Plotting Workshop by Rhonda Helms

I recently took a plotting workshop by Rhonda Helms. Since it helped my a lot to increase my daily word count, I decided to tell you a bit about it.

I’ve read a ton of books about plotting. I never got the hang of it. Somehow, I always tried to fit my plots into the structure taught in the books, and I ended up meandering around, writing, deleting, going back, fixing things, re-fixing the fixed stuff…you get the drift. It was like looking for a certain address when I had no idea which country I was in. I got stuck. I got blocked. I lost the fun. And, most importantly, I lost my characters. They ambled along, but neither of us had a clue what we wanted.

Of course I had some idea of what the story was -or should be- about, but I had no idea how to write it.

I forced myself to go on. To write even if I had no idea where this would lead. I hated writing. I was glad if I managed 500 words on a good day.

That was when I heard about the plotting workshop. I signed up immediately and threw myself into reading the book Goal, Motivation, Conflict by Debra Dixon. Rhonda told us to read it before the class started since we’d need it.

I won’t go too much into detail of the workshop itself, since you need to do it yourself if you want to learn it. We covered brainstorming, the plot points, how to fill out the scenes, how and where to add the subplot. Subjects were also characters, their goals, their motivation, and the conflict keeping them from reaching their goals.

Of course, there is no class without homework, so we did an outline of our stories and posted it for everyone in the group to see (I was freaking nervous). We got into the motivation of our own characters. We basically plotted an entire story with subplots, characters and everything else. All I had left to do was write it.

Some of our pantsers had a really hard time, but it was worth it. (At least in my eyes) Rhonda went through every one of our plots and gave feedback, which helped a lot to see flaws. It made me realize why I had fought so hard with a story that simply refused to work. It took me months to write a couple of thousand words. In the end, I gave up on that story. Not the idea, don’t get me wrong. I like the idea and I will write the story-but in the way it’s meant to be. In a way I have fun while writing it.

I still don’t like plotting. I might never like it. But before I start a story, I sit down and do my homework. My GMC and my plot. I outline everything, the plot points, the length, the chapters… I don’t line out every scene until the end, but only a few ahead. That’s enough for me and allows my characters to change a story if they need to. But I can add some foreshadowing and lead up to certain events since I know what will be coming in a later chapter.
I still manage to surprise me (I managed to add a very important character out of the blue in my last story) so outlining is not stifling my creativity. What it does is giving me a direction. I now write 1.5k on a bad day, 3k on a good. (Good and bad doesn’t say anything about my writing itself, only about how tired I am as I’m writing at night.)
I have fun again. My characters talk to me and have fun as well.

This is why I sit down, take two or three days to outline and then write. I wrote a 65k novel in exactly six weeks. I still need to edit it (typos and small tweaks), but basically, the story is done. I might add some foreshadowing or flesh out one scene or two. But I don’t have to get back and see where I took a wrong turn or where I have to change the whole story.


For that, I’m grateful to Rhonda. And believe me, I already told her I’ll attend the next workshop.


If you’re interested in the workshops, I’ll post updates here.

What do you think about plotting? Do you do it?


I’m curious. Let me know.




Seven facts about my writing

Since I got tagged on facebook to reveal 7 facts about my writing, I thought I’d share with you here as well. Let’s start:

1. I was a complete non-plotter until I took a workshop about plotting. Since then I’m plotting and have increased my word count to 2.5k a day. I usually was happy if I managed 1k, so that’s a huge improvement.
2. Thanks to plotting, I recently finished my first novel. I wrote 65k in 6 weeks, which still amazes me. And it’s pretty coherent, with only very small tweaks necessary. I love it.
3. When I’m writing, I’m in a very strange headspace. It takes me a couple of sentences to get in there, and then the words flow.
4. If I’m in the right headspace, I get out about 1.5k in an hour.
5. Sometimes when I reread my own stuff, I’m wondering where this came from. It’s like another person wrote it. (I mean this in a good way.)
6. I’m writing on my couch, wrapped in a blanket, rock music playing in the background, although I don’t actually listen to the music.
7. I usually have to title for my stories until the very end. Sometimes I find it while writing, but it also happened that I finished a story and the title was still ‘novella’.

