Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Un-Resolution Post 2009 edition

And the tradition continues!

I spent some time this morning reviewing my previous Un-Resolution posts and pondering what I would write about this year. Last year’s post pretty much said it all. I was tired of the rat race of publishing and discouraged by the feeling that my bliss had become my chore. I decided to step back a year ago and not make my goal about earning more, producing more and climbing another hard won rung on the ladder of literary success.

And I succeeded in doing just that. LOL. I earned less this year. I wrote less this year. I did not snag a new agent or a new editor. Some of my best stories were published – hurray! And I wrote a few more that are, I think, well worth the effort I put into them. Also a success.

I didn’t plant that garden I was talking about. But I did re-discover some of my joy in writing and I found out that it comes from actually writing, not from chatting, marketing, twittering or schmoozing. I found a measure of contentment in my life...and that is the goal I’ve always wanted to attain.

I can say with all honesty that, despite the dismal global economy, despite personal losses, and fighting the continual uphill battle to craft the life I’ve always wanted to live, I am, at the end of 2009, more content than I have ever been. I don’t feel the need to be swept along in what other people are doing or expect me to do. I don’t feel the need drag myself kicking and screaming to the computer to write when I don’t feel it, because I HAVE to. I don’t feel compelled to beat out anybody else in the race to the bestseller list or the next big advance.

The coming year isn’t going to be easy for a lot of reasons, but even with all the challenges ahead of me, I foresee a happier and hopefully healthier year.

I wish you all the same.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Avoid using Alphabet Soup make a phone call.

Seriously. It doesn't work.
I learned this in a dream I had the other night. For some reason, I was trying to call my friend K to ask her if she could stop by my house and feed the cats, but I was having a lot of trouble dialing her number because I couldn't find a '1' in the bowl of alphabet soup I was using to call her.
Honestly, I don't drink. I really don't.
Maybe I should.
Anyway, I finally gave up and decided to try a phone. That worked a lot better.
So I pass this knowledge on to you. Don't use alphabet soup to make a phone call...there are not enough numbers in it.
In other news:
When will pretty young starlets learn NOT to MARRY Charlie Sheen? I mean, really, how hard could it be to resist the guy?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Lesson From James Cameron

Last night I was reminded why I love science fiction.

We went to see James Cameron's AVATAR and it was truly stunning.

I'll start by saying the plot is not unique, but these days, no plots are. It's the way a story is told that makes it special, and this one takes the cake in that department. The world building is a feat of genius and one I recommend any science fiction author study. I know I intend to.

Visually, this movie is not just eye's a ten course meal. The colors, the movement, everything is just a step beyond. I sat through most of it agape, knowing I was missing so much because I could only look in one place at a time.

AVATAR is everything I would like my stories to be. It's an adventure, a romance, a pulse-pounding ride into the unknown. It transports you to someplace you could never have imagined on your own.

I can only say, well done!

BTW, remember when I was ranting about how they plugged AVATAR in an episode of BONES? Yeah. Forget that. I take back any complaint I might have made, because I get it now. It makes a cute kind of sense and I don't mind.

If you write science fiction, if you write romance...if you write...heck, if you breathe, go see AVATAR. You won't be disappointed.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Holiday Break

The year is winding down again, and it seems like each day there is more and more that needs to be done.

2010 is going to be very full - unfortunately not with writing.

I've decided to take a break from the industry for a while. The rollercoaster ride of constantly waiting and hoping for good news only to get rejections is starting to take a toll on my creativity, so it's time to step back.

I've just signed a contract with Ellora's Cave for the sequel to SKIN. The new novel is called SLITHER. I don't have a release date yet, but I will post updates as I get them. My previously published The Concubine's Tale [related to The Soul Jar] will be coming out from Samhain also in 2010, no release date scheduled yet. So I won't be disappearing, I just won't be pounding the pavement for a while.

My goal for the coming year is to get back to the point where I am a writer first and foremost - not a promo artist, not a marketing guru, not jack of all trades master of none. I won't disappear, I just won't spend as much time in cyber space as normal.

So on that note, I want to wish you all a very Happy Holiday Season and a wonderful New Year.
I'll be in my writing cave if you need me.

Friday, December 11, 2009


My release date snuck up on me. I really thought this was coming out on the 15th for some reason, but SURPRISE on me, it's today!

Hop on over to Samhain and check out their home page, where The Soul Jar is first up!

Here's a little excerpt to whet your appetite:

Recognition hit Chance MacKenzie like a cold blade in the gut. Bree. Good Lord, she hadn’t changed at all. Even with her raven hair pulled back in a thick ponytail and her luscious figure hidden by a black sweatshirt, she took his breath away.

Of all the places he might have encountered her—all the places he’d studiously avoided since their last disastrous adventure—he’d never have imagined finding her here in New York’s Chinatown, slinking around in the back room of Chen’s famous curiosity shop.
This was no place for priceless treasures of any kind.

“You used to call me Chance,” he said as soon as he found his voice. The shock made his heart skip a beat. He could not have been more nonplussed if he’d encountered one of the Yetis that supposedly belonged to the gnarled, shriveled hands lying on the shelf behind her head.

“Only your friends call you Chance, and I’m not one of your friends.” Her reply stung, like a sharp pinprick in the callus that had grown over his heart since he’d seen her last, since he’d held her in his arms and planned a future with her at his side. Pushing aside the ache that had begun in the middle of his chest, he smiled wide, partly to throw her off guard and partly because the pain reminded him that he hadn’t actually died two years ago.

“Aw, can’t we get past that, luv? I forgive you for killing me. Since I’m not really dead, I can’t hold a grudge.”

The corners of her lustrous blue eyes sparkled. After what he’d put her through, he’d never have expected to see tears in those eyes, only the cold hatred of a woman badly scorned.
He looked away as she swiped at her eyes. Her voice wavered when she asked, “So how is it you’re not really dead?”

