Thursday, August 31, 2006
Some people might find it a little off putting to listen to someone describe the variuos types of broken bones in a corpse, or figure out how long someone has been dead by the types of [yech!] larvae found on the body, but despite my own tendency to squeamishness, I think it's fascinating. I'm also uber impressed that once again the vision of a hardworking author has been translated to the small screen.
How cool would it be to have your book, or series of books made into a movie or a TV show? Honestly, if that ever happened to me, they'd have to give me oxygen. I know I'd pass out.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Here's the blurb from my query letter. I need to shorten it and punch it up for the official blurb and tag line - which is going to drive me a little crazy.
Cait Lang is less than thrilled about having to present a rare artifact to antiquities collector Grant Pierson. Though Grant is a favorite client at the Madison-Greer Gallery where Cait is Curator, she resents his often arrogant attitude and the way her bosses fawn to get his attention.
Grant Pierson’s curiosity is peaked when the lovely but aloof Cait Lang calls to tell him about an Egyptian scroll that has come up for sale at Madison-Greer. When Cait begins to tell him the intricate and erotically charged story depicted in the ancient writing, he decides he has to
possess the scroll-and Cait.
Through the telling of the story of Nayari, concubine to a power-hungry magistrate, and Khanu, the brave warrior assigned to guard her, Cait and Grant discover their own long-suppressed passion. Shifting from present day to 1200 B.C., The Concubine’s Tale incorporates two emotional love stories connected through time by an ancient relic.
Now I have four stories awaiting release: Ravenstar's Bride [due September 1st - yikes, that's Friday!], The Adventures of Molten Man No. 1, [Due October], The Rebound Guy [TBD] and The Concubine's Tale, [TBD].
On the drawing board - Temporary Tattoos [shaping up nice at 28,000 words so far, a shapeshifter story for AQP and I have another hot, hot, hot sci-fi rolling around in my head for EC. That'll keep me busy for the next few months. I still feel like I'm swimming through maple syrup, though. I can't wait for the weather to cool off, the kids to go back to school and autumn to really begin so I can kick everything back into high gear again.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Last night it was dark by the time I remembered to turn off the pool filter. I flipped on the porch light and went outside and nearly walked into the most enormous spider web I'd ever seen.
This is Augustus. He [or maybe she?] has set up housekeeping in the awning over the front door. I've seen smaller Volkswagons.
Sometimes I think we live in the Amazon jungle. You never know what you're going to find hanging around in the yard.
Lesson learned: Never rush out the front door at night without turning on the porch light.
Sunday, August 27, 2006
My cold feels a little better and I can't really complain, since I logged another 3400 on my WIP. Yesterday's total ended up being 7000! I did 2000 more before I went to sleep. The cappuccino helped! I think I'll have some more tonight.
Here's a shot of the back yard [sans rain]. That big bare spot behind the swingset is where the spruce used to be. That's the volley ball net in the lower yard behind it. It's funny how the swingset looks like it's closer to the house now. I never realized how much room that tree took up. The swingset is the next thing to go. The kids have pretty much outgrown it. Once that's gone maybe we can get a good crop of grass growing.
Sixteen days until school starts!!
Saturday, August 26, 2006
On the up side, though, since I was under the weather, DH took the kids to the Winx Club Mall Tour in Livingston for a few hours and I stretched out on the love seat with a laptop and wrote another 5000 words on my WIP!!
I could probably write a couple thousand more tonight-I left off at a good part when the thundering herd returned with their haul of free giveaways from the Mall Tour, but my head is all floaty and my throat hurts, so I think I'm going to curl up and watch some TV instead. Five thousand is darn good for about four hours work [if you consider I had lunch and did a couple of loads of laundry in between 11:00 and 3:00.] I can't wait to get back to it, but I don't want to burn out either. I'm glad I left off during a steamy scene - that way when I get back to work, I know exactly what my characters are supposed to be doing. So far the story could easily be novella length, but I see the potential for a full novel and a number of target publishers.
I don't want to say too much more and jinx it, so I'm off to lounge on the couch and see if DH will make me that cup of cappuccino he promised me.
Friday, August 25, 2006
I just posted over at Star-Crossed Romance about the Pluto situation. After I finish up a critique, I'm going to curl up on the couch and watch Stargate and zone out on Sudafed because I'm coming down with a summer cold.
