Amazing Things Writers Learn — My Wild Journeys

LordOfAThousandSteps400Hi and welcome. Have you ever wondered about the Amazing Things Writers Learn? As you can imagine, a romance writer has to learn craft — a lot of it — and it’s a never ending process. We learn how to write in deep point of view, never straying from the ideas, experiences, sights, sounds, smells and tastes our point of view character might have. We learn character arc, and scene structure  and — well, you get the idea.

But then, we have to learn all the things necessary for our stories. There’s an old adage that says, Write What You Know. Okay, that’s true on some levels. We write the love, hope, fear, anger and all the other emotions of our lives. We pour them onto the pages. But details of the story? We essentially never know all of those. Nine out of ten times, we have to do research and that takes writers on wild and amazing journeys.

Just for the books i released in 2016, here are some of my amazing travels into worlds not my own —

TacklingTheTightEnd-400For TACKLING THE TIGHT END, i dove deep into the world of Native culture, particularly exploring the idea of the two spirited that was inherent among some Native communities. I have to confess, this was one of my favorite research projects. Also for that book, I learned even more about football, the tight end position specifically, Indian casinos, hand guns, Native adoption, and towns in Arizona.

Compared to that book, TAYLOR MAID was relatively simple. I had to brush up on my perf4.250x7.000.inddknowledge of Las Vegas, marriage laws all over the country, inheritance laws, and review my drag queen dressing details.

PrinceOfThePlayhousePRINCE OF THE PLAYHOUSE took me back to Laguna Beach where i lived for many years, so the setting was familiar, but that was the only easy part. While i know a lot about Shakespeare, i still had to search for specific scenes to use as backdrop for the action. I also had to dig into Hispanic gang culture in LA, and really had to get my facts straight on juvenile felony offenses. Whew. A writer’s life!

Then came BEAUTY, INC. For that one all i had to master was the cosmetics industry, chemical formulations for face Beauty,Inc-400x600creams, cancer information centers, and Brooklyn. LOL!

LORD OF A THOUSAND STEPS went back to Laguna Beach but a different end. Thousand Steps Beach is in south Laguna and, while i’m quite familiar with it, i needed details since my heroes spend a lot of time there. I also had to learn a lot of information about architecture (my husband’s an architect so i have built-in expertise), divorce and custody laws, and architectural schooling in Mexico.

Coming up in October is the re-release of SPELL CAT. Since it’s paranormal, i get to make up my own rules for the world, but my hero is a history professor and teaches a class on witchcraft, so lots of research was required for that.

In November, my first ever murder mystery releases. It’s called DEATH DANCER. I was lucky to participate in a workshop on crime scene procedure earlier this year, so i used a lot of that information, plus had to do lots of research on ballet, and streets in New York City.

Another really fun learning experience came for my first cowboy romance which releases in December. It’s called COWBOYS DON’T COME OUT. Interestingly, it mostly takes place in Hana, Hawaii and other locations on Maui. I got to dive into the whole Hawaiian cowboy (paniolo) tradition as well as take an imaginary vacation learning all the details about places like Makawao and Kahului. There was also a lot of searches related to horses, how to ride, how to teach someone to ride, cowboy equipment, and more.

So it’s been a fun and exciting year plunging into new subjects and universes! As you read, remember virtually every page has some topic or detail that had to be researched. Little things like expressions kids use, slang, where a street is located, the kind of trees you find in different locations, all require a trip to Google. Join in My Wild Journeys!

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Tara’s Occasional Movie Reviews — Magnificent Seven

Hi —

You may know that i once had a regular movie review blog with quite a nice following. This was before i became a full-time romance author and now i don’t have time. But I still like to review the occasional film. Today’s review is  Magnificent Seven.

Like many of you, I’m a huge fan of the old original American version of the film with Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen. I also love the original Kurosawa movie, the Seven Ronin or various other translations of the title. When i heard they remade the movie, i was skeptical. While the old movie has many flaws for today’s viewers, not the least of which is its racism, it’s still a classic and the characterizations are hard to beat. Well, they’ve been beaten.

