Tuesday, May 3, 2011

DEMON HUNTING in DIXIE!


As promised, I have a special guest for you today. Lexi George is a debut author. Her first book, DEMON HUNTING in DIXIE, a light and funny paranormal romance, came out last week from Kensington Brava.

Lexi is a member of my RWA chapter, Southern Magic, here in Birmingham and a good friend. She's going to chat today about seven things she's learned as a newly published author. With only a little over two years under my belt as a published author, I can definitely identify with everything she mentions. And some of these things I'm still learning!

I hope you'll take a moment to say hey to Lexi and check out her awesome first book! Isn't the cover beautiful? I love the colors! And Lexi's generously giving away two signed ARCs of DHiD to two random commenters. So be sure to comment for a chance to win. Lexi's going to be stopping by frequently today, so if you have any questions about writing or being a newly published author, be sure to ask her.

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far by Lexi George

1. Sometimes you have to kill your little darlings. Yes, it’s tough. It might be funny, poignant, or the best darn passage you’ve ever written, but if it doesn’t move the story forward or tell the reader something new about one of your characters it’s extraneous. It slows the pace and kills the story. But, hey, write green. Save it in a junk document and recycle it in another book.

2. Don’t save anything for later—put it all out there. Don’t worry about saving ideas/ characters/ scenes or dialogue for the ‘next’ book. Use it all. Now. In this book. Trust your muse. There will be more later when you need it, I promise.

3. As much as I hate conflict in my real life, it is necessary on the page. I hate confrontation. I am a peacemaker. I avoid conflict in my personal life like the plague. But no one wants to read a story that is all lollipops and buttercups. Characters have to have conflict, internal and external, that drives the story along. Conflict is the hardest thing for me to achieve as a writer. It goes against my nature, but it is essential. Throw rocks at your characters. Big rocks and little rocks.

4. Sex scenes are . . . er . . . hard. I love romance and I love a sexy, romantic sex scene. When I buy a new romance I always thumb through and find the culminating moment between the hero and heroine. I don’t read it, mind you, but I know where it is. It gives me something to look forward to! I am NOT one of those women who skip the sex scenes. Nope. Uh uh.

Writing a sex scene? Arggh!!! It has to be emotional and sensual. It has to be satisfying to the reader, who has invested his or her precious time in the relationship of your characters and their love story. Sex scenes are significant with a capital ‘S,’ and darn hard to write. Especially when you have the image of the old maid librarian from grammar school haunting you, or when you imagine the reaction of your aunt, the Baptist preacher’s wife, when she reads your sex scene. Talk about your cold showers.

5. Your characters will surprise you. No matter whether you are a pantser or a plotter with flow charts and family trees for every character, at some point in the writing process, your characters are going to surprise you. You’ll think, Wow, I never expected her/him to say or do that! Secondary characters have a way of popping up in my books fully formed, like Athena from Zeus’s head. I don’t anticipate them and they surprise the heck out of me when they appear.

6. I can write funny! No, really, I never knew I had it in me. When I set out to write Demon Hunting in Dixie, I envisioned it as dark and steamy. Imagine my surprise when the story took a funny turn almost from the start! Lesson learned? When you write, not only will your characters surprise you, you will surprise yourself. Writing is a wonderful way to discover new things about your oldest and dearest friend, the person you thought you knew everything about: You! I highly recommend it.

7. You can’t do it alone. Every writer needs friends who write. Writing can be a lonely business and you need your peeps to encourage you, support you, and give you the occasional kick in the butt when you need it. Moreover, feedback and constructive criticism are essential if you want to grow and improve as a writer. You can’t write in a vacuum. Join (or start!) a writer’s group and your local chapter of the RWA. You will find friendship, a wealth of information, and support. Networking can help get your foot in the door. Without the help of other writers, I would not be published today.

Seriously. For one thing, if not for Christy’s generosity, I would not be on this blog. Thank you, Christy!

37 comments:

LadyVampire2u said...

Congratulations on your all new release!! The cover is very eye catching and beautiful. And the book sounds awesome. Just added this to my wishlist.
My question to you: Who are some of your favorite authors that inspired you to write your own book?

LadyVampire2u AT gmail DOT com

KayB said...

Wow I like the seven things you have learned. I need to copy those. Your cover is beautiful and sounds like my wish list just got one book longer

Leanne109 said...

Great interview! WTG! on your book release! The question I like to ask every author is a favourite fan memory but I'd also like to ask, what is your favourite place to read?

leanne_gag[at]hotmail[dot]com

Ren said...

