Monthly Archives: May 2012
Happy Thursday everyone!
Today’s post has to be shorter than normal because edits on Last Vamp Standing are due Sunday evening and I’ve got a TON of work to do.
As I sit here, staring at my work station, I realize how messy it’s become. I used to only be able to write when my desk was clean. When the pens were put away, notebooks were open to just the right page, and my coffee cup was positioned predictably to the left of my computer.
Now, though the coffee cup remains, everything else has fallen apart. Take a look:
I’ve got birthday invitations, earphones, and granola bar wrappers scattered behind my computer, Post-Its stuck to the screen and the wall behind my desk. Tissue and paper towels to the right. It’s a disaster. Hell, I’m a disaster.
Whoever said ”Clutter frees the creative mind” just might’ve known what they were talking about because I can’t seem to write anywhere else but this messy ’ole desk.
What does your workspace look like? Clean and tidy? Messy and cluttered?
While I would love to discuss my new paranormal book I started last night and am looking forward to writing I have to stop here. Today is not just another day to talk about the kick ass heroine I have or the super smoking hot hero. Nope, today is not about me.
I’m not in the military, never have been, but I have a deep and great respect for those who served our country and their families. Today is not just another day to hang out with the family and BBQ, though it is a great day to spend time with the family. While you are all gathered around celebrating a day off please take the time to say thank you for all the people who serve our country to ensure our freedom. I personally thank God for each and every member of this country who is brave enough to step up and sign up for a duty they do no have to sign up for. Remember military service is not required, no one is forced to sign up these days so the men and women who are now serving our country risk their lives everyday for us because they are brave and generous. Thank you for that and thank the families of these men and women. I don’t know what it is like to have a family member in the military, but please know you have my full respect. Thank you all.
The week before last, I wrote about rejection – specifically, the one I’d gotten just the day before. It was for a 35k word novella that really wanted to be a novel. What I’m trying to say here is that the novella was of questionable quality. Convoluted – or perhaps – crowded would have described it. Regardless. It’s one of those things. Rejection always makes me obsess over what I’d done wrong. Have I really and truly lost it this time? Is this the end? Will I never write or publish again? I hate it, but occassionally, angst-R-I.
Fast forward to Monday, midmorning when I finally get home from all those errands that have to be done. There’s an email that’s come in via my website. It’s from an editor in the UK. Apparently, she’s putting together an anthology and finds she’s short a story. Do I have a 20k-ish word thing collecting dust in a drawer?
Uhm. By strange coincidence, I do have something fermenting in the rejection heap…how long do I have to restructure and rip 15k words (hopefully rendering said story fun and readable thereby)? Three days. Including Monday, which, by this point, was nearly over. How do you cut nearly half of a novella? You slay it, rip out it’s twitching corpse, yank out a bunch of extraneous organs, rearrange all the ones that are left, sew it back up and wait for a lightning strike to make it breathe again. Or maybe that was required to get me me out of bed after staying up way too late to get it all finished in a coherent fashion.
A few edits later, the story finished at 16k words. It looked nothing like the 35k word novella, which is probably a good thing. But now, Nobody’s Present, a fluffy little alien abduction story will be published in a SFR anthology (more info on the where, how and when as it becomes available).
Coincidence that the story should be rejected one week and sought out the next? I don’t know. All I can say is that Sherlock Holmes, notably a work of fiction by a man immersed in Victorian Spiritualism, didn’t believe in coincidence. Me? I’ll take the Fifth on that one.
Progress always involves risks. You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first. ~Frederick B. Wilcox
Yes, I’m having one of those days with doubt. I’ve turned in my contracted books and am out of contract. This means…time to go out on proposal, which is both an exciting and frightening time. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but the publishing industry is in a bit of a flux.
I golfed last week for the first time in about five years–and I was very doubtful before. But hey…I guess it all comes back. While I wasn’t a star by any means, I did all right. Sure, my slice returned, but then I remembered how to deal with it.
Publishing is like golfing. You need the right equipment, a good attitude, and tools to deal with that slice. A stiff drink doesn’t hurt, either. But no matter what…you have to take the shot, or you’ll never make it to the clubhouse and the amazing brunch.