All i had to know was Denzel Washington played the lead in the new version and i was in. Everyone else was just icing but oh man what icing it is. The heart of the film, of course, is the individual introduction of each of the seven men, lingering over their unique skills, foibles, personalities  and weaknesses. I think, if anything, this version does that even better than the original.

Before all, we meet the villain played by the snaky Peter Skaarsgard and he is fabulously evil. Great villains make great heroes, so the stage is set for the introduction of our boys. First Denzel. We gradually learn that this is more than a chance encounter for him, but from the beginning he is steely-eyed, incredibly capable and smart. Then his dour character is contrasted by the wise-cracking, braggadocio Chris Pratt who we love on sight. Ethan Hawke, all craggy faced and dissolute looking,  plays an ex-confederate officer who they call the Angel of Death. The marvelous Vincent D’Onofrio takes on an amazing role as an old Indian fighter who Pratt’s character describes as a bear in human clothes.

Next come the men who we don’t know as movie stars but whose portrayals of the most memorable characters will stay with you just as Charles Coburn and James Coburn did in the original. Byung-hun Lee plays a Chinese knife fighter who makes James Coburn look like a piker! And he’s definitely eye candy. More eye candy in introduced in the form of Manuel Garcia-Rulfo who plays Vasquez and finally Martin Sensmeier who plays the Native Red Harvest. All of these roles are unforgettable and, as you can see, a true symphony of diversity. To top that off, the villager who seeks them out is played by a woman. 

The final confrontation battle literally had me sweating. It’s a huge fight scene with the villain being tremendously villainous as today’s special effects make possible. Be prepared, it’s just as violent as it sounds and the body count is huge.

I expected to like the movie. I actually loved it. I read one reviewer who said it wasn’t innovative. True. But when you’re dealing with tropes as powerful as the American western, a director can only innovate so far without turning his blockbuster into an art film. I saw the movie at noon on Sunday and the theater was full. I expect the word to spread even more.

Thanks for coming by!

 

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Voice Coaches Sing “Dream On”. WOW!!

Hi. If you haven’t seen this, you just gotta! I love the Voice, but back at the Olympics, the show had a special preview that included this amazing quartet by Adam Levine, Alicia Keyes, Miley Cyrus, and Blake Shelton. The Voice Coaches Sing “Dream On”. Enjoy!

Thank you for stopping by! : )

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Boys in High Heels — Who Works it Best?

Hi —

Boys in High Heels. Who rocks a pair of stilettos best? Yanis Marshall, Brian Friedman or Kazaky? Whoever you choose, you’ve got to admit, androgyny is sexy as hell!

Check out Yans and Brian —

Now, feast your eyes on Kazaky —

So who wins the sexiest boys in heels title?

Thanks for coming by! Check out my new release, LORD OF A THOUSAND STEPS!

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Cats — in Commercials! Funny and Fun.

Hi —

You may know that i love cats and, because of my marketing background, i love great commercials, so Cats — in Commercials! Definitely funny and fun. I’m sharing these also because people are so loving the cat in my most recent release, LORD OF A THOUSAND STEPS. That cat’s name is Anderson Cooper.LordOfAThousandSteps400

So here is a video showing Cats — in Commercials! Hope you laugh as hard as i did. I think i might like the cat herder commercial best. How about you?

Thank you for stopping by!

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Tara Lain Releases Still to Come in 2016!!

LordOfAThousandSteps400Hi —

People kindly ask about new books — Tara Lain Releases — coming from moi, so here’s a rundown.

As you know, Lord of a Thousand Steps just released two weeks ago. If you’d like to check it out, Click HERE.

On October 31st, I’m delighted to say i get to re-release one of my most popular aloysius2paranormal novels, Spell Cat. Watch for the brand new gorgeous cover at the end of September.

 

5776452-close-up-to-contemporary-dancer-feet-stock-photo-ballet-dance-feetNext comes my very first murder mystery, DEATH DANCER! On Nov 1st, early downloads will be available on the Pride Publishing site, and general release is Nov. 29th!

 

 

Then on December 7th, i kick off a whole new series of contemporary cowboy romances. The first is called Cowboys Don’t Come Out. This is a cowboy story with a real difference and i hope you enjoy it! The book will go on preorder and the cover will be unveiled bullrideron November 7th.

