Sharon C. Cooper

Just thinking…

Aha! Shower Power

I was just thinking…

Well, actually I was just thinking that I do my best thinking in the shower. After spending hours working on a scene for a future book, my brain stopped cooperating. I tried everything to get my creative juices flowing  – eating chocolate, playing a couple of hands of FreeCell on the computer, and I even did forty-five minutes of step aerobics  – nothing worked. So I decided to take a shower and had planned to work on something else afterwards. And as usual, during my shower the scene I’d been working on became crystal clear, and the opening for the next scene materialized!

That whole shower episode is not out of the norm (for me), it seems I do my best thinking…in the shower. It’s amazing the things I come up with! How to work less and make more; how to re-organize the master closet without spending more money at my favorite store (The Container Store), and I came up with an idea of how to drop a few pounds before my vacation. Just last week while fine-tuning ideas for my next book series (The Jenkins Family), it was a shower that jump-started my muse and helped me complete the five-book series ideas. Go figure.

…if only I could figure out how to write in the shower without my paper getting soggy, or my laptop becoming water logged…

But what about you? When do your bright ideas or solutions pop into your head?

July 31, 2012 Posted by | Just Thinking, Writing | , , , | 6 Comments

Special Guest: Yawatta Hosby – Is T.M.I. – A Turn-off For You?

Today I have a fabulous blogger, Yawatta Hosby, visiting and sharing her thoughts on love scenes – how much is too much?  Please join me in welcoming her! Alright Yawatta, take it away!

Is T.M.I. (Too Much Information) A Turn-off For You?
A guest post by Ywatta Hosby

Are you a visual reader? I love when an author is great with description, causing me to get lost in their story. However, there’s some scenes that should be left to the readers’ imagination.

What scenes, you ask? The ones involving sex, lovemaking, quickies, etc.

I want to feel what the characters feel. I want to sense what’s going on around them. With sex scenes, descriptions should be based more on the emotional aspect instead of the mechanical terms. I like it when the story makes me feel like I’m experiencing the character’s journey with them instead of just reading about a character.

When the scene gets too technical, it comes across as just reading about a character, just looking from the sidelines. To me, too technical or mechanical means describing every single action, every single position, where characters’ mouths and hands are placed every step of the way. Also, when I see “so and so inserted ____ into ____” that’s T.M.I. (Too Much Information), which pulls me right out of the story.

Even if a reader doesn’t have an active sex life, they can still figure out how the process works, especially if they watch TV and movies. So, us readers, don’t need a play-by-play breakdown written for us to comprehend what’s going on.

It’s best to leave some things up for the readers’ imagination. My favorite type of lovemaking scenes are the ones that reveal the emotional side of things and let’s my mind wander, interpreting however I’d like to.

What’s your favorite type of scenes?

And, I love when the writer captures one character’s thoughts, emotions, and perceptions throughout the scene. It gets too confusing when both characters’ thoughts are used simultaneously. The whole point is to connect with the journey of the people you’re reading about; it’s difficult to do that when headhopping is present. Readers will get a sense of everything that’s going on but won’t have time to process it.

I don’t know about you, but I want to process the moment like its a favorite website embedded in my memory. I want to finish reading and go “Oh, they’re so cute together! I hope they last!” I want to get the warm fuzzies like I do every time I watch The Notebook.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Every story doesn’t require sex scenes. If you read Christian, inspirational, or cozy mysteries, then you’ve probably never came across any of these scenes. There’s some genres that forbid it, some that can go either way, and some where if not enough, readers will demand a refund.

I don’t want to read lovemaking scenes that don’t enhance the plot or fit the character’s personality. Then it just comes across as the writer adding those actions because he or she felt they had to in order to sell the novel. In today’s age, sex sells. However, there’s been amazing books that I’ve read where the sex wasn’t mentioned at all, yet it was still a hot, passionate, and steamy novel. The way the authors described make-out sessions or sexual tension was a huge turn-on, so I can only imagine how awesome a lovemaking scene from them would be (if the story required it).

For all the readers out there, is T.M.I. a turn-off for you? Do you enjoy reading sex scenes? Or do you get embarrassed, blushing and hoping no one looks over your shoulder?

Thanks for being my guest, Yawatta!

