Nov 17

Mischa Eliot

A Penny For Your Thoughts: Cliches and Tropes

You’ve heard ‘that’s been done (or said) a million times already’. However, the reason that tropes and clichés work is because they’re cliches and tropes. 

You just have to find your own unique way of twisting them. Think about it… every sitcom has zingers and one-liners. Look at 2 Broke Girls compared to Mike & Molly compared to Mom. While the storylines are different for each show, they have the same type of running jokes. They have romance, struggles, and comedy. They’re all family-type shows; even though Caroline and Max aren’t related, they, and their coworkers and neighbors are like family. Plus all the episodes about Caroline’s father, and the running jokes about Max’s mysterious father and non-caring mother. I actually hope to see an episode of her father showing up one day. I’d love to see what she’d have to say to him.

Mike & Molly shows how hard it is to fall in love when you’re overweight. They show how difficult it is to struggle with addictions to food and shopping. They show you how expensive it is to move out on your own. 2 Broke Girls shows how difficult it is to live in a big city, how you have to work several jobs to attempt to make ends meet; and how difficult it is to deal with life in general when a family member has ended up in jail by scamming billions from others. Mom shows you what I would consider a little more realistic view of addiction issues. How every single day is a battle not to fall off the wagon. And then having to go through your children (and grandchildren) who are predisposed to these addictions starting to test the waters with alcohol and weed.

Then look at the cop shows. You’ve got CSI (NY, Miami,Cyber), Criminal Minds, NCIS(and LA and NOLA), among others.

They’re troped up to the gills. Someone dies. The cops do their initial legwork, cue the geek heroes to match fingerprints, DNA, and find out what obscure tidbit of info will find the killer! Chase scenes, possible shooting, perhaps an injured main cast member! Catch the bad guy – or not if it’s an Arch Nemesis that takes a season to catch. Ending with the moral of the story or everything will be okay scene, credits. People love or hate procedurals, they really do. In a way, you can even think of Supernatural as a procedural with Paranormal Elements thrown in, except instead of catching the bad guy, their looking up how to kill the monster if it’s not already known.

These types of shows give you enough character background, enough history, and little details that you fall in love with their strengths, quirks, and more.They hook you into the show. It doesn’t matter how many times a main character screws up – unless they go ultimately evil (and if you’re a Supernatural fan, you probably love the villains, too) then you hope for everything to go right.

Look at your Political shows such as Madam Secretary and Scandal.  

Two completely different shows, both swimming in deep waters when it comes to Washington DC and the many things in the dark we don’t know about. In real life, people beg and plead for transparency, but do they really truly wish to know the details? Look at Blacklist. All about people who are so evil, so horrible, that the government will deal with another just to wipe them off the face of the planet, or put them in jail.

Did you know that Criminal Minds bases their show on true stories?  

They have to water them down so that they can be aired on television. And if they didn’t, not only would they not be able to air them, we probably wouldn’t leave our homes after seeing the gory truth.

I use these shows to learn more about writing. Yes, I’ve mentioned it before: that you can learn to write better from watching television and movies. Just don’t be like me, where you get sucked into the show and then binge-watch it, and forget all about the writing. You can learn how to convey emotions through facial features and gestures. You can learn fighting scenarios.

You can learn different ways of pissing people off.  

Have you ever watched Scorpion? Walter tends to piss people off without meaning to, or even trying. Sometimes, I feel he does it on purpose (truly the CHARACTER most likely doesn’t even realize it), but more often than not, he has no clue. The rest of the team doesn’t let him off the hook though. They explain to him why what he did or said is hurtful or wrong. Walter apologizes – but does he ever really learn?

There are reasons why these tropes have worked for as long as they have. Just like Cons, it’s really hard to create a new trope. It takes years upon years for something to become cliché. But that’s not going to hobble a good writer. A good writer can take a cliché, they can take a trope, and twist it. Give a bunch of kids pipe cleaners and tell them to use their imagination. You’re going to get several different versions of twisted pipe cleaner art.

