Author Life Month

February was Author Life Month over on Instagram and Twitter. I decided to post the photos—and captions about the photos—from my feed onto my blog. I didn’t post every day,  but I tried. My favorite day was “Challenge Overcome.” It made me realize that every person struggles to be creative. Everyone has the same doubts and the same insecurities, no matter where you are in your career.

Day one. Here was a breakdown of Author Life Month.

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Day Two. Author photo.

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Day Four. Work in Progress.

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Day 5, 8, 9. Book cover comps, awesome moment, challenge overcome.

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Day 10. Non-author photo.

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Day 16. Where you write.

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Day 17. Where I relax.

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Day 22. Dedication Page.

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Day 23. Bucket List item done.

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Day 26. Favorite book outside of genre.

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Day 27. Your signature.

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Day 28. Favorite event accessory.

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Another non-author photo of when I was in Hawaii a couple weeks ago. 

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So there you have it. Find your tribe, it makes the highs and lows bearable. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!

  • Tara

 

 

Featured Books Friday!

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Here we go again with Featured Books Friday! Click here, here, or here for other great book blurbs I’ve had in the past.

You are welcome to share—in the comment section of this blog—your name, book, purchase link, and a 500 word blurb or scene from your novel.

You are welcomed and encouraged to share on your social media sites. It’s exciting to see that readers are introduced to books they would have normally not found otherwise.

Thank you for contributing!

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Here’s my blurb and link for Broken Smiles (women’s romance)…

Laidan smiled over at Kort and took note how he dwarfed the Chinese. Despite his size, he looked graceful as he slowly circled his arms about his body.

With eyes closed, he stepped forward and turned with both hands pushing forward as if to ward off an attacker. Then slowly he, along with the group, brought their fingertips toward the earth and circled their head with one hand while they took yet another step forward and balanced on the other foot.

While Laidan watched Kort, she thought of his fighting skills and the success he’d had in Mixed Martial Arts. She wondered if it felt strange to him to be doing all of these moves in slow motion. From the look of peace she saw upon his brow, she decided that he was a natural, and that tai chi was an inner fight. The storm brewed inside as the external motions were peaceful and slow. As the fight for balance between body and mind came together, inner peace was found.

For Laidan, it was a moment to connect with herself. As her mind relaxed, she felt again the calm within the storm. She thought of the night before, standing in the raging river, holding fast to Rafe as the water swirled about them. He calmed her. She realized he still probably didn’t know much about her, at least her biggest secret of being a musical icon, and she wanted to keep it that way. When she was around him, music felt different. It was as if the notes were brighter and the words she sang had more meaning.

Now that Rafe had entered her mind, it proved hard to concentrate on the slow moves. She thought how when he’d kissed her forehead, it had been the most intimate kiss she had ever experienced. Her pulse began to race, and suddenly tai chi moved at a snail’s pace. She closed her eyes, hoping it would help calm her now-excited mind. She followed along with the instructor, but inside she was losing the battle for inner peace.

Rafe brought so many new emotions. He threw her off-tilt and yet at the same time gave her balance. After their talk beside the river, Laidan realized how much they were alike. Both of them had been slaves to separate industries that had made them lose the love and passion found in their natural talents.

Even though she tried to concentrate on inner peace and the simple slow moves, words to another new song sprang rapidly to the forefront of her thoughts:

War, you claim war within my mind

Raging water, blowing wind, no safe place I find

Pulses pounding, beating hearts

Running fast, worlds apart

Then you kiss me on my brow

And silence enters in

Inner peace deep inside,

And true life can begin

****

Thanks for stopping by!

Tara

Featured Books Friday!

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The kick off to Featured Books Friday was awesome last time! Thank you to all who participated and purchased books. Please check it out if you want by clicking HERE.

I will be doing the same thing this week.

In the comments put the title, your name, genre, and purchase link along with a blurb or scene from your book under 500 words. (please no erotica or over the top violence)

Here’s mine:

Broken Smiles by Tara Mayoros. Women’s contemporary romance.  http://www.amazon.com/Broken-Smiles-Tara-Mayoros-ebook/dp/B00NU69UMU/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1429659605&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=broken+smils

****

Taking her first look at the doctor, Laidan shrank in her seat.

