Welcome to Julia Talbot's blog!

Welcome, everyone! Here's where I blather about writing, life with my wife BA, and my two basset hounds! I love to hear from readers, so comment here or email me!

Friday, January 31, 2014

developing a character

I struggle with character development.

There, I said it. People never believe me. I hear a lot that people love my characters most, that my plots sometime wander off but my people are rockin' cool.

To that I say, "Woo!" because I love to hear that readers appreciate what I do. (juliatalbot at gmail.com Seriously.) But I also have to tell you a secret. Putting all that character on a page is what I have trouble with.

See, most of my characters spring into my head fully formed, like Athena from Jove. There's rarely a surprise. I know what they'll do in any given situation, so often I have to make myself stop and explain, even though it kills me to have to spend the time. Because it's so damned clear to me, right? Everyone else should just know what's in my brain. My editors at Torquere are all critique partners, so they do know what I'm thinking, which is a double-edges sword.

Only working with new editors the last couple of years have made me understand that sometimes I can be a bit spare in the characterization. No one likes a stark, white room, so I have to force myself to be more descriptive, more overt. This is where the fact that I've learned to like rewrites comes in. I'll read a book back and say, "Oh, man. He comes off as a jerk because we don't know about his mom dying from cancer last week."

What kinds of things do y'all like to know about characters when you read? Is it different for m/m than it is for m/f?



Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What I'm working on right now

I have five or six works in progress at any time. Right now I have a short story open that has no deadline and no intended publisher ;)

Here's a bit:

“Are all British novels so dreary?” I asked. Being an Anglophile and a lit grad student, I had sought out the only queer British professor in the Research Triangle, hunting him with the dogged determination of a safari guide in Kenya. No one could complain; he was at Duke and I worked at UNC.

“You have to live where the sun shines to be chipper.” He smiled at me, all the angles of his face rearranging themselves into something handsome. There were two kinds of good-looking British men, John would tell me. Mushy ones and sharp ones. He fell on the side of sharp, a little like a young Ralph Fiennes.

I stroked his belly, the skin pale, the muscles defined but not bulky. “I remember the sun going down at like, three in the afternoon when I went to London. Everything closed at sundown.”

John just nodded, smiling a little, his gray eyes flashing an evil mirth. “It’s a government conspiracy. That’s how all the museums stay free.”

He covered my hand with his and pushed it down past the black curls that bloomed below his navel, thickening to a heavy bush around the base of John’s cock. Nothing pale about that bit, rising hard and hot where I wrapped my fingers about it.

“It’s like in Dr. Who,” I murmured. “They make out like all English mothers are bitches.”

“Bah.” His hips rolled in a lazy arc, his dick pushing against my palm. “Stephen King has mommy issues, too.”

“He’s not an entire nation, lover.” I called him lover because I wished for it, for me to mean something to him that I didn’t. I wanted to be literary lovers; not star-crossed, just intensely set on one another.

John seemed more interested in the fucking.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Snippet sunday

Got a lot of great word prompts this week which will give me some good posts in the next few weeks.

Thanks to all who played. Feel free to comment here with a word or two and I promise to mention you here! This week I'm taking snarly from Kathy B.

"Don't you get snarly with me, buster." Geno poked Arthur right in the chest, his dark eyes flashing. "I can't help what your mother named you."

Arthur growled some more. "Neither can I. The least you can do is quit laughing hysterically every time you see it in writing."

Geno stared. "You asked me to get the mail. Your fault. Her delusions of grandeur."

His mate drove him crazy. Bugnuts. Insane. Arthur shook his head, glancing down at the mail, which was labeled, King, Arthur. Geno was right. His mom had a real sense of humor.

Geno and Arthur have no story as yet. They just came to me. Dedicated to the real King, Arthur. I miss you often ;)



Saturday, January 25, 2014

Decade author at Changeling Press

Wow, y'all. Changeling Press has been around since 2004. I've been with them almost that long, and they honored me with a re-release of my first title with them, The Magic Touch. I loved writing that one, as it was my first het book, and Trinity, the heroine, is a character from my old gaming days.

It's also one of my favorite covers at Changeling.

I was pretty naive as author back then, thinking I would have this whole batch of covers that had that look, book by book. Yeah, not so much, but I liked the idea. (g)

Anyway, I love Trinity as a heroine. I think she's kick ass, and she's a witch, albeit a reluctant one, something I'm fixing to write on again soon!

