Archive for July, 2009

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009
One Lazy Rose

I’ve been doing a lot of career thinking lately since I’m attempting to branch off into other genres beyond romance. It’s had me take a closer look at the authors around me. Well, actually, I’ve been looking at their careers. Probably not in the way that you’re thinking. I’m not comparing myself to the authors around me (ie who has the better career, etc.). I’ve been looking at their productivity. And what I discovered is rather upsetting. I realized I have not been working hard enough. My productivity is lacking.

I know how this started. When I first began writing for Ellora’s Cave I made the mistake of trying to write several books back to back. At first, I succeeded. But it didn’t take long until I hit a wall. A very tall, very thick, unforgiving wall. 🙄 I ended up giving myself writer’s block for over six months because I was so burned out. I promised myself that if I ever got through it that I’d NEVER do that again. The problem with making yourself a promise like that is you have to be specific. I wasn’t. I ended up swinging toward the other end of the pendulum and I’ve never quite gone back toward the middle. Because of this gun-shy reaction my productivity has dropped–a LOT. I still make deadlines and manage to get in partials, but I’m not working near to the level I could be comfortably working. See I’m not talking about going back to a crazy land schedule. I’m just talking about getting to the point where I’m writing a couple single titles and a few novellas a year or three Blazes/Nocturnes and a novella a year, etc. Given the word counts that’s actually quite realistic.

So why haven’t I done it? Because I’m lazy I’ve gotten out of the habit. Yep, it boils down to habit. So now I have to begin the slow process of building the habit up again until it becomes second nature. Have you let any good ‘habits’ slip lately?

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009
Channeling My Inner Teen

It’s been interesting working on this Young Adult book. My heroine is fifteen and a half–an age I remember rather vividly for it’s tremendous highs and crushing lows. It’s weird hearing that teenage voice again in my head. I’m at once relieved and a little terrified, since I thought it had gone away a long time ago. The writing is slow going, but I really didn’t expect otherwise. I’m still experimenting with POV. Not sure yet whether it should be written in first or third person. It’s also been a challenge figuring out where to start this book. Wisdom says to start it as close to the end as possible, but it was difficult to do that with this particular story. We’ll see if I end up keeping what I’ve written or tossing it. I must say that I do LOVE this plot. I really hope I can pull this story off. I’d love to share it with you all.

Sunday, July 12th, 2009
Name Changes

Several writing friends and I are considering a name change. There comes a time in a career when it becomes apparent that a name change is needed. Either you’ve steadily published, but never really got anywhere (ie you continue to work, but not build your following) or your sales are dropping, making it hard to sell work. It’s never an easy decision no matter what drives it. I’ve been fortunate to earn out on every book I’ve published. I’m hoping that the Dead World series continues that ‘streak’. But I’m nowhere near where I’d like to be (I’m sure that a lot of authors feel this way.) and I’m not sure I’ll be able to get there under the JS name.

Like I said, a name change isn’t something any author takes lightly. Most authors have spent years trying to build a name. You have to be willing to walk away from that foundation and start anew. Some people can do it easily, while others cling. Still others fall somewhere in betweeen. I haven’t quite decided how I’m going to do it yet. I have a lot of friends in the same boat. At least we’re all paddling together. 😆

Friday, July 10th, 2009
Now The Hard Part Begins

I finally watched the episode of Warehouse 13. It was different than I anticipated. The banter is a little X-files, but that’s about it. I did think the show was cute though. I’ll end up watching it. Tonight Eureka premieres. I love that show. It’s quirky like Northern Exposure used to be. I bought the True Blood DVD’s, so I plan to watch the first season over the weekend and coming week. I also bought the Blade series. I watched it when it was on and didn’t care much for the main character (ie Blade), but I really liked the secondary characters. And I’m finally going to break down and watch Twilight. I haven’t seen it yet. Please hold off throwing tomatoes at me. Can you tell I’m in a vampire mood?

Today I finally finished researching the YA. Now comes the hard part. Yep, let the writing begin. Gulp. 😯

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009
Warehouse 13

Did anyone catch the premiere of Warehouse 13 last night? If so, what did you think?

I charted the YA out yesterday in more detail. I’m going to dig even deeper today. I need to find a ‘creature’ that isn’t the norm (ie vampire, werewolf, demon, fey, etc.), who can exist in Japan. (No, lizard suggestions, please. *g*) It needs to be pretty big (ie ten feet tall–not building sized). Something that can’t hide easily. If you have any suggestions, I’d appreciate you throwing them my way.