On the up side - I've got 10,000 words on a new WIP and I'm having quite a ball with it. More info as things shape up.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Yes, life as a romance writer is pretty good.
But seriously, they’re cutting down a tree. Several in fact. The noise from the wood chopper is deafening and constant and I’m sitting at my computer trying to get some work done in between trips to the window to watch them change the face of my backyard.
We had a huge, towering Blue Spruce that was dying by degrees and needed to be removed. On the end of the house were a collection of pathetic bushes that have been slowly succumbing to the heat of the air conditioning unit and the encroaching shade of the neighbor’s overhanging trees. Our enormous Sugar Maple [I love this tree] is starting to take over the house and it refuses to allow grass to grow for more than a few minutes in the back, so it’s being trimmed.
Later today we’ll have sunlight where we used to have shade, and big open space where we used to have pine barrens.
Change is good. Right?
I have a hard time with change. I like to make progress – in fact it’s my motto – but I’m still very resistant to changing things. [Just ask my husband when it’s time to upgrade a computer program. I don’t like it when things work differently – and not always better, than they did before.] I usually dread the major changes of the year – the end of school, changing over to the lazy summer routine, then the beginning of the school year, getting back into the swing of a tight schedule. I love the gradual change from summer to fall into winter for some reason, but the first warm day of spring usually makes me a little sad [yes, I’m weird that way.]
It takes a while for me to get used to things and it’s going to be strange to see how the back yard looks now. I know I’ll get used to it, like I do every other necessary change in life, but there’s still that moment when you long for the way things were just because it was familiar and easy.
Tomorrow I’m blogging at StarCrossed Romance, but I’ll put up some pictures of the yard the way it looks now.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
I haven't blogged in a couple of days but at least I've been writing. I spent Sunday afternoon at the Author Chat at Novelspotters and I had a great time. I posted a ton of excerpts and ran a pretty cool contest.
Yesterday, I took the kids school shopping and today of course I had to do food shopping. Fun, fun, fun. On the up-side I've been putting in a LOT of work on a new short story - which may shape up into a novella. I wrote about 5000 words today believe it or not!
This is a picture of the boardwalk at Seaside Heights about dusk last week Monday. I love the color of the sky for some reason. It looks overcast, but it's really not. The brilliant colors of the neon lights on the board walk are wonderful. The whole day there really inspired me and the story I'm writing actually strated out taking place on the board walk. It made a significant turnaround and now it actually has nothing more to do with the beach. Funny how ideas evolve.
I've got to finish up the galleys for Ravenstar's Bride and then get started on my next shapeshifter story, so I've got a full plate right now. It's nice to be busy and to be over that little 'interstory' slump I go through when I'm not sure what project to pick up next.
Back to work!
Sunday, August 20, 2006
The state or quality of being tenacious:
te·na·cious (t -n sh s) KEY ADJECTIVE:
Holding or tending to hold persistently to something, such as a point of view.
Clinging to another object or surface; adhesive:
I don’t know if I’ll have a picture to go with this post, but this is the word that came to mind when I got out of the car on Saturday afternoon and noticed, growing by the side of the road, next to a crack in the asphalt, a beautiful little yellow flower. There were no similar flowers nearby in any of the yards or gardens on the street, and this one, with a few little leaves on its tiny stem, was poised precariously on the brink of death. Any moment a car could come by and squash it out of existence, and yet there it was growing with every ounce of strength it possessed – tenacious.
I ran in the house to get my digital camera and I did actually take three shots of the flower. For some reason, when I went inside and tried to load them into the computer, they were gone. I tested the camera and it worked fine taking random pictures in the house, so I wonder if perhaps part of the little flower’s power is that it may be effectively invisible – which is why no one has stepped on it, or picked it, or run it over.
The little flower made me think about two important concepts. One, the tenacity of life. Our planet is amazing in that life will find a toe hold almost anywhere – the driest deserts, the coldest glaciers, the most toxic volcanic vents – something will find a way to survive there. Life persists. That thought led me to the second concept – writing for a living takes persistence. Tenacity. It’s not easy. You have to find a precarious toe hold and put down roots. You have to be prepared for rain, large rubber tires and sneakered feet, maybe even a hungry creature looking for a quick snack. You know you won’t last forever, nothing does, but you dig in and hang on and hope that you’ll be around long enough to produce a seed or two that will grow even after you’re gone.
Funny how a little yellow flower can say all that.
