Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bouldering, How Sweet It Is

The Tragic Spinster and I went bouldering today. *Insert happy grin here.*

Ok, so we gabbed more than Spiderman'ed across the wall, but it was fun, got the heart rate up a couple times and logged a few more calluses.

And as anticipated, there was eye candy. Nice eye candy. I've got to write about a climber one of these times. And mountain biker, kayaker, cowboy, skier, hunky scientist, carpenter (hello tool belt), CSIS agent (WIP), oh probably more archaeologists, helicopter pilots . . .

Happy Day!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Dang, I Love This Land

Good morning. 

I am in an airplane headed to Fort McMurray in northern Alberta for the day. The sunrise is gorgeous from the air, warm colored and peaceful, full of the new beginning of a fresh day. Below it is lightly snowing and the land is blanketed in white and shadow, with the contours of the ground playing peekaboo with the snow and forests. It is a good day. 

As a lot of you know, this area holds a particular joy for me. My first novella Claiming Love was set up here and the novel I am currently writing is as well. It is a way to share a landscape I love with those who have never stepped here, or those who are old friends. 

Winter up here holds a whole different energy, too. Sure it gets cold...frickin' cold, but that is a part of this place. Deep freezes have a purpose.

The smell up here, not of the city and industry, but the smell of the forests and land and even the snow is clearing, grounding. I've said it before, there is an energy to this place that has nothing to do with a barrel of oil and everything to do with the land itself.

The oil reference, good time to mention Fort McMurray is in the Oilsands, or Tarsands, depending on your take. The land here is loud, and hurting, but the strength and beauty and wisdom is very apparent, as well. Contentious, troubled places make for solid self reflection and an awareness, a realization of values.

And built in conflict for a writer if you want to go there. The writer facet of me twinkles always, but I am up here today for a different reason. Still, the land speaks as it always does, and I want to share with those who have not heard. This place is pure magic.

Later in the day...

Back on the plane, heading home. This time with stars like quiet sentinals out and above and glowing community lights dotting the darkscape below. It has been an incredible day. Sometimes after the fact can be even more poignant than the event. So was the case today.

I know this post has been pretty vague. It has to be this time around. ;) I'll leave it with Thank You to all who contributed to this day.
In gratitude,

Monday, November 5, 2012

Napkin Dispenser, Hot Dude Trapped Inside, Feisty Rescuer, Danger Lurks

This was my first short story and a blast to write. It stemmed from a couple writing exercises during a workshop with ARWA and took off. Characters and stories have a way of doing that. The references to "25" were in honor of ARWA's 25th Anniversary. Happy 25th ARWA!

Some napkin dispensers hold napkins, others have gorgeous heros locked inside. Shay just wanted to grab a bite to eat and pretend her life was safe. She never expected to be responsible for rescuing a handsome hero. Eric has had enough of being in the wrong place at the wrong time; he’s locked in a napkin dispenser for goodness sakes. It might be worth it, though, he’s falling fast and hard for his feisty rescuer. But a sinister force threatens them both; will true love save them in time?

Duke Out at the Diner, A Short Story, is now available on Amazon. Happy Reading!

Monday, October 15, 2012

My Quest to Seduce Non-Romance Readers Continues...

I got another review in for Claiming Love and wanted to share. My quest for seducing the non-romance reader crowd continues. 

I’m just going to come out and say it. Straight up. I don’t read romance novels. But Claiming Love fell into my lap and you know what? I couldn’t put it down. Sarah Kades’ writing does everything good romance writing should do: it’s wrought with sexual tension and renews faith in the possibility, even probability, of true love. But there’s more. Kades imbues a sense of optimism, a feeling of all-will-be-right in the world, deep in the sinews and soft tissue of this book, all while balancing dramatic relationships between fascinating characters of both this world and the next. Claiming Love is a romance novel to seduce all. 
-Tania Therien

Happy Reading, Happy Writing, Happy Day!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Claiming Love, Not Just for Romance Readers

Hi Friends,
One of the things I want to accomplish as a writer is to create great stories that appeal to people in general, not just romance readers. Below is a review of Claiming Love by a typically non-romance reader. Here is what he thought:

Claiming Love, Sarah Kade’s first romantic novel, is an exotic tale of finding love and bringing forth one’s true nature amidst the constant struggle with time-worn conceptions of self.