People flock to websites with weekly prompts and those that use the prompt all come up with a different story for it. Don’t toss away a cliché story idea or throw out a trope simply because it’s been done a billion times. It hasn’t been done the way you’d write it, with the characters you’ve come up with, in the setting you create. So pick up that cliché, grab that trope by the short and curlies and figure out ‘what can I do with you?’

Every Genre follows the same set of rules.

Because they kind of have to. That’s why there are sub-genres. Pick up a romance book by any author and you’ll find that there’s a Happy Ever After. Pick up any Sci-Fi or Fantasy book and I bet there’s some kind of conflict that leads to war. Pick up a Western and there’s probably a saloon and some fancy dancing ladies. There’s nothing wrong with this, these things are there because readers expect them to be. If you don’t give them a happy ever after (or now) in a romance, then they are going to want to burn your book. So, yes, follow the genre rules, but twist them to your own character, setting, and plot needs.

What you come up with might just be extraordinary. Sometimes you crush it and other times you nail it and feel like you’re walking on cloud nine. Share your thoughts in the comments. What clichés and tropes have you worked with and made unique?

Nov 16

Mischa Eliot

Beware of Scams: Cover Designers — Nicci Haydon

I’m sharing this because people need to know. There are so many out there willing to take advantage of a new author and it’s sickening. Authors need to step up more and share both the good and bad experiences with both self- and traditional-publishing. Whether it’s an editor who won’t get back to you, a cover designer that doesn’t have the experience they claim, or a publisher that completely ignores you – let someone know. Write a post somewhere, whether it’s on your own site or as a guest post, a reddit or KBoards. Share the issue. You don’t need to share the names publically. Just let people know that they need to do their research.

It’s time we banded together and helped each other. Honestly, there’s enough success out there to go around. Helping each other means better books, better covers, better money, and futures for each of us. Don’t let someone scam you just because you didn’t know any better. Do your research. Ask other authors for input – but don’t badger them if they don’t want to share. It is their right to keep things close to heart when it comes to these things.

Have you had a good or bad experience? Share it in the comments or link to a post for others to read it.

Learn from my mistakes.

via Beware of Scams: Cover Designers — Nicci Haydon

Nov 14

Mischa Eliot

Masturbation Monday: Fucked by the Fire Excerpt

The featured inspirational gif that Kayla shared is quite tempting and naughty. Jealousy and arousal both culminate from such an expressive, torturous, tantalizing gif. I wanted to share an excerpt that’s a little bit longer from the new bundle coming out and the cover that will grace it. I’m hoping it have it out by the end of the week. I’ve written 5 new tales and revised Porked in the Park to be included in its entirety, Originally, the title of this one was going to be Banged by the Bonfire, but I already have two titles with lots of Bs in them and I felt it was a bit much. Fucked by the Fire is so much more naughty, don’t you think?

publicaffairs_8x5_flat“That’s right, stroke it.” Roman’s words came out hushed, but sounded strained. His head fell back as he enjoyed the feel of my hand running up and down his length. I reached deeper, letting his meat go and played with his balls. His eyes rolled wild under closed lids and he swallowed hard.

I moved forward and ran my tongue along his neck, kissed his bearded jaw, then bit his lower lip as he gasped and clawed at my clothing. Roman’s hot hand found my dick and started playing, slow and teasing. It felt as though he were trying to memorize the way the veins ran through the length of me. I couldn’t get enough of the feel from the callouses on his fingers. Roman’s hands were so different from my wives with their rough texture and warmer. So much warmer.

“Please, I need to wrap my mouth around you,” I pulled away and before he could stop me, I lifted his shirt and did just that. Salty goodness greeted my taste buds and I wanted to cry out in pleasure. Instead, I licked every drop that had slid down his length while I played with his balls. Roman’s hands tried to grab me by the hair, but it was shaved too short for him to get a grip. His hands sunk hard into my shoulders and I sucked him deep into my mouth.

“Oh, fuck that’s so good, don’t fucking stop.” Roman’s hands shifted to the back of my neck and head, shoving me further down onto him. I took every inch he offered me, having to remind myself how to suck a cock. I slobbered on his length, watching the rivulets of saliva glow bright in the light of the fire.

