Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Easing into 2012

    So here we are folks, right smack-dab in the middle of January. Boy where does the time go? Are you making the most of your 2012 blog friends? I don’t do resolutions so I won’t put the thumbscrews on and ask you about yours. Life is hard enough without putting unrealistic pressure on myself. I thoroughly enjoy goals though. A great goal will take a girl far. I say down with resolutions and up with doing the really cool stuff you want to do! LOL! Life is too dang short for any less.

Months of year, dragons style, symbol of 2012 for your...    For me, 2012 has started off beautifully and I’m super thankful for that.  I know I’ve told you guys about how I decided to take some time off after finishing my latest version of Unwilling. What I haven’t told you though is what I’ve been doing in the down time. Of course, those first few weeks saddled the Christmas holidays and there was the necessary visiting and family fun. In addition to that, I spent the time decompressing from the pressure of finishing a manuscript.

    But I thought you lurved writing?

    Don't get me wrong, I DO love writing! But that's not really what a revision is. For those who write, you know exactly the kind of skull-cramping pressure the editing process creates. For everyone, else let me explain this experience. For me personally, the mental burden of ripping a manuscript apart and sticking it back together again is something I don’t notice until it leaves. The drive to finish is so strong it overshadows the pressure. That doesn't mean it ain't there though.
    Sort of like a kidney stone. That sucker hurts like an alien trying to claw its way out, shredding your urethra the whole way. When actually, you aren’t aware of just how much pain it’s producing until it disappears. To be under a self-inflicted deadline to revise a manuscript creates an intense, single-minded pressure that only increases until I type the last word.  And ding-bat that I am, I forget about that feeling of pressure in the midst of writing everytime.

Just in case you don't have
a personal relationship with
a demon from the pits
of hell...I mean...
kidney stone.
    The December morning after I finished Unwilling (or early afternoon if you’re getting picky about it) was a mix of want- to-cry-relief and want-to-dance-excitement. See, I'd forgotten about that dang pressure again. Oddly enough, leaving the routine of "book-brain" throws a little kink in the down time too. Took me a few days, but I worked out all the snags.

    So back to the vaca stuff. Since the first week of December I’ve read over twenty novels. Don’t get all blustery at me now; they were some of my old favorites I’ve read at least twice. Nothing new.  I watched several movies I’d been dying to see, caught up on all the episodes of Big Bang Theory and hung out with the Hubs and kids in a sedate state of chill I hadn’t experienced since summer.

    It been a wonderful mini vacation indeed. After about two weeks though, the idea factory (read: blood curdling nightmares) got cranked up again. I zoned out on plot ideas while Son#2 rattled on about Skylanders for the fiftieth time in a day and found myself waking up at odd hours to jot down notes. All clear indications it's time to get back on the horse. In preparation I cleaned my office, cooked lots of meals to freeze and organized the house. Let's hear it for being prepared! LOL :)
    With 2012 well on its way and Uwilling out to readers, a new deadline looms large in the distance. Book Two in the series (tentatively named Unloved) has a revision scheduled to be finished by the end of May. Already there are the beginnings of that feeling of pressure, like a ghost shivering in my gut. At least I hope that’s what the feeling is and not a kidney stone.  

    Have a great weeks folks! Welcome to all our new friends from Sri Lanka and Armenia. I hope you read something you like and visit again real soon. There are lots of book details on the blog so feel free to explore older posts if you’re new.  The blog is around 10 views away from reaching the new high number of 4000. By the next time the blog posts I expect the stat numbers to have crossed the mark and I sincerely thank you guys for your support. Catch you later, and don’t forget to treat a book real nice this week.

Till then,

Monday, January 9, 2012

Interview with Neely, Hayden and Andrew from UNWILLING

Businesspeople using pages from a book to reach new heights 
Welcome back folks! This is a continuation of the interviews I started with Neely McIntire, Hayden Nelson and Andrew Huckley in 2011. (main characters in Katie Wood Ruffin’s UNWILLING series) I had the opportunity last week to sit down for a chat with all three characters at the same time. I’d like to be able to say they gave me some clue as to which of the two guys played opposite to Neely in the scene Katie posted last week. Unfortunately, none of the three ever gave a single thing away. This reporter is still stumped folks. We’ll just have to wait to read the book to know for sure *wink*
-Caroline Irvine