Kades’ sensual story is set within an environment that allows her to draw from personal experience and insight resulting in a narrative grounded in truth and honesty. Her imagery is steeped in a life spent exploring nature – belying passion, humility and appreciation for beauty that exists in the world around us unbound by time. Claiming Love is thoughtfully layered in juxtaposed dynamics. The story balances long-standing mythic forms – those metaphysical divine energies– with the earthly surveyors of human history. Kades’ down-to-earth, protocol-bound, dirt-digging protagonist finds her world and self-image turned on its head by an ethereal hunk who materializes, seemingly, out of thin air as she heads skyward on assignment to dig dirt.

The ever-present union of heaven and Earth – mystic and human, is encapsulated in encounters of heated passion and longed-for embraces. Kades’ demonstrates her ability to fuse layers of reality, which at first glance appear disparate, into a plot that not only gains momentum from beginning to end but also twists and turns, in the throes of lusting embrace, as the characters come to more fully realize the way of the world, the nature of their self. Supporting characters provide light-hearted humour countering the inner-tensions bound within Kades’ hero and heroine. Kades wastes no time venturing into the erotic realm as her characters grow and evolve – blooming through release, dissolving long-fought inner struggles. Kades’ tale concludes through a universal demonstration that, regardless of origin and past, the acceptance of another and of one’s own potential for love, whether dripping from fingertips or buried deep within, can lead to finding true love – the Divine within ourselves and our beloved counterpart.

Ian Adam Smith MacNairn

Claiming Love is available at Amazon.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Claiming Love

This was my first novella and I still have butterflies sending it back out. I love this story and these characters. Sometimes a story lodges into our hearts and stays forever. This is definitely the case for me with Claiming Love. It is set in the Oil Sands/ Tar Sands of northern Alberta, Canada, a place just as complex and beautiful as this story. I hope you love it as much as I do. It is available here.

As an archaeologist, Elle loves her job. She just does not love all the airplanes she has to take. Before her latest flight, she says a quick prayer and as an afterthought throws in a request to meet her Mr. Perfect.

The Goddess, Gaia, assigns Bodin. He is a human angel-in-training who just happens to not believe in love. Grumpy and usually a divine pain, Bodin has met his match with the beautiful archaeologist. The two explore their budding attraction working in the wild northern forests, but will love come too late or just in time for forever?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A napkin dispenser made the cover? Oh yeah!!!

Here is a sneak peak at the cover for my short story Duke Out at the Diner. I frickin' love it! Why is a napkin dispenser on the cover you ask? Great question! Stay tuned for the release of Duke Out at the Diner!

So You Think You Can Write

A friend of mine has entered Harlequin's So You Think You Can Write contest!

A cowboy with a painful past and a woman with a secret: Can they learn to trust and love? SECRETS AND SECOND CHANCES 

Go here to read more and cast your vote today!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Time to go read a book

Don't Mess with Texas (Hotter In Texas, #1)Don't Mess with Texas by Christie Craig
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book came at the perfect time. You know when life starts amping up and everything is revving too high and you say to yourself for the love of god woman, STOP, and that sane voice in your head says just go read a book? And ta-da, a Christie Craig book is on your to-read pile and all is well. I love her characters, stories and punch lines, and this one delivered. Thank you Christie Craig!

View all my reviews

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Born To Run

Running. My new writer's guide. Movement lets go of what we no longer need and unlocks what we do. Happy running, reading and writing.

