Tag Archives: Caridad Pineiro

Rayna and Caridad’s Awesome Adventure

Back in August my good friend, Caridad Pineiro, asked me to road trip with her to Boonsboro, MD. Why? Because she wanted to have a fan girl moment and attend a Nora Roberts book signing at Turn the Page Bookstore. Of course, I was game. I’m always up for a road trip with friends, throw Nora Roberts into the mix and a good time is guaranteed.  I figured if we were going to do it, we were going to do it right and book a room at Inn Boonsboro on the Square.  So two Fridays ago we loaded up the SUV and followed the GPS south.

Boonsboro isn’t in the most highly populated of areas so as we got close I got a little nervous  because we were driving along a mountain, in the dark, in deer crossing territory. I was constantly on the watch for Bambi to dart out in the street. Despite my worries,  we got there safe and sound, the last guests to arrive. The minute we stepped into the inn all we could do was ooo and ahhh!.The place was gorgeous, homey, warm, and welcoming. We were giving a tour of the first floor which held most of the guest gathering areas and we were enthralled by everything.  Then we were shown upstairs the Nick and Nora room. Nick and Nora Charles,  if you aren’t familiar, are from the book by Dashiel Hammet and the movie series that began in 1934 entitled The Thin Man.

We entered the room and the gasping and amazement ramped up even more. The scent of diffuses green tea and ginger filled the room, so calming and relaxing. Fabulous retro decor filled the room, and then there was the bathroom. Bathrooms are a big thing with me. especially in hotels. If the bathroom is not good I just can’t deal, but this bathroom rocked. It held a glass enclosed multi-head shower, a tub that I regret not having the time to use, heated floor tiles, and other furniture pieces that fit the retro theme perfectly. Oh and let’s not foget the towel warmer. However, the best part for me though was the toilet. How much better can it get then to have a toilet that was controlled by a wall mounted remote and had a heated seat, amongst other cool features. However, as much as we wanted to keep turning in circle to take in all the sights like tourists in Time Square, it was late and we had a big day ahead of us.

The next morning we were up bright and early enjoying the fabulous shower and partaking of a delicious breakfast in the inn dining room. Then off to get our tickets for the signing. They have a ticketing system in place so that things stay orderly and keep moving forward without having to contend with a huge crush of people. We eagerly purchased our copies of New York to Dallas then went back to the inn to relax until the signing began. The signing was so much fun. Everyone was so excited to be meeting Nora and the other authors that were signing with her.  Nora was too cool. Her and Charity talked Buffy as she signed the collection of books and t-shirts that we place in front of her. From there we went to Vesta, the pizza parlor owned by Nora’s son, where we had a terrific pizza and chatted with other signing attendees one of whom made the coolest lamp from copies of three of Nora’s books. After lunch we explored some of the other shops on Main St. Boonsboro. We ended our day with tea and desserts at a lovely little bakery across from the book store.

We had a terrific time and can’t wait to make our next trip down there which, yes, we’ve already book. This time around we’ll have the Eve and Roarke Room. I know I’m looking forward to going to another signing as well as going to explore Antietam battlefield.

Here’s a few more photos from my pilgrimage to Turn the Page.

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Has anyone else been down to Boonsboro? Stayed at the inn?

Advice for New Writers

I’m tackling interview questions for my November/December blog tour.  Yes, I know its 2 months away, but I’ve told you before that I’m a geek.  I always had my homework and term papers done way ahead of time.  Otherwise I can’t think because I feel like Wile E. Coyote with an anvil poised over his head.

Anyway, the best piece of advice I can give any beginning writer is to join a writers’ organtization.   Yesterday I attended the Liberty States Fiction Writers meeting.   I can’t describe how good it felt to mingle with other writers, to have them cheer when I held up the gorgeous ARC (advanced reader copy) of my debut novel, She Can Run, to pick the brains of the experienced authors in the group. (Thank you, Caridad Pineiro, yet again.)

Writing is a solitary life, but writers need to leave their writing caves and mingle with other humans occasionally.  But books are about people and relationships and the outside world.  How do we write about these things if we’re holed up in our PJs guzzling coffee and muttering to the dogs for months on end?  Professional organizations also provide important resources to help writers in all states improve their craft, learn to promote, and talk about what happening in the business. Liberty States Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America have both been instrumental in helping me with my career.

So, that’s my big piece of advice: join a professional organization.  For those of you with experience in the writing world, what advice can you give to beginning writers?  For the newbies out there, what’s your biggest obstacle?

If anyone has other writing organizations they’d like to list here, go for it!

Writing Sexy Love Scenes

Today’s Guest Blogger is New York times best selling author, Caridad Pineiro.  Caridad will be giving away a ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) of THE LOST to one lucky commenter.  Welcome, Caridad! 

