Monday, July 25, 2011

Author Annie Rayburn: Are Authors Like Nest Builders?

Please join me in welcoming author Annie Rayburn as the special guestdsc_0052ac1 blogger today as she tours blogdom with her latest release, BITTERSWEET OBSESSIONS.

I must admit I knew nothing of Annie or her work until Carol at Under the Tiki Hut gave an introduction. That’s one of the things I love about blogdom - I get to met such interesting new authors and their great work. I was also fortunate enough to win a copy of Annie’s latest release that I’m enjoying reading.

I asked Annie (the pseudonym of Carol Burnside) if she would drop by so I could introduce her to y’all. She agreed and is here to talk about how authors build their stories.

This Spring, the small lanai between my house and pool became a constructBittersweet zone...for a pair of Phoebe’s. They built a mud and organic matter nest on a tiny half-inch ledge. It looked to be an impossible feat, but they blithely accomplished it and set about enlarging their family. It wasn’t until their fledglings had left the nest that I realized how a correlation could be built between their behavior and that of a writer.

Often a story idea is like that half-inch ledge, the barest premise on which to build. But we delve into the minds and hearts of our characters, finding the glue-like mud which will hold the chunks of moss and blades of grass that are our plot threads. Separately, neither would become a fully realized nest or story. Together they create magic where there was nothing.

We write the draft (lay our egg) and at this stage, there is a tendency for the newbie writer to shove it from the nest. The savvyinsight_finalcover writer sits on it until it is fully hatched. Even then, it’s only a good first draft.

The Phoebe nourished her baby and cleaned the nest, preparing him to leave her care. A writer cleans up the plot threads, omits wordiness and bad grammar and typos until the manuscript is indeed ready to leave the nest.  

I’ve had several babies leave my nest, the latest of which is BITTERSWEET OBSESSIONS, the third of my published contemporary erotic romances with paranormal and sci-fi elements. 

ar_phantomsandfantasiesAnnie, thanks so much for guest blogging. I enjoyed your correlation. A story really is built a layer at a time and without those foundations it never makes it. Wishing you much success with your writing.

Now let me tell you a bit about Annie and then about her work.

As I mentioned earlier, Annie Rayburn is the pseudonym of Carol Burnside, whose works have placed and won several romance writing contests. Whatever her muse, she grew up with scenes playing in her head and imaginary playmates taking over the show while she patted out mud cookies dotted with Chinaberries. 

The stories she crafts today are decidedly more adult than the ones that involved Ken and Barbie. Annie has Indie published her backlist, INSIGHT (a short story) and PHANTOMS & FANTASIES (a novella) which introduce her world of Crainesians living among us. Annie also writes for Red Sage Publishing. Her first release with them is BITTERSWEET OBSESSIONS, an erotic romance with sci-fi and paranormal elements. 

Learn more about Annie and her books at

Now for a little insight into her writing.

INSIGHT: What's a strong Crainesian woman like Sela to do when Jonavon, her half human life-mate, is too clueless to follow when beckoned? Seduce him with his own desires, of course!
PHANTOMS & FANTASIES: Passion too hot to ignore: a romance between a Crainesian rape victim, the life-mate she denied and the intense pheromone heat drawing them together. Can Zeenie leave phantoms of her past behind and embrace her fantasies, or will she reject Turk once again?
BITTERSWEET OBSESSIONSWhat if you were taught that there was only one life mate in the universe for you, and then you learned that person was lost to you? Would you have the courage to put aside the hurt and your ingrained beliefs to stubbornly search for happiness? Teriza and Paul find themselves facing this dilemma. I hope you’ll enjoy their rocky journey to happiness as much as I enjoyed telling their story.

Annie’s books can be purchased at the following sites:
Red Sage,
Amazon, Diesel e-books,, and Smashwords (where P&F is on sale 50% off through the end of July.)

Do you see the comparison of writing to building a nest? Share your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by.



  1. Annie/Carol, thanks so much for blogging. It's always fun to learn how an author develops their stories. Wishing you much success with your writing.

  2. Thank you for having me here. I'm excited to see your followers comments and learn from their experiences today!

  3. Carol, perfect analogy! That tiny ledge can be a killer, can't it?

    Mason, good one and I'm going to have to get faster than you to get guests like Carol, lolol!