C: So good to see you all again.  It’s nice to have the chance to sit down with all three of you for a chat.
Bright blue eyes, copper
streaked hair, introducing
how Hayden Nelson
appears in the book.
Neely: It’s good to see you again *elbows Hayden*
Hayden: Hey
Andrew: Cece, how wonderful to see you again. *A lovely shoulder hug and dazzling smile* (I admit I blushed a bit)
Hayden *rolls his eyes* Dude, you’re laying it on a little thick sort a early.
Neely: Be nice.
C: I remember this isn’t your favorite thing Hayden, I promise to be gentle.
Hayden *frowns*
  Neely: *snickers* He’s just grouchy about the blog post from last week. He‘s chomping at the bit to *finger quotes* set the record straight and we can’t. Plus, Andrew hasn’t helped by picking on him every chance he gets. *gives Andrew the stink eye* Katie laid down the law before we met with you. *makes a swirly motion next to her ear* ‘Member, I told you she’s sort of nutty about us slipping up and telling things we shouldn’t.
Hayden: *mumbles* Naw…it’s more like a chapped as…
Neely: Language Hayden *punches him in the arm* She’s writing this stuff down you know. You want your mom to read that?
Andrew: Funny, Katie has never been anything but pleasant to me about interviews. I guess she trusts me.
Hayden: *glares at Andrew* You’re so full of it Huckley.  See…see I told you he’d act like a jerk.
C: Maybe I can ease some of the tension by moving on then.
Neely: Yes ... Please.
C: Alrighty moving on then … so how have things been for you guys? Anything new and exciting happened since we last spoke?
Andrew: We’ve spent quite a lot of time meeting new people, following Katie around to writers meetings, retreats, conventions, workshops and such.  And of course, we’ve helped promote the series. Katie just finished a third re-write. It’s being read this month and we’re waiting for the verdict to come in.
C: Anxious?
Neely: A little…there were some real tense moments in this one and lots of changes.
 Andrew: I personally think Neely was spectacular throughout the manuscript. I was completely enthralled.
Hayden: aw man… *pretends to gag*
C: What about you Hayden? How have things changed for you this go round?
Hayden: Well … not much I guess. Except … that deal with the blog last week is the first time I’ve really been…irritated… by the whole process. If that’s what you mean.
Neely: Irritated? Is that what all the cool kids are calling it these days?
Hayden: *blushes*
A smile to melt anyone's heart, a
pair of crystal green eyes that
make you want to fall into. Introducing
how Andrew appears in the book.
C: I have to say the scene was quite interesting. Can you tell me which of you guys had the honor of being it the scene with Neely?
Neely: No way! Katie is libel to shoot us then let us bleed forever in the bowels of her computer files, never finishing us off. That girl is real harsh that way about spoilers. I think she’s been hanging out with Jeannie Holmes too much. *shivers*
Andrew: I must agree with Neely on this one. We’d all be in an enormous amount of trouble if that piece of information came out in this interview.
C: I understand and I promise to be discreet. Can you at least tell me why it upset you so much Hayden?
Hayden: Um…well…I guess it’s because it was so physically and emotionally intense. It caught me off guard having folks read that kind of thing about us without knowing the whole story. *glares at Andrew*
Andrew: Hmmm…sounds like someone doesn’t know how to share.
Neely: Don’t you start aggravating Hayden. *bumps Andrew with her shoulder* You know his fuse is shorter than usual these days.
Andrew: Neely’s right…my apologies Hayden
Hayden: Whatever dude, and would you quit being such a suck up to Neely. I’ve about had my fill of you already.
C: *clears throat nervously* Moving on then. So what are you guys looking forward to this year with the series? Any big plans you can share?
Neely: Well…Katie is about to start a revision on Book Two. If the new version is anything like how the rough draft went, I’m going to be really …busy. But I’m looking forward to it. There’s lots of action and traveling to cool places. I’m excited about that. Plus query letters are being prepared to send out for Book One. We’re all crossing our fingers that a wonderful agent will want our series soon. That would be so awesome!
C: What about you Hayden? Are you looking forward to the second book?
Hayden: Sort of. Book Two is pretty rough in a few places but there are also lots unexpected things ahead for my character. I’m anxious for them though. I like a solid resolution. The second book resolves lots of things but creates a few more situations that even I never expected. Lots to look forward to … I guess.
C: Do you feel that way too Andrew? Are you looking forward to the changes in Book Two?
Andrew: I can’t say I’m anxious for everything in Book Two. I do agree with Hayden that there are several unexpected developments that appeal to me but others…I could do without. That’s the price we characters pay though. We’re at the mercy of our creator. Thankfully, Katie genuinely cares for her characters. The really hard decisions cause her much more anguish than they do us.
C: This has been really great guys. I’m so looking forward to the story becoming a reality for you and for Katie. Maybe we can talk again when there is a development? Any chance you could get me an interview with Katie too? Maybe put in a good word?
*they all laugh*
Neely: Sure
Andrew: Of course, always a pleasure.
Hayden: I guess so.
Neely: *rolls her eyes* Oh Hayden…  

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Little Dab of Steam from UNWILLING