So this summer I’m taking the shot…and I’ll let you know how it goes. For now, I’ve finally seen the back cover copy of CONSUMED – and here it is:
Sometimes You Mate For Life
Katie Smith is the best of her class, part of an elite hunting force trained to eliminate werewolves from the hills of Western Virginia. She’s good at it because she has the kind of focus and drive that won’t back down no matter how steep the odds. Call it southern sass. Whatever it is, there’s no denying her willingness to risk everything for the only man she’s ever cared about–a man on the verge of losing his very humanity. . .
Sometimes You Mate To Stay Alive
For the past ten years Jordan Pride has dedicated his life to protecting his people from a deadly shifter virus. But in a rare moment of distraction, Jordan’s guard drops just long enough for his fate to take an irreversible twist. Unless the woman he loves surrenders everything to him, again and again, under a full moon rising. . .
Consumed is available now for pre-order:
Everyone have a wonderful rest of the week!
Update: The winner of the Amazon.com gift card is…reginamayross. Congrats!!!
I am so excited–the summer reading season is almost here!!
People get to sit and relax on the beach…and read.
People can sway in a hammock…and read.
TV shows will be in re-run land (quite often), so people can turn off the TV…and read.
Can you tell that I anticipate a lot of reading time in my summer future?
And I love that! Summer is my chance to catch up on some much needed reading. Though, to be completely honest, I have been sneaking in a few reads over the last month. I’ve enjoyed some truly stellar books that I wanted to share with you today.
First up, Sylvia Day’s BARED TO YOU.
This book is emotional and sexy, and I cannot wait for the next installment in the series!
Next up, well, something a wee bit different…MINDHUNTER.
What can I say? I enjoy variety in my books. Which probably explains why my next fave read is YA…I HUNT KILLERS.
I HUNT KILLERS grabbed me from the first page and didn’t let go. A stellar read about a teenager who may just be following in the footsteps of his serial killer father…or maybe he isn’t. Why don’t yo read the book to find out for sure?
Those are a few of the books that have really stayed with me after I read them. What favorite books would you like to share? Or are there some books that you are really looking forward to reading this summer? Let me know–one commenter will win a $10 Amazon.com gift card.
Happy Reading! And have a great summer reading season!
ANGEL BETRAYED–Available 6/26/12 from Kensington Brava
When you betray an angel, there’s hell to pay…
It pours. But I’m not complaining. Sometimes you need a good downpour to make up for months of drought, right?
Well in this case, it’s a monsoon of good news. For a while, I was in a severe book release drought. Ain’t No Bull, the fourth book in my Veil series, came out in July of 2011. To those who were waiting to read more of my books (of which I have no doubt there were gazillions *snorts*), it must have seemed like I dropped off the face of the earth.
As it was, I just had to go through the publishing wringer. Book rejection after book rejection, losing my agent (through a mutual decision and I adore her for fighting so hard for my book), and a complete loss of creativity kept me low. I’d only written one very short, unsatisfying story last year and it seemed like I’d never get published again.
But then everything changed, as it usually does, in the blink of an eye. The book that was rejected by the major publishing houses was picked up by Evernight Publishing and is doing fantastic. A short story, and my very first written in first person, was picked up by Siren and is coming out in June. Even better, a book I wrote at the beginning of the year was contracted to Ellora’s Cave! I don’t know the release date yet, but at this point, who cares? LOL
So all of this good news means edits and cover art and marketing schemes must take place. Immortal Love came out in April and a short story I wrote for an anthology with Evernight comes out in June. A week before You Bet Your Banshee (The Three Kingdoms 1). I just found out I’ll be getting edits for Ellora’s Cave in the next couple of weeks. And in the middle of this hurricane of edits and release dates and blog tours, I’m trying to write a second book for Ellora’s Cave and the second in my Three Kingdoms series. And I haven’t even thought about the next book in the Olympus, Inc. series yet.
See what I mean? The downpour makes me feel like I should have flash flood warnings posted around me, but I like the chaos. And it helps that my backside could double as a floatation device.
I wouldn’t appreciate it as much if I hadn’t gone through the drought. Sure, I’d like a little less oh-my-god-there’s-too-much-to-do, but then it wouldn’t be the publishing industry, would it?
