Building a Mystery(romance)

Some of you may have seen on twitter or facebook my talk of trying to write a novel in three days, starting TUESDAY!  YES!  Going to rock out the words like a buas heh.

I’ve mentioned briefly trying to cross other genres with romance.  I’ve managed to get a decent foothold in science fiction/fantasy when I wrote books like Siddella’s Surrender and Bound to Her, made a good entry into contemporary romance with A Christmas Favour and Stuck, but now I’m trying my hand at something else.

I needed to write two stories for agent Saritza Hernandez, neither one in paranormal since both she and Marisa have plenty of that from me.  We all feel that I can expand into the contemporary market with ease while growing as a writer.

In April I began plotting Liliana’s Awakening, a novella dealing with growth and finding passion between two penpals who become lovers.  The trials and tribulations of crossing the cultural bridge even in today’s day and age make for the beginning of a great story about love knowing no bounds.  I was very proud to write the story and happy I had the inspiration I did because the happily ever after I may have written (had to put that in there!) needed to be written for my heroine.

I completed the first draft just ahead of my proposed schedule of finishing the novella by June 1st (I finished it May 28th) and am letting it rest while I plot something new.

This month I’ve been focusing on crafting a romantic suspense novel, currently with a shit title.  Honestly, I have NO idea what to name it since I’m still plotting it, but I’d read in an article on Ghost Woods where author Michael Moorcock talked about his basic tips for writing a 60,000 novel in THREE DAYS!  

Imagine if I could do that a few times a year…

The fun you would all have as readers LOL!  Anyway, I’ve spent the entire month of June preparing, trying to figure out how and where to drop bodies,  why the bodies drop and how I’d kill the vis.  I’ve crated three dynamic characters I hope you’ll get to meet very soon, all in the name of writing something outside my comfort zone!

I have one more day where I need to figure out some loose plot points, then away with the fairies I go!

Workshops – Male POV and Why Kink

Coming up Sept 24th on a private yahoo loop – Why Kink

Do you like to write BDSM? Do you want to learn more about the lifestyle from a real DOM? Check out the class coming up in informedwriter yahoo loop on 9/24 with Sascha Illyvich called Why Kink. Class cost is $20.00 and will run M-F. The instructor will post lessons around 1p eastern and will be available off and on during the day for questions. Payment needs to be made to me by paypal at before midnight 9/23 to be eligible for class. Class will be held via yahoo loop. For questions email me at  This is the prequel to my BDSM for Romance Authors class.

In October I’ll be teaching online for Outreach International Romance Writers of America chapter.

ates: October 1 – 15, 2012


Fee: OIRW Member $10 Non-Member $15


Course Description:


In this workshop, learn the ins and outs of character creation from a side of romance we rarely hear from, the male romance reader/writer! Kinky Erotic Romance author Sascha Illyvich shares with us tips on how to create more memorable heroes, avoid some common pitfalls and have more fun with our writing!


What you’ll learn from this class:

Male Archetypes and how they affect our characters

How (il)logical men think and why they act the way they do

How to take any male character from any movie/story and modify him to fit your story

How to get your man to express his true “self”

What men REALLY care about and how to work with that for your characters*

A man’s self view*

The GAY MALE Viewpoint*

The Male Cycle of Emotions and how it compares to the female cycle of emotions

A man’s journey in life

What men really think


Instructor Bio:


Sascha started writing thirteen years ago, releasing poetry and an occasional short erotica story before focusing on kinky erotic romance in various subgenres. His books have been listed under the Road to Romance’s Recommended read list, as well nominated for the CAPA.


He is also the host of the Unnamed Romance Show on Radio Dentata and continue to write for Renaissance E-books, and Total E-bound. Readers can find his work, plus free reads at

He is also part of the WriteSex Panel, a blog group that’s defining erotica for writers in any genre! Find us at


Workshops are open to all. You do not have to be a RWA member.

To register, go to

For more information, contact Maria Connor, 2012 OIRW Campus Coordinator.