    I hope you all had a fun New Year! Today on the blog I thought I'd give you guys a little "Happy 2012" gift to start the year off right. Welcome to all who are visiting for the first time, especially new friends in Romania. Your visit brings the count to 50 countries! Thanks for dropping by and come back again real soon.
    This is a scene from around the midway point of UNWILLING. Facebook friends voted between a whole chapter and a steamy scene. I wasn't really surprised the steam won LOL! So here you go and feel free to leave a comment I'd love to know what you think.
p.s. This has been carefully edited to retain some of the story's secrets so don't be weirded out by the use of  "He" and "His". Trust me, the scene is even better in it's true form :)  ENJOY!
*Imagine a more strawberry blond color to her
hair and this is exactly what Neely looks like*.
    He yanked me forward then crushed his mouth against mine. His lips moved furiously as one of his hands slowly slid down from my arm and pressed into the small of my back. Even struggling, I noticed His lips tasted like cinnamon gum. Our bodies molded against one another from the force he’d used to pull me closer. I thought for a second the sun had raised sweat on my skin but this heat surrounded and radiated into me. 
    stmmmmp,” I tried to say around his lips, pushing against his chest.
    The grip on my neck squeezed tighter, his palm burning my skin. A deep rumbling sound came from his chest.
    My knees wobbled as he wound his fingers into the curls at my neck, holding my face firmly to his.
    “Lemme go,” I managed to gasp when he kissed the corner of my mouth.
    “No,” he whispered. The sound, nothing more than a yielding puff of smoke in my brain, coaxed something familiar up from the depths. 
    The fight drained out of me. This wisp of recollection warmed me, relaxed the muscles that had tensed for a fight and tightened other places. My fists uncurled and gripped his shoulders.
    He wrapped an arm around my waist and bent me backwards without ever breaking the kiss. His knee touched the grass before we tumbled to the ground. He pressed his body against mine while caressing my face and neck with fiery lips.
    “Please stop,” my breath started coming in gasps. I couldn’t ignore the real brawl that had started inside me any longer.“I can’t do this,” the words died in a strangled cry of pain as I struggle for breath.
    Can,” he said against my mouth. His hold on me increased significantly as he mistook my pain for passion. He pinned my wrists to the grass and kissed me harder.   
    Not one muscle fiber in my body wanted to fight him off. He couldn’t hold me tight enough and when he tried I wanted him to squeeze me harder.
    “I shouldn't have kept that from you." Heat flashed in his eyes. "I never meant to hurt you, I’m sorry … so sorry,” His breath rasped out quick against my lips.
    I balled his shirt up in my fists and held on. Heat bloomed in my stomach and settled low, deep and grew.
    Before I wanted him to, he paused. "I ... I just couldn't," the words ended in a choking sound. Angst-ridden tears dripped onto my cheeks. The months of hurt and loss concentrated in the liquid soaked into my skin. “Stand it …” he whispered as a tear splashed on my lips.
    A red haze clouded my vision. Suddenly, His passion morphed into my passion. Twisting my fingers into his hair, I pulled his face back to mine. My tongue traced his trembling lips. They still tasted sweet but now like tears too.
    A low moan escaped his throat as my mouth molded to his. Time seemed to stop ticking and the world went quiet except for the sounds of our hearts pounding out a furious rhythm.
    A sharp stab of fire jabbed under my ribs. I screamed into His mouth and he froze under me.
    Pushing up on my hands, I stared down into his face in horror.
    What the hell am I doing?” The shock felt like waking up from a really good but very wrong dream.
    “Neely?” His voice quivered.
    Pressing a hand to my mouth, I scrambled off him and huddled in the grass.
    “Can’t … can’t do this,” the fire in my belly roared into an inferno. I pressed a fist to my mouth to keep from screaming again. My brain had felt jam-packed with all of the pictures. But now, things flickered and flashed behind my eyes, things I didn’t recognize. A sandy beach shimmered in the sun beside brown water; loud music inside a warm car, a white cotton dress tied with satin ribbons, a boy holding something that glittered in the light and … His smile. Pictures raced through my mind at a blinding speed. Trying to see them clearly made my head feel like it might explode.
    He touched my hand and I jumped.
    “Don’t touch me.” I pressed my fists to the sides of my head.
    But He held on and the pain ebbed some. More images flashed in but none if them formed a memory, just one burst of random information after another.
    “What’s wrong … let me help.” He kissed my fingers. “Please.”
    A sultry breeze ruffled the grass around us. I became hyper aware of His lips on my knuckles and how much I liked it. His tongue flicked out and pulled my pinkie into his mouth.
    “Stop,” my voice trembled. “I gotta go home.”
    He raised an eyebrow and sucked harder, biting a little. “No.”
    The soft look in his eyes pulled at my insides, drawing me closer.
    He pulled me against his chest. Our arms and legs tangled together in the grass.
    “I’ve missed you so much,” his lips curled into a smile against mine. A sob stopped his breath as I clung to him. Holding my face between his hands he kissed me again. Softer now and less furious; he savored each kiss before moving onto a new one. The sun blazed down adding to the heat pulsing between us. Each press of his lips tattooed a word on my heart … loss, pain, loneliness … hope.

© 2010 Katie Wood Ruffin
This manuscript is the sole property of Katie Wood Ruffin and is prohibited from being displayed, copied, electronically discussed or electronically distributed without the expressed written permission of the author.
Hope you guys enjoyed that scene and are looking forward to reading more! Here's the song that goes with the scene too. "Kiss Me Slowly" by Parachute Check back often, I'll be posting more character info and stuff in the coming weeks.
Till then,