That’s the end of this year, but next year is crazy and wonderful. I literally have a new release or a re-release every month of the year. I’ll save all those goodies for a future post.

Thanks so much for asking.  : )

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Structure in Film — A Lesson for Writers

Hi —

You know i love Top 10 videos since i share them with you so often. I happened to come upon this far more esoteric video on the Top 10 Structures in Film and i thought it would be an interesting instruction for writers as well. So i’m sharing Structure in Film — A Lesson for Writers. The video describes 10 different structures that are used to make film — from simple linear to total dreams and everything in between. As romance writers, we don’t generally take the liberty of creating a book in a circular structure or one that shows a central story from many viewpoints since we want the love story to be the center of our book — in fact, romance is defined by that idea. Still, knowing these various structures can give us ideas for scenes that might be rich and interesting. I hope you enjoy checking out Structure in film.

Thank you so much for stopping by! There are only a couple days to enter the drawing for the $15 GC on my Lord of a LordOfAThousandSteps400Thousand Steps Blog Tour. Click HERE to enter.

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Top 10 Best Dance Scenes Ever!

Hi — I’m writing a book (as always) and trying to get it done this weekend! So, i thought i’d follow up my movie review with more movies — the Top 10 Best Dance Scenes Ever.

This video celebrates two of my favorite things — movies and dance. Some of my top picks for best movie dances are inLordOfAThousandSteps400 here — your’s too, i bet. Plus, there may be scenes new to you that you’ll enjoy! Remember, my blog tour for LORD OF A THOUSAND STEPS is still going, so be sure to enter! Here’s the Top 10 Best Dance Scenes Ever!

Thanks for coming by!

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Movie Time with Tara — Hell or High Water

downloadHi — It’s Movie Time with Tara and I’m talking Hell or High Water!  LOL. Actually, i not only love books, i also adore films and i used to publish a movie review blog. That was back in the day before i became a novelist. I used to see at least one movie a week. Now I see less, but my love of films persists. Soooo, i think i might post an occasional movie review blog and see if anyone likes it. Before i plunge in, let me remind you that the Blog Tour for my new bestseller release, LORD OF A THOUSAND STEPS, is still going on.LordOfAThousandSteps400 Click HERE to read some excerpts and enter to WIN a $15 Amazon GC.

Now, on with the review. I love films that surprise me. I go to the theater thinking i may hate it and find it’s a favorite. Films like Michael Clayton and No Country for Old Men. Such a film is Hell or High Water starring Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine and Ben Foster. This is a hard movie to categorize and so, hard to describe. It’s a mood piece — but also a thriller. It’s serious, poignant and a tear jerker, but also funny as heck and uplifting. It’s dark and yet also optimistic. It’s a caper movie — and a serious meditation on brotherhood. It’s both an homage to the great American west and a condemnation of it.

One thing that can be said for sure is that it features spectacular performances. Jeff Bridges proves his mastery and i can practically hear them polishing the Academy Award. Chris Pine surprised me with his depth and subtlety and Ben Foster was a total revelation. The secondary characters are equally amazing. Also unerring is the bleak, desolate and yet somehow magnificent landscape of Texas.

Hell or High Water shows us the fine line between villainy and heroism — and i think you’ll cry and cheer in the process.

Thanks so much for visiting! :  )

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Girl Crush — Adam Lambert and Leona Lewis

LordOfAThousandSteps400Hi — Before i get to Adam Lambert and Leona Lewis, you probably know if you’ve been anywhere near the blog, I have a new book that just came out that’s been tearing up the bestseller lists at Amazon. ARe and more. It’s LORD OF A THOUSAND STEPS and if you’d like to see some excerpts and enter to win a $15 GC to Amazon, Click HERE.

I’m also busy writing Cowboys Don’t Ride Unicorns that will be out next spring and reviewing the cover for Spell Cat that re-releases on October 31st. This adds up to busy bunny. So, for a new blog, i thought i’d share this great video of Girl Crush from Adam Lambert and Leona Lewis. Truly Yummy!

Thank you for coming by and don’t forget to enter to win on the Rafflecopter. : )

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