I went back outside later on, but the flower had closed up in anticipation of a short rain storm. I was bummed. However, I haven’t forgotten it and I will try again to get the picture. I’m tenacious that way.
Sunday update: I went out today and the little yellow flower had met its untimely demise. Squashed - maybe because I was rude enough to see it and make note of its existence. Oh well. I regret not getting the picture, but maybe I wasn't meant to. Now I have to just remember that the flower existed and learn from it that way.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
This is a loop chat held at Novelspotters – the Novel Spot Yahoo Group. There will be excerpts and prizes and I’ll be giving away a surprise gift! Stop by and say hello for a chance to win!
The chat will be held from 1:00 to 4:00 PM EST at Novelspotters and I’m on deck from 1:30 to 2:00.
Friday, August 18, 2006
She pretty much nailed most of them.
I'm not a summer person. Sorry, never have been. Here's what I won't miss:
1. The heat [stole this one right from the top of Kate's blog]
2. The mosquitos. The state bird of NJ is the Mosquito. The state flower is crab grass.
3. The wet towels. [Stole this one, too.] No one in this house can lift a towel higher than their own elbows. There's always a soggy puddle of terry cloth mixed with bathing suit spandex on one of the hard wood floors...
4. Being cooped up in the house with the air conditioner on. It used to be the biggest bills we had to pay each month were the mortgage and car insurance. Now it's PSE&G and Exxon.
5. Little voices crooning, "I'm booooored!" [Why won't they accept cleaning their rooms as a legitmate activity?]
6. Sudden thunder storms. [Don't get me wrong, I do like rain and a rumbly storm is fun sometimes, but if I have to rescue the patio umbrella one more time...
7. The ant parade. [They have the house surrounded, marching in two straight lines all around the foundation. The exterminators don't seem concerned about this phenomenon.]
8. Wearing a bathing suit. [Stole this one, too. In my next life I'm coming back with a body that looks good in soggy spandex.] [Actually that's a joke, I'm not coming back at all.]
9. School shopping. [For clothes kids will refuse to wear six weeks from now.]
10. Summer reruns. [Don't those actors need a little more money? Why can't they work all year long like the rest of us?]
I'm sure I could think of more, but I've gotta run. Catch you later!
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
It's finally here! I've been waiting a long time to see the cover art for my second sci-fi novel.
Look for Ravenstar's Bride coming in September 2006!
In other news
It went out today. The Hunted: Rogue Theta was sent to EC this afternoon, critted, tweaked, synopsed and prayed over a little bit. Now the waiting begins. At least I feel like I accomplished something today.
After a two-day mini-vacation that included a very enjoyable day at the beach, I came home to another agent rejection for The Matchmakers. Pfft. Nothing like seeing the shine go off a really nice day in the time it takes to open an envelope. It wasn't a bad rejection, per se, but even the good Rs are still Rs. So I needed something to boost my spirits. It's funny how submitting used to be terrifying, now it actually makes me feel better about myself and my writing. Each submission is another chance for someone to see my work and love it.
In addition to that, I signed on to write another Amber Pax story for a shapeshifter anthology and I'm pretty juiced about that contemporary/paranormal story I've been meaning to write. I really need to get steaming on something. I've been writing a lot lately and scrapping it because my internal editor has apparently stopped taking her medication. She hates everything I write, or she likes it, but ends up talking me into trashing it because it's just not the direction she wants the story to go in. I should fire her. Of course then I'd be without an internal editor. Maybe she just needs a forced vacation.
Back to the drawing board.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Here's a snippet of the wonderful review, which can be read here:
Fresh Blood is wonderful! Max and Erica are fresh characters that come alive for the reader. The secondary characters are well developed and I enjoyed all of them immensely. The plot, the setting, the characters are unique and lively. I very much enjoyed Fresh Blood and definitely recommend it. - Klarissa, Joyfully Reviewed
Saturday, August 12, 2006
I got my copy of RT today, and I took it and a cold drink out on the patio and sat down to do some research. As I may have mentioned before, I feel I learn more from reading the Two Star and One Star reviews than I do from reading the Three, Four and Four 1/2 Star Reviews. Why? Well, we all know what makes a book a keeper, but what makes a book a stinker - or merely problematic - is a little harder to define and often based solely on the reviewer's opinion.
