Archive for July, 2008

Saturday, July 26th, 2008
Off To The Conference

I’m heading out tomorrow for the conference. Going in a little early to visit a friend. I won’t be blogging while I’m there because I don’t have a laptop…and I’m too lazy to set up blogs ahead of time. Yep, I said it. I’m lazy. Have a great week. Catch you all in August. I will give you my conference run down then. 🙂

Friday, July 25th, 2008
The Dark Knight

We went to see Batman: The Dark Knight the other day. I haven’t written a post about it because it’s the type of film you have to think about for a few days. Everything the reviewers have said about the movie is true. It’s extremely intense, gritty, dark and not particularly fun. Note I didn’t say it wasn’t good. It was a damn fine film. It examines what it really means to be a hero and how far a good man can be pushed before he crosses a line. The latter is the undercurrent that keeps the film flowing along for two and a half hours. It includes main characters and secondary characters. It makes you question where your line in the sand is and how hard it would be to get you to cross it. You might think it would take a lot, but in all actuality it takes very little. Just the ‘right’ kind of motivation. Like I said, it’s a deep film One that’s well worth seeing. If you have the chance go, but don’t expect to leave the theater on a positive note. It’s not that kind of movie. Oh, one final note, everything they said about Heath’s performance was true. It was utterly brilliant, which makes it that much more sad when you see him. Truly talented. He had quite the future ahead of him. 🙁

Have any of you seen the movie? If so, what did you think?

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008
Voice–Do You Have One?

When I first started writing, one of my instructors suggested that I enter contests to get feedback. I thought it was a good idea, so I entered several (ie Daphne du Maurier, Orange Rose, The Molly, The Maggies, Brava, Harlequin, Finally a Bride, etc.). You get the picture. I wasn’t exactly a contest queen, but I was well on my way. Contests are addictive and fun, especially when you start to win/place. One of the things that came up repeatedly in the feedback was that I had a strong ‘voice’.

I have to admit at the time, I had NO IDEA what they were talking about. New writers are constantly reminded to find their voices. It’s hard to find things you don’t know are missing. 🙄 It’s also difficult to find something that’s nearly impossible to define. Voice is something a reader recognizes instinctively. It’s what makes bestselling authors. Sure skill comes into the picture, too. You have to know how to plot, pace, create settings and characters, etc. But voice is what readers really fall in love with when they’re reading. It’s ‘HOW’ you tell your stories.

Here’s the one thing no one ever tells you because the writer organizations don’t want to discourage anyone: You either have a writing voice or you don’t. Voice can’t be learned like other writing skills. It can be uncovered, but if there’s nothing there–there’s nothing there. Sucks, doesn’t it?

Let’s talk about uncovering ones voice. From a very early age I knew I wanted to write romance novels. I’d read dozens as a teen and loved them. Couldn’t imagine writing anything else because frankly, I’d never read anything else. And that was fine. I quite enjoy writing them (and reading them). What I didn’t anticipate was ‘finding my voice/uncovering my voice’ in another genre. I’d found my genre. I was happy in my genre. So why in the hell did I ‘sound’ so different, when I attempted these ‘new’ types of stories?

See, that’s the catch about voice. The other thing they don’t tell you when you’re starting out. You never know where you’ll uncover your true voice. The ONLY way to find it is by writing in every genre. And I mean EVERY genre.

The contest I entered the other day can give you some idea of how much my ‘voice’ changes, when I write in a different genre. I’ve placed the entry below for those of you who’ve read my other work. Not quite the same style of writing, is it?

The ghouls followed me just like I’d planned. They loped in the shadows, gangly limbs out of synch, taking care to stay away from the headlight beam. Everyone knows that nothing melts a ghoul faster than an H7 bulb. I’d puddled three on my way out of the diner parking lot.

The cycle roared beneath me, rattling my teeth as I shifted to gain speed. I’d considered everything when constructing my getaway plan–or so I thought, until I noticed the gas gauge French kissing empty. Damn ghouls had sucked it nearly dry, while I was inside wolfing down a cheeseburger. I’d passed the ‘Last Gas Station For Miles’ exit five road signs ago. Vegas was another fifty, not that I’d make it to the mecca of neon. It was as elusive as dawn at midnight.

