Author Archives: anyarichards
“Dragon’s Claim by Anya Richards was an exquisite tale of the unrequited love between long ago friends and the courage they exhibited to pursue and cement their love…” “I felt every nuance of their despair and Ms. Richards words brought me to tears.” You can read the full review here.
Then, on June 15th, RomFan Reviews posted their review (five men) the highlight of which, for me anyway, was:
“This was one of the most powerful love stories I’ve read in a long time.” “…I actually found myself tearing up towards the end when they’re saying their goodbyes.” Read the rest here.
Finally came a 4.75 star review from the Joyfully Jay site. Snippets that thrilled me included:
“They are one of my new favorite couples.” “This tale is captivating. It’s a sweet, exciting, sad, heart-pounding rollercoaster ride, and completely worth it.”
Full review here.
It’s been wonderful to see others have enjoyed this book as much I have… have fallen in love with the characters, which happen to be two of the favorite I’ve ever written.
I’m in the process of writing a series of short, historical fantasy-based m/m novellas, and can only hope they’ll be as well received!
Before I get to the topic of the moment, I have to say, “HAPPY CANADA DAY!” It was one year ago today that I became a Canadian citizen, a fact that still gives me a little thrill. There was a Mountie (a lovely lady I think my step-son wanted to chat up but was too scared to!), the MPP for the area and many excited people in attendance. It was made that much more special for taking place on Canada Day, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. Even my dog, Sable, who was just a little pup at the time, had to be brought into the celebration. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_-XaWNZbOg Yes, that dorky voice is mine…LOL!
Now, back to the subject at hand!
I wish I could tell you I have an awesome writing space that is just my own, beautifully decorated and serene, which fires my creativity every time I enter it. More’s the pity, I just can’t! Every writing space I’ve had has been carved out of somewhere else—our bedroom, the basement rec-room, the living room or dining room—depending on where we’ve lived at the time.
The closest I came to an office was after our daughter moved out, when I (briefly) took over her old room, moving my drafting table/desk in there. I had planned to move all my reference books in there too but, before that could happen, our youngest “moved out” and my husband and I decided to downsize again. If you notice the quotation marks above, and you have grown kids of your own, you might realize there is a catch. Yes, the youngest removed his person. He just omitted to move a lot of his stuff! Our second bedroom isn’t the empty palette I’d like as an office, but eventually, once I figure out how to fit everything—my desk, reference books, craft stuff, plus the son’s leftovers—in there, along with keeping it a spare bedroom, I’ll probably be calling in my ‘office’.
Luckily, my writing habits have changed a lot over the years, so it doesn’t really matter whether I have a designated space or not. When I first started I was working on a desktop PC, which I shared with both my husband and the kids. Eventually I got a PC of my own, and then a laptop (“Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!” I chortled in my joy!). As part of the evolution I also went from needing music when I was writing (to block out the noise), then to wanting silence (I was sequestered in the basement then), to not really caring what was going on around me. Now, sometimes I want music and sometimes not. Sometimes I can write with the TV on, and at others I prefer it off.
So, when you get right down to it, although my desk is set up in a corner of our dining room (that’s it in the picture), you’re more likely to find the cat using it as a sun deck than to find me sitting at it. I’ll lounge on the loveseat, the dog using my feet as a pillow, and have at it. If I want a bit more solitude, I’ll write in bed. Sometimes, on the bus, heading for the EDJ, I’ll write longhand in one of my umpteen notebooks (I have a stationary fetish LOL!). And I’ve found it’s useful, really, to be a low-maintenance author. All I really need to be able to write is my trusty laptop or notebook, a cup of tea if I can get it and some inspiration.
Maybe one day I’ll have a lovely office—which I’ll probably hardly use!
So I’m supposed to be all erudite and wise on our blog this week and lay out some tips for writers. Huh…okay. Although I’ve had a (I think) respectable number of pieces published—seventeen to date, with two more due out this year so far—I still think of myself as learning how to be a successful professional author.
And it doesn’t help when the landscape of publishing seems to change every time we look at it.
So, bearing all that in mind, here are my general tips for writers, and I’m afraid there probably won’t be any you haven’t heard before. And yes, as the title suggests, it’s all up to you.
1) Read. Figure out what you like and, more importantly, why you like it. This will help you decide where you want to concentrate your efforts, because if you don’t love the genre you’re writing in, it’ll show.
2) Study your craft. I really wanted to do ‘control+b’, ‘control+u’, ‘ALL CAPS’ when I wrote that, but I know that’s the editor in me. Oh, what the hell… STUDY YOUR CRAFT. There, I feel better. Here’s the thing…