“Wait, wait. I have a blanket,” Roman gasped and groaned when I ignored him and sucked his length harder, working the muscles of my throat along his cock. “Please, I want to taste you, too.”

After a few more teases with my mouth and tongue, I left his soaking cock to bob in the warmth of the fire while I backed up. He reached behind the log and spread out a blanket on the ground. We both couldn’t see jack shit with our eyes outside the ring of light, but we didn’t hear anything that indicated there were any people left in the park. It was full night now and only the stars and a crescent moon watched.

As soon as the blanket was down, we both stripped out of our clothing, tossing it on the log. We met in the middle, touching and kissing. I grabbed his nipples hard and he thrust his hips at me. We had started dirty texting using an anonymous app. I already knew what it looked like when he jacked off, and he knew for me as well. We shared our likes and dislikes with sex and I knew he liked it rough. Just like me.

Roman was taller than I, but he bent down and bit one of my nipples. I clapped a hand over my mouth to muffle myself. Pleasure zinged through the nerve in my chest straight down to my cock and balls. I was shocked I didn’t empty my load all over him. What a waste that would be.

“I want to ride you.” I reached down to grab his length again and Roman groaned with need. Nodding, he kneeled down on the blanket and took my cock into his mouth before I could hop in the hot seat. His mouth was so hot and soft, his beard tickled my skin and I could feel the nerves twitching in my thighs. Keeping control and not shooting down his throat was difficult, but I clenched down on the need to orgasm.

Available in Kindle Unlimited: Public Affairs: a bundle of erotic tales.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please come visit others to see what they’ve shared!

You can find more delicious naughty stories over at Masturbation Monday hosted by the lovely Kayla Lords. If you haven’t submitted your own story as well, and write romance, erotica, or some combination of the genres and sub-genres, please consider doing so.

Link: Masturbation Monday

Link: Kayla Lords

Nov 13

Mischa Eliot

Adventures in Writing: Beware of Scams

Always do your Research

When you’re starting out with writing, any kind of writing, you look for submission calls in order to help promote your author name. You search for them, read them religiously, write something that suits the call, and then send it off into the world for someone to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. If you’re lucky, you’ll get more details when it’s a no other than it didn’t fit what they were looking for. The best places to look for calls are places that other authors frequent. For me, that place is EWRA (Erotica Readers and Writers Association. They put up calls of various types. It’s a great place to check and see what publishers and editors are looking for, perhaps give you a little bit of a lead on what readers will look for in the future.

Regardless of your genre, you need to find a safe place to find your Calls. Ask other authors. I think people who write are way too isolated sometimes. We focus so much on the writing and the research and getting the details correct that we lose track of the real world around us. I’m sure there are other websites that post Calls in my preferred genres, however I tend to focus on ERWA. Authors and Editors that I enjoy post there for anthologies and it’s a place I trust.

A friend sent me an image of a call that was posted to a group we belong to and I asked if there was any other information. I was told that’s all he knew and as soon as he saw it, he passed it along to me. That’s how little I am on facebook these days – he had to send it to me or I’d have never seen it. I immediately started a google search. I searched for the name of the magazine that was in the image. I couldn’t really find much. What I did find was a failed Kickstarter campaign. I found a free Wix website under another name. I didn’t find any details of the magazine mentioned. I chalked it up to ‘possible scam or project posted by someone who didn’t know the Kickstarter crashed’. Either way, when my friend went back to comment on the post, it was gone. I’m assuming someone didn’t know that the project crashed, but it brought up thoughts from how easily it is to get taken for a ride in the writing world.

I feel bad that the project failed. Perhaps they took on something big too soon or didn’t have the time to put into it. Either way, this is just a friendly reminder to do your due diligence. Verify that the person posting the call is legit. If they’re new that’s not a bad thing, but you still want to research them. The worst thing that can happen to an author is to have their words taken, shredded, then reassembled to look sort of like what they wrote but different enough that it wouldn’t be considered plagiarized.

Post your thoughts in the comments. Have you ever had any issues sending in submissions? Have you ever felt you were dealing with someone who was a little bit shady?

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