Sometimes a book just doesn't sit well with a reviewer. One may pan it while others rave about it and I'm sure that all the books in this month's RT that got low grades have been raved about in other venues. Remember, all these are published novels, most through NY houses, so an editor thought they were great, and in many cases a literary agent got behind the book, it's author, and it's concept in order to see it to publication - so where is the disconnect?
I thought I'd do some comparisons and I skimmed out the things I saw most often in the RT reviews. I made a short list of what appears to be the Do's and Don't's. This is what I found:
Books with Four 1/2, Four and Three Star reviews seemd to contain the following:
Simmering sexual tension
Well defined, vivid, multi-faceted characters
Powerful love stories
The books with Two and One star reviews seemed to have these drawbacks:
Whiny, unlikable heroines
You might say, well duh. And I'd have to agree. It seems elementary and of course, it's also subjective, but for what it's worth, this is what I found. Will it influence how I craft my stories in the future? Hell, yes. I'm going to be checking for these points and trying to make the best story I can, not to impress reviewers, but to give readers what they're looking for in a good book.
Friday, August 11, 2006
Yeah, I'm a little sappy. I'm a Gater. What can I say. The longest run sci-fi series just happens to be one of my favorites! [Finally something that didn't get cancelled after one season!]
Click on the picture for a trip to GateWorld - a great place to visit if you're a sci-fi fan like me.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
There’s been a lot of discussion on the web lately about the different sub-genres of romance and who likes or dislikes which genres and why. It goes far beyond, “I like historicals!” or “I never read chick lit!” It’s come down to worries, real or imagined, spoken or only considered, that one genre will eventually push another off the shelves.
While it’s true that erotica is hot, hot HOT right now, and writers of sweet romance sometimes find it harder to sell their work, especially to the small press and e-pubs that in some cases are making comfortable careers for E-rom authors, I find it sad that there is hostility against those writers. Yes, I’ve seen publishers who strictly state they only publish a very limited number of sweet romances per year and guess what – they’re booked until doomsday. That’s discouraging for authors who don’t write spicy, sizzling or scorching romance.
Yes, it’s true most e-rom writers will tell you, their erotica titles sell ten times better than their sweet or sensual titles if they have both flavors in their repertoire. They will also tell you their edgy sci-fi and dark fantasy stories sell way better than their contemporaries or historicals. It’s the way the market works right now. It doesn’t mean it will always be this way.
The whole debate reminds me of ice cream. [I’ve mentioned before, food plays a big role in my life.] There are hundreds – maybe thousands of flavors of ice cream available today. Last night I had something called Strawberry Skydive [strawberry ice cream, walnuts and Oreo cookies – YUM!] My husband had Twizzler flavored ice cream. Yes, it tasted exactly like the red licorice candy. The place we had dessert sold coconut ice cream, banana pudding flavored ice cream and tons of others. I recently tried Green Tea flavored ice cream and it wasn’t half bad. Guess what? They still sold vanilla.
Vanilla remains the most popular flavor of ice cream. [At least in the US at last poll.] Chocolate comes in second, believe it or not.
Just because someone invented Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough or Phish Food, or Pumpkin Spice ice cream doesn’t mean you can’t still get vanilla at just about any ice cream shoppe you go to. The exotic flavors aren’t pushing the old standbys off the shelves.
Granted ice cream sales aren’t perfectly synonymous with book sales, but you get my drift. There’s always room for everyone’s taste and no one should blame erotica writers for taking away space from traditional romance writers. And though vanilla is often used as a euphemism for plain or tasteless, that’s really very far from the truth. I love vanilla, and I love black raspberry, and I sort of love Strawberry Skydive now, too. The trick to vanilla’s popularity I think is that it’s consistent, it’s reliable and it can form the basis for a lot of other flavors. It won’t go out of style and neither will sweet romance or inspirationals or historicals or any of the flavors of romance that are experiencing a down-turn right now.
The key is to write what you love no matter what flavor it is.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Aaaagh! Then you have the editors who send rejections like this: “This has been done to death.” “This story is like every other one out there.”
Egads, what’s a writer to do?
I must confess, as a reader, I’m guilty of both forms of bad behavior. I’ve been turned off by favorite writers who’ve changed their tone and their voice a little and not gone back for subsequent books. I told myself it was because the quality of the writing changed. And maybe it had – after a few blockbuster bestsellers, the drive to produce must become overwhelming. The clause about no-editing gets written into the big contracts and to meet a deadline a writer cuts corners. Heaven help me if my career comes to that. I want to pledge that I won’t let it – and I’ll do my best. If it ever comes to turning out junk just to meet a deadline, I will quit this business and find a nice quiet office where I can answer the phones and do some light typing.