    Sia McKye's Thoughts...OVER COFFEE

  4. Thanks, Sia. Yes, a killer, but so much fun to form that nest around.

  5. Mason - Thanks so much for hosting Carol.

    Carol - Nest-building is a helpful analogy for building a story. I think one other thing that nests and stories have in common is this. Once the birds leave the nest, other birds come and build another. Once the story's finished and "out there," other ideas come, and the next nest gets built...

  6. Carol,

    I love this blog. Thank you for introducing it to me and I loved learning more about your writing and new projects. We blog together at Petit Fours and Hot Tamales but with every interview we learn more about our blogging sisters. Great interview.
    Marilyn Baron

  7. Hi Carol! Always good to see one of my Petit Fours sisters out in the blogosphere! I'm thinking that both birds and writers have a lot of faith to handle that first piece of straw on books 2, 3, etc. Now we know how much work it is to build that nest!

  8. Love the analogy - very true :)

  9. Yes, Margot, very true. Some birds even have several clutches. Once the baby has left the nest, they lay another egg and begin the process all over again.

    Good comment! Thanks for participating. :)

  10. I'm a matchmaker!

    What a neat surprise to come to Mason's blog and find Carol/Annie here with a wonderful post :)

    You ladies made my Monday!

  11. Thanks for stopping by to say 'hi', Marilyn!

    Debbie, faith is right. When they first started the nest, Hubby and I just shook our heads, but they showed us!

  12. Hi, Jemi. Thanks for the comment.

    Hey, Carol K! Good to cyber-see you again. :-D I must drop by the Tiki hut and see what your about this week.

  13. Make that 'what YOU'RE about'. Sheesh! It's early here and no caffeine yet. Bad combo.

  14. Hi Carol,
    Great analogy! It's exciting to see our Petit Four and Hot Tamale girl succeeding...and you're doing a great job of it. Congrats.

  15. Perfect analogy, Carol - and like you, Mason, one of the greatest things about blogging is all the wonderful people I meet out in cyberspace! I am so proud of my PFHT sister and her writing success! And I enjoyed hanging out with you BOTH here today!

  16. Aw, thanks, Sandy. Right back at ya on the great job.

  17. I love your analogy, Carol. Whether you're fighting the tendency to kick the egg out of the nest or hold onto the chick after it's mature, it's good to remember that the entire process takes work, patience and loving care. Your books are terrific. I know you put a lot of all three into them.

  18. Good analogy. We watched a bird's nest that had too many baby birdies at once and a couple fell out and died. There's a message there about juggling too many projects to do any of them well.

  19. Carol/Annie,
    Great post. I think you've got a point there. At one time I thought both were impossible! For me, with writing, I'd have to add the part where I (sometimes silently) complain, moan, and talk ugly trying to get it on paper.

    Love your books!

  20. I bet some don't even realize they can lay an egg!

  21. Hey, thanks, Pam. Good to 'see' you around the blogosphere today.

  22. Thanks, Linsey! How sweet of you to say so. I'm thrilled you enjoyed my work. :-D

  23. >L. Diane Wolfe
    Absolutely! I can work on two, but more than that and I really dilute my focus. My preference is to work on one while brainstorming another.

  24. Well, Maxine, that mama Phoebe sat on my bistro set, flicking her little tail and chirping madly once that baby got real feathers. I think she was tired of feeding and cleaning up, just like we get tired of working on a manuscript after awhile. She wanted him outta there!!

    Thanks for your kind words about my writing. I'm beyond glad that you enjoyed my stories.

  25. <Alex J Cavenaugh

    Hmm. Do I hear double meaning in your statement?? ;)

  26. Hey Carol! I'm sorry I'm late in finding this. The week has been crazy. This is a terrific analogy. I had not heard what the other two books were about, so this has definitely peaked my interest in reading the whole group.

    Thanks for pointing me in the direction of this blog. Have found a couple other posts I like as well.

    Tami :)

  27. Hi, Tami.
    Glad you made it over here and found a new blog to frequent. You needed one more for your list, didn't you? :snort:giggle:snort:


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.