Christmas Blog Hop


I’m hoping you’re all in the Christmas mood already! I certainly am, and I made my wishes for this year. Wanna hear them? Read on!

What I wish for:

Lot’s and lot’s of hot men coming to my mind and telling me what I need to write about them. Like this one. He certainly needs his story to be told.



And I wish that this present I got myself will help me write all the stories in my head. 🙂 I love whisk(e)y, but I admit that I got this one because of the name. Although I know it’ll taste great, too. 🙂



On a more serious note, I will donate a part of my royalties from December’s sales to Lost-n-Found Youth in Atlanta, GA. So I’m hoping a few more people want to pick up one of my books and help support homeless GLBT Youth.

I wish you all Happy Holidays!




Please look up Scorching Book Reviews for more participants of this Blog Hop!


Midwinter Flash- The House of Manlove Blog Hop

Welcome to our Midwinter Flash Blog Hop!

My flash is featuring the characters from my last release, Grenzen.


A Winter Weekend

“Hey Ryan.” Julian pressed a kiss to my cold lips. “Wow, is it that cold outside?” He was running around in a T-shirt in the warm apartment, while I was still wearing my parka. I pulled him close, so the cold would seep through the thin fabric of his shirt.

Julian shivered in my embrace.

Yes, it was really cold outside. He had opted to stay at home while I ran some errands today. Normally we did this together, but not today.

Julian waited while I got rid of my parka, and my woolen cap, and then he pulled me into the living room. A fire was roaring in the fireplace. I stepped close to the flames and held my hands as near as I dared.

Julian stepped behind me and wrapped his arms around my middle, pulling me backwards against his chest. “What do you think—“ he murmured in my ear, “let’s get away a few days?”

“Next week?” He had some free days then.

“Mmmhh.” Julian’s lips found a path down my neck to my shoulder. I shivered under the beard stubble running over my skin. The distraction made it hard to think.

“Where do—“ I paused, tried to find the right words, “do you want to go?”

He raised his head a little, stopped the kissing for a moment. “I’ll surprise you. I kind of already booked, so all you have to do is to say yes.”

I laughed, then moaned as his lips and teeth found my skin again. “You already booked?” Without asking me if I could get a few days off?”

“Yeah, but you’ve been working a lot of overtime the last months, so I figured you’d get off a Monday. I just booked Saturday to Monday, so it’ll be one day, not more.”

He got back to his task of driving me nuts with his lips. One of his hands pressed my hip a bit back, and his hard-on made contact with my ass. He rubbed against me, letting me feel how aroused he already was. Not that I was doing better, my own lust already close to the surface.

“Come on. We’ll go to bed.”

“Yes, Sir.”

He shivered and his lips stilled for a moment on my shoulder. “You know me entirely to well.”

I chuckled quietly. “Yes. And you love it.”

“That I do.” He turned me around and kissed me. His tongue in my mouth, his hands roaming hot over my body, and I already started to float. Subspace was close these days, but given how often we played, that was no surprise.

“Come on, I want you naked.”

I nodded and he led me to our bedroom.


A few days later when we drove south, away from Nuremberg, I still had no idea where we’d go. It wouldn’t be something far away, as the time was too short, but since the only thing he told me was to pack a couple of nice clothes, I had no clue what he had planned. I would know soon, though.

Julian drove, like always. I was not going to learn how to drive a stick on icy streets. I was from Arizona. We didn’t have ice-rain or snow back home. And we had automatic cars.

We talked about a lot of things during the drive, his job as a teacher, my new one, the colleagues, all the everyday shit. On the inside I was dying because of curiosity, but I bit my tongue. Julian wanted to surprise me. I wasn’t going to spoil the fun.

We passed Munich and an hour later, we were close to the Alps. I had seen them the day I arrived the first day in Germany, but the times after that it had been to cloudy to get a glimpse.