“Blanks in the gun.” He struck with surgical precision. No time now for apologies or complex explanations.

“I saw blood.” The last word came out as a choked whisper. What he wouldn’t have given to hold her in his arms and comfort her, to feel her supple body yield to his again.

If wishes were horses, he thought and struck again. “Exploding blood packets under my shirt. A ripcord tethered to the side of the balcony. A broken mannequin, wearing my clothes, tossed on the cobblestones below.” With each word, he cut her. Each confession wedged open the wounds he’d made so long ago, and he saw in her eyes that she bled anew.

Her lower lip trembled, just enough to draw his attention and hold it. God, he remembered her mouth, the taste of her, hot and sweet.

“If you’d like more details, why don’t we get out of here, and I’ll buy you a drink? Shimmy back out the window, and I’ll meet you once I’ve concluded my business with Mr. Chen.”

“Chen’s not here.”

“Yes, but he’ll be back very soon to check his precious cash drawer before he goes to bed, and part of my business is to be long gone before that happens.” He made a move to sidle past her, careful to avoid the slightest physical contact. If he touched her now…

She twisted sideways as he passed and plastered herself against the rickety shelves. Why did it hurt that she didn’t want to touch him either?

Her eyes followed him, darts of sharpened steel in the dimness. “What are you after, MacKenzie?”

“Priceless Yeti hands…and a dollop of petrified dino poo. I know I saw some around here somewhere. Fetches thousands on the black market.” Let her laugh, he thought. Let her laugh the way she used to at my stupid jokes.

“Cut the crap. No more lies.” She followed him a step, but stopped short of grabbing his sleeve.
He turned sharply, met those steel-blade eyes and braced himself against the flood of regret that threatened to drown him. “Lies saved your life, sweetheart. Without them, one or both of us really would be dead now.”

She said nothing, but a muscle in her jaw twitched. He longed to touch it and soothe away the anger that drew her up so tight. “Get out of here, Bree. Whatever you’re after, it’s not worth it.”

“But it’s worth it for you?” Her voice rose with the challenge. “We’re here for the same thing, aren’t we?”

“I doubt it.” No, he didn’t.

“Fine. Then take what you want and leave me be.” She turned away, flung herself into the deep shadows at the back of the shop. He’d have let her go, believing it was better for both of them to leave the past buried in the empty grave in New South Wales that bore his name. He would have, if he hadn’t seen what he’d come here for, gleaming over her shoulder in the meager light that filtered through the dirty window.

On a high, narrow shelf at the very back of the shop, it sat on a thin velvet cushion, looking like royalty among the peasants. The junk that surrounded it seemed to fade from view. The perfectly white oval was no larger than a woman’s palm, and it seemed to glow with an inner light. Chance wondered if the strange luminescence came from the two souls rumored to be trapped inside it or from his long unrequited desire to actually see the fabled object in person.
His mouth went dry. He could tell by Bree’s stillness that she’d seen it too. She’d found her objective, just as he’d suspected.

Now the question hung in the dusty, stale air of the shop. Which one of them would fulfill their mission and leave with the Soul Jar, and which would be left betrayed again?

For more, visit Samhain Publishing!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Everything is a commercial

Yep, I'm still here. I didn't fall out of the blogoverse, I just got mega sidetracked with RL stuff. I have a feeling it's pretty much gonna be like that throughout 2010, but I will do my best to keep things posty around here.

Anyway, I wanted to whine about an alarming trend I've noticed lately. Maybe it's not all that new, maybe it's not really all that alarming, but it bugs me.

Have you noticed that fictional TV shows [you know, the ones where the actors are NOT playing themselves] are looking more and more like continuous commercials? As if it wasn't bad enough to get 15 to 20 minutes of ads during every 60 minutes of prime time, now the shows themselves are all about advertising.

This hit home when I was watching last week's episode of Bones. A subplot [if you could call it that] revolved around several of the characters getting tickets to go see the new movie Avatar.
Now, don't get me wrong, Avatar looks like a stunning movie and I can't wait to see it. Showing a trailer during the commercial breaks in the show would be fine, BUT the plot of the episode involved the characters not only talking up the movie, but watching a clip from it on TV.
On the surface, hey, what's the big deal, right? It's a cool movie, and it sort of makes sense that the characters who live in an only mildly alternate version of our real world would be interested in seeing it, but including what are essentially ads for the movie directly in the episode to me smacks of... I don't know...a little too much mind control.
Oddly enough, I don't complain when the cast of The Big Bang Theory talks about Star Wars, BSG, Star Trek or any comic book hero. It didn't bother me when they had Summer Glau as a guest star during her stint on The Sara Conner Chronicles...but this plug for Avatar left me miffed. I'm just wondering if this is what our TV fiction will be coming to...instead of 15-20 minute acts broken up by 5 minutes of ads, will we end up watching 15-20 minute ads broken up by 5 minutes of slightly more annoying ads? Bones isn't the only show I've noticed this on - Eureka and Star Gate Universe have done it too.
People are getting paid to wear T-shirts that advertise companies, or wrap their cars in 'skins' that make them movable bill boards...what's next? I wonder, in the future, will it be easier to get a book contract if your story manages to plug a major product?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A new month

So my MiniNano ended with a whimper rather than a bang. A bout of food poisoning [not from Eggoes] sidelined me for the last day in which I planned to power through the ending of my second novella.

All in all I think I did good. One full novella and sixteen chapters of the second one. Now I have to work on the second drafts, which won't be easy since most of my motivation has fled. After being violently ill on Sunday night, my ambition this week is to spend as much time lying on the couch as possible.

Hopefully my NaNo mojo will return once I feel better.