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never SeenBorn to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book gently, but effectively, takes your hand and leads you down a whole new way of life; trusting your body, trusting yourself, and invites you to move.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Writing Humor in Fiction

Last month at When Words Collide in Calgary, Canada, one of the panels I was on was Humor in Fiction. It is a great topic. Here are a few of my thoughts on it.

I love to smile, chuckle or laugh out loud when I am reading a story or writing it. When done well, humor in fiction is perfection. It is an incredible writing tool and essential to me as a reader and writer. 

Most people in the world respond positively to laughter. It is fun to laugh, it feels good. It brings joy and release. Humor also lightens us up. That’s a good thing. We do too good a job of winding ourselves up to the point of snapping, breaking or erupting. Booo. Humor diffuses our self-sabotage and grounds us. Humor has a way of putting life in perspective and laughter is called the best medicine for a reason. Next time you feel like crap, laugh. Find something that makes you laugh in that happy, silly, SO FUNNY way. And then stop and take the time to enjoy it. 

Now let’s talk about how to use humor in your writing, how to use humor as a writing tool. I like to entertain readers not only with my story, but with my characters, too. It is important to me that my characters are fun, interesting, someone I would want to have a beer or coffee with or be stuck in an elevator with, like what Sarah Duncan wrote about in her blog*. Writing humor into your characters can give them depth and make them more real, more believable. Who do you like to hang out with? People who are fun and make you laugh? Write characters like that. Even if they are tasked with saving the world with a toothpick or have had so much trauma you can’t imagine what they would laugh about, find something. Give your characters a sense of humor. Your reader will be attracted to them just like we are to people with a sense of humor in real life.

I include humor in emotionally- or action-charged scenes. This works for me as a writer and my readers in a few ways. It changes emotional gears for the reader, which is entertaining, but also creates an dynamic emotional roller coaster for when the other shoe falls. It gives readers a temporary respite from the adrenaline of the scene, so the action or conflict can jack them again later. The reader has a place to go emotionally, there is a change. For me, static emotion in a story does not hold my interest. I want the roller coaster. I want an emotionally dynamic story. Humor heightens the highs that enhance the lows, making them feel even lower. I want my readers to be emotionally exhausted and satisfied after reading my books because they have felt what my characters went through. 

Humor should enhance your story, not run roughshod over it. Following are a few flags to note:

Be aware of what is considered appropriate and good taste for your story and the humor you include. This will be relative to genre, author and your audience, but just be mindful of the type of humor you include and how you use it. It is a good thing to have humor that grosses out your audience and they love it and want more, but not so good if it inspires your readers to run screaming, appalled, never to buy your work again. Do you use humor to push the line a bit? That can be very cool or leave some readers queasy. Who is your audience? Who do you want your audience to be?

There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. There is a saturation point, a threshold of too many zingers where they start to detract from the story and/or they loose there punch. Remember that there is always that perfect word? Same goes for humor. Having beta readers can help identify when you have too much, or not enough. 

Readers are smart. Write authentically. What do you think is funny? Write that. It will come out sounding real and authentic because it is. Yes, people have different senses of humor, but don’t get stuck on that. If you think it is funny there will be others who do, too. 

Remember, stay light. Laugh. And go write.

*The Lift Test, May 27, 2010, Sarah Duncan’s Blog 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Judging a Book by it's Cover

When You Dare (Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor, #1)When You Dare by Lori Foster
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I totally picked this book by the cover . . . and loved it! Great mix of suspense, danger, romance and sexy sexy sexy. Fantastic characters, too. I'm a character kid and Lori Foster did not disappoint. Keep the great stories, and covers, coming!

View all my reviews

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Christie Craig, Shut Up and Kiss Me

Shut Up and Kiss MeShut Up and Kiss Me by Christie Craig
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is an absolute gem! I loved it, loved it, loved it! It was fantastically funny and sexy. Excellent read!

View all my reviews

Monday, August 13, 2012

When Words Collide 2012

What a fantastic weekend! When Words Collide 2012 was this past weekend in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

The panels I attended were top-rate, the fellow conference goers wonderful, the organizers incredible, and the overall feel was that of charged excitement, community and open knowledge sharing.

