Archive for February, 2005

Sunday, February 27th, 2005

I’ve really been giving the below RWR article some thought. Actually, I’ve been giving my entire career some thought. (Hate when I get so pensive.) I don’t want to lose out on 10% of all book sales. I’m in this business because I want to be a writer. I want to have a career. If that means toning things down a bit, then so be it.

I haven’t come by this decision lightly. I was thinking about ALL of my favorite authors. Yes, they all write fairly spicy, but their styles vary greatly. For example, Angela Knight writes some of the hottest stuff I’ve ever read. I absolutely love her work. At the same time, I love Stephanie Laurens’ historical stories. They are just as hot IMO, but aren’t near as graphic in nature.

Personally, I prefer a spicier read. What I’ve realized as I have been considering all my options is that spicy varies as widely as the romance genre itself. I don’t have to limit myself by the use of language or box myself in. If toning down the former will gain wider appeal, then I’m stupid not to do so.

On a completely separate note, I received my first review for “Bad Boys Over Easy”. If you’d like to check it out, click here.

Friday, February 25th, 2005

An article just came out in the RWR, the trade magazine for Romance Writer’s of America. The article was written by my agent, Ethan Ellenberg. In it, he discusses the need for subtle ratings on romance books. He makes a very strong case for this by talking about readers as our (writer’s) customers. You don’t want to lose them by offending them.

One of my critique partners, Julia Templeton and I got to talking about ratings/genre tags on the spine of books. We noted that Bravas aren’t carried in grocery stores, Target, Walmart, etc. because the label on the spine says/used to say, ‘Erotic Romance’. These same book outlets regularly shelve Harlequin Blaze and two of my favorite authors, Emma Holly and Angela Knight. Now for those of you who’ve never read either one of these fabulous authors, they write hot enough to singe your eyebrows off. Personally, I’m glad these various outlets carry their stuff. I guess I’m just shocked that a ‘label’ can make that big of a difference. And make no mistake, it does. Ethan’s article points out that Walmart makes up 10% of ALL sales. That’s a huge market to lose out on.

Which brings me back to ratings. Ethan suggests we do this quietly, so that buyers can decide what works best for their stores. I agree, but admit I’m conflicted. Part of me understands the need to ‘warn’ a potential buyer like the movies do. Another part worries this will be one more way for buyers/sellers to discriminate against a particular genre. I’d hate to see that happen to all the Inspirational writers out there. 😉 Just kidding. (wg)

What do you all think? Should we rate books like movies?

Thursday, February 24th, 2005

What makes a good story? The answer is different for everyone. For the past couple of days a discussion about writing has bopped back and forth between Sylvia Day and Alison Kent. Alison doesn’t consider herself a storyteller. She says she’s a writer. While Sylvia considers herself a storyteller first, then a writer. Mind you, I’m a big fan of both these women.

I don’t believe when it comes to getting words on paper it matters which category you are in. Everyone has a different approach to the craft. The results are the only thing you should be concerned with.

I suppose the reason I’m bringing this up is because I’ve noticed lately that there seems to be an uprising of categorization. (Spicy writer vs Tame, Storyteller vs Writer, Paranormal vs Contemporary etc.)

I know that’s not what Sylvia or Alison meant to do with their blog entries. They were genuinely curious about the different approaches to novel development. I just can’t help but be concerned.

It’s been my experience that when someone (insert generic person or group here) tries to categorize something they are attempting to place whatever it is in a ‘safe’ box. Nine times out of ten that box’s status is lower than where they view themselves. I have no doubt it’s human nature or at the very least deeply entrenched learned behavior. It just makes me very nervous when a group (insert appropriate name here) that claims to stand together insists on separating its members by categories.