Erotic Author Question

An erotic science fiction/fantasy romoance


Published in: on June 22, 2011 at 5:09 pm  Comments (3)  
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Tricks to learn the publishing business for New Writers

For new writers, breaking into the erotic romance market may seem overwhelming but here’s what I suggest:

Pick up the following authors and devour their work:

Angela Knight, Morgan Hawke, Christine Feehan, Laurel K. Hamilton (not exactly traditional erotic romance) Julie Templeton, Kate Douglas, Candace Havens, Dakota Cassidy, Joey W. Hill, Lori Foster, Diane Whiteside, Lora Leigh, Christina Dodd. Don’t bother with Dodd’s historicals (this is a bias against historical romance novels on my part) but her contemporary and paranormal stuff is excellent. That’s just print stuff. For E-books, Lora Leigh, Joey W. Hill, Marianne LaCroix, Kiernan Kelly (We just put out her second collection of m/m erotic romance stories) Stephanie Burke, Treva Harte (writer and owner of Loose ID) Marty Rayne (one of my students)Joanna Wilde, Celia Kyle, Alexandria Rayne, Em Petrova, (hell, go pick up any of the Secrets Anthologies out from Red Sage) Sascha Illyvich, Cherise Sinclair (another student of mine) Brenda Williamson, Brenna Lyons, Belinda McBride, Barbara Karmazin (RIP) Marie Harte, MaryJanice Davidson (over at Loose-ID) Suzanne Rock, Cheyenne McCray. That should get you started learning about Erotic Romance. Most of those authors mentioned I’ve either mentored, grown up with (sort of) taught in my classes or read their work, interviewed for the radio show and they are dynamite writers. At the local library, hit up the print stuff and find yourself in the romance section. You want to go no “less” hot than Harlequin BLAZE. That’s their “attempt” at erotic romance and they are the gold standard in publishing, with numerous authors who go onto bigger, better and more lucrative careers.

Join the Romance Writers of America. If you’re a male romance author, attend meetings, regularly and get over any nervousness that may occur because the chapter members are predominantly female and many are where you want to be already. And many of them are gracious enough and kind enough to pay back as well as forward. Be warned RWA is still jumping (slowly) on the ebook bandwagon but that’s a national issue, not a local chapter issue. The local chapters are very supportive of their members and share a TON of information. If you can afford it join Passionate Ink, the erotic/spicy chapter of RWA. Next year I plan to be speaking at their annual club meeting at RWA Nationals since it’ll be in Anaheim CA.

Find and follow Deborah Riley Magnus on Twitter and Facebook That’s my publicist. She’ll help you (via her blog) with marketing tips, tricks etc. She isn’t geared towards this genre but she IS geared towards the trends in publishing and collecting information that is geared to help the author become a better success.

I’ll have more tips next week. Stick around!

Lifting Spirits, an erotic m/m romance
$3.99 from Sizzler Editions

Published in: on April 8, 2011 at 4:47 pm  Comments (3)  
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How to get Published Part II

By Sascha Illyvich

Last week we discussed the first few things aspiring writers needed to know about this business. Let’s recap:

1. Write
2. Decide if this is a career or a hobby.
3. Decide your genre
4. Decide the medium you want to be published in. Traditional Publishers are falling flat, e-pubs aren’t. Ultimately, you will probably end up in both if you sell well.

The next step I’d take as a new writer would be to learn my craft. Through our first step, we tell stories. Next up, we need to find critique groups. Again, this being geared towards romance writers, I’d suggest Charlotte Dillon’s Resource Page for starters. It’s a good primer for research, getting down formulas for query/synopsis letters and again, that all important aspect: the actual writing.

I’d also suggest you visit the Erotica Readers and Writers Association. They have very active mailing lists. You’ll learn craft, network, and find out about upcoming calls for submissions.

At this point we have our target market, we’ve received some feedback, we’re ready we think to submit to publishers. If we went the e-route, an agent like Saritza Hernandez may be a good idea but isn’t required. More on why I chose her later. Most of the old standby e-publishers do not require agents to query the way many traditional print publishers do but turnaround time is lengthy in some cases. After you submit your manuscript to an e-publisher they’ll evaluate it in the SAME MANNER as a traditional publisher will. Upon acceptance, a contract is issued, signed by both parties and then the process of taking your story from your fingers to your readers for a profit begins.