I had the wonderful pleasure to be on two panels this year and many thanks to those who attended. I had a great time as a panelist for Beyond the Bedroom - There's More to Romance than Sex with fellow ARWA members Jude Wilner, Billie Milholland and Sharon Wildwind. Romance in stories is so much more than sex and we got to gab about it. Check out my article Writing Sexual Tension, Heightening Your Readers' Satisfaction for more of my thoughts on this oh-so-fun and ridiculously important (ok, so it is important to me) topic.

I was delighted at the opportunity to panel with the three gentlemen Dave Duncan, Dave Gross and Tim Reynolds in Humour in Fiction. These guys were awesome and welcomed an adventure romance writer to their fold. Humour is vital in life and an integral part of the stories I love. Cheers guys, sign me up again for next year!

It was a great weekend. Thank you.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Self-Publishing Claiming Love

I'm re-releasing Claiming Love! Thank you to all who have asked, how can I get a copy? 

This time, I'm trying my hand at self-publishing. It is exciting and nerve-wracking. Weeeeeeeeee! Stay tuned for the release date.

Here's a sneak peak at the new cover done by Fantasia Frog Design

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Critique Groups, Upping Your Writing Game

My critique group took a brief life-pause break, but we are back in gear and I am ecstatic! Whoo hoo!!

I've written before about how important it has been for me to have a writing community and I want share again.

Having a safe, supportive, knowledgeable community of writers to play with, learn from, and grow with is such an incredible resource and straight-up a good time.

My critique group inspires me, dramatically, to up my writing game every time, to push my writing and my discipline to new heights and then top it. I love deadlines. With the group, I have deadlines. It also keeps me in a writing head space.

To my critique group, thank you.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Happy Summer Solstice . . . last week

Whoo hoo, Happy Summer Solstice!! So I am a late getting this out, but I hope everyone had a great solstice last week!

My sincere gratitude for my laptop. I can write in the comfort of my backyard, with a beer, and pay homage to the sun while I'm at it. Calgary summers are great, just not as long as other places I've hung my hat.

Speaking of hats and Calgary, the 100th Calgary Stampede is just around the corner. Talk about people watching and character data collection. . . and Spruce Meadow's North American tournament is next week and the Canadian Track and Field Olympic Trials is this week in town.

Dang I love Summer!!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Happy 25th!

Happy 25th Anniversary Alberta Romance Writers' Association (ARWA)!! Whoo hoo!!
So I don't normally have a scotch before 11am. . . I don't usually have a scotch in the daylight, but hey, it was a day of celebration. It was a lovely party, met some new friends, hung out with some old ones, wore a dress and heels, and celebrated our writing community.

Happy Writing!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Writing Sexual Tension, Heightening Your Readers' Satisfaction

I gave a workshop for ARWA on writing sexual tension. Enjoy and Happy Writing!