Now they loomed close, much bigger than from the airport, and much more important, they were full of snow.

He isn’t going to…? Skiing? No, please not.

Julian was already tackling the first slope. How the hell was I going to survive a weekend skiing? I had seen it on TV, but I had never tried it. Hell, the first time I saw snow was a few months back when I came to Germany.

I was so lost in thought how I could tell my boyfriend that skiing was not a good idea without ruining his weekend, that I completely missed the drive into the mountains. I looked up when he pulled into a parking lot, next to dozens of other cars. People in snowsuits walked around, their steps looking strange and stiffly because of the heavy boots. Since they were carrying their ski over their shoulders, the shoes must be the ones you’d need to drive them. Fuck. Not good.

I was going to look like an idiot.

“Come on, let’s check in.” I couldn’t ignore the gleam in his eyes as he watched the other people skillfully drive down the slope, snow flying in every direction, and then, with one last, hard swing, come to a stop a few feet in from of the fence.

I followed Julian out of the car and into a cozy looking house. He exchanged a few words with the woman behind the counter and she pointed in a few directions. I had no idea what they were talking about, so I tuned them out.

A few minutes later, Julian led me to a room on the first floor. He dropped the bag he had been carrying on the bed, and ordered, “Strip.”

I did, I knew better than not to obey. And I was in the mood to play, so I would follow his order to the word.

I got rid of my clothes and stood shivering in the room. He stepped close, kissed me, his tongue playing with mine. I got hard, my cock perking to attention. But instead of doing something about it, Julian stepped back and handed me clothes out of his bag. A snowsuit. Shit.

“Julian, I can’t ski. I have never tried it.” I looked at him, waited for him to register my words.

But he smiled at me. “I know. I figured you didn’t. That is why I made a different arrangement.”

Different? How?

“Just put on your clothes and then we’ll see, okay?” I did. He wouldn’t disappoint me. And he wouldn’t be disappointed in me, then.

We emerged a few minutes later, both in snowsuits, caps, mittens and warm shoes. Julian led me through the house to the side entrance, where a man with a caterpillar vehicle waited. I stopped when I spotted the sturdy wooden sleds attached.

“They are going to drive us up the hill, we can have a drink or two in the cabin up there, and then we’ll drive the sled back down. It’s really fun!” He smirked, probably because of my expression. “Did you really think I’d make you ski?”

“Mhh.” I blushed.

“Come here, you.” He kissed me full on the lips. “Let’s have a day sled-driving, and tonight I have planned something else for you.”

I smiled. That was my man.



If you want to know all of their story, Grenzen is available at all the usual distributors. On the My Books page are all the links. 🙂

A part of my royalties from December’s sales go to Lost-n-Found Youth in Atlanta, GA.

Don’t miss the great stories of the other bloggers in this Hop!

Heloise West


Azalea Moone 


Alexis Duran


Jennah Scott


N.D. Wylders


Amelia Bishop


C.V. Madison

Meet my Character Blog Tour

Meet My Character

Thanks to Matthias Williamson for inviting me to introduce one of my characters.
Last week was Matthias’s turn and you can read his post about Drum here:

I decided on introducing Jeff. He’s one of the main protagonists in my novella ‘Never Wrong’

This are the questions about him:

1.) What is the name of your character?
Jeff Andrews

2.) Is he/she fictional or a historic person?
He’s fictional

3.) When and where is the story set?
The story is set in Chicago, Illinois, in 2014

4.) What should we know about him/her?
Jeff is a man in his forties who just recently stopped hiding how he feels. He spent a lot of time with doing what other people thought was right.
Jeff has very mixed feelings about a lot of things, and just because he accepts something doesn’t mean he is comfortable with it. He has to learn that, though.

5.) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?
Jeff spent 42 years doing what he thought was right. As he realized his mistakes, he changed a lot of things, but he is definitively not ready to meet someone new.

6.) What is the personal goal of the character?
To make a new life and move on. Jeff wants to leave his past behind him.

