May 18th, 2013
Just got back from seeing Star Trek 2. Frankly, I thought it was awesome. It picks up a couple of years after the first one. James Kirk is leading his crew on one adventure after the other, breaking rules left and right. Eventually he’s told he has to pay the ultimate price for his lack of discipline, then everything goes to hell in the most spectacular way. The movie is a fast paced, space opera spectacle that only slows down long enough to bring you to tears before shoving you into oncoming traffic again. I LOVED IT!!! I truly cannot wait to see it again…and perhaps again. I’m thinking three times might do it before I buy the Blu-ray.
Now I’m just counting down for the final episode of Doctor Who. (No spoilers, please.)
May 17th, 2013
I have my schedule for Phoenix ComiCon. Friday, I’m hoping to catch up with my friend, Melissa Marr. I believe I owe her a drink. I have a couple of panels and a photo op I purchased with John ‘Captain Jack’ Barrowman. Don’t have a lot going on throughout Saturday (other than in the morning), which is okay because dh might be coming in for the day. It’ll also give me more time to work the signing table. That’s actually a lot of fun because I get to talk to people and look at all the costumes. I know I’ve said this before, but Phoenix ComiCon has become my FAVORITE Con out of all those I attend. There’s just something wonderfully magical about ComiCon. Everybody comes out to play.
I will be bringing paperback copies of my Phantom Warriors’ anthologies. Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore will be selling them. Trying to decide if I’m going to bring even older books, since several are out-of-print. The question is: How much do I want to carry? :-O
May 11th, 2013
MOONLIGHT KIN 2: AIDAN’S MATE is officially out–though it may take a few days before it hits Kobo and Apple. Right now it’s available at BARNES & NOBLE and AMAZON.
May 10th, 2013
Aidan’s Mate is officially with the formatter. Fingers, toes, and eyes crossed it comes back quickly. The book came out to be 51260 words, a nice mid-length novel. I’ve added another 2450 word excerpt (ie chapter one) of Moonlight Kin 1 to the back of the book. Aidan’s Mate is a standalone title that references A Wolf’s Tale. I’ve added a NEW excerpt and I’m playing with the webpage layout because I’d like to have larger covers on the individual pages. (I’m actually having difficulty right now because I can’t figure out how to get my blurb to appear beneath the cover the same way it does when it’s above the book cover.) Fun times!!!
Next up, I plan to finish re-editing RED. If there is a deity, I’ll be done by the end of this month. I want to get it out before I leave for the UK. It’ll be my last release until the end of summer/beginning of fall. I only plan to release one other romance this year after I finish with the above (unless I can suddenly write a LOT faster). That book will be BAYOU HEAT, which tells the story of Ex-Special Forces’ Sniper Luc ‘Gator’ Moreau and Chloe Dupont, the woman who broke off their engagement. Should be fun and suspenseful.
On an entirely different note, I’ve been getting into Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary. To help celebrate the Doctor, I picked a few things up. I cannot wait until THIS, THIS, and THIS ships. As if that wasn’t exciting enough, I just found out that John Barrowman, who plays Captain Jack Harkness in Doctor Who and Torchwood, will be at Phoenix ComiCon this year. To say I’m excited by this news is an UNDERSTATEMENT! Squee!!!
May 7th, 2013
Today I’m feeling a little bit more human. Going to conferences/conventions wears me out. I’m not used to so much socializing. I went to a lot of social networking talks. Yes, the irony is not lost on me. Actually got a lot of good information from them. Ways to approach social networking that I can personally live with, since I’m not the Queen of the Social Network Universe.
I participated in the Indie/Ebook signing with my paperbacks. Yes, you read that correctly. The interesting thing I noticed during the signing was that the books that did the best were niche genres. Male on male romances sold the best by far. I was pleasantly surprised to see such a large gay and lesbian reader turnout. Of course, their presence didn’t help me much, since I write hetero romances. I did have several people stop by my table to ask if I wrote M/M romances because they loved my Phantom anthology covers. No surprise there. Those cover models are hot guys. I did enjoy talking to the lady next to me. She was a lovely author named, Carla Swafford, who kept me giggling the whole time. I was also seated next to Damon Suede, who was incredibly popular at the signing. He writes M/M romances (at least I’m pretty sure that’s what they were). Damon had the most amazing set up, including a massive billboard-like poster behind him. Readers flocked to him. He was a lovely gentleman, who stripped down in front of me, then gave me some wonderful advice. His grandpa told him to make sure that anything you give away (swag wise) should have decent weight to it. One or two pounds is perfect. People equate weight to quality and aren’t as likely to throw items away if they weigh more. Actually makes sense if you think about it. Stripping aside, he was very, very good at promoting his work (presentation wise and with his choice of items).
I attended a talk by several Montlake authors. It wasn’t as good as I’d hoped because unfortunately most of the time was taken up by the authors explaining how they ended up publishing with Montlake, so there wasn’t much time left for questions. The only thing that I found out was that they seemed happy, even though they were giving up a large chunk of their distribution, because they believed that they were still reaching a greater number of readers overall. Which makes sense. They have author assigned reps that work specifically with each author. Anniversaries and milestones are celebrated in a big way. They also have input when it comes to covers, etc. That was about all that was answered before the session ended. I’ve thought about submitting directly to Amazon, but I was never sure if it was worth giving up the added distribution.
Other than that, I really just enjoyed seeing some of my friends (J.A. Templeton, P.T. Michelle, and Kathy Love) and getting to meet authors I’ve talked to over the years, but never met. I’m looking at you Shiloh, Ilona, Rachel (I actually met Rachel a long time ago, but it was nice seeing her again.), Lauren, Erin (Who I’ve also known since the Lori Foster Kensington Brava contest), Christine, and Jeaniene.
Went to see Iron Man last night. It was fun. Not as good as the first one, but entertaining enough to watch a couple of times. Will probably go back again this weekend, since next weekend is reserved for Star Trek. Yes, I already have tickets.
April 30th, 2013
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.
April 10th, 2013
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.
April 7th, 2013
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.
April 5th, 2013
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?
April 4th, 2013
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.