Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Help and Hindrance of Modern Tech.

One year ago, I had one e-mail account.  That was it!  No blog, no social networking site, no twitter, just one e-mail account.  Today I have three e-mail accounts, two Facebook pages, two blogs (one of which is being horribly neglected as of late), a twitter account, and a website.  And, of course, to keep up with all this, I’m getting a smart phone tomorrow!  It’s something I swore I’d never do.  I’d always said the internet was there for my convenience not the other way around.  But with submissions out, editors e-mailing information, and witty friends, I feel compelled to be connected even when I’m not at home.  Yet, as I sat down to check my e-mail today, I couldn’t help but think back to the simpler days and wonder if my life really requires so much tech.

It seemed such a slippery slope to get from where I was to where I am.  It all started with me joining an online forum.  There I found friends who were facing the same struggles I was, writer’s block, rejections, and unfinished manuscripts.  And they gave me the encouragement and the resources I needed to rewrite and resubmit until I got it right, and got a contract.  While chatting with them, I realized how useful a blog would be.  Not to promote, but just somewhere for me to talk about whatever is on my mind.  Being a writer can be isolating, especially when you only have an eight year old and a four year old to bounce ideas off of all day.  So I started my first blog. 

By this time I was drifting away from the group.  I loved the people, but realized I would probably never be published by this particular publisher.  But I knew I would miss the friends I had made, so I started a Facebook page.  That way I got updates on them and could continue talking to them outside the boundaries of the forum. 

The next big change happened when I got my contract.  In the ‘publisher’s welcome pack’ it had a line about needing a website.  Me?  I’ve only had one thing accepted, do I really need a website?  They seemed to think so, and it is a nifty thing to have, so I put a website.  And since I’m writing under a pen name, that meant I needed another Facebook page to get my name out there.

So yes, I guess it turns out I do need the tech.  Well, everything but Twitter.  I actually signed up for that to enter a contest.  I didn’t win btw, but I do like the conversation feel of it, so I’m going to keep it. 

There are days I feel overwhelmed by the internet.  There are so many interesting blogs, people, articles, etc.  And there are days where I don’t get any real writing done because of it.  But that’s a lack of disciple on my part.  In the end, I can’t imagine being able to do my job without it.  To be honest, I wouldn’t have a job without it.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Why Asura?

When I first started writing the Inked series, it was going to be about demons and angels, but as I started researching demons I stumbled across the name Asura.  It was a beautiful name that had a delicate flow to it that I loved.  So I dug deeper.

Asura are sometimes considered demons in modern Hinduism, which is why they came up in my search.  But, as I continued to dig, I discovered the term 'demon' wasn't quite right for this race.  Asura are, to the best of my ability to determine, divine beings that have great weaknesses in will.  They’re drawn to excess and power, which tends to lead to corruption and evil.  But corruption and evil aren't certainties.  Asura have free will, and some have been known for their piousness.  And that’s what I loved about them.

To have a good nature and do good is commendable, but nothing noteworthy.  You are living within your nature.  But to have a nature that draws you to the darker things in life, and yet still do good—that’s remarkable and something worth note. 

So, in my stories of the Asura, that’s what I focus on, the constant struggle over the darkness that pulls at them and their desire to rise above their nature.  As it turns out, I’m not writing about demons.  I'm writing about overcoming them.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sunshine and Copy Editors

Finally, after a week of soggy, dismal weather, we have sunshine!  I can’t even begin to tell you how happy that makes me.  I think I’m going to skimp on my housework a bit and take the boys down to the park.  After all, my in-laws are flying in from Lithuania, they’re going to be too tired to pay much attention to my clutter, right?  Even if they do, they’re too polite to say anything so I think I’m going.

Oh, and the editor assigned to Ink e-mailed me today.  I’m so excited.  I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and get to work.  She seemed really nice in the e-mail and said she hopes to have an estimated release date by next week.  I’m expecting something in the Nov-Dec possibly into early next year range, but I’ll let you guys know as soon as I hear.

If you’re looking for something new to read, my friend Barbara Hancock has a release today.  I know, I’m having a hard time keeping up with all the releases too.  It’s an erotic, so you have to be over 18 to buy it. 

Hope the sun is shining wherever you are!

Monday, May 18, 2009

The in-laws are coming! The in-laws are coming!

For the past month and a half my mother and father in-law have been abroad, but they're coming home this Wed.  And since my husband's picking them up at the airport, they'll be coming back to our house for a quick dinner before he takes them home.  That means I’m going to be cleaning for the next two days!