You’ve all heard those warnings in the assorted ED commercials:

In case of an erection lasting more than four hours, contact your physician.  

Well here’s a word of advice for those wanting to write sexy love scenes:

In case of an erection lasting more than ten pages, contact your editor.

Okay, so I’m teasing you a bit.  There is no magic rule about how long or short a love scene should be.  Nor is there any rule about how many love scenes you should have in your work.  But there are some very important things that you should keep in mind in order to write a good love scene.

The first thing to consider is your hero and heroine.  There is nothing that will take you out of the story more quickly than being in the middle of a love scene and thinking, “There is no way he/she would do that!”

If your heroine is kick-ass, it’s unlikely she’s going to become shy and retiring while making love, unless of course there is a very good reason for it. For example, past abuse or rape or even being a virgin.  But knowing this about the heroine is something  that should come out well before that first pivotal scene of intimacy, otherwise it may pull the reader out of the story.  In addition, knowing that the heroine has a traumatic past makes the first step toward involvement all the more important, so it will require a delicate balance to write a believable scene.  Set it up first and be cautious in how much goes on during that first encounter.

If your heroine is just your regular kind of girl, it’s still important to keep some things in mind when writing the love scene, namely, the five senses.  Put yourself in the shoes of the hero and heroine and ask yourself:

How does the other person’s skin feel?

What smells are in the air?  Does your lover have a smell?

Is your lover silent or do they like talking or showing their satisfaction with a soft/loud cry?

Salty skin?  Sweetness elsewhere?

What does your lover look like?  Are they much bigger than you are?

You want the reader to experience each and every sensual experience.  Involve them in what’s happening, but don’t make it clinical.  It’s about more than Tab A goes into Part B.

Speaking of Tab A/Part B, can you use words like f**k, c**k or p***sy?  That really depends where you intend to sell the work.  For erotica such words are acceptable, but they may not be for a romance line.  Ditto on bondage, domination, etc.  Such edgy activities may be all right for more erotic stories, but not for a traditional romance.

As I mentioned before, there is no right length to the love scene.  Your characters and the story will let you know when the length is right.  So will the genre in which you are writing.  In a sweet or inspirational romance, you will probably close the door and not show the love scene at all.

How many love scenes?  Again, that depends on the nature of the story you are writing.  In erotica the love scene(s) may constitute most of the work.  Not so in a romance where the story arc should be more about the development of the relationship.  It is only after the sexual tension has grown between the hero and heroine that it would be appropriate to offer up a love scene.  Your first scenes may be just teases as the hero and heroine feel each other out, but then develop into a longer scene when the hero and heroine become emotionally closer.

Last but not least, even though we want the scene to be romantic and for everyone to be fulfilled, keep in mind the physical realities of making love.  While we’d love a hero who can go on and on and on like the Energizer bunny, besides being dangerous, that four-hour erection is unrealistic.  If a reader thinks the scene is unrealistic, you will pull them out of the story again and that’s not a good thing.

Creating a realistic relationship and intimacy between the hero and heroine is a sure-fire way to keep the reader involved in your story!

Thank you, Caridad.  Remember, one lucky commenter will receive an ARC of Caridad’s novel, THE LOST, available July 26th.  This book is the first in a  paranormal series about a race of energy gatherers with all kinds of unusual properties, like shape-shifting and being able to heal or kill just with a touch.  I can’t wait to read it.  🙂

~K.M. Fawcett

A Recipe for Action by Caridad Pineiro

Action scenes.  Love ‘em or hate ‘em, but as a genre fiction writer you probably will have to someday write an action scene for your novel.  Getting the best results often involves having the right recipe and ingredients and I’m here to share some of my secrets for creating an action scene that makes readers keep turning the pages!

The first ingredient is the characters.  As Melinda and Kathy pointed out in their earlier advice about The Perfection of One’s Character and Writing the Fight Scene, it’s important for you to know the kind of fighting experience that your characters have.  Are they trained military or law enforcement?  Do they have martial arts experience?  What kinds of strengths or weakness do they have physically?  How tall or short is each of the fighters? Each one of these will make the difference between your action scene being a bar room brawl slugfest or a well-choreographed and precise battle between two opponents.

The next item to add to the mix is location.  Where is the scene taking place?  Action that is happening on dry land is going to be very different than that occurring in wet sand or water.  Will the combatants be at risk in the location, i.e., near the edge of a cliff?  Are there any possible weapons that can be used at the location?  On the beach, sand becomes a weapon when it is tossed in someone’s eyes.  In a closed environment, such as an office, a heavy bookend or letter opener can be used against an opponent.