Congrats foryour new release Lexi! :D
Paranormal romance is my favorite and add humor in here, I can't resist it *lol*
I want to ask, how you came with the title of your book? :)
And, by the way I enjoy your "7 things I've Learned" esp number 4 ;)

Crystal said...

Hey Lexi! Congratulations on the new release! Sounds very exciting. I love it when Christy has special guest I always find new books to check out. My question is.... Is paranormal what you've always wanted to write? What is your all time comfort read?

Christi Snow said...

ooh, I have just added this to my wish list...it sounds fabulous and I love books that have a twist of fun to them!

My question...How long did it take you to write this first book?

smiles...

Lexi said...

Hey, LadyVampire! Love your name, BTW. Ooh, I have a ton of favorite authors! I love romance in all its forms, whether its romantic suspence, historical (a personal fav), contemporary or paranormal. I read some of everything. Love YA, too. As far as paranormal writers go, I love Angie Fox, Christine Feehan, and Charlaine Harris. I am also a huge Harry Potter freak and I love Lord of the Rings. There. I'm a nerd!

Lexi said...

Thanks, KayB! I still have a LOT to learn as a writer. My prayer is that I get better and grow with each and every book. That's the fun of writing. It's a craft and the more you stretch, the more you can do. I like to think of writing as a muscle that constantly needs exercise and training or it will atrophy.

Lexi said...

Leanne, I read everywhere! I carry a book in my purse with me at all times. I have an active teenager, so that means waiting on her while she's at dance, play practice and, most recently, at the doctor's office with a sprained ankle. I even read at traffic lights. NOT when driving, mind you. But I get so antsy sitting at a long light that sometimes I read a page while I'm waiting. How's that for obsessive! Thanks for stopping by.

Lexi said...

Ren, the book started out dark (I thought) and so the original title I came up with was DARK ENCOUNTER. But, before the first chapter was written, I knew the book wasn't going to be a DARK ENCOUNTER. The more it morphed into this zany thing, the more I knew I needed another title. So, I made a list of things that are Southern and paranormal. DEMON HUNTING IN DIXIE came from words on the list. Good question, BTW!

Lexi said...

Okay, Crystal, I am going to tell you my dirty little secret. I LOVE historical romance! I started out reading Georgette Heyer when I was 13, so I've loved HR for a very long time. But, I read all across the romance genre, including contemporary and romantic suspense. And since I was a kid I've loved fantasy and fairy tales. The first book I ever wrote was a fantasy romance. So, PN seemed like a natural fit for me, combining the romance I love with the fantasy elements I enjoy!

Lexi said...

Christi, my 'first' book was a fantasy romance and it took me more than ten years to write it, because I was self taught and a busy working mom. I would write a little and then put it down and then write a little more.

By comparison, it took me a year to write DEMON HUNTING IN DIXIE, which is a big improvement!

flywingslikelace said...

The first rule is always the most difficult.

Mel said...

Congratulations on your success, Lexi. All your insights are perfect for the new (and experienced) writer. As everyone has commented, the cover is gorgeous! My question is, did you have an idea for the cover, or did the company steer you in that direction?

Ronlyn said...

Welcome Lexi! What great fun to "meet" you. :-) I love reading the 7 things you've learned. Congrats on your newest book.

Lexi said...

Yes, flywings, the first rule is a toughy and it's hard to let things go. But, like I said, save them for later!

M.V.Freeman said...

Lexi,
Three cheers for your book! I am looking forward to reading it. :)

I like the seven points--they are true! But the 7th point has been instrumental for me to continue to write. In less than 3 years I've made leaps and bounds in my writing because of it.

Now, I must ask..which is harder for you: Starting the book--the middle of the book--or finishing the book?

Lexi said...

Good question, Mel. Kensington had TOTAL control of the title and the cover. Fortunately my editor, Megan Records, is great to work with. My 'original' title for the book was DEMONS IN DIXIE, but we compromised with DEMON HUNTING IN DIXIE, which I think is great. The cover was ALL Kensington and they did a fabulous job. I am THRILLED with my first cover and I love the paranormal purple and red. Wish I looked like the chick on the cover, but there you go. Can't have everything!

Lexi said...

Thanks for stopping by, Ronlyn and for the good wishes! I am uber excited about this book. And I LOVE to meet other writers and readers, so this is fun, too.

Lexi said...