While you’re waiting for acceptance (or that dreaded rejection) on one story you ARE still working on another one, right?

Of course you are. You’re improving; you’re learning your craft. Each book gives us a new skill, lesson or piece of the puzzle that helps us become better writers. At the same time you’re crafting your environment and figuring out just how you write best. You’re doing more research on your characters, growing your story lines; do you see a pattern here? And then you’re submitting your finished stories to other publishers.

If you went the traditional route, the only step not included would be the solicitation of an agent who would represent your story or perhaps your entire line of work. Robert Raymond Brown of Wylie Merrick picked up my publicist’s entire stock of work because he saw how marketable she is, even among the changes happening. She’s still money. Some agents will only pick up the one book from you and gauge future representation based on your track record and how well you work together.

In the end, this is a team effort. Your agent, publicist, publisher(s) all have one goal.

Side note: For SEO purposes I will probably go over the query process in another article. But this is the basic “how to get published guide.”

Published in: on September 29, 2010 at 6:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The “How to Get Published” Post ~ Part I

By Sascha Illyvich

All authors get asked this question from time to time and it’s one most of us have to scratch our heads to answer. The reason being is that for many of us, that first publication step was so long ago. And so very important that we shoved it all in the back of our minds after the storm known as the whirlwind of being newly published.

We tell our friends and family (if we’re not blushing!) and everyone who would ask. Then we do what our mentors tell us, which is get your ass back in the chair and crank out another story.

Of course we don’t crank out stories; we craft them meticulously and polish them until they sparkle so some editor can shoot them back to us with revisions, comments, changes. But that isn’t the point. I’ll lay out the path to publication here because I’m getting an increasing number of followers in social media asking me for advice, tips, tricks, miracles and even the occasional bit of editing help. I can give the editing help but barely. I’m starting a new line for one of my e-book publishers in addition to my own writing. So this post is dedicated to one of the better paths to publishing and career writing.

The first question I ask any new writer is where do you see your writing in five years? Meaning, are you in this for the career and to make money? If not, all else means little to me and ultimately to you as well.

Once you know you’ll be making a career out of this, I suggest you continue writing. You know what you like, who you want to be like, and who your target market may be. The best way to figure out who your readers are, however, is to post short complete stories (or scenes, I’ll explain in a moment) to sites like and the like. By the way, this guide is geared towards erotic romance authors but it applies to authors of all genres in general. Find out who your audience is, as those readers will turn into buyers once you sell. You need to build your audience.

Target your publishing options. Are you avoiding E-books because you’re too stuck up and don’t realize they’re the wave of the future? I too like holding a print book, especially when it’s mine! But there is no reason to avoid what you can’t fight. E-books are here to stay and with many e-publishers delving into Print On Demand (known as POD) while traditional publishers such as Harlequin and Simon and Schuster are creating e-book lines, it would be egotistical to think you must go into print. That means researching the houses you’re targeting and emailing other authors, who are where you want to be. This is key. Get all the information you can about the house. E-publishers are in flux right now as are print and (this information is good until it’s not!) and finding a house that is reputable is NOT hard. But houses and writers are not always a perfect fit but once you find a house or three that works with you, for you, go with it!

I know the above information seems harsh but I’ve worked too hard as an e-book author.

Next week we’ll cover more tips and tricks for aspiring writers!

Writing Tip – Writing from the Correct POV Part II

Now that we’ve narrowed that down and fixed the potential to head hop all over the place, thus eliminating characters that are central but not integral for POV purposes, we’re left with the one question:

Who gets to talk?

Readers get attached to characters they care about and have built relationships with, just as in reality. Kill off a favorite character from your reader base and you’d better believe you’re going to hear about it! Alter that character’s world somehow and again, you’ll get feedback. But what if the hero and heroine both have something to lose? Then what do you do?