7.) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?
The story is called Never Wrong. I’ll post the blurb as soon as I’ve got a release date.

8.) When can we expect the book to be published or when was it published?
The book will be released soon, coming from MLR Press.

I hope you’ll love Jeff and Dean (the other protagonist) as much as I do and enjoy their story once it’s available.

The next author introducing one of her characters is JT Hall:

J.T. Hall has a bachelor degree in Creative Writing and a Master in Education. She has long been active in the LGBT community and does charity work including AIDS education and suicide prevention. She currently works as a technical writer and lives with her partner and teenaged daughter in sunny Arizona.

The Foreman on Amazon:

The Foreman from J.T. Hall

Today I have the great pleasure to introduce you to a writer friend, J.T. Hall. She published The Foreman recently and you’ll find info and an excerpt here.

Please read and enjoy





Title: The Foreman
Author: J.T. Hall
Genre: Short M/M Contemporary (bear/twink, some domination/submission)

Buy links:

All Romance eBooks:

My blog:
Twitter: @jthall7


Tim’s got a problem with his new job as a carpenter. His foreman, Gary Zucker, is just too damned sexy. With a mustache, hairy arms, and a solid gut, Gary exudes power and confidence, and it’s driving Tim crazy. When Gary notices Tim’s attraction, he figures it’s all over. The foreman will probably fire him for having the wrong kind of wood.

Then Gary surprises him. He shows he knows how to be the boss in more than one way. The question remains if this will be a one time thing, or something more. Tim’s got one chance to show the man how good he can be, before his dream man slips through his fingers.


“You realize I’m probably fifteen years older than you,” Gary said, leaning even closer, so that their lips were only inches apart. Tim swore the guy must be able to hear the pounding of his heart by now.
“Don’t care,” Tim whispered. He licked his lips, feeling hot and cold shivers going through him, almost desperate to be touched. “It’s the mustache,” he added impulsively. “I really like it.”
Gary responded with a deep rumble in his chest, almost like a purr, as he closed the distance between them. They kissed, hot tongues sliding together, slightly scratchy brush of hair against Tim’s lips contrasting with the softness of moist lips. Tim groaned, longing to reach over and grab Gary’s hand, but he forced himself to stay still, communicating his need only through their kisses.
When the kiss ended, Gary chuckled. “Should have just said so. Just this for now. Anything else will have to wait until work’s over.” He stroked Tim again, no nonsense this time, fist pumping his dick hard, demandingly.
Tim bit his lip to keep from crying out. Too much, too fast. He could feel his control slipping away. He nodded as Gary continued to jerk him off, feeling it approaching, the intensity making his eyes water. With a soft cry, he thrust up into Gary’s fist. Hot cum splashed over the foreman’s hand, and onto Tim’s jeans as the waves of pleasure ripped through him. A second pulse, and then a third; his orgasm finally passed, and left him panting for breath.
Just as Tim started to come back down to reality, Gary roughly wiped his hand on Tim’s jeans, making him jump. He stared at the foreman wide-eyed, trying to process what had just happened.
“Get yourself together and be back on the job.” Gary’s tone allowed no argument. Tim stared at the man, wondering if he was angry. With a grunt, Gary hitched up Tim’s jeans.
Then he stalked back over to the worksite, leaving Tim still woozy with the aftershocks.
For a moment, all Tim could do was stare at Gary’s retreating back, appreciating the curve of Gary’s ass as he walked. He blinked, and tucked himself back in, fixing his underwear and zipping up the fly. Had that really happened? Tim looked at himself in the rearview mirror, at the sweat beading his upper lip, the look of shock on his face. He wiped off the sweat with his shirt, feeling boneless. Spent.
Back to the job, boss had said. Reluctantly, Tim climbed out of the truck and slammed the door shut.
So what happened now?


Linguistically Challenged


multilingual 1

A writer friend, Helena Stone, had an idea about a blog after she saw that there were writers like her who are writing in a second or third language – English.

