features available through MS Office. As a side note, my pops, who’s a techno-geek and knows about programs well before I do, went wild for this when I showed him. It says a lot to me when he’s impressed. This program is included in the Microsoft Office 2007 suite and later but you can also purchase it individually.
Microsoft Word, of course, but that’s a given.
Write or Die ( by Dr. Wicked is a great program for those of us who have a nasty affliction of editing while writing. When they say it “puts the prod in productivity” they’re not kidding. This program has various settings to kick your butt in high gear to get your numbers up. Anything from a gentle reminder should you go too long thinking about what to say (or being distracted by whatnots) to Kamekazi mode which comes out and does everything but bitch slaps you for slacking. This program is very inexpensive at $10 for the desktop version, and even offers a free online version.
The last one that I want to talk about is AutoCrit ( which is an editing tool that, though I’ve only been recently introduced to it, I don’t know how I lived without it before. This program is one that I think every writer should consider. It allows you to paste up to 8,000 words at a time. Once you put in what you’d like it analyzes your work for things like repetition and redundancy, word usage, cliché’s, and many, many others. Seriously worth every penny if you ask me.
These are just my favorites. I’ve tried out lots of programs, especially free and inexpensive ones, to find the ones that work for me. What are your favorite programs or software? What gets you working well and keeps you on track?

Raven, thank you so much for hosting me today!

You're most welcome Renee :-)

 I’d like to leave you and your readers an excerpt on my debut release Sly’s Surrender 

Jake had been waiting on his barstool for an hour already and had started to lose patience with his date. Oh, he knew she’d come eventually, she always did. Even with knowing Sly’s usual M.O., he never failed to show up on time, because he knew the one time he decided to be late would be the one time she’d be on time. He sighed and checked his watch again. How much longer would he have to wait?

He called Tony over with a hasty jerk of his hand. The bartender rolled his eyes and shook his head. Tony was a man in his mid-fifties with gray hair—what was left of it. He wore a white dress shirt under a black vest. The only thing he was missing was the black armband reminiscent of the style at the turn of the twentieth century. Sly told him once that Tony had been tending bar there for thirty years, which could explain his gruff attitude. Jake never had any problems with the old man but thought he had a funny way of treating paying customers. After a minute or two, Tony begrudgingly set a fresh glass of soda on a clean little napkin and sternly eyed his teetotaler.

“Hope she’s worth it, boy,” he said with a grunt and a little too much emphasis on boy, as far as Jake was concerned. Jake watched the back of the bartender’s shiny head as he turned to tend to his more lucrative patrons.

He sighed again and glanced at the door. Still no Sly. Yeah, she was worth it, but it didn’t mean he had to enjoy complying with all her demands. Abstaining from drink was one of them. He had to admit that her reasoning was sound; how could she be in control if he was drunk? And, of course, waiting for her late ass all the time was another.

The more Jake thought about her controlling nature, the more agitated he grew. Why the hell did he subject himself to this . . . this . . . her control? It’s not right that she makes me jump through all of these ridiculous hoops, he thought as he glanced at Tony, who, simultaneously, gave him another disgusted look and shook his head. Jake’s blood boiled. That’s it, Jake thought, I’m not going to take this anymore.

“Hey, sexy.” Sly’s smooth voice purred behind Jake, just as her fingertip caressed from his chin to his jaw in one long motion, ending up just behind his ear. Shivers ant-marched down Jake’s body. In that instant, Jake knew. This is why. All the anger, indignation, and embarrassment fled his mind as she wrapped an arm over his shoulder and down his chest. As her hot breath caressed his neck, her honeyed voice flooded his mind. “I hope you haven’t been waiting too long.”

It took everything he had not to swallow, to show no outward reaction to what she was doing to him with these miniscule teases. This was just another game to her. She’d make him wait until he’d be ready to walk out, until he was so mad he couldn’t stand it, and then she’d show up, making him switch gears. Just like that. He shot a quick glance at Tony, who watched this dance out of the corner of his eyes, pretending like he was too busy toweling off a pristine glass to notice.

When Sly’s tongue flicked Jake’s thick, silver-hoop earring, he lost what small shred of control he had, albeit for a fraction of a second. He could feel her smile as her cheek rested against his neck. A prickling flash of anger growled in some dark recess of his mind.

She moved to half-lean, half-sit on the vacant stool next to him, and he had to strangle a threatening gasp. If he hadn’t, his body would have given away just how badly he wanted her. This was a high-stakes game, and so far, the house was winning.

Sly wore a tight black corset. Though no doubt made of the finest and most sturdy materials, the bone-rib garment threatened to break under the flood pressure of her ample bosom. It must have been a custom piece because it slithered down her slim waist with precision. No department wares could hope to cope with a curvy form such as hers. He noticed the striking color contrast as the thick, black material lay against her flawless, smooth, ivory-colored skin.

As his sight drew down, he soaked in just how short her layered black and burgundy diaphanous skirt was. She couldn’t sit down without flashing her all to the world. Jake gulped, carelessly abandoning any desire to restrain himself. Seeing his reaction, Sly barked a throaty laugh. He refused to look up until he saw his favorite pair of strappy, black, four-inch stiletto heels. When he came up for breath he found her glossy crimson-colored lips snaking a Cheshire pattern across her gleaming teeth and humor glistening in her hazel eyes. Oh, how she loves this game.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks again Raven! It was a fun playing in your sandbox! And thank you Doris for helping! :D