Refer back to length of the story. Who has the greatest loss, and the greatest gain? Write from THAT one character’s POV and ONLY change scenes if word length allows for it and only if that character’s journey makes us feel something universal.

I recently read a story where head hopping occurred so much because the writer thought to write scenes like we see in TV. Take Burn Notice for example: We have Michael Westin, (The hero) Fiona (Heroine) and all the side characters, most notably Sam, the drunk former CIA op who we get to see frequently. POV switches don’t really occur much because the story is narrated by Michael Westin, but when we do get those changes, Westin is still narrating. That works because people need to see a lot of visuals and TV/movies allow for those shifts to occur. The average attention span is not that long.

But FICTION writing doesn’t. You’ll end up with unsmooth transitions, annoying head hopping issues that make the reader THROW YOUR BOOK THE FUCK AWAY!

In FICTION, you do two things. You show the reader what YOU want them to see; otherwise they’ll see something else. And you make the story smooth. By sticking to word limit/reason for changes, you’ll eliminate guesswork in your plotting.

Some writers can get away with multiple POV changes. Sherrylin Kenyon for example can, she has a built in audience that somehow doesn’t care about the change from the H/H to Ash or Stryker. So does Laurel K. Hamilton, but because she writes in First Person POV, she doesn’t have that ability. But if she wrote in third person, she could afford to change because she’s ESTABLISHED. Chances are that you’re not them. (And if you are, thanks for reading my article!)

Christine Feehan does an excellent job of keeping the POV between her hero and heroine. So does Richelle Mead. And Rebecca York. Those authors are authors who don’t write what I do, but I learn from them because they’re where I hope to be someday.

To reinforce the key points, I’ll leave with my two rules for simplification.
1. Tell the story from the character’s POV that has the MOST to lose
2. Use word length 20k = 1 character. 40k, 2 characters. 60k-100k+=3 and ONLY three.
That should simplify things in your stories. Happy writing!

Published in: on September 16, 2010 at 9:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Writing Tip: Writing from the Correct POV Part I

The Correct POV
By Sascha Illyvich

Do you know which POV your story is told in? Do you know the correct Point of View your story SHOULD be written from? If you answer first or third person POV, you’re obviously being a smart ass. Let’s rephrase the question, shall we?

What character’s point of view should my story be told in?

There, this defines the question better. And the answer is simple. The main character’s POV. But what if you have two characters? Presumably a Hero and a Heroine, since this is Romance I’m mainly covering, let’s stick with that assumption. What if you have a villain? Do we tell any part of the story from that character’s perspective?

Many writers assume that during major scene changes, the perspective should change. They’re half correct. A lot of writers suggest that we need to know about the villain if there is one, and that character should get a say too. Again, they’re half right.

The truth is, POV is simple. Tell the story from the Point of View of the character that has the most to lose.

What do I mean by that? Let’s break it down. In a typical romance novel, we have the hero and heroine and a plot that runs something like this:

Hero meets Heroine (hey you’re hot)
Hero and Heroine end up in bed (light cigar/cigarette)
Argument separates the two (God he’s a jerk/she’s a bitch)
And in the end, something happens that is greater than both the Hero and Heroine’s issues that makes them examine their beliefs and realize they need the other.

Let’s figure this out (I need you/I love you)
HEA/Happily for Now

Throw in a villain and that character’s appearance should be before or during the cigar in the above example. Considering that much of today’s erotic romance is paranormal or urban fantasy, there is a bad guy waiting to kill off both Hero/Heroine.

So what determines whose point of view the story is told from? This is also easy. For the story to flow without head hopping, let’s use a simple rule of thumb (courtesy of Morgan Hawke

IF the story is under 20k, you simply need ONE character where the event happens to THEM and ONLY them.

IF the story is under 40k, then we have an event that affects two characters.

IF the story is under 100k, we have three characters who get a say, usually because the villain is the one doing shit to the world/universe—including the H/H.

Published in: on September 9, 2010 at 7:24 am  Comments (2)  
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