I’m not a slob and my in-laws aren’t neat freaks, okay they are neat freaks but they don’t expect me to be a neat freak, but I still feel a certain obligation to have things cleaned to a certain standard whenever they come over.  And with two small kids, a cat, and a dog, it’s not an impossibly high standard either.  I’m okay with the scattering of toys, and the occasional pile of unopened mail, but the dust bunnies and sticky residue my boys leave on every surface must be eliminated.  And, since my father in-law is allergic to cats, the slip covers have to be washed and the floors vacuumed. 

And the dinner?  My husband is such a doll.  He grilled chicken breasts last night and stuck them in the freezer, so all I have to do is throw some couscous on the stove and throw the chicken in the microwave on Wed.  Add a vegetable and voila, an easy peasy dinner! 

Now, since I’ve already gotten the front room picked up and vacuumed, the dishes done, and the laundry caught up, I’m going to go write.  

If you’re looking for something interesting to read on this fine day  Grayson Reyes-Cole and Cora Zane have new releases out!  Yes, they both have new books in addition to the ones I posted about last time!  I know, they’ve been busy.  I’m in awe.  One note, the anthology Cora’s short story is in is erotic so you have to be 18 to buy it.  

Happy reading all!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Good Day

I’ve had a great day and just had to share.  First of all, I got my heroine out of the shower.  She’s still handcuffed, but that’s by her choice and for her own protection.  Again, makes sense perfect when you read it.

One of my friends, Cora Zane had a release today.  She was nice enough to send me one of book cards and I have to say, her cover is beautiful!  If you want to check it out ‘Cora Zane’ links to her site.  It’s an over 18 site, so sorry minors, it’s not for you.

And then I stopped lurking at Lyrical’s group site and I won Bright Star by Grayson Reyes-Cole.  I’ve had my eye on it for awhile now so I’m really excited.  It too has a lovely cover.  Bright Star’ links to her page so you can check it out.  I’ll let you all know what I think about it after I get and read it.

That’s it for here.  I hope you have a streak of good luck of your own. 

Monday, May 11, 2009

Typo Artist

Yep, that’s me :). If there’s a word that’s almost, but not quite the same, as the word I want, I’ll pick that word a good 30% of the time, making the most delightfully awful sentences. I would buy that it’s my own laziness, except I really am trying to catch the mistakes. I’ve gotten to the point of looking up any word I’m not completely sure about, just to make sure it’s the right one. But still, they slip by me.

Some of my more memorable ones: I once used immolate instead of emulate, thing instead of thigh, bowel instead of bowl, and, most recently, I used shutter instead of shudder. What makes the typos so funny is half the time they work in the sentence, but you can tell they aren't right. Take the immolate one. I was trying to say my heroine emulated the hero’s mount. Meaning she tried to jump onto the horse like he had. I ended up saying she sacrificially killed his horse. It could have happened, but it didn’t. And the thing-thigh one...well, let's just say that one had my writers group laughing so hard there were actually tears involved.

I’ve gotten used to laughing at them, too. After all, it’s apparently part of me, part of who I am. I’ve also gotten used to running my work by at least three critic partners that understand who I am, are used to looking for my quirky typos, less an editor read that my heroine drank from a bowel instead of a bowl.


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Writing Huzzah!

I’m really excited because I wrote about 2K yesterday. I know, it may not seem like very much, but it’s the longest stretch I’ve written in the past week. I don’t know why I’m having such a hard time getting this thing done. I love the story, the characters, and the world. And I’ve got the plot and twists all mapped out. My guess is it’s a combination of things that have nothing to do with the story at all, and everything to do with two little kidlets running around asking for apple juice every time I manage to sit down behind my computer. Regardless, it felt really good to get my heroine out of her ‘femme fatal’ scene. No one should be left with two assassins and a traitor for weeks at a time. Bad writer! Very bad writer! But that’s all resolved now. Unfortunately, life caught up with me shortly after the scene was finished, and I had to leave her in a shower handcuffed. Trust me, it all makes perfect sense when you read it :)

Any other weekend and I’d be all about finishing that scene as well. But it’s mother’s day weekend, and that’s always one of my boys’ favorite weekends. Why? I’d like to think it’s because they love me so much it makes them happy to have a weekend all about me, but realistically it’s because we always go to our local train museum and take a ride on their steam engine trains for both mother’s day and father’s day. Even knowing this, it still makes me happy when they run into our room and ask, “Is it mother’s day yet?” with the excitement usually reserved for Christmas.