Physics is the next ingredient to add to your mix!  How do bodies and things react to the application of force?  It’s important to know how a punch will move the combatants so that you can plan for the next logical step in the fight.  For example, a blow to the face will likely have an opponent’s head moving back and so a knee to the face might not be possible.  As Rayna mentioned in her post on When in Doubt, Act It Out, if you have any hesitation, physically go through the steps yourself to make sure the physics of the scene make sense and also keep in mind the characters’ physical traits.  Height, weight and the sex of the characters will make a big difference.

Next up in our recipe – Dialogue.  I vaguely recall that one critic said of Buffy the Vampire Slayer that the only thing sharper than her jabs were her one liners.  Good advice for any action scene with dialogue.

The words your combatants exchange should be like body blows, short, precise and stinging.  Nothing slows down an action scene more than long discussions between the various combatants.  In general, it’s probably best to keep dialogue to the beginning and end of the scenes – the first to incite the action and the latter to help transition to the next scene in your book.

Likewise, internalized dialogue as the characters fight should be kept to a minimum.  Although the character may be in a life or death struggle, your action scene is not the time for the character to have her life flash in front of her eyes.  As with spoken dialogue, keep internal thoughts to a minimum and have them up the ante in the fight.  For example, if the heroine knows there is a weapon nearby, have a quick thought flash through her brain about how to reach that weapon or how to use it.  Or spice the scene with a thought about the heroine’s reaction to either receiving or connecting with a punch.

Hand in hand with dialogue is the narrative in your scene.  Much as with dialogue, keep it short.  Short sentences create tension and move the scene along.  If you’re doing an action scene correctly, there isn’t room for long winded narratives about what’s happening, except to possibly set up or end the scene (more on that later!).  Also think about using elements of deep POV to heighten the tension and keep the action moving, namely, a new paragraph for each thought, action or punch.  For example:

A sharp jab to the nose had his opponent reeling backward.

Mick charged ahead.

A left hook glanced across the man’s cheekbone, but landed with enough force to daze him.  Mick’s opponent dropped the sharp-edged broken bottle and it shattered against the concrete floor.

Blood dripped from a cut on the man’s temple and nose as he swayed, eyes glassy.  Unfocused.

Mick cocked his arm to deliver the coup de grace.

Last but not least, the final ingredients in the recipe are the beginning and ending of your action scene.

When it comes to the beginning of the scene, keep one very important thing in mind – Does the action make sense in light of the characters, location, weapons, and story line?  I always think about that scene in Indiana Jones when Jones is challenged by a rather large and muscular man.  Bull whip in hand, Jones realizes he is no match for his opponent – until he pulls out his gun and shoots the man.

Like Indiana Jones, a smart hero knows when to back off an altercation or avoid a fight unless it’s absolutely necessary.  Heroes who charge in without a thought to their own safety or possible collateral damage come across as too stupid to live.

Where do you start the scene?  The best place to do so to keep the pages turning is to start the scene at the end of the chapter before.  Make them turn the page to see if the hero will engage in combat.

Where do you end the scene?  That’s a hard question and really requires you to do one thing – write the entire scene from start to finish.  Then find a good place smack in the middle to insert a chapter break, usually at a place just a millisecond before a punch will be landed or a knife will be thrust (see the example above with Mick – Did he throw that last punch?  Did you want to know what happened next?).

Keep the reader wondering  about what happens next as it will force them to turn the page.  At the start of the next chapter, resume your action scene.

One other important thing to keep in mind when it comes to ending a scene — Remember that a real hero won’t inflict damage above and beyond what is necessary.  Doing so diminishes her in the eyes of the reader and that’s the last thing you want to do.  Even justified lethal force can be difficult for readers, so keep that in mind so as to not put off people.  For example, in the above scene with Mick, Mick may have determined that his opponent was no longer a threat.  The next chapter can open with Mick deciding to just walk away from the fight rather than inflicting any more punishment.

By combining the above ingredients, you have a recipe for writing fast-paced action scenes that will keep readers attacking those pages!

New York Times and USA Today bestselling paranormal and romantic suspense author Caridad Pineiro wrote her first novel in the fifth grade when her teacher assigned a project – to write a book for a class lending library.  Bitten by the writing bug, Caridad continued with her passion for the written word through high school, college and law school.  In 1999, Caridad’s first novel was released and a decade later, Caridad is the author of over twenty novels and novellas.  When not writing, Caridad is an attorney, wife and mother to an aspiring writer and fashionista. Caridad’s November 2009 release, SINS OF THE FLESH, is the first book in an exciting new paranormal suspense series from Grand Central Publishing.  Look for STRONGER THAN SIN in October 2010. For more information on Caridad, please visit www.caridad.com or www.thecallingvampirenovels.com.