Why Skylar Kade’s Glad She’s Not Living “The Dream”

I first hosted today’s guest Skylar Kade during last July’s birthday bash. When I went back to see what Skylar had written then, I discovered this little tidbit (in answer to what she loved listening to):

Skylar: I love listening to ….Chris Young.

Leah here … I’d not heard of Chris Young before, so I did a little Googling. What a niiiice looking man – I foresee a cowboy showing up in one of my stories soon

Back to present day: Now at the time I added that note, I’d not started writing Texas Tangle; I didn’t start writing TT until early September 2009, though I knew I’d wanted to do another story separate from the Hauberk series. And now I look at this picture, this is exactly how I picture Dillon right down to his black hat!

So, Skylar, thanks for blogging for me last year–without either of us realizing it, turns out you inspired Texas Tangle!

Welcome Back
Skylar Kade

My first novella, Maison Domine, is out in print today in the Binding Ties anthology by Samhain. I’ve been squeeing in joy for the past year, and groping my copies of the book for weeks, but its also made me examine my writerly life.

Writing is not my day job. By all accounts, this should not be a good thing; it is, after all, what I wish my career to be. I do not have hours on end to write, I don’t pop stories out in a handful of months, and I certainly don’t make enough from writing to live on. Thank God, because that means its still something I enjoy doing.

I’ve seen, all too often, people who have a passion—until it becomes their day job. I have no idea whether this would apply to me and my writing, but I’d rather not find out at this point. As it stands, writing is my escape from the day job; it’s the thing that propels me through the day. It is still my creative outlet, my de-stressor. And I have few obligations to it, which means that sometimes, it falls to the wayside. I’ll spend time with family, knit, crochet, or hell, just watch TV—and I love it just the way it is.

Knowing me, even if it becomes something I do full-time, I’ll be doing a mix of non-fiction freelance work (copywriting, anyone?) and various fiction projects. That is my dream, being surrounded by the written word in its various forms. I don’t want to drown in storytelling, but I do want to write.

So, to help me and any other bored-too-easily writers, here’s the beginning of my “Things I Can Do as a Writer That Give Me Money” list (catchy title, huh?). It encompasses many of the skills we have to learn as both writers and promoters of our works, and looking at the list, I think we sometimes underestimate just how many non-writing skills we acquire.

1.    commercial copywriting

2.    business social networking: facebook, twitter, etc

3.    blog about a non-writing passion

4.    work for a site like examiner, allvoices, or Suite101

5.    freelance articles for magazines and newspapers

6.    editorial work

7.    small-business newsletters

8.    teach creative writing at community college

9.    be a writing tutor—talk about a good hourly rate!

10.    mentor budding writers (unpaid, but fulfilling! And if they’re the next Nora, well, you helped to get them started)

Any other brilliant ideas? Please share!

Organic chemist Lara Brunner is at loose ends. Since childhood, her life has been focused on work and achieving success in her field. Only now, weeks away from her tenure review, she realizes she’s pushed herself too far. Casting about for a way to release her stress-crazed body from career tension, she visits a BDSM retreat, hoping a weekend of sexual submission will do the trick.

Inducting her into the lifestyle is her at-work nemesis—Jaxon Greene. But the sinful intent she encounters in Jaxon’s sexy eyes makes her heart race with desire…and fear. Gorgeous men like him don’t go for zaftig academics like her. Once the fantasy weekend is over and real life returns, he’ll forget all about her.

Jaxon is blindsided by his intense attraction to Lara. The more time he spends with her, the stronger their invisible bonds become. Bonds that are stronger and more permanent than any knot he can tie. He’s not normally into converting vanilla women to his lifestyle, but something makes him want to cast his inhibitions aside and claim her for his own.

First, though, he has to free her from preconceived notions of proper sex…and love.

Warning: This book contains bondage and whips and sexy professors—oh my!