I'm hoping to carry on the tradition this year, but with my youngest still a little under the weather, we might have to schedule something else. But I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

So that’s about it here. I hope you all have a great mother’s day tomorrow, whether it be with trains or tea cups.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Drive-by Promoting

I know promotion is important in this business. And I know it can be daunting trying to come up with new ways to get the word out. But I’ve come to really hate drive-by promoters. So much so, that I’m thinking about removing anyone from my Facebook ‘friend’ list who invites me to join a group or fan club, yet hasn’t taken the time to say hello to me. It’s really a matter of common courtesy.

Think about how you’d act at a conference for a moment. Would you just hand your card to everybody you walked by? No. You stop, smile, engage in a bit of chit-chat, look for an opening, and then, when you’ve established you have something in common, something the other person might benefit from, you offer them your card. It’s really the same concept in the cyber world.

If you want me to join your group, all you have to do is stop at my wall, say hello, say something about me(I’m a sure join if it’s something that shows me you took the time to visit my webpage) and what I might gain from joining said group. Now, really, is that so difficult?

Yes, if you have 2,000 friends it would be a time consuming task, but the people who actually join would be more likely to buy your book, or whatever it is you’re promoting, because they’d feel connected to you somehow.

Now, before what I’m saying is misconstrued, I think it’s perfectly acceptable to put your blog, or website, or whatever it is you want the world to see, in your status. How is this different? Because you’re not soliciting me directly, you’re just putting the info out there for any who might be interested. It’s the difference between a television ad and a person thrusting unwanted flyers into my hands as I walk by them on the street. I don’t know what you do with the flyers you get, but I can tell you what I do with mine…exactly the same thing I’m doing with unsolicited group/fan club invites.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Novella

Barbara Hancock wrote a lovely blog about the joy of reading novellas on Embrace the Shadows today, and it got me to thinking. Yes, reading novellas is fun. They’re fast-paced, direct, and focus almost exclusively on the hero and heroine. But what about writing them?

My answer is going to surprise most of you, I know, but I actually prefer writing novels. Even though Ink in the Blood is a novella and Samhain saw definite possibilities with Dragonborn, I’m not comfortable writing them. Why? Because they’re hard! And for exactly the same reasons they’re great.

When you’re writing a novella, your focus has to be on the core of the story. It’s so short there’s no room for anything that’s not moving the plot and the hero and heroine forward. But it has to be written with an elegance that reads effortless. To get your characters to move a specific way, in a very brief space, with few plot devices available? I’m sure it comes naturally for some writers, but I’m not one of them.

So why did I write, and rewrite, not one but two of them? Because I was after a greater reward than the finished piece itself. I recognized that my novels tended to ramble too often and relied too heavily on plot devices and contrived characters. My solution was to write something where I only had the story to fall back on. It was a torturous process. I can’t begin to tell you how many rewrites both pieces took to even be presentable. But in the end, I feel my writing is stronger because of it.

Will I continue to write novellas? I am more comfortable writing them than I ever thought I’d be. And Dragonborn, my second one, came to me a lot easier than Ink in the Blood did. So yes, I can see more novellas in my future. But I’m really looking forward to sinking my teeth back into my novels. See if the experiment worked on a larger scale.

Oh, I hope you have a chance to stop by and read the blog that inspired this one. 'Embrace the Shadows' is a link to it.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


So I’d like to say my website is done, but it just isn’t so. I mean, it’s up and functional, but DH wants to make some changes. It started out with him hating the format I designed it in. But as he kept looking at it, he determined he could improve the design as well. Don’t look for the changes to happen over night, though. He tends toward perfectionism when designing, so his stuff is excellent but it takes a lot of time.

My writing, unfortunately, has slowed to a crawl. I’ve gotten all my forms returned to Lyrical, though, so hopefully I can concentrate on my WIP for the rest of the week. It’s a novel length sequel to Ink. Poor Izzy, after everything she’s been through, you’d think I’d let her live the rest of her days in peace. But really, who gets to live the rest of their days in peace?

Also, I’m hoping to get my novella Samhain requested a rewrite and resubmit on resubmitted within the next week or so. It’s a more traditional fantasy, but when you throw political and religious corruption into a story with shape-shifting dragons and clerics it can get pretty dark.

Oh, and don’t forget to wish Lyrical a happy birthday! They turn one this month and are giving away e-books to celebrate.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Welcome to my blog!

About a year ago, my husband asked me what the difference was between writing as a hobby and writing as a career. I was in the middle of my third, or maybe my fourth, rewrite and snorted rather loudly as I continued to pick apart my sentences.

“This is.”

It was a simple truth to a question I’ve been asked countless times since then.

Anyone who takes the time to write and then rewrites until it’s perfect, is a writer. Anyone who stares at their words until they no longer make sense and fusses over their characters until they’re living people, is a writer. It doesn’t take a contract to make it so.