Archive for April, 2013

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013
Aidan’s Mate Is Done!

I’m really not sure what happened on the way to writing this book. I had the idea laid out, knew who the characters were, and thought I had a good outline. I wrote and wrote and wrote, then wrote some more. Then two friends, Bernard Lee DeLeo and Sasha White got a hold of the book. Let’s just say things fell apart after that. They did the best thing friends can do for you, they told me the truth.

After I finished licking my wounds, I went back to the book and tore it apart. I just finished putting it back together tonight. I’d planned to send the book off to the formatter before I left for the Romantic Times Convention, but seeing as I’m leaving tomorrow at the crack o’ dawn that’s not going to happen. I will send it off on Sunday. The book came out at just under 50K, so it should be a nice mid-length novel. I cannot wait to share it with you all.

Thank you for your patience. See you when I get back.

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013
What Do You Want?

I have twelve pages left to edit on Aidan’s Mate. I believe I found the issue that was plaguing the book *cough*40+ page chapter four*cough*. That leaves one love scene and two chapters left to write. I’m thrilled that the book will FINALLY be done this weekend. I know I’ve said it before, but this time it’s true. 🙂

I’ve been having conversations with a friend of mine about the changes happening in the publishing industry. Those changes are affecting writers, agents, editors, and readers. There are only a few agencies that seem to be meeting the technological changes head on (ie The Nelson Agency, Dystel and Goderich, etc). Others are slower at turning the ship around. But that’s not what I want to talk about today. Today, I’d like to talk about the way writers are responding to the changes.

As most of you know, I started my writing career publishing for Ellora’s Cave. I quickly moved onto New York by selling novellas to Kensington Brava, and then to Harlequin Blaze. I sold three single titles to Tor (ie the Dead World trilogy), then several short stories to various publishers after that. It was all one big learning experience. There were some fun times. Reader signings being one of the biggest. Which brings me back to my conversation with my friend. I’m about to head off to the Romantic Times Convention at the end of the month. I’m really looking forward to seeing several of my friends and meeting others that I’ve only spoken to on the phone and online. I’d planned to bring ten copies of my Phantom Warriors’ bundles each to have available for a book-signing, but it’s turning out to be more of a pain than it’s worth. Let me explain…

Because I’ve been self-publishing my last several titles, I’m no longer considered a ‘regular’ author. What that means is that I cannot sign my books at the big book signing that takes place on Saturday May 4th with all the other authors. I’ve been relegated to a Thursday slot with all the other Indie and small press authors, which is fine since I’m in good company, but the time slot/day doesn’t bode well for sales. (The signing starts while most people are at work (ie Four o’clock). I am under no illusion that people will rush out of work just so they can come and get their ‘ebook’ signed or in my case, their paperback. If I were them, I’d wait until Saturday when most of the authors will be signing.

For the last few days, I’ve been a little bummed about the ‘separation of authors’. I know it’s an ego thing, but I kind of feel like I’ve earned the right to sit at the big table with the other authors given my professional publishing history. Dh had no choice has been gracious about listening to me bellyache. He’s the one who initially asked me what I wanted? What I was trying to get out of this conference? I realized that I didn’t have a good answer.

I’d originally planned to attend this conference so that I could get my Young Adult novel into reader hands. I’d planned to introduce the new pen name at the same time. Once those plans changed, then I think I lost sight of why I was going. My goal was no longer on the table. I thought it would be nice to sign some paperbacks and meet readers (I love meeting readers in person.), but given the day that’s been designated and the timeframe it’s unlikely I’ll meet many. Also, the focus of that particular signing is ebooks. I LOVE ebooks, but it’s really hard to ‘sign’ your name on them.

The one thing about being a writer is that 99.9% of the time you work alone. My only chance to interact with readers face-to-face is at a conference. Other than those moments, I don’t ever ‘see’ readers. I get wonderful emails, but it’s not the same as meeting someone in person. Back in the day, I used to be a pretty social person (you kind of have to be when you’re a flight attendant ;), but that all changed when I became a full-time writer. Now I’m about as close to a hermit as I care to get. If my comfort zone gets any smaller, I will not be able to fit inside it. LOL! Those are just some of the reasons why I like ‘getting out’ to meet readers and do signings. But it’s not the main one. The main reason is that by meeting readers at signings it reminds me that ‘real people’ are buying my books, reading my words. That there is a REASON I sit in my office alone 99.9% of the time. That my stories matter to people other than me. When that is taken away or curtailed, I feel the loss keenly.

Sunday, April 7th, 2013
What’s Happening With The Doctor?

I’ve finished watching the first two episodes of the new Doctor Who and I have to say that I’m stumped and more than a little baffled. When they first introduced Clara during a Christmas special, I couldn’t wait for her to become the new companion. She and the Doctor had such terrific chemistry and there was a ton of emotional depth. You cared about what happened between them.

Now, not so much. In fact, Clara and the Doctor are barely getting any screen time together. What’s up with that? Instead, they’re being rushed from scene to scene without any buildups or connections. What should be gigantic emotional moments are left flat because the viewer is tossed from a marginal scene straight into the major one with no warning/preparation/buildup whatsoever.