Devon Monk wrote a post on her Live Journal that gave a call out for people seeking critique partners and readers. It’s definitely worth checking out. I’m debating whether to contact a couple of the readers. I’m not interested in contacting the folks who are also writers, but you all might be. It’s a good opportunity to make connections. 😀

Sunday, July 5th, 2009
Break Throughs and Book Purchases

With the help of Kaz, who pointed me in the right direction, Dh and I were able to brainstorm the major black moment in my YA. (Okay, dh came up with the idea, but I enthusiastically agreed. *g*) The moment ended up giving us the ending of the book. A crucial piece that was missing. Now all I need to do is figure out exactly how to start the book. There are several openings that I’ve been toying with.

This book is without a doubt the biggest writing undertaking I’ve ever attempted. I will have to create timelines, plot and subplot charts, along with character sheets. It’s extremely intimidating, but if done right will probably turn out to be the best book I’ve ever written. 😯 I’m thrilled, terrified, and excited.

Like any writer, I worry that I won’t be able to pull it off, but I know if I take my time I can do it. It just may take longer than any book I’ve ever written–which is saying something given the amount of time it took me to write my first person urban fantasy novel a couple years back. I’d always intended this YA to be the first book of a series, but wasn’t sure how I was going to do that given the plot I’d originally come up with. Now there is NO doubt it’s a series. This book went from a relatively little ‘p’ plot to a monster PLOT. I’m not even sure how it’ll unfold over the next few books. I have elements for the next couple of stories, but nothing concrete. I think those things will come after I finish this first book. Luckily, I have as much time as I need since this book isn’t contracted. In this case, that’s a good thing.

We were working in the bookstore yesterday and I decided to check out Dying Bites, since it’s causing such a ruckus on the interwebs. I read a few pages and ended up buying it. The heroine is a very tough chick. Personally, I like heroines like that, but that’s just me. I also didn’t mind the voice, but I can see not finishing the book if you had a problem with the voice. I think ultimately (along with the present tense point of view) that’s what the reviewer on Amazon had a problem with. The ‘voice’ didn’t click with her. When that happens, no amount of powerful storytelling will help. I haven’t read enough of the book to tell you whether or not I like it yet, but I dug the opening. I look forward to reading it and the other books I’m juggling. *wg*

I told myself I wasn’t going to order anymore craft books, but I ended up breaking my promise. There are a few things I want to work on so I ordered: Writing and Selling the Young Adult novel, Writing for Emotional Impact, Wild Ink: How to Write Fiction for Young Adults, **cough**Midnight’s Master by Cynthia Eden**cough** (That’s a craft book, right? RIGHT?), and the Power of Point of View. I plan to order one more craft book (Steering the Craft), then I’m done. I swear. 😳

Friday, July 3rd, 2009
Yummy and What Not To Do

I heard about these snacks on Pioneer Woman’s site. She’d said that Stacy’s Pita Chips were delicious. I thought they’d probably be good, but not THIS good. OMG! These things are heavenly. I’m totally addicted.

Often Every once in a while you see authors do things that make you wince on their behalf. I totally understand where this author is coming from. I truly feel for her and I mean that genuinely. I just don’t think her response to this review is the answer, even though there are many things about the review that are NOT right. The biggie being that the reviewer didn’t read the whole book or even most of it before reviewing said book. Not sure how you do that? (Scratches head.) Given that’s the case, I suppose I should also be embarrassed for the reviewer, too. 😳 I did not however think the reviewer attacked the author. Could she have been a little bit more diplomatic given she didn’t read the whole book? Absolutely. Did she say anything personal about the author? Not that I could see. She just didn’t dig the book. It sucks, but it happens.

I’ve read many reviews for my books that irritated the hell out of me. The ones with misinformation are the hardest to overlook, but there just comes a time when as a writer you have to let it all go. The funny thing about the review was I actually read it (before the author responded), then went and looked at how many other reviews the reviewer had written. There were not many and only a few were rated high–none of which were books as I recall. As soon as I saw that, I didn’t give the review much credence. I think people are savy enough to not base their decisions on one person’s opinion.

What do you think? Should an author defend their work if they believe they’ve been wronged? Do reviewers have carte blanche when it comes to writing incomplete reviews?