Author Archives: Key

Romance, It's a Scary Thing

It’s almost time for me to try to once again flex my own, very underused, romance writing muscle again. As such now seems as good a time as any to remember what I’ve learned over the years about what not to do when writing a romantic scene.

Brevityis the Soul of Passion

Not literally! It’s just that when it comes to the language you’re using to describe the action, get right in there and don’t be afraid to call a spade a spade.

For example don’t take a concept like “orgasm” realize it’s sometimes called a “small death” and then inflate it to “the tiny killing moment.” You’ve gone from concise to so verbose the point is lost along the way.

Everyone Loves a Tease

You want to ramp up tension and desire from as early of a point in your novel as possible – and then you want to hold off on your scene as long as you think you can get away with – until it all comes together with explosive force. By the time your characters come together to bump uglies your readers should be a nervous wreck of displaced desire.

Avoid Cliches

This one is always on a writer’s mind and as such you’ll probably already have a feel for what is and what is not yet a cliche. Don’t be so dogged in your search to avoid cliches that you think you have to invent a new way to describe something (like a kiss, a fuck, or a leather clad rubber duck) that’s pretty common but do avoid using something over again that’s already been used so often it’s synonymous in your mind with a bad joke. Definitely avoid anything like “his throbbing member,” just do.

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Weaving The Threads

One of the hardest things about writing Fantasy is trying to create a rich, multifaceted world with intriguing amounts of depth. You can write for literally years getting lost in the minutia of creating a fantasy world but ebook readers like their content to come fast and furious. For this reason a lot of writers create one world and stick to it for as long as humanly possible. Still there are a few tips I’ve discovered to help make weaving the intricate threads of your world together a little easier.


First, accept that it’s going to take some time. I’d recommend at least a year’s worth of time spent in research and just taking notes. Your story will seem richer if you spend as much time as possible living in the fantasy world you’re going to create. You want to see it go through all of it’s seasons, holidays and environmental changes and the easiest way to do that is to take down notes as you go through their real life equivalent.


Once you know the key races, cultures, holidays, lands, naming schemes, etc etc etc for your story you’re going to have a mountain of notes and ideas. One of the most important things you can do is get organized early and stay organized the whole way through. It doesn’t matter if you’re the type that organizes by throwing all the relevant items for a particular race into a box and not looking at it ever again, or if you’re the type of person that takes copious color coded notes – decide what you’re going to do and stick with it. Last thing you’re going to want is to decide a month or two in that you need to drop what your doing at the moment so you can reorganize your entire system. Remember, writers block isn’t just about staring at that blank page, it’s finding yourself neck deep in meaningless chores that only detract from your actual writing time.


Spend time throughout the year exploring all the angles. Go ahead and indulge yourself thinking up the birthday rituals of the blind warriors of the craggy depths. You might not encounter these blind warriors, and their penchant for gifting each elaborate garments each embossed with well wishes from their entire village meant to be worn only in battle, in your first book but when you do find an occasion to mention it you’ll be overjoyed to have fully fleshed out the idea before hand saving yourself time in crafting the culture of the moment off the cuff.

Hopefully those three tips will prove as invaluable for you all as they have for me. Whatever else, remember, get writing and keep writing until the thing is done!

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Happy, Belated, Birthday To Me!

It’s that time of year again. The blessed day that I was born so many, many years ago. On such a blessed day could their be any more wonderful celebration than another book release and give away! I think not.

Now “Ash of Ambitions” is available on and, thanks to KDP Select, this time I’m able to give away free copies to all my kindle using readers. I’m super excited! Follow the links and be sure to grab yourself a copy of the book while it’s still free because like my birthday, this kind of awesomeness only comes around once a year for a very limited time.

Rin Tyler is the mysterious, well off, oldest daughter of the Tyler family. The next best thing to a rich, reclusive uncle – or so her four siblings think.

Ash is the code name of a Cleaner, a person called in to remove trace evidence crime scenes for those on the wrong side of the law, with a particular love of fire. Cool, capable and detached to a fault – or so the people she works with think.

When the two sides of the same woman’s personality collide it can only end in flames…

Ash of Ambitions” now on Amazon. Oh, and if anyone wants to give me a present – I’d love to hear what you think of the book! Please post your reviews!

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Holiday Inspiration

We’re deep in the trenches of the magical holiday season. A season that stretches from the awesomeness of Halloween, all the way to the suckyness of Valentines day. Right now we’re on the way out of the most packed month of the entire season, December. Just about every religion and culture has a major holiday that falls within the month of December. If you’re fortunate like myself, you’ll get to worry about how to include no less than five different religious celebrations into your schedule so that you don’t leave any of your dear ones in the cold.

Entrenched as we all are in the midst of the month of celebrations, it’s a wonderful time to think about your own work. In your distant and not so distant worlds, what are the holidays like? Is there one massive unifying religion across the entire planet or are there hundreds of different theological choices? Are their holidays solemn or joyous? What do your characters eat in celebration, in reverence, in preparation? How do they celebrate the seasons, the saints, the heavens?

Jot down ideas for alternate Halloweens, New Years and even Christmas. The holiday season is full of wonder-ful writing ideas! Don’t miss a single one of them. Happy Holidays!

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NaNoWriMo Is Almost Over!

How are you my sprinting little writers? Are you on track to make your 50k words for NaNoWriMo? Have you (gasp) finished already?