Oh my, indeed!  MAISON DOMINE is available both in ebook or in print as part of the print anthology BINDING TIES from Samhain’s My Bookstore and More, Amazon.com, and All Romance eBooks.  Leah here: For my international readers, or even for those of you in the US, don’t forget you can also buy the print copy from the Book Depository (they don’t charge shipping to over 90 countries no matter how small (or big) your order.)

Want to read more about Maison Domine first? Visit Skylar’s website at www.skylarkade.com Or you can follow her on Twitter: @skylarkade

Skylar Kade’s Dominating Grammar

The Impotence of Proofreading
By Skylar Kade

A publishing house runs like a well-oiled machine: the author writes, the line editor checks grammar and syntax, the content editor catches errors and polishes that sucker until it is a thing of beauty. Every person has their role—but how much should a writer rely on his or her line editor?

This is not to say an author should distrust an editor—far from it. But should an author be responsible for knowing basic grammar? Should a manuscript go to edits with “there” for “their” or comma splices adorning its pages? In my humble opinion, the editors are there simply to catch what we as writers may overlook—a misspelling we always misread because we know what it’s supposed to say or a grammar technicality that only grammar geeks (I’m one of them!) even notice.

But of late, I have found myself throwing books across the room, or vehemently deleting them from my eReader, because I can’t take one more error. Minor things, like a period where a semicolon is better suited, doesn’t bother me in the slightest. But major errors, like run-on sentences or homonym confusion (peek and peak) are truly frustrating—especially when they’re repeated so frequently it can’t be excused as an “oopsie.”

My first manuscript, Maison Domine, went through two edits with me and one with a beta reader before even being submitted. After that, Samhain and my fabulous editor Laurie gave it three rounds of edits for content before going to a line editor, who found still more errors! Maybe Samhain has extraordinary standards for editing, or maybe I’m a grammar snob, but I just don’t see how multiple errors can slip through the rigorous refining process.

So what do you think? Is it the writer’s responsibility to be knowledgeable about grammar and spelling? Are frequently repeated errors excusable? And finally, what is your pet peeve in a book, that one thing that will make you chuck it across the room?

I look forward to hearing your comments, and I hope, after all this, there are no egregious grammar errors in my first release, Maison Domine (click here for an excerpt).

Skylar Kade
Twitter: @skylarkade

Maison Domine, part of Samhain’s Binding Ties anthology, released on September 29th! To celebrate, my fellow authors Natasha Moore, Jenna Ives, and I are giving away a beginner’s bondage kit. To enter, send an e-mail to bindingties-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Skylar Kade. Author and Princess Extraordinaire.

Today’s guest is a brand new author not only to Samhain but to publishing itself, so I’m thrilled to introduce you to Skylar Kade. I went over to her website to see what I could discover about her. No shy maiden, our Skylar. How many people describe themselves as a “self-avowed hedonist” who “spends her time asking the cabana boys to bring her more mimosas and feed her strawberries while she dreams up her next kinky adventure?” Oh, right. Erotic romance writers. Well, I can only dream of the cabana boys and mimosas, although I do have the strawberries …

So tell us, Skylar, what was the very first story you wrote about? Do you still have it?

*blushes* Yes, I still have it. It was a first-person paranormal, and while I think the concept is solid, I look back and cringe at the writing. It was chock full of detail overload, plot holes, and sloppy phrasing. At the same time, I wrote it two years ago, and am amazed by how much I have learned in that time, due greatly to the incredible members of my local RWA chapter and Passionate Ink, the online erotica chapter of RWA.

When reading, what makes you want to toss a book across the room and never read any more?

This is a tough question, because I’ve found a growing list of things that make me delete a book off my e-reader (yes, I’ve moved to e-ink, though I often wish I still had that satisfying thunk as a book hit the far wall). Despite that, I have the most trouble reading a book with purple prose. I mean, I just can’t take a heroine serious after she describes his “turgid staff of manliness.” Or her “secret garden of desire.” I know some readers love that style, but if we’re going to be talking about sex either way, gimme the nitty gritty “oh-no-she-didn’t!” words.