There’s been a lot of buzz about self-publishing lately. (Understatement of the year, right?) And while I dabbled in the Indie market with One Night to Remember, my plan has always been to stick with Big 6 publishers and land my books in bookstores nationwide.
After moderating a self-publishing talk with my local RWA chapter, I’m starting to realize how intense the shift from traditional publishing to self-publishing is going to be. We’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg.
A few years ago a writer friend of mine sold her tenth book for a traditional print run. The nine books she’d written before the one that sold sat under her bed, in her drawer, locked away on her Mac, whatever. Now, that tenth book hit BIG. I’m talking paint the sky big. What happened to the nine books under her bed? Her agent sold them. And now they’ve broken the sky wide open. Now that the skyline in publishing is changing, I’ve heard all kinds of writers say if they write a book they love, can’t find a place for it in with the Big 6, they’ll simply publish it on their own.
But where does that leave agents? And where does that leave work that may’ve had a chance in the spotlight given the chance? Do those books flounder in the self-publishing market? Do they soar anyway? I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Can a writer have a career with both self-published and traditionally published works?
One of the speakers at the self-publishing panel said no. Not likely. She said writers are more likely to have success sticking to one platform or the other. When focus shifts, readership falters.
I’m sure that statement has something to do with the fact that in self-publishing, the writer is the creative mastermind, the cover artist, the editor, the marketing and publicity team, the galley submitter, the formatter, etc, etc, etc. If you’re wearing a thousand hats, time spent on other things (like copy edits for your NY release, for example) simply isn’t there. If you’re writing your heart out for NY (so that your releases are timed 6-9 months apart) and if you’re publicizing the way you should (blog tours, commenting on reviews, etc), where is there time to don the hats self-publishing requires?
The publishing world is shaking up. There are people dying to get in to Big 6 publishing houses (:waves from northern Cali:) and there are people leaving them like they’re on fire, fighting to get their rights back. There are also people straddling the fence, covering their bases, publishing in both venues. I’m not sure which group will come out on top or what the landscape will look like when this world finally stops shaking.
But I figure this: as long as you have a solid grasp on your goals (and are willing to put in the time and effort and heart it takes to reach them), you’ll come out on top.
As for me, I just turned in Last Vamp Standing (Vampires of Crimson Bay #3) to my editor at Avon on Monday. I have a Harlequin Cravings release in July. I’m plotting a “new but different” paranormal series to pitch to the Big 6 this summer. And I’ll let you in on a little secret…if it doesn’t sell, I’m not going to self-publish it. I’m going to hold tight to my dreams, put in the time and effort and heart it takes to reach them, and hold my breath.
When I was about twenty I got a subscription to a writer’s magazine, which I would read cover to cover. And when I mean cover to cover, I mean that I read even the classifieds at the back. There was one ad that set my heart aflutter… I don’t remember the details, but the bold-faced words read: Irish Island Cottage. It went on to advertise a perfect writing retreat.
I remember staring at that ad as if the text would transport me to that magical place. I had fantasies of strolling along a cliff over the ocean, pondering my stories. I imagined myself having a pensive cup of tea, when I actually don’t like tea at all. (I know, I’m weird that way.) My husband would be in the fantasy to keep the nights warm and cozy (I was just barely married then). And I had red hair, though I’ve naturally got light brown. And it blew in the wind, just enough to look romantic, but not enough to get in my eyes…which were busy with the aforementioned pensive expression. I have no recollection of fantasizing about actually writing at the writing retreat. Back then I had a lot of trouble making it past the first few chapters. It was very frustrating, and frustration had no place in my daydreams.
To this day, many years later, I still fantasize about the damn cottage. School and more school and kids have filled up the days, and now I imagine the cottage with my kids around too. Because how can I go to an Irish Island Cottage and not bring the zoo with me? That’s proof that I’ve become a little bit more of a realist—I’ll probably attempt to write, but in my pajamas shut inside the bedroom to escape family chaos. And I won’t get too close to the edge of any cliff, because my kids will follow and they have not yet learned that they can’t fly. But my hair will very likely be reddish, because that’s what I’m coloring it these days.
My husband and I talk about making the trip (four plane tickets from Arizona makes me gasp), but I hope we’ll do it. Maybe next year?