Show Yawatta some love by leaving a comment. I’d also encourage everyone to stop by and visit Yawatta’s blog (especially if you’re an aspiring writer/author)! You can also contact her at:

Blog: http://yawattahosby.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/yawatta_hosby

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/yawatta

June 7, 2012 Posted by | Romance, Writing | , , , , | 19 Comments

My Three-book Deal!

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks. A mixture of excitement and anxiousness rolled into one. A few weeks ago I did a couple of blogs, one was entitled: “12 Wishes,” and the other, “Are You Living Your Dreams.” In one of the posts, I stated that I would love to be in an anthology, centered between a couple of my favorite authors – Beverly Jenkins and Brenda Jackson. Though that hasn’t happened…yet, I believe anything is possible!

I also mentioned that I desired to receive a three-book deal. Technically, that hasn’t happened either, but I can hear as clear as day an author friend of mine saying, “Girl, you need to make your own three-book deal!” So, that’s what I’m going to do!

Thanks to some special friends (Chicki Brown, Delaney Diamond, and Alicia McCalla), who have already e-published and have been encouraging me to go that route, I’ve decided to go for it! Though they have been very instrumental in my decision, I can’t forget my wonderful, supportive husband, my amazing critique partners, and one of my dearest sister-friends (all the way in Chicago) for their amazing support! They have read my work and have been waiting a long time for me to quit playing around and get these novels published!

I’m happy to say that I have three romance novels coming out this year! One is a sweet romance, and the other two are romantic suspense. They will first be published as e-books, but will also be available in paperback – a few months after their original release date. I won’t go into great detail about them now, but visit my website for a blurb about each story – www.sharoncooper.net. Also, if you’ve subscribe to this blog, you’ll receive first hand information on some of the steps I’m taking to get published; the highs and lows of the process; and the release dates.

So, stay tuned as I take you on this wonderful journey with me!

February 29, 2012 Posted by | Authors, Romance, Romantic Times, Writing | , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Are You Living Your Dreams?

Recently, a dear friend asked me if I was living my dreams. She wanted to know, as a little girl growing up in Milwaukee, did I dream of becoming a mother, wife, stepmother? Did I dream of leaving Milwaukee? Did I dream of being a writer? Did my dreams change over time? Do I think about fulfilling those unfulfilled dreams? And my answers were yes and no.

As a young girl I wanted to be a secretary … and I wanted to be rich. Lol, what was I thinking? Does secretary and rich even go together? Where some children would play house or doctor, I was using some of my dresser drawers as file cabinets. Ripping out magazine articles (Teen Magazine) and filing them in ABC order so that I could go back to them and read them later. I loved order and organizing even in my early teens. Now that I think about it, I guess as a virtual assistant, I’m living this dream … except for the rich part (so far).

As I got older, I wanted to be an Architectural Engineer. I’ve always excelled in math, drafting, and art classes. Instead of pursuing that dream, I became a sheet metal worker. The money was off the hook (lol) and I could do some of the things I enjoyed (reading blueprints, creating/designing something out of nothing and using tools). Man, those were some good times. Being a sheet metal worker was not necessarily a dream, but some wonderful experiences, and opportunities came out of it. With the amazing men I worked with I learned everything from how to replace a roof on a house, to changing out my car radiator, to the ins-and-outs of investing (especially in real estate). All of that while still in my early 20s.

Not sure if this was my dream, or part of my parent’s dream, but while going through my sheet metal apprenticeship, I also attended college. I come from an entrepreneur family so it was (still is) in my blood to be my own boss. Though I enjoyed construction work – I knew I’d be my own boss someday, so I got my degree in business management.

As for dreaming of marriage– didn’t think much about it until I was in my late 20s, early 30s. Almost ten years ago I married a wonderful man who has brought more joy into my life than I could’ve dreamed. Though being a mom wasn’t on my must do list, I have several wonderful godchildren, and I became a stepmom to two amazing children.