She asked around, and it seems we are quite a few! We agreed on answering some questions, and the first two posts on Helena’s blog are live now. Check them out, it’s quite funny to read.

I’m quite happy to see I’m not the only one who struggles with grammar sometimes. And I don’t feel strange anymore because I think in two languages and have to “switch” in my head.

I’ll keep you updated on new posts, and I hope you enjoyed reading about us linguistically challenged writers as much as I did. My turn to answer these questions will be soon, too!


Chris (who’s way too tired today to write anything else, no matter which language.)


A little update from Never Wrong: The line edits are done, and it will no go into proofreading. I don’t have a release date yet, but I hope I can show off the cover soon!

How I Develop My Characters. Or Not.

I thought I’d tell you something about my writing process today. For me, it’s always exciting to find new characters, see their good and bad sides, their quirks and habits. But how exactly do I create them?

I don’t. Period. I don’t create them. Or sit down and think about how I need a character X.

But how do I get them then? That’s what I’ll talk about today.

The first thing when I get an idea for a new book, is a scene I have in my mind. It just pops up and I see something happen. (No, I don’t need my meds, that’s pretty common among authors!). So I have a scene or two. And based on this, my mind develops more and more of the plot line. I have, at this point, no real clue what this story will be about. Nor do I know anything about the characters. Just a general feeling and something that is best described as vague direction.

Soon after the first scenes come up, I start to feel how my characters are. Some special traits develop, like I suddenly know why a character reacts to certain triggers. I get more and more of the past of my characters, what they experienced and how they deal with certain things. What they like or don’t like. These points, how small they are, are jotted down on my notepad. Then I start plotting in earnest. I posted about that recently, so I will not talk about that again (don’t want to bore you more than necessary 🙂 )

As soon as my piece of art is done, I know basically where I want to go and what should happen in the story (it never does, since my guys refuse to believe this is the way to go, but I still try!). I also have, thanks to plotting, a better idea how my character should be. Please notice the ‘should’. I’ll tell you why soon.

I can start writing then. Or better, I just do. I sit down and crank out say something between 5000 and 15000 words. And sometime during these thousands of words, something happens. My characters stop behaving the way I think they should, and start to actually act. (Still not time for meds! Just writing reality…) This is the point at which I feel them, where I ‘get’ their voice and their emotions. It’s a magical moment, because until then, the character was there, in my mind, but he was flat and boring.

At the moment he takes over the story, he tells HIS point of view, not mine. He has his voice, his opinion.

Although, I admit that this is usually the point where I seriously start doubting my writing, since I can forget all my plotting.  My character dictates what happens now, and it might be that I have to write the story from only one POV (happened in Never Wrong). Or that I seriously have to rework the beginning of a novel (see my post of Plotting my novel More again). This is usually the part I don’t like, but I know that my characters simply do know better. 🙂 Or refuse to listen to me.

Now you know how my characters find me, and how I don’t do much to develop them. I just hand them over the reins and they say what needs to be said.

I hope you found it interesting. I would love to know how you do it, if you are writing yourself. And if you’re a reader, is it interesting for you to see how it works?


I wish you a nice weekend from Germany, which is way too cold tonight.




New plotting of my novel More

My novel with the working title More has given me some troubles lately. It just didn’t feel right, and at about 16000 words, I had no real clue how to go on.
So I sat down the last days and drawed. I’ve heard other say they do this with a program, but my mind refuses. I need a pen, and a paper, and then I can start.

I listed the main characters, the plot and the subplots (four!! at this point).
Then I started drawing in which connection the characters are to each other.
I’m working with four equal protagonists, so that alone is sometimes a bit confusing.
My working sheet looked like this when I was done:


Nice, isn’t it?

But I wasn’t done. I started jotting down notes on possible scenes. That was another page:


Now I think I figured out where I need to tweak a little in order for this story to work. I’ll have to expand a few scenes, cut others (I HATE cutting already written scenes) and overall rework it.

I’ll keep you updated how it goes and if my protagonists behave a bit better now (or not, depending on what I want them to do… 😉 )

Wish you all a good day!