Welcome to my little corner of the gay erotic romance universe . . . well, half of it, anyway. (You can find the other half at RachelHaimowitz.com.) This is the place to come for sneak previews of new projects, release information, and the occasional M/M book review. I'll also share thoughts on the industry on occasion, and I hope you'll come share yours in return.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Bleeding at the Computer: A Guest Blog and Ebook Giveaway by Cara Marsi!

Evening, folks! We've got a special guest and fellow Noble Romance author stopping by this evening: Cara Marsi. She's here to talk about writing and the evolution of her new release, Cursed Mates, and also to give one free copy away to a lucky commenter!

Let's start with her gorgeous cover and blurb, and then I'll turn the floor over to her.

Nick Radford is a reluctant werewolf who's been fighting the Beast within for nearly 500 years. He's never killed a human, but the Beast is gaining strength and Nick may not be able to ward off his inner demon much longer. Kyla Yaeger is an elite were-hunter with a scarred past. Her life's mission is to slay the werewolves that slaughtered her parents. Her quest has brought her to Maine, where she's been summoned to destroy the werewolf terrorizing the quaint little village of Heavensent. The last thing she needs is to get distracted by her mysterious—not to mention hunky—new neighbor, Nick Radford. By the time Kyla learns Nick is her target, she's already fallen for him, making her task of killing him that much harder. She is torn between her love for him and her duty to kill her sworn enemy. Nick fights his forbidden love for Kyla, knowing she is duty-bound to kill him. Kyla and Nick must join forces to fight an even bigger threat—one that will destroy all humanity. Only by their combined powers, can they destroy the evil and bring an end to a centuries old curse.

And now Cara, beneath the jump.

Ernest Hemingway once said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Substitute computer for typewriter and you know what we writers go through to craft a story. Did you think writing was easy? No way.

Let me tell you about the bleeding I did when writing my dark, sensuous paranormal Cursed Mates from Noble Romance Publishing.

The original title was Love Came Howling. I thought it was very clever until an editor at a major publishing house said it was “corny.” I ditched that title.

That wasn’t all I ditched. The story now is almost completely different than when I started writing it. Did you ever wonder how a book goes from an idea in the author’s head to the finished product? It’s not always an easy journey. And it involves blood, of the metaphorical kind. Maybe even of the real kind. Let me tell you about the twisted turns of Cursed Mates.

All my books go through many revisions before I submit to a publisher. Every author’s books do. Then, there are more revisions working with an editor once a book is contracted. But Cursed Mates went through more changes than any book I’ve written.

My vision for Cursed Mates, formerly Love Came Howling, was that it would be a light, funny paranormal. My heroine, a were-hunter, would know she has to kill the hero, but she just can’t stop jumping into bed with him. What’s a girl to do? Sounds cute? Maybe not. I don’t do cute, as I learned.

The thing is, my characters wouldn’t let me write them as light and funny. Kyla and Nick are dark, with scarred souls—a were-hunter with a tragic past and a tortured English nobleman turned immortal werewolf. Nothing funny about that. They had scores to settle. Sure, they liked jumping into bed with each other. But their couplings were intense, sensual, lustful, raw with emotion. The heck with light and funny.

The more I got into the book, the darker it became. Soon I was involved with demons, vamps, a witch and a strange, eerie little town in Maine named Heavensent. Only there is nothing angelic about this town.

Cursed Mates begged to be filled with danger, mystery, the supernatural. I can’t blame all this on Nick and Kyla. As much as I tried to write a light story, I’m more comfortable with the dark. I like characters who overcome their personal demons and triumph over evil, great evil.

The original prologue was thirteen pages. A critiquer told me she lost interest after the first few pages. Now the prologue is half a page. Even as I went through revision after revision, the beginning remained the same—Kyla running through the woods, gun in hand, in heavy pursuit of a werewolf. She didn’t see Nick until the end of the first chapter and didn’t meet him until chapter two. I entered this scene in contests. I finaled in a few and scored very high in others. Some judges raved about the action and how much they loved it. Finally, one judge questioned if the book was an action/adventure or a romance. That brought me up short. What was it? A romance, of course. But that judge and one of my critique partners said if I was writing a romance, I had to focus on the love story. That meant lots of changes. Can you see me banging my head against my desk and contemplating slashing my wrists? More blood letting.

Once I stopped banging my head, I sat down and rewrote the opening and did a major revision of the entire story. The beginning is still filled with the supernatural, but now Kyla meets Nick almost immediately. 