Something gurgled loudly behind me. I didn’t look back. The sound was followed by similar rumbles. The fact that I could hear it over the air buzzing in my ears was a testament to the power of a ghoul’s digestive tract. They’d eaten a half dozen people back at the diner and they were still hungry. Talk about compulsive overeaters. With any luck, I’d give them all heartburn. The bike sputtered and choked, then gradually slowed, bringing my one-way ride down this ghoul highway to an end.

Bon appétit.

You’ll know you’ve found your voice when your writing jumps up a level. That’s a sure indication that you’re on the right track. Can your writing get better by learning more craft? Absolutely. But craft doesn’t mean squat, if you don’t have voice. I’ve read a lot of beautifully crafted stories. Some might say ‘perfectly’ crafted stories, but they fell flat because the writer had NO voice. You won’t know if you have a voice until you start writing in every genre (even the ones you hate).

I’ll leave you with one final piece of advice: Don’t fight your voice just because it doesn’t conform to what you think you should be writing. I’ve made that mistake. It’s painful and a very big waste of time.

If you have any questions, toss them in the comments and I’ll attempt to answer them. 🙂

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008
Change of Plans

I was going to write an entry on finding your voice, but I think it’ll have to wait until tomorrow. Today I’m putting together my RWA schedule and frankly, I’m shocked at how full it is already. I’ve gone to several RWA conferences and rarely do I have things scheduled. I suppose this should be expected when you have upcoming releases, but somehow I’m still surprised.

Speaking of surprises, I received my first review for Red today. It came out of the blue, but it was very welcome. You can read it here. Now I’m off to finish putting my schedule together. 🙂

Friday, July 18th, 2008
Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead

Okay, I’m not exactly talking about a witch, but that’s the kindest word I can think of to call this book right now. Yes, it’s DONE. Finally! I am incredibly excited. I finished typing the invisible ‘The End’ only seconds ago and already I have a drink in my hand. Yes, I’m celebrating because this one was a beotch to write. That’s what happens when you have a lot of threads to wrap up. I know I still have to edit it (And the second book for that matter.), but it’s DONE!!! Let’s all say it together: THE BOOK IS DONE!!! You celebrate your way and let me celebrate mine. (wg)

I hope you’ve been watching Joss Whedon’s Dr. Horrible ‘movie’ online. I swear the songs keep running through my head. They remind me of Jonathan Coulton’s work. Very catchy, a little bittersweet and REALLY funny. I can’t wait for the final installment to go up. With my Freeze Gun, I will stop the world. Yep, quite catchy.

Speaking of cool (and typing). My dh introduced me to The Typing of the Dead by Sega. Think zombie killing meets typing course and you’ll have some idea of how frickin’ fun this thing is…and did I mention it’s very scary? Nothing like having zombies coming at you with chainsaws to add a little pressure to typing correctly. *ggg* 😯 If you ever played House of the Dead, then you’ll have some idea of what it’s like.

I think I’m going to leave the computer now, since I just spent the last several hours glued to it. Have a great weekend. I’ll check back in on Monday. I’m off to read the Hotter than Hell anthology.

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008
Don’t Pay Attention To The Woman Behind The Curtain

Some news for CSI fans. I must say I’m a little shocked. What do you think will happen to the show?

Also, today begins Joss Whedon’s Online gig. Check it out…once they get it back up and running.

I entered this contest–thanks to Raine. My entry is number 41, You Go Ghoul Friend. *g* I must say I had a blast writing it. I rarely write things off the top of my head anymore. It was a nice change of pace. 🙂

Now I have to roll up my sleeves and get this book finished. Catch you all later.

Monday, July 14th, 2008
Hadn’t Planned To Blog Today, But The News Was Just Too Good

My friend Paperback Writer (aka Lynn Viehl) is celebrating a birthday today AND she made #19 on the New York Times Bestseller list with Twilight Fall. WOO HOO!!! Please go and congratulate her if you haven’t already. 😀