Do you have a favorite book (someone else has written) that you keep as a ‘comfort read’?

Yes! Faking It by Jennifer Crusie was the first romance I ever bought. Well, technically I talked my mother into buying it (she had no idea it was a romance), but it has been on my shelf for almost eight years and has been read so frequently its about time to buy a new copy. Its prequel, Welcome to Temptation, is in similar condition.

Do you “cast” your characters using pictures of actors or models to help inspire you when you’re writing?

When I’m creating a new story, my characters are fuzzy until I do two things–find pictures of them and discover their names. I have a folder with pictures I’ve taken from magazines where the outfit or the expression on the model’s face stood out to me, and I often find inspiration there. But while the pictures are important, it is really the latter that enables me to flesh out the characters. I believe names hold a great deal of power, and in giving one to a character, you bring them to life.

What did you do when you got “the email” telling you Samhain had bought Maison Domine? How did you celebrate?

I thought it was a rejection when I saw it in my inbox. When I opened it and it was my editor, Laurie, offering her congratulations, I had a moment where I thought it was a joke. But just a moment–then I was squealing like a schoolgirl and scaring the ever-loving daylights out of my dogs. I called my critique partners and then my parents to share the news. While they were all excited, I’m not sure the parental units quite know how to congratulate a daughter who writes about sex for a living.

One strange writing ritual I have is …. plotting out my stories in an oversized sketchpad using markers. Yes, the ones we were given in elementary school to scribble with.

I love listening to …. Chris Young.

(Leah here … I’d not heard of Chris Young before, so I did a little Googling. What a niiiice looking man – I foresee a cowboy showing up in one of my stories soon. I would have put in a video from YouTube, but the best ones have embedding disabled)

My worst habit is … compulsively checking my e-mail.

(Leah here – I think I’m busted on that one too. But, um, in my defence, I’m betting most of us have that compunction.)

My favorite movie is … WALL-E, because it was not only the sweetest love story, but made me think about the state of our environment and the effect of technology on human society, all while being a movie perfectly suitable for itty bitties.

Where can we find more information about you? Why that’s simple – Skylar’s website: www.skylarkade.com (Thanks to Karen and Booklover pointing out that they can’t get into Skylar’s website – while it works for me in Firefox, I can’t get past the splash page in IE8 … this is a link to the front page but apparently the menus aren’t available either. Here are the individual links: Books, News and Updates, Links, and About Skylar. I’ll let her know that there’s an issue with the browsers …

(Or we can stalk her on Twitter: @skylarkade )

And thanks to Booklover1335 for pointing out I hadn’t included a blurb of Skylar’s Maison Domine:

Organic chemist Dr. Lara Brunner needs a reality check. When her health falls victim to an overwhelming schedule, she decides drastic measures must be taken. After weeks of dreams–erotic dreams invaded by whips and chains–Lara reluctantly visits a BDSM resort for two days of submissive exploration. For a control-freak like Dr. Brunner, submission is a daunting task. While she hoped to leave the resort refreshed and wet-dream-free, Lara never imagined she would spend her time falling for a completely unattainable man.

Bestselling novelist Jaxon Greene is an expert Dominant who never wants more than a weekend fling – until he meets Lara. Growing bored and disillusioned with weak-willed submissives, Jax finds himself entranced by the feisty chemist. Unlike most women he’s trained, Lara has a fiery independence that truly challenges the Dominant in him. He can tame her body with ease – but can he ensnare her heart?

Since Skylar’s book isn’t out, I’m going to be offering up the contest prize today – winner’s choice of any e-book from Samhain Publishing.

Oh, and Skylar’s one of those lucky ducks at the RWA conference in DC this week, so she’ll try to pop in during the day, but the internet at the hotel isn’t easily available. (Can you imagine a conference booking a hotel that doesn’t have WiFi?)