Mary, beginnings are tough. You have to figure out where to start in the action, jumping in at an exciting point while investing the reader in the characters. A good ending is crucial, too, but I think I hairball over the beginning waaaay more than the end! Thanks for stopping by to see me!

Mary G said...

Christy made me visit & I always listen to her LOL. Congrats on your new release Lexi. I don't normally read a lot of demon books but if it's funny, it won't scare me so much.

Mary G said...

Forgot to say:
I enjoyed your list. I've heard the one about killing your little darlings. It must be hard to do though. Writing sex scenes: I chuckle just thinking about it.
There are sooo many euphemissms for body parts now LOL.

Jackie P said...

Lexi, so glad your here today and I am looking forward to your book. Is there anything you have planned in the future that you can tell us about?

Lexi said...

Mary G, thanks for popping in. My demon books are way more funny than scary, so maybe you'll like them. As for the euphemisms, you are right, with new ones being invented every day. One of the challenges for me in writing a sex scenes was trying to avoid a lot of flowery language, like heaving bosoms and throbbing members. Wait, did I just type that?

Crystal said...

LOL Lexi!... heaving bosoms and throbbing members....

I've been reading Romantic Suspense for years, but only in the last year or two have I started reading historicals. I have Christy to thank for giving me the nudge to try one out. Then the rest of the ladies here on Recommend Monday have been keeping me suspended in the past....and I love it! :)

Lexi said...

I love HR, Crystal, because it is so different from what I write that I can read it and not spend my time dissecting it! It's pure escapism for me.

Terri said...

I think I saw your book in the slide show at the Birmingham Lucheon last year. I love the concept and I'm adding it to my "get this book" list.

Congratulations!

Lexi said...

You've got a good eye, Terri! It was most definitely on the slide show. Thrilled that you've added it to your list!

Kara C said...

This book sounds great! I could use a little 'light and funny' this week. I will definitely be checking this out asap.

Lexi said...

Kara, I write what I like and I like funny. I read dark and dreary all day at work and when I pick up a book, I want to escape. So, that's what I write. Hope you enjoy the book and that it makes you laugh!

Louisa Cornell said...

Wow, two of my favorite authors on the same blog! (waves madly at Christy and Lexi!)

I am one of the fortunate people who read Demon Hunting in Dixie in its earliest form and I KNEW after the first chapter or two that this was going to be winner!

It's funny, sexy as "heck" action-packed and a truly fun read! You will LOVE Addy and Brand, but there are other really fabulous characters in it that will make you laugh until you cry and those of you who live in small towns may even recognize one or two!

Lexi said...

Thanks, Louisa! You and Tammy really encouraged me at the start of this book to keep on with it. As you know, it was a big leap for me and I really appreciate the support, then and now.

Lexi said...

Jackie, I somehow missed your comment! Sorry! Yes, thanks for asking. I have a novella coming out in August as part of a Halloween anthology from Kensington called SO I MARRIED A DEMON SLAYER. And I'm hard at work on book two, which should be out next year. (Fingers crossed!)

Lexi said...

And the winners are . . . Ahem, ahem, drum roll, please!

Louisa Cornell and Ren!!! Send your addresses to:

lexigeorge56@gmail.com to receive a signed copy of my book.

Thanks to Christy for having me here and to everyone who commented on the blog and made me feel so very welcome. I had a great time chatting with all of you.

Lexi

Lexi said...

Oh, in case you were wondering about the process for choosing the winners, it was all extremely cutting edge and scientific. I had my daughter write everyone's name down that commented on a separate piece of paper, she cut them out, folded them up, put them in a high tech plastic cookie tin, shook the heck out of the tin while dancing around and singing the Macarena. At the conclusion of this silliness, she drew two pieces of paper from the cookie tin and announced the winners. Send them to school and they eat the books . . .

Christy Reece said...

Wow, great questions everyone! Thanks so much to all of you for making Lexi feel at home! And thank you Lexi for spending the day here. Sorry I didn't get to join in. Working on SWEET JUSTICE page proofs and writing SWEET REWARD has got my brain tangled and tied up.

Congrats to Ren and Louisa for winning signed copies of DHiD! And Lexi, wow, that's a great way to choose a winner and entertaining too! Wonder if I could get the hubby to choose a winner that way. Would love to see him do the Macarena. (:

Hope everyone has a great rest of the week! See you back here on Monday for Recommend Monday!

Crystal said...

Congratulations Ladies! Thanks for hanging out yesterday Lexi!!