There’s only a few days left in the month and these are going to be the hardest. The holidays are now in full swing and you’re really starting to feel the pressure, from the goal, from the holidays, from family and friends, and of course from the ever present day job that you’ve got to juggle with everything else.

It’s distracting, heart wrenching at times and at this point in the marathon writing session that is NaNoWriMo you’re probably starting to feel every bit as exhausted as if you’d actually been running all month long. The good news is the goal line is in sight! This is the point where runners pull out their last bit of reserves, or dig past the place where they think they’ve already run out of resources.

Yup it’s time to sprint those last few yards.

Put your all into it, find that extra minute and just plow through those last few pages like your life depends on it. You can do it! And when you reach the finish line and that surge of accomplishment washes over you, you’ll know in every fiber of your writers heart that the effort was worth it.

Good luck NaNoWriMo’ers, I’ll see you at the finish line!

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It's Knocking On Your Door – NaNoWriMo

It’s that time of year again. Just as you’re feeling hung over, double stuffed with all the chocolatey loot you swore was for the neighborhood kids and are dreading the prospects of cleaning up from your Halloween party – it’s time for NaNoWriMo! That time of year when writing veterans and noobies a like all sit down and agree to attempt to write 50,000 words in a single month.

Awesomeness ensues.

Alright, probably not awesomeness. More likely at this point you’re either ready (outline prepared, story idea ready, title just itching for you to put it down on paper) or you’re not (empty cobwebs fill your mind, you’ve never even heard of NaNoWriMo before, you know about it but still aren’t even sure you’ll be participating this year). Even if you’re one of the lucky prepared ones, actually sitting down and writing your 50k is likely to throw some serious curve balls into your life.

The good news is, even if you’re not lucky enough to be prepared to up to your eyeteeth for this marathon writing month, it’s still possible to start out on November first and have a great time. Here’s a few tips tricks and good to knows for both the prepared and the clueless:

For the Clueless

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, which starts on the first of November and lasts the month through. The goal for all participants is to reach a mutual writing goal of 50k words in that time period. Some people write much more than that in that time period, some people write much less but everyone can participate at the website and enjoy the experience regardless.

Simply go to the NaNoWriMo website and sign up for a spot (be wary the website tends to load slowly as it’s often swamped with participants the world over). Finally even though “national” is in the title NaNoWriMo is open to anyone in the world, with a computer and an internet connection (or even without those two things). The rules are fully explained on the site but the short of it is, write 50k words for a single novel by the end of the month. You’re allowed, even encouraged to create your outline prior to that point but there’s no rules against taking time out of the month to create one if you prefer a plan to flying by the seat of your pants.

For the Prepared

Congratulations! You’ve already signed up for NaNoWriMo and you know the drill, you’ve even gotten your outline prepared if you’re a plotter not a pantser and you’re champing at the bit to get going. You’re already amazing and the month hasn’t even started yet!

For you, I’d encourage you to take NaNoWriMo as a controlled ‘test’ run. It’s a great way to figure out how much it’ll take out of your daily life to become a professional novelist. How you’ll fit your daily writing into your schedule around things like family, social obligations (NaNoWriMo is situated smack dab in the middle of the holiday season for Americans at least) work and of course the occasional play session that doesn’t involve writing. There’s nothing like sitting down and just doing it, even if you’re not sure how far you want to go with this whole writing thing to help you realize just how capable you are of handling it and if there’s anything in your life truly obstructing you from your final goals of becoming a Writer.

Good luck to everyone! Feel free to come back and post here about your progress throughout NaNoWriMo, I’d love to follow your works.

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Sympathy For The Devil

Everyone loves the hero, including the writer. We spend so much time in the heads of our leads that they’re like family to us. We know our hero’s favorite foods, that time that they skinned their knee when they were six, all their little loves and hates. All those little bits might not make it into the book – but they do help us to flesh out our protagonist in a way that makes them seem to leap off the page breathing and ready to slay dragons.

On the other hand our antagonist, the villain, only exists to stick their foot out at the right time and trip up our hero. It’s easy enough to tell yourself and your reader that the reason that the villain is such a douche is simply because they’re evil – except that breaks the cardinal rule to show and not tell. That’s why it helps, while you’re gathering together you’re notes for your new book, to ask the same questions of your villain that you ask of your hero.

The questions can be bane or profound, it’s more important to ask them and record the answers, than what the original question was. The answers will help to frame the villain less as just evil and more as a person with hopes, desires and goals that are no less valid than the hero’s though they are at complete odds with the hero’s. Which leads to a richer more textured book – something both writers and readers will appreciate.

An example of this wonderful little tool at work? When I asked one of my villains, who was their first love, I not only discovered their wife – a woman my villain loved with such all consuming passion it would have destroyed them both if she hadn’t been a wonderful person herself – but to revelations about how he was raised. He was born heir to a very rich old family, raised by a series of tutors and minders, never given open affection nor given any long term companions to foster even the tiniest of relationships with. He’s intelligent, wealthy, ruthless and relentlessly fierce with his affections which leads him to more and more desperate, even insane acts as first his beloved wife dies and then his son becomes fatally ill.

None of that is likely to make it into the book but it does color the way I’ll write this character, making him more human and, hopefully, more interesting. Give it a try on you’re next writing project, ask your villain a few pointed questions and see if they don’t rise to the challenge of showing you their human side. So don’t be afraid to ask you’re bad boys and girls some heavy questions!

You can read more writing tips and general blather from Y.K. Greene at Blargle Splect.

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