Cursed Mates went through about fifteen drafts before it became the finished product you read now. And you thought writing a book was easy.  

Hemingway got it right. We writers sweat blood sometimes. But we love writing and wouldn’t have it any other way.

There were times when I became frustrated at doing a rewrite, when I wanted to be lazy and not delve deeper into Kyla and Nick’s story. I even put the manuscript aside and wrote a romantic suspense novella. I sold that story, Murder, Mi Amore, to The Wild Rose Press. Then I went back to Cursed Mates feeling energized and refreshed. Sometimes we writers have to put a book down so we can pick it up later and look at it with fresh eyes. 

Despite the head banging and metaphorical bleeding, I’m happy with the way Cursed Mates turned out. I’m happy it’s not a light paranormal because light isn’t me. And neither is it Kyla and Nick. As I wrote, my characters took on a life of their own and showed me the story they wanted to tell. And along the way they taught me to dig deeper into my own soul. I discovered a little darkness in my soul, but I plowed on and came into the light. And so did Nick and Kyla. It wasn’t an easy trip, but it was an exciting one. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

To those readers out there, I hope I’ve given you a clearer picture of the sometimes frustrating, sometimes hard, writing life. If there’s anything else you want to know about writing, ask away. You can also contact me through my website: www.caramarsi.com.

I’ll end this with another Hemingway quote: “There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it's like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.”

Happy writing and reading!

* * * * *

Thanks to Cara for stopping by and sharing her story with us! And remember, folks: one lucky commenter will win an ebook copy of Cursed Mates, so be sure to drop a note and say hi. Feel like sharing your own revision stories with us? We'd love to hear it!


  1. *waves* Hi Rachel, Hi Cara =)

    As much as I would like to share a revision story with you, I... don't write, so I don't have one.

    However, I can tell you...

    This... " Did you ever wonder how a book goes from an idea in the author’s head to the finished product? "... is one of the most fascinating things I've had the pleasure of seeing and learning about since I came out here on line a year ago. lol, people find that so strange, but it's true. I love watching the process of what you guys do, from beginning to end. I've even been known on more than one occasion to ask what specific song the writer is listening to as he weaves his tales. Yeah, I'm that weird girl.

    I watched so intently as he would post small pieces of the book, and he was gracious enough to endulge me. I saved every song, so that when the book was finished I could make a musical score to go with it as I read the finished book. Then, silly little cheer girl compiled it and got brave enough to give it to him instead. It is now the official soundtrack, and that... floats my boat. =D

    And... I'm blabbering again. All I meant to say when I got here was... good post. =D

    lol, hope you two have a good night. Bye now.

  2. Rachel,

    Thank you for having me on your blog today. I had fun writing the article, and I hope your readers enjoy it.

  3. Very interesting. Some light and fluffy doesn't seem it would have worked well in Cursed Mates. I don't think a were-hunter and werewolf could be told humorously. They seem like dark characters and if one is to kill the other, as a reader, I would have problems with light and fluffy reading. Cursed Mates sounds good.


  4. This is a great book!!!!!!!! Loved it, Cara!

  5. LOVE the sound of this one,Cara! Definitely adding it to my TBB list! And the fact that you put so much into it, of yourself, and the plot, makes it a sure bet to have GREAT sales!

    Wishing you the best with it!
    Hugs, Kari Thomas, www.authorkari.com

  6. Thank you, Amara. Very cool about the music you wrote. Thanks for posting.

    Thanks for posting, "She." Yes, light and fluffy just didn't make it with this book.

    Tess, thank you for posting. I'm so glad you liked Cursed Mates.

    Kari, thanks for posting. I hope you enjoy Cursed Mates. Yes, I sweated blood at times with this book. But it was worth it.

  7. WOW, it definitely goes to show that our stories take on a life of their own!! In my new release Wayward Soul, the villain was supposed to be the hero but neither he or my heroine would cooperate! Sometimes our characters know so much more than we do!! Great post. If it's any indications of your writing, your book will be a best seller!!

  8. Hi Cara,

    You did it right by delving deeper and deeper into your characterization. Hemingway was right, too, of course. My answer to him? Publication stops the bleeding.

    Best of luck!

  9. Awesome post! Sounds like a MUST read to me.


  10. Kim, thanks for posting. I would love for Cursed to me a bestseller. Which of us writers wouldn't love our books to be bestsellers?

    Adele, thanks. From what I know about Hemingway, I don't think he ever stopped bleeding.

    Maeve, thanks for stopping by.


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