Sexual Tension, Heightening Your Readers’ Satisfaction
by Sarah Kades
I love writing sexual tension. It’s fun, it’s dynamic, and you get to create a storm of feeling within your characters. Your characters dance around each other and their feelings for each other and wrestle with darn near everything under the sun trying to ignore the burning heat that is threatening to scorch them if they don't give in to the passion exploding through their system.
But they can’t give in. Not yet. Something is stopping them from grabbing that other person and rocking their core. And not just any something. Nope. It has to be a big enough deal to stop this rocking attraction. And sexual tension isn’t soft and fuzzy. Soft and fuzzy has a place, mind you, but it is not when the stakes and the passion are so high somethings got to give and your characters have no idea what they are going to do because they can’t act on the attraction (insert plot element here where acting on it would be the dumbest thing in the world, internal or external conflict) and they can’t not act on the attraction (because the attraction and passion are so real, so intense, so burning that not acting on it is the most unnatural and dumbest thing in the world).
Sexual tension has very little (sometimes nothing) to do with the actual act of sex. Sexual tension is passion unsatisfied. It is emotion and conflict, both internal and external, with anticipation and frustration thrown in the mix. 
It is that passion, that attraction that makes your characters’ life impossible because they cannot stop feeling their beloved (or be-lusted) everywhere. It’s distracting and oh-so-fun to write your characters going through it. It is up to you how you put it in there.
Sexual tension scenes grip your reader. I want my reader to feel what my characters are feeling, feel the sexual tension, feel the sexual frustration, feel the heat that is the no holds bar, intense, crazy attraction that can exist between two people.
The core of writing believable, charged sexual tension, is to feel it. Feel that fire and translate it to your reader. Have you ever met someone and were rocked to your absolute core? Have you ever felt completely consumed by passion? Have you been floored that you could feel that much? 
Write it. Make your characters feel that. 
And if you haven’t experienced, no worries. As writers we create. Create that feeling, that passion, with so much clarity that your readers are caught up in the maelstrom of emotions and conflict, both internal and external, the anticipation and frustration, that they are squirming in their seats desperate for release, too.
We write sexual tension by overstimulating our characters’ senses with each other. We have (at least) five senses to work with. Go play and have fun working your characters into a frenzy over each other. Remember, sensuality trumps sexuality in the sexual tension game, so work with your characters’ senses!
Love (or lust) amplifies everything, it takes ordinary situations and experiences and blitzes the system with feeling. Everything is more intense because there is an underlying feeling that is inexplicable, and impacts everything, it amplifies everything. Sexual tension is part of that. Write it.
A few things to note:
Direct the sexual tension where you want it to go, not where you don’t. Don’t ‘conflict’ your characters into a corner they cannot get out of. Or a corner where your reader looses interest.
Throw your readers enough bones. Teasing your readers and characters is one thing, but they need something to tide them through. Sexual tension ebbs and flows. Heightening satisfaction includes the sensual dance of push and pull. Keep your reader actively engaged in this drama by keeping it rolling. Too much pushing with no pull will disengage your reader. Keep them engaged and wanting more.
Check otherwise “non-sexy” scenes and see if there is opportunity to heighten your hero and heroine’s awareness of each other. Sexual tension builds. Utilize the opportunities for it to build in your story.
Condom are sexy. Romance novels now include responsible, safe sex. Have fun writing condoms into your sizzling scenes.
Exquisitely craft your sexual tension scenes. Your characters, and your readers, will thank you. Happy Writing!
For more information, check out:
Juliet Burns, Sexual Tension – You want his WHAT to go WHERE? ©
Connie Flynn, Creating Sensual Tension 
Marg Riseley , The Exquisite Heat of Sexual Tension

Friday, March 16, 2012

Saucy Minx

36,000 words in and I have a new opening scene. . . and by new I mean formerly know as page 60. My manuscript is a saucy minx.

Stay tuned for the upcoming Writing Sexual Tension entry. I'm giving a workshop on it. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

My Sunday afternoon

Play break in the mountains today. This picture reminded me of writing a novel, keep working on it and enjoy the trip.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Chef Michael Smith | Cookbooks

I first heard of Michel Smith because every time I happened to be flying WestJet, his show Chef at Home would be on.
I picked up one of his cookbooks and it is a family favorite. Happy cooking. . . and writing.
Chef Michael Smith | Cookbooks

Monday, February 27, 2012

rewriting scenes and de-cluttering

What did Shakespeare say? More matter, less art?

Whew. . . more scene rewrites. I'm digging the de-cluttering, though. I'm learning lots about myself and how hoarding words in a manuscript can be just as ridiculous as hoarding physical things in our lives. Do I really need to hold onto books I haven't read in 15 years?

But I digress. . .

I'm rewriting scenes and I am fascinated how attached to particular words or phrases or sentences I get. Why is that? They are just words and if the story changes and the words are no longer the perfect one(s), why should I be attached to them? I can go write more that are perfect for how the story now is. So silly. But I find myself looking at what was at one time a humdinger of a line, and now it is just out-of-place clutter.