I’ve also been guilty of saying, “Sheesh, this book reads just like her last one, two...three? Oh, no wait, I’m sorry. The heroine in THIS one doesn’t have long hair and green eyes. My mistake.” Yeah, I’m bad. I’m sorry.
What to do about it? As a reader, I say let’s get over the idea that a writer dare not surprise us. Give your favorite authors the room to grow and lead you in new directions. If your favorite historical author pens a sexy sci-fi, don’t get mad – give it a try. If you don’t like it, wait for her next historical to come out and if she never goes back to her old genre – oh well. There are other historical authors out there who need your business. It’s really no biggie because that author just picked up a handful of sci-fi fans. If you’re on your tenth installment of ‘sweet, shy librarian meets Celtic hunk with long war braids and a rumbling brogue to battle ghosts from the past’ and you’re sick of it, tell someone. Leave a note on a publisher’s blog – they all have them these days - and beg them not to demand their writers churn out same after same after same.
Enjoy the spice of life and try something different. If we all did that, as readers, we’d all be a lot busier as writers and I think everyone would be much happier all around.
Just my two cents for the day.
In other news:
DH and I have been married fourteen years today! We're going out to dinner and then to a place called Maggie Moos for dessert. I may complain now and then about him, but all in all, I got one of the good ones. There aren't too many out there.
Monday, August 07, 2006
This is a pciture from Salt Springs State Park where we did some hiking. The trails were severely damaged by recent flooding so we didn't go very far. It was nice just being out where you can't hear any traffic and you can breathe clean air. I don't think we even saw an airplane in the sky all weekend.
Today I feel like I'm back behind the Eight Ball with a ton of things to catch up on as usual. Hopefully I'll get some writing done while DS is at Robot Camp this afternoon.
In other news:
I have an excerpt of my upcoming Sci-Fi romance Ravenstar's Bride at the Amber Quill Press blog. Go check it out!This has been a long time coming and I'm really excited about the book finally being available. Look for Ravenstar's Bride in September, 2006!
Friday, August 04, 2006
Where have all good men gone
And where are all the gods?
Where’s the street-wise Hercules
To fight the rising odds?
Isn’t there a white knight upon a fiery steed?
Late at night I toss and turn and dream of what I need
I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero ‘til the end of the night
He’s gotta be strong
And he’s gotta be fast
And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight
I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero ‘til the morning light
He’s gotta be sure
And it’s gotta be soon
And he’s gotta be larger than life
I need a hero!
WANTED: Hero for an edgy, dark paranormal novel. Must meet all the above listed requirements and be willing to take on a heroine who is unorthodox and unique with her own set of demons to dispel. Must be able to hold his own in a fight, physical or verbal and...okay, it wouldn’t hurt if he drives a cool car.
Interested parties please contact my muse. She will be conducting interviews starting immediately. Have your resume, an 8x10 glossy and a chocolate bar ready should you be called. Dress appropriately – dark colors, leather preferred, and a good set of running shoes, you’ll need them.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
The heat has been unbearable here the last few days. It's even too hot to go outside and go swimming. The water in the pool isn't even cold anyway.
I've been working on my synopsis of Rogue Theta and that's about it. I can't muster much energy to do anything else. Hopefully the heat will break before the weekend. We're supposed to go to PA to meet our friends from Vegas - they'll probably think it's a bit chilly.
Gonna go have another ice pop. Stay cool.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Author of the Month : Gemma Halliday – Contests workshop from the Golden Heart winner
Aug 5-7: Paranormal Event with Carrie Vaughn, LA Banks, CT Adams/Cathy Clamp, Gena Showalter, and Kelley Armstrong.
Aug 11 Jessica Faust: Bookends-inc agent in the Chatroom. 9 Eastern
August 8-18 :: Getting To Know The Voices in Your Head Workshop with Jo Ann Ferguson/Jocelyn Kelley
Aug 18 :: Theresa Meyers: PR/Promo in the Chatroom.
August 25 :: Ann Christopher, Patricia Sargeant, Maureen Smith and Sophia Shaw Multi-cultural Authors Chat
Drop in and sign up, it's easy and free and you too can be a Romance Diva!