Quickly assessing her appearance, she groaned, thinking about her reflection in the mirror earlier that morning.

Standing at the front of the room, he held the audience captive. He stood tall and fit like an unyielding tree. It grounded Laidan, and for some reason she thought of roots climbing up her legs, holding her captive. An air of confidence swam about him. His brown hair fell long enough to reveal a small wave. Her heart that had skipped a beat moments earlier, was all but pounding now.

The doctor’s voice rang confidant and clear as he spoke. “And that is why I have visited a few hospitals here in the States. The fact of the matter is — I need funding. These kids need your support.” His hand came to his face and rubbed his cheek as if he wasn’t used to its smoothness. Looking up to the slideshow, Laidan noticed how his eyes softened at the sight of the children standing in front of the humble building made of concrete and rocks. The dense backdrop of banana trees and hanging vines seemed to warm the hospital chill around her. The children made funny faces at the camera, and she smiled, imagining the relationship the doctor had with his patients.

He turned to the audience, eyes scanning the room, as if he dared anyone to not help out. His brown eyes passed over her dismissively. Her heart dropped.

Then, very pointedly, his eyes shot back to hers. They held her gaze in a comfortable moment. A shot of butterflies injected straight to her stomach. Her eyes perused his face. His brow showed poise, his easy presence filled the entire room, and his returning smile disclosed a small tease. She didn’t think about how she looked or that she had bloodshot eyes — she knew in that moment he saw beyond her appearance. A blush rose to her face and tickled at her ears.

She felt her friend shaking her rather aggressively.

Andi whispered impatiently in her ear. “I said, are you cold? Do you want my jacket?”

“No, why?”

“Well, your arms are completely covered in goose bumps.”

****

Thanks for stopping by –

Tara

Featured Book Friday!

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Today is my first installment of Featured Book Friday!

Every Friday, authors can post in the comments below with a blurb or a scene of less than 500 words, along with one purchase link. I love all genres: Fantasy, Horror, Romance, Mystery, Memoir… you name it. I only ask that your book doesn’t contain extreme violence, erotica, and massive swearing. I would say family friendly, but I don’t always read family friendly, but I would like the audience to know what they are getting into.

Oh yes, and I will be purchasing all the books in my comments during the launch of this new program. I love the writing community and want to share your book with others!

Here is my example: (Book Name, Genre, Author, Link, 500 word or less blurb)

Broken Smiles (Women’s contemporary romance) by Tara Mayoros

http://www.amazon.com/Broken-Smiles-Tara-Mayoros-ebook/dp/B00NU69UMU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1429284791&sr=8-1&keywords=Broken+Smiles