Check it out here!



Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Switching gears

So, for the longest time I've been working on an angsty contemporary for Dreamspinner. Since it has no deadline, I work on it when I can and it gets pushed to the side when I have to turn in something to EC or TQ or CP. (I love initials, can you tell?)

My New Year's resolutions were pretty simple this year, and one was to get 500 words a day on the novel, just to keep it going.

No problem. I can do that with my eyes closed, right? Indeed, it's been easy. Until today.

See, I've gotten to the big conflict, and it's making me sad. It's already a gray, cloudy day threatening snow, and I don't want to deal with angst, even though I love Walt and Garrison with all my heart.

So I will get my word count, but then I will switch gears. I have a new novelette to work on. It's silly, it's goofy, it's fantasy fluff with lots of yummy sex.

Sometimes you just have to back off the angsty story and cheer yourself up so you stop crying!



Sunday, January 19, 2014

Snippet Sunday

for Katherine Halle who gave me beer and hot dogs

"Why the hell are you making hot dogs?" Kasey asked, poking Deke in the butt.

"Because Luc gave me really good beer."

"You know I hate the smell of beer."

Deke glanced over his shoulder. "Yes. But you like the way I taste when I drink it."

Kasey pondered that. "Well, as long as it's really good beer."

Deke shook his hienie. "You're so easy."

Kasey snorted. "And you eat meat in a tube."

"All the time, lover. All the time."

Deke and Kasey can be found in the Bloodrose books at www.torquerepress.com



I need words! Comment for upcoming weeks!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Character development for Shandra

Shandra from the street team gave me a blog subject! (My Boys Touch is a yahoo group and facebook group. Ask me how!)

she says: I like to read about character development, where someone's characters come from, if they ever surprised them while they were writing, what they enjoy about them, or if they ever have those people in their head that won't go away.

Characters come from all over. People I see on the street, people I know, PBS documentaries about JFK. BA Tortuga and I spend a lot of time going, "What If?" In fact, that's spelled out on our office wall in rainbow wood letters. What if there was this guy who was a bear shifter who worked in a bar...

Characters always surprise me. I would never have said I would break up a popular couple and write the one part of the pair a whole new guy. Ever. In retrospect, it almost ruined my career before I started good. (Read the Thatchers series from Torquere. Really) But I had to do it. Ross Thatcher insisted I tell his story honestly. I got a four page email from someone who still trolls me online for that one, telling me I ruined her for life on my stories and she hated me and...

Ahem. At least I can blame it on a character.

What I really enjoy is how every character is different, how every one is looking for the same thing (love) and how who they are influences their persona onscreen. Bear shifter? I like them big and a little goofy and yet fierce. Wolf? Instincts, baby. Cowboys? Pride, and toughness and a tender inside.

Do I have people in my head who won't go away? God, yes. Deke and Kasey from the Bloodrose books, for instance. I haven't written them in maybe three years. They're still just as loud as they were when I write an Itch to Scratch, wanting to keep putting on a show.

What about y'all? And if you have a blog suggestion, put it here or email me at juliatalbot@gmail.com



Sunday, January 12, 2014

Snippet Sunday

BA Tortuga gave me the words red wine and pizza, since that's what we're having for supper. Post a word or two in the comments and I'll try to use it next Sunday

Ice would kill for a glass of red wine and a gigantic pepperoni pie from Mangia's. He loved a deep dish pizza. Too bad living halfway up a volcanic rock in the great Northwest precluded that.

"You're pacing," his lover Keon murmured.

"I need a pizza."

Keon snorted. "I have yeast and flour and a dragon-fired wood oven. I can make a pizza."

Ice grinned a little. "Seriously?"

"Heck, yeah. Get the pepperoni, buddy. We'll have a party."

Damn, his dragon Guardian was talented in so many ways. Even without the wine, Ice was a lucky man. Time to get chopping.

Ice and Keon are coming up in February from Changeling Press



Friday, January 10, 2014

New Full Moon Dating! Coy and Denver

Hey y'all

I have a new full moon dating book out. The first was Aiden and Ben, who were two werewolves meeting in Wyoming for a bit of a vacation.

The second, and new one, is Coy and Denver. Coy is a city wolf from Dallas. Denver is a reclusive vamp in the Colorado mountains. When Full Moon Dating gets them together, they both know they're mates, but they have a few problems to work through. Like that whole biting thing.

Here's the cover.