As for dreaming of leaving Milwaukee … well I dreamed more about leaving the snow (lol). So a year after my husband and I married, we moved to one of the most beautiful cities in the country – San Diego. Not only did we leave the snow, but it was around 180 days before it even rained! Though I love a rainy day here and there, I quickly got use to daily sunshine and an average temperature of 72. As for Georgia, as a kid visiting every year (my parents are from Georgia), I remember thinking that I’d love to live in Atlanta some day. At the time, it seemed livelier than Milwaukee. Now that I’m here … it’s okay.

The one thing that I’ve dreamed of doing but haven’t done – is own a coffee lounge. Mind you, I’m not a big coffee drinker, but I love the atmosphere of coffee shops. I haven’t totally given up on this dream (I even have a great name for it), but I think I’ll hold off on it until we move back (if/when) to the west coast. Getting our car registered in Georgia was a pain. I can only imagine what I’d have to go through to open a coffee lounge!

As for writing, it wasn’t a dream. I’ve always journaled, but I didn’t dream of a three book deal until a few years ago. We’ll see what happens (smile).

So, to answer my friend’s main question – for the most part, I feel I’ve lived my dreams. What about you – are you living your dreams?

January 9, 2012 Posted by | Just Thinking, Writing | 6 Comments

12 Wishes

Forget setting New Year’s resolutions; let’s talk about having wishes granted!

This weekend I watched a movie, well part of the movie, where the main character was granted 12 wishes to use any way she pleased. Initially she couldn’t believe it, so her first few wishes included things like: wishing someone would send her flowers, wishing for a new pair of shoes; and I think one of her wishes was that her friend could get her hair done before she ran into her ex-boyfriend (smile). After using up the first few wishes on things of that nature and getting them granted, she then went big and wished to win the lottery. Once she’d used up all 12 wishes, she found out the wishes came at a cost (there was a catch – of course), unfortunately, it was around that time I stopped watching (ha!) so I can’t tell you how it ended. Sorry. 

At any rate, the movie did get me to thinking. I pulled out my journal and jotted down 12 of my wishes. Although some were selfless like: I wished that there were no homeless people and that everyone had a nice place to live; another wish – no hungry children. It makes no since that some of us eat until we have to release the top button on our jeans and have leftovers, while some children barely get a meal a day. Those were a couple of my huge wishes. Then there were those that were a little more selfish: I wish I had a Neatdesk Scanner. I wish I was debt free (of course I was thinking – then I could do more for the homeless and the hungry); but one of my biggest wishes, besides getting a lucrative three book deal/contract with a mainstream publisher, is that I wish Beverly Jenkins and Brenda Jackson would call me up and say that they would like for me to be in a three story anthology with them (contemporary romance or romantic suspense)! One story by each of them and then my story would be between theirs. Ahh, I can see the cover now with all three of our names. Hey, I figure, if you’re going to wish – wish big!

So if you were granted 12 wishes, what would your list look like?

December 28, 2011 Posted by | Authors, Just Thinking, Reading, Writing | 8 Comments

A Daunting Thought

This weekend I attended the 1st. Annual Atlanta Black Book Expo (ABBE) which featured many up-and-coming literary professionals from poets to playwrights.  I roamed around the space talking and listening to authors describe their labor of love and what inspired them to write.  Some just always wanted to become an author, while others wrote to heal something going on within – like the guy I met who wrote his book serving time in prison.  He said writing his story over those years is what helped him make it through and in the process, he turned his life around. At any rate, even with the heart felt stories and conversations, after stopping at about five tables, a daunting thought occurred to me – everyone selling their books at this event, was self-published.  I realize that people self-publish for various reasons, but the main reason some authors self-publish is because they can’t get a mainstream publisher to purchase their work.  Hence, my daunting thought.  Will I resort to self-publishing if my manuscripts aren’t picked up by one of the big publishers? 

Don’t misunderstand, there’s nothing wrong with self-publishing, actually the thought of keep all the profits for myself really appeals to me, but the thought of doing every aspect of getting the book ready for the public doesn’t.  I’m talking about everything from writing the story, rewriting, editing, designing a great cover for the book, and don’t even get me started on marketing and selling the book!  Mind you, I do understand that even if you’re picked up by a mainstream publisher, you still have massive work ahead of you…but knowing that still doesn’t seem as intimidating as having to do every aspect of the book publishing myself. 