“Could you point us in the direction of the doctor?” Kort asked the group. “No one else seems to speak English around here.”
Pointing to himself, he said, “Well, I guess that would be me.” The doctor extended his hand and then retrieved it, as it was covered in grease. “My name is Rafe Watkins.”
“My name is Kort. This is Andi, and this,” nudging her forward but still in a protective stance, “is Laidan.”
While Kort proceeded to make arrangements with the doctor, Andi and Laidan exchanged glances. Andi nodded toward the doctor and wagged her eyebrows up and down. Laidan let out a small giggle.
With the smile still frozen on her face, she looked up at the doctor. His returning smile teased at his lips and stopped her heart for a moment. Her cheeks blushed fiery hot. Instantly, she thought back to the hospital in Denver and realized his effect on her had not changed one bit.
I wonder if he remembers me at all.
Panic turned her internal butterflies into a swarm of bees stinging as she realized he might recognize her, only this time, as Lady Laidan. Her eyes darted to the ground, and she lowered her sunglasses to conceal her eyes — and her identity. She ached to be in a place where people didn’t harass her and where she could be completely free.
Not that he could have noticed who Laidan was after she had cut her long, gorgeous hair and refused to wear the colored glasses. Even Andi had said she a hard time matching Laidan’s new image to her music. Now her hair fell to her chin with choppy layers that framed her face.
She heard Rafe clear his throat.
“I’ll show you guys where you’ll be staying.” He reached down and helped Laidan with her bags. Their hands touched on the handle of her suitcase, which sent an electrifying jolt up her arm. Quickly she looked up at him and was met with warm brown eyes that melted her worry. She hoped the sunglasses hid the softness mirrored beneath her eyes.
Andi broke their gaze as she said, while pinching her nose, “I hope you have better bathrooms than some of the places I’ve seen around here.”
Rafe laughed as he stood holding Laidan’s suitcase and backpack. “Sorry, Andi, was it? There’s one bathroom for everyone in the dorms to share.” He paused at the look of horror on Andi’s features and then pulled a sarcastic face toward Laidan. “I guess I shouldn’t say that the toilets are actually just holes in the ground.” He chuckled.
Andi threw her hands in the air. “For real! Laidan… seriously? This is where you wanted to go?”
Kort grabbed Andi’s bag and said as he nudged her, “Oh come on, Andi, it’s not so bad.”
“Yeah for you, cause you’re a dude!” Andi snorted.
“Just look at it as an adventure,” Laidan said, raising her eyebrows at Rafe. “She’s dramatic. You’ll get used to it.”
Andi huffed toward the dorms, and Laidan thought she heard, “All that money and this is…” She was too far away to hear any more, nor did she want to be reminded of all that.
Rafe strolled beside her. “If you ever need to use a real bathroom, I built one in my home over there.” He nodded toward the tree line.
Laidan gasped at the sight of his quaint little bungalow safely tucked in the trees. The wooden architecture looked simple, while the grass thatch roof flared at the ends with an Asian design. Beside the open shutters, the windows were breezy and welcoming. Laidan relaxed while looking at it. The bamboo porch wrapped around the front, and an ancient-looking swing anchored the space. It reminded her of the lake house.
“It’s wonderful,” she said, impressed.
He leaned down and whispered in her ear. “It’s not much to look at, but I call it home.” He stood tall, walked ahead, and then said, as if thinking out loud. “It could probably use a woman’s touch.”
His words sank deep, and Laidan stopped. While staring at the bungalow, the aching of belonging somewhere pounded with her beating heart. At that same moment, a bird sang out amidst the trees as if it had called her home.

***

A huge thank you to all who stop by and for those of you who share your book in the comments!

Tara

Heat Ratings in Romance… should it be like the ratings in Rock Climbing??

I have been thinking about the different levels of heat in Romance novels lately.

There have been times that people told me I needed to add more heat into my novel Broken Smiles. There have also been times that critique partners told me I need to tone down the steam. Where is the balance? I decided to delve in and discover all of the levels of romance and what certain target audiences expect. This is mainly for my reference, and I am glad to share and hope that it will help some of you.

As I was thinking about what rating system I wanted to compare this to, I thought about rock climbing. I love rock climbing and had many friends growing up who were hard core climbers.

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(photos of me, Tara, in Rock Canyon and Mystery Canyon)                                       

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As romance novels become more and more mainstream, there needs to be a definite rating system. I don’t mean to throw the climbing community under the bus by referring to them, but the rating system they use is genius.

By going into detail and explaining each romance category in terms of 1-15a,b,c,d, the guessing game of heat level would be out in the open. There wouldn’t need to be a board of directors or big debates on what should go where when it comes to levels of sizzling heat in romance. We could simply look at it through the eyes of a child. And so that is what I have done…

*No Romance at all would be comparable to the rock climbing ratings of Class 1 to Class 4. These rock climbing ratings begins with:

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Class 1 – Walking on an established trail

Children’s books, picture books

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Class 2 – Hiking up a steep incline

Early Reader, Middle grade reader

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Class 3 – Climbing up a steep hillside

Upper middle grade or Young Adult. Platonic interest between boy and girl.

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Class 4 – bouldering or following a ledge. Sometimes a rope will be used for help.

Young Adult mild swearing or love interest. Internal emotions, but no follow through.

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***The tricky bit is when we get to Class 5 in climbing. This is when ropes are used and technical rock climbing begins. Past Class 5, the climbs begin to become subdivided into categories.***

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Class 5.0-5.4- climbing up a ramp or steep incline with good holds.

Super Sweet Romance – An innocent look, an internal feeling by one or more of the characters. No swearing.

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Class 5.5-5.7 – steeper, more vertical. Still good holds and easily protected.