And here's a wee bit to get you tingling

"Stop fretting, Boss. These two are gonna turn each other down, anyway." Adelia sniffed, the sound perfectly encapsulating her feelings on Harve's techno-matches as opposed to her finding potential matches by gut feeling.

"Harve says they're dead on, honey."

"I didn't say shit, the program did, and I'm right." Harve wandered through, glasses perched on his head, a sheaf of print outs in his hand.

"Bullshit." Adelia pouted, which was adorable with that lipstick she wore. "That little wolf is going to fight back. He's not subby."

"Who's to say the other one isn't? We're not supposed to be oogling the files. The computer does it."

Stone looked at Harve. "Did you just say 'oogling'?"

"I did." Harve leered at him, one eyebrow gyrating madly.

"Wow. That's..." He didn't have the words. Harve was a nut.

"Well, I think there's more to matching people up than algorithms," Adelia said, shrugging one bare shoulder. She really needed more appropriate work clothes. Today it was an off the shoulder pinup girl sweater and a poodle skirt.

"Uh-huh. That's why you work for a computer dating service?"

"Nah, I work here for the pretty geek bosses and hot psychology computer dorks." Now it was Adelia's turn to leer. "If I could just get them to hook up..."

Stone frowned at her, trying to repress her overtalking tendency. The expression had no effect on her.

Harve muttered, heading out without responding to her.

Stone wasn't sure if that was good or bad. He was just gonna let it go for now, though. He had to get that paperwork on file.

"Call the vamp, Ades. Make sure he knows he faxes the papers or he doesn't get a bite."

"You got it. What time do they normally wake up?"

"Hell if I know." He had no idea about vampire sleeping habits. He'd never slept with one.

"Huh. Okay. I'll call and leave a message."

"Thanks, Ades." He grinned at her before wandering to Harve's office, just to see what the man was up to. Well, that and he liked to look at Harve's ass.

Harve was pacing, looking at goddess knew what, muttering under his breath.

"What's up, man?" He watched. Back and forth. Uhn. That ass.

"Hmm? Oh, a weird ghost in the code." Harve smelled good. Edible.

Stone licked his lips, wanting a piece of that so bad.

Harve's body tightened, cock filling as he stared. Oh, fuck. Surely it wasn't code making the man get a happy, right?

Harve went to sit, hide behind his desk, cheeks pink.

"You, uh, need any help with that... problem, you holler. Okay?" He needed to go back to his office. Now.

Harve's eyes were the hottest thing he'd ever seen. Stone thought he might just burst into flames.

"Boss? Vamp on line two."

Shit. Adelia's timing sucked.

"I'll be right there, Ades."

Damn it.

He and Harve exchanged a look, then a tiny smile curved Harve's lips. "Later, Bossman."


Much later. And more naked.

Monday, January 06, 2014

where do writers get their ideas?

I hear that question a lot, and I sat down to ponder what it really means.

Really, when someone asks that, I'm not sure they mean what they actually say. I mean, anyone can get an idea for a book from wandering around at the mall and stalking the lady who's having a screaming fight with her boyfriend on her cellphone eavesdropping.

So, I think what this question is all about is, how do you transform that hey, that's a neat story idea into, hey, that's a short or a novella or a novel. How do you know it's worthy, and why did it beat out the other fifty ideas you had today to become a real boy? Or girl. Or mutant yeti ski patrol shifter guy. <.< >.>

For me, what it takes it two-fold. I need a character attached immediately. At least one. Not always two, since I often co-write with my partner BA, so I can pitch her a single and come back with a double or a triple. I need a character, though, who wants the story. Who won't shut up, sure, but who also wants it now. Who is willing to slam in and push the wolves and kitties and cowboys and firemen around like bowling pins to get his or her place.

After that, I need the story to be enough. If I can tell it all to myself in a minute flat, it won't ever make it on the page. I have to know there will be more, that the inspiration I saw in that moment in the mall will only be the tip of the iceberg. Sometimes that bites me on the butt, as I end up with too much story for the deadline I'm fighting. Then I get the reviews. You know the ones. I loved this, but...

Still, I think that's what it means to get an idea. It's not just the a ha moment. It's the happy little brain thunderstorm that happens afterward, and I think that's something you have to be able to experience in order to be a writer. If you stop at, "hey, that would be a neat story," then it's never going to become anything but a neat idea. Which is totally okay, too. That's just my take on an age-old question.

Feel free to tell me yours!