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2005
Rather Slow Day

I’m done working for the day. I think I’m going to read more of Immediate Fiction before calling it a night. I managed to get through a few more pages of my rewrites. I should be caught up with my partial by Friday. From there on out, I’ll be going over material I haven’t read for over a year. I must say I’m looking forward to it. There are only so many times you can go over the first hundred pages without your eyes exploding in your head. :-O

If you know you have to read through material that you’re close to, how do you go about tricking your mind into believing it’s fresh and new? Or can you?Anything in particular work well?

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2005
Nuts and Bolts

I was thinking the other day how I get a lot of the same questions about writing that I used to get when I was a flight attendant. People always fall into two different camps. There are the ones who can’t believe you actually ‘fill in the career title here’ for a living and the ones who say they’ve always wanted to do/be ‘fill in the blank’.

I suppose I could understand the ‘glamour’ of wanting to be a flight attendant. Mind you the glamour ended back in the seventies, then it turned into a hard job. I didn’t become a flight attendant until it was in the latter category, so when people asked me if my job was fun, I had to fight not to cackle maniacally.

This brings me to writing. I’m never sure how to respond to someone when they tell me that they’ve always wanted to write a book. My knee jerk answer is to say, then do it. Trouble is I know that’s not very compassionate.

I guess my problem is I’m the type of person, who with the exception of one career, has tried EVERYTHING I’ve ever wanted to do. I know that’s a bold statement, but it’s the truth. I wanted to sing in rock bands, so I did. I even went as far as moving out to California to pursue that goal. I worked in a record company on my days off from the airline just to learn the business. I wrote songs, recorded demos, and even ended up on an independent album. I did all this until I realized that as much as I enjoyed music, it wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

I followed the same path with acting for a while. I took classes, which I still think was one of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever done. I shot enough pilots (Not the kind that fly the planes, although some probably deserved it.;) and commercials to realize that although I enjoyed acting, it wasn’t my passion.

This brings me back to writing. I took creative writing classes on and off while I lived in California. The writing was something I was passionate about. I didn’t have to work at achieving that feeling. It was inside of me. So when people come up to me and say that they’ve always wanted to write a book, I know it’s lie. I’m not saying they’re deliberately lying to me. I don’t believe they are. I think what’s happened is they like the ‘idea’ of having a book on the shelf. (Kind of like I fancy the idea of being a dancer. If you ever see me dance, you’ll know that’s not going to happen.) I believe their ‘true’ passion lies somewhere else. Somewhere they haven’t tapped . They just don’t know it yet. If it was really in writing, they’d be doing it already and not just talking about it.

Sunday, February 20th, 2005
New Find

I know I talk about writing books a lot. If you’ve read my blog, you know I’m a huge fan of the Donald Maass book ‘Writing the Breakout Novel’. Well a year ago Linda Lael Miller spoke at my local RWA meeting. She gave an amazing talk about Scene and Structure breaking down what Jack Bickman wrote into easy to understand examples. At the time, she mentioned a book that she said helped her with her writing more than any of them. The book was called ‘Immediate Fiction’ by Jerry Cleaver.

I wrote the title down, but had enough writing books on my shelf already to keep me busy for a century or two. (Plus, it was a hardback. ChaChing!) Now, I wish I would’ve went out and grabbed that book right away.

I’m only in the beginning chapters, but even the first six pages made the book worth the price. The questions he asked himself while learning how to write are the same ones I’ve had that no one has been able to answer. I feel such a sense of relief just knowing someone else thought the same things. Maybe it’s the stage I’m at in my writing, but this book couldn’t have come at a better time.

If nothing else, check it out the next time you’re in a bookstore. It’s now in paperback, which is why I snatched it up. The book is considered a complete writing course. The author apparently runs an internet course called, “Write Your Novel Now”. He also gives workshops. You can find more information about those at

Saturday, February 19th, 2005
Server Problems

If you’ve tried to visit my site over the last few weeks you will have noticed that it’s been up and down like a tart’s knickers. I’m truly frustrated by this, but unfortunately it’s not something I can handle on this end. It’s my server. Please be patient. I’m sure they’re getting tired of hearing from us. (wg)