Sweet Romance – Maybe a brief touch or a steamy look. A walk around a garden alone (in historical fiction) Realistic sexual tension.

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Class 5.8 – Vertical climbing on small holds

Mild Romance – Hand holding, a quick hug. Internal thoughts and feelings of love or lust.

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Class 5.9 – Rocks might be slightly overhung, or smaller hand holds. With practice, beginner climbers can climb with confidence

Clean Romance – A brief kiss. A warm hug. More internal thoughts and feelings described in detail.

***Get clipped in, because it starts to get more intense!***

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(My good friend Emily Ernst “rockin'” American Fork Canyon.

She told me this was about a 5.11a – I don’t believe her 🙂 )

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Class 5.10 – This is where it becomes more intense. A beginner rock climber does not feel comfortable in this range unless they go often or have natural talent. The classifications break down even more into a,b,c,d.

Spicy Romance – a) A more intense kiss, closed bedroom scenes, b) maybe some swearing. c) If lovers do make love, it is implied and not graphically depicted. Much is left to the readers imagination. d) The focus is still on the emotions rather than the body parts.

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Class 5.11 a,b,c,d – Steep and difficult routes with powerful and technical moves. Above average skill.

Steamy Romance –  a) Open door bedroom scenes, some nudity. b) We get heated feelings from the characters, but not in graphic detail. c) Maybe one or two mild love scenes in the novel and they tend to be longer scenes. d) Infidelity.

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Class 5.12 a,b,c,d – Overhanging climbs. Requires delicate footwork on thin holds or long climbs requiring a great deal of balance. Expert level.

Hot Romance – a) Nudity and intimacy in detail. Authors start to use funny words to describe the intimate parts. b) Internal thought and dialogue are meant to make you feel that you are the one experiencing the sensations. c) The focus throughout the book are sexual feelings and desires. d) More description, but nothing wild or kinky.

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Class 5.13 a,b,c,d – Very difficult climbs. Elite athletes.

Erotica – a) Hard core. b) Explicit language and bedroom scenes. There probably isn’t much of a story line at this point. c) The focus is mainly on sex. It probably takes a very gifted author to have a storyline beyond sex. But this is a Billion dollar industry, so there is a demand. I don’t think people read this genre for literary purposes!

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Class 5.14 a,b,c,d – These climbs are among the hardest in the world and very few can even attempt them.

Graphic Erotica, a) Extremely explicit scenes and language. b) BDSM, c) rape, all explained in full detail with all of the feelings described. May include what others consider kinky. This is unlike rock climbing in that this genre is becoming mainstream. It is front and center in grocery stores and gas stations. Movies are being made.

***Often I have seen personally where girls have gone from reading Class 5.0-5.4 to Class 5.14 with no preparation or maturity in between. Imagine the years, the hours, and the training a climber dedicates to this level of skill. You can’t stick a beginner on an over hanging ledge and say “climb.” Nor should you. They would fall, they could die. Why then, is there no rating system to prepare or caution early readers?***

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Class 5.15 – Very few people can climb on this level. I think Spiderman skills are needed.

Beyond Romance and Erotica- Think of the worst or most graphic thing you can think of, combine them all, and this would be there.

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(My awesome sister Traci Stewart rock climbing on Moon Hill in China.

Climbs range from a 5.10b-5.14a)

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In Rock Climbing, when new harder climbs are found, a new number is made. It is impossible to imagine someone being able to find and climb a 5.16. Just as it is impossible to imagine what will be acceptable and written in the literary world. This rating system leaves it open to both. Incomprehensible, but possible.

The thing I have found is that romance in novels can be very subjective. Everyone has different lines they will or will not cross. I have found this as I have been exposed to the romance writing community. There is a definite line that I will not cross in my writing and what I feel comfortable reading. The frustrating part comes when you don’t know what to expect when you pick up a book and then you invest in a story line and it takes you to a place you are frustrated or become uncomfortable with. Much in the same way that a cliff face might look climbable from below, but once you get half way up, you realize you are stuck.

Rock Climbers, I love you! You are genius (and hot!) May us romance writers use or borrow or steal your rating system??

Thanks for “hanging” with me and happy writing –

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Tara