I cannot figure out what’s happening on the storytelling/writing front because I KNOW Moffat is a superb storyteller/writer. He’s woven several intricate plots and taken the characters from serious highs to crashing lows. A well-written story is the one thing you can count on when you see his name under the writing credits. His stories always contain the ‘human condition’. That’s why I don’t believe for a second that he’s written much of anything in these first two episodes. He’s rarely ever that disjointed. And if he’s ever been in a rush to finish a story, I’ve never seen it on the screen. He’s that good. I do hope he takes over the writing reins soon, since there are so very few episodes in this season. I’d hate to see such a great character like Clara end up like Martha. 🙁

Friday, April 5th, 2013
Real Men Vs Romance Heroes

There’s been a conversation going on about ‘real men’ vs. ‘romance men’. It’s been taking place on one of the lists I belong to and frankly it’s been fascinating. The opinions seem to be divided between women who don’t think romance men exist and the ones who believe that they do. This whole conversation began when someone asked about romance heroes having chest hair. If you look at all the romance covers with heroes on them, the one thing that should stand out is that NONE of them have hair on their chests. Obviously this is because they’re trying to show off their muscles, but the conversation quickly turned into ‘real’ vs. fantasy.

It made me wonder what readers think of fiction men vs. real men. I’ve never been one of those women who was grossed out by chest hair. I don’t think I’ve actually given it a whole lot of thought one way or the other. I think I look at men on an individual basis. They can have chest hair or not. They can have hair on their heads or not. I don’t think hair anywhere makes a man. It’s behavior.

As a writer, I’m given the option of how realistic (and I use that word loosely) I want my heroes to be. I tend to make them larger than life because I’m trying to entertain. The writers on the loop were convinced that readers don’t want ‘realistic men’ in their books. They get them in real life and want escapism instead. Some of the examples they brought up were: sitting on the couch in their underwear, belching, farting, potbellies, not helping around the house, etc. I suppose that is true of some men, but certainly not all. There are many types of men (just like there are many types of women). I personally think readers would welcome variety in romance novels, but the authors are not convinced.

Reading their responses, one thing struck me. A lot of what the authors ascribed to real men were in fact traits of ‘boys’, not men. I think that’s where the true split lies. Someone I dated a long time ago used to tell me that what I wanted in a relationship was unrealistic and blamed my romance reading habits for my unrealistic expectations. I’m the first to admit that I have HIGH expectations when it comes to relationships and men, but I was ‘convinced’ that I could get what I wanted because I wasn’t looking for perfection. I had a very specific list of things that I wanted in a relationship/a man and that list did not include a single physical trait. I think in order for women to find their ‘heroes’ they have to know what they’re looking for. Handsome, blond-haired adonis is not something to look for in a man (or a woman). If your criteria is that ‘shallow’, then don’t be surprised when the relationship doesn’t meet your expectations. Hair or no hair shouldn’t factor into it.

I have without a doubt married a ‘romance hero’, but he wouldn’t fit in with any of the guys on those book covers. He’s not about to spend three to five hours at the gym everyday. He doesn’t have time. He has a life job. His priorities do not revolve around his body, even though he exercises and cares about his appearance. He’s frighteningly intelligent and has a sharp wit, which he uses to make me laugh every single day. I honestly could not ask for anything more nor would I, if given the chance. Does he slay dragons or fight off werewolves? No. Could he? Oh yeah. 🙂 That’s what makes him a genuine ‘hero’ in my eyes.

What do you think? Do readers want realistic heroes or do they want the fantasy? Why? Do you think romance novels skew women’s views on relationships? On men? Do they hurt or do they help?

Thursday, April 4th, 2013
Dr. Who–Hiring

OMG! OMG! It’s time like these that I wish I had television production experience. Why you ask? Because Dr. Friggin’ Who is hiring an Executive Producer. A Producer who’d get the chance to meet and work with Steven Moffat (and crew) on story ideas for DR. WHO!!!!!!!!! Squee!!! It’s honestly a writer’s dream. Hell, I’d fetch coffee/tea for the guy, if I could get the chance to work at that level of writing. I hope whoever gets the position realizes how fortunate they are to be part of such a wonderful ‘institution’. Sigh.

On a personal writing note, I’m still working. Didn’t get finished like I’d hoped, but the book is moving along. Not sure about the final word count, since I’m going through it now to tweak the earlier chapters before I pardon the pun ‘jump on’ the love scene.

As for the car, it’s still possessed.

Monday, April 1st, 2013
Ode To My Possessed Car

Car oh car
Why do you forsake me?
Is it because I don’t drive much?
With only 43,000 miles on you, death should be a distant dream.
Yet, the light is fading from your dashboard eyes…or at least it would be if every warning light wasn’t glowing.
Are you possessed?
I’m beginning to think so.
I just don’t know whether to call a mechanic or a priest.

As you can tell from my sucky ode, my car is possessed. I went to drive it the other day and suddenly the airbag warning light came on. I didn’t even know there was an airbag warning light until I saw it. My first thought was ‘Needs a new fuse’. I had a dentist appt., so I didn’t have time to stop. On the way back from the dentist, my seatbelt warning light began to flash and ding. Loudly. I checked my seatbelt, but it was firmly fastened. Fortunately for me, I have a good stereo. I cranked the music until I could barely hear the steady ding, ding, ding. I wasn’t concerned because the car had been checked out within the last seven months by the dealership. Other than a gunked up fuel pump sensor, it was given the all clear. (I was assured the fuel pump was working properly.)

When I got home, dh checked the fuses and the battery connection, but they were all fine. Hence my conclusion that the car’s possessed. Does anybody have any holy water? I’m thinking that my Japanese Shinto Shrine blessing and my mini-Tardis isn’t doing a good enough job of protecting the vehicle from evil spirits. Where’s Constantine when you need him?