You know the shill – once you’re published with a *real* publisher (your definition of ‘real’ goes here – whatever it may be) – you’ll never have to worry about rejection again. I wish. Rejection happens. I got one just yesterday.
Sure, you can go into a tailspin wondering what’s wrong with your story. You can obsess over the fact that it must not have had enough action, or enough sex, or enough tension, and maybe that typo you found AFTER you’d sent the submission really was the death knell… Or you can stop and realize that rejection is a business decision. Nothing more. Nothing less. It’s not personal. All right. If your rejection letter/email says ‘you’re ugly and your mother dresses you funny’, then you might could take that personally. Anything else, though? No. “Not right for us at this time” means precisely that.
Sure, it could be because the writing bites. It’s a thought I have to entertain about my project that was rejected yesterday – just cause Berkley published two books and a novella – it doesn’t mean that every story idea I have (or you have) is going to be a home run. How do you cope with that, though? I think it was Stella Cameron and Jayne Ann Krentz who said at a workshop that you get twenty-four hours to bitch, moan and otherwise gnash your teeth. Then get over it and get back to work.
I like thinking about rejection as a message. No. Not one that screams “You suck”, though that occassionally pops into my head. I like thinking of it as a pointer from the universe at large, one that says ‘this story doesn’t belong here – there’s someplace better suited for it and for you’. Yeah, it’s a quasi-religious thing about trust. It makes me a tad uncomfortable, but it’s worked pretty darned well so far. Every time I’ve ever not gotten something I thought I wanted it turned out to be to my advantage. Example: There was a job. Didn’t get it. Got angry and upset before I reminded myself that there must be a really good reason I didn’t get what I’d wanted. Three weeks later, the company had been sold and the northwest division dismantled, dumping the entire workforce out into the market. By that time, though, I was gainfully employed at a killer little game company. So, yes. Trust.
Another option for coping – one I’ll be using on this project that got it’s very own pink slip – taking a long, hard look at the story and deciding whether it’s right. Please tell me you know what I mean. When I started writing this story, it began as one thing (an erotica), but quickly morphed away from that into something more action-adventury. To submit the story to the particular line I thought I wanted, I flushed the action-adventure and went for straight heat – though it never did live up to the erotica label. But now that it’s been tossed out of the box I’d designed it to fit into, I can go back and question the characters and the story. What does it want to be? What do I want it to be? From there, I can run so many different directions. So is that a coping mechanism? Viewing a rejection as a kind of freedom?
Ultimately, I suspect that how you cope with rejection is far less important than doing it. Though I want to know how other people handle getting those awful ‘gee, thanks but no thanks’ messages. I’m going to guess that chocolate figures prominently. I think it comes down to remembering that no one can give up on you except you. Don’t. You’re better than that. And when you need a bit of inspiration to not give up on you – have a look at this video. You’ve probably already seen it. Doesn’t matter. It’s worth watching again to remind yourself that you’re the one with the power to create something. And if you have that power, do you also have an obligation, do you think?
Hi all! I revealed the cover for Consumed this week – what do you think? Nice abs, huh? The tough body fits the hero (Jordan, a lion shapeshifter) perfectly, and I started thinking about heroes. Well, and heroines. I like ‘em all with an edge.
Nothing against the clean-cut, boy next door, good guy…but I like a bit of darkness in a character. (And I’d rather not examine too closely why). LOL
Take Raylan Givens from Justified. Sure, he’s the good guy. But man, he shoots a lot of people, and he has his own code. There’s nothing too clean-cut about this guy…yet I root for him every week. He also makes some terrible mistakes, but you can see why he makes them. Even better, you can see how he learns from them. I guess it comes down to having a hero who isn’t perfect. What fun is perfection? (Unless you’re talking about abs, of course).
Mary Shannon from In Plain Sight is another great example. She’s sarcastic, snide, and lacks patience. But she’ll do anything for her friends and family…including taking a bullet. And even though she really doesn’t want to care, she cares deeply about the witnesses she protects. So deeply it really ticks her off.
I guess flaws are what make people interesting…and why we cheer so hard for certain characters. Overcoming those flaws makes for a good hero or heroine. What do you think makes for a good character? (Besides rippled abs?)