Okay, so getting back to the expo.  Something that one of my critique partners pointed out as we made our way through the aisles at the expo, is that this type of venue is usually where new authors display their work and unfortunately, not many sells are made at these types of events.  After she said that I glanced around and realize that during the time we were there, it wasn’t well attended (which wasn’t a surprise since it was the first one), but if everyone was like me, they went in with a set amount of money that they would spend.  That meant that though their might’ve been a hundred great books for sale, chances are, some authors went back home with the same number of books they carried to the event.

Right now I’m thinking that I would love to have more of my writing work published, but I’m not feeling the self-publishing thing…unless…maybe…if it’s publishing an e-book.  But what I really need to think about is my real reason for writing novels.  I think at this point, it can’t be solely to make money or to become a best selling author, but more about sharing an entertaining and maybe even inspirational story with others.

August 9, 2010 Posted by | Just Thinking, Writing | 7 Comments

Inspirational Romance

“Never lose sight of the fact that Christian women read romance novels for the same reason any other woman does:  entertainment.” Brenda Coulter

On any given day I love reading a good romance novel – specifically an African American romance.  Problem is, I have to be careful when I pick one up and turn to that first page, because even though I’m usually a very focused, goal oriented individual – a good romance story will make me forget everything that I’m suppose to be doing!  So I strategize on when I’m going to do my reading.  I make deals with myself.  After I take care of a few things on my “to do list,” I then allow myself the pleasure of reading a few chapters…which often turns into the whole book.

A few years ago, I had this bright idea – “I’m going to write a romance novel.”  Like many new writers, I figured since I enjoyed reading them, I should be able to write one.  Ha! Easier said than done.  Especially since I wanted my romance novel to not only be romantic, but I also wanted it to be spiritually based.  Who knew how challenging that could be?  Trying to merge Christian themes with a romantic relationship without getting too sexually explicit is no easy feat!

Actually, it wasn’t until I completed the second or third draft of my first manuscript, Forgive Me, that I found out that in inspirational romances, there can be no excessive violence, cursing, and most importantly – no sex before marriage.  Aren’t romance novels all about the sex? And some publishers who publish “Christian” romance (a small difference from inspirational romance) barely even want a kiss included. …can you imagine? 

So by now you probably see one of my challenges of writing my latest inspirational romance novel, His Ultimate Love.  Trying to find that right balance of inspiration and romance can be tricky, but I constantly remind myself that most importantly, I want my story to inspire the reader as well as provide some enjoyment. So my sensual, imperfect characters are immersed in realistic situations, and by the end of the story, they demonstrate faith in Jesus Christ.  Well…at least they will when I finish the story

July 30, 2010 Posted by | Writing | Comments Off on Inspirational Romance

The Courage to Persevere

During my spiritual walk I’m often faced with challenges or obstacles, but I try to remember what the bible tells us in the book of Hebrews – persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. The same goes for my writing.  There have many times when I couldn’t find the right word to enhance that boring sentence, or the right sentence to pull that oh so important scene together.  However, when those times present themselves, I try to be patient (although not one of my strengths).  I keep pecking away, hoping that it will eventually come together and I end up with something that I’m happy with.

It’s exciting when a story comes together the way you envision, but the things you mentally and emotionally go through to get it to that point.  For days I battled with which direction to take my second work in progress (WIP) and frustration settled in preventing me from going in any direction.  Part of me blamed it on the busyness of the holidays as well as life’s numerous surprises, but now that I look back, it probably had more to do with timing.  When we stop trying to force things to happen, that’s when things start working out.  Despite the fact that my story just sat, I’m happy to say that the time wasn’t wasted.  Someone once told me, that even if you’re not working on your WIP, you should still write daily.  So I forced myself to sit down and write, sticking to my writing schedule.  Some of the writing had nothing to do with my WIP, but it turns out that a lot of it did. Though I probably won’t use half of what I came up with, it felt good knowing that I was able to stay true to my schedule of spending x – amount of time writing.

As in our spiritual walk, we often get frustrated when we’re trying to make something happen that isn’t ready to happen, something we can’t do anything about.  So when your story isn’t coming together the way you would like, the key is to persevere – hang in there.  And when it’s time, everything will come together for the good.

July 30, 2010 Posted by | Just Thinking, Writing | 1 Comment