Where appropriate, use your delete button. It is a friend, a resource, a tool to help us on our writing journey.

Happy de-cluttering. And writing!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dierks Bently was in Calgary February 21,2012

Dierks Bentley was in Calgary last night!! Dang that dude gives a good show!! I had an absolute blast. Thanks Dierks, for coming to Calgary and I so have to put a concert scene in the next book.

Have a good tour!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Cooking and Writing

Ever write and cook at the same time? Sometimes when I am cooking I have my laptop handy so when I am waiting in between cooking tasks, I can get a few minutes writing time in. And it is way more fun to be writing in those little breaks instead of doing dishes.

Blocks of solid writing time are lovely, but sometimes schedules make that a no-go for several days, and if I haven't written in a few days, I need to reread and plug back into the story, so to speak, which cuts into actual writing time. So, I harness whatever time I can, whether that is a five minute snippet, or a five hour one. The wee time slots also keep the story fresh in my mind and rolling until the next marathon writing session.

Happy writing, and reading!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Rocky Mountains

Hey fellow readers and writers. Hope everyone is gearing up to have an awesome weekend. Last weekend I got to play in those beautiful Rocky Mountains. I love them. Seriously, they are like an automatic reset button, refresh, regroup, recharge . . . you get the picture. I brought my laptop, too, and got a bit of writing in but mostly used the weekend to refill my well, so to speak. Okay, and maybe hit the spa. It is a once a year event and dang, that was good! Remember to take care of yourself. If you are like me, life is fantastically chaotic and most spare minutes are devoted to writing and other passions. Remember to play, too!
Happy Weekend!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Writing communities

I know I've talked about it before, but I'm going to chat about it again. The power of having a supportive writing community is incredible. It doesn't have to be super organized, although that is nice.

I recently did the proverbial coffee with a writer friend and that hour and a half or so completely spiked my focus and attention. It breathed fresh air into my writing practice.

The following week my critique group and I had our bi-weekly meeting. We met at a new place (more fresh energy)  and I thought it was a good meeting but after reflecting and processing I realized it was a frickin' amazing turning point for me and the story I am working on.

The choice is yours who you include in your writers' circle. Remember trust and relevance to you.

And of course remember to have fun. That's why you are writing in the first place, right?

Happy weekend.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The power of the synopsis as a writing tool

I consider myself a pretty organic writer, but I am learning the benefit of using the synopsis as a writing tool. I suppose it is part of the writing journey and finding your own groove, but when I first heard of this it sounded very different than how my brain does the creative process and I shook my head in oh-no, not a chance. I want to flow.

The more I write, though, the more my brain and my creative process wants that organized synopsis. It sounds almost counter-intuitive to me and my vision of flow (I'm still in my writing style transition), but I am realizing now that scenes are freer to flow when I know what I want them to do ahead of time. I can sit down and write the scene fully, not with my attention split between the scene and wondering how the story is going to unfold. It is less stressful, too. People are masters at creating unnecessary stress. Why do we do that?

It also saves a lot of time rewriting scenes. And as characters develop and take on a life of their own, stay flexible and fluid to roll with your authentic character. Seriously, sometimes those characters feel so real in their persistence on how a story is going to go. You know what I'm talking about.

An older colleague of mine always says make a choice. If you find it doesn't work for you, make another choice. Don't stall yourself in indecision, though, that in itself is a choice, too. Make a choice, you can always make another one later if you need to, but don't have your life stall in indecision.

Works for stories, too. Make a choice. Decide your story, you are always free to change your mind, but in the meantime, you have a conscious game plan.

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year

Welcome 2012! I've been thinking about goals lately. What can I say, the new year is inspiring. What writing goals do I have? Hmm. Good question. That bland I-want-to-write-more is just that, bland. Give yourself a real goal. You're worth it. Jump in. Take on the writer inside and let her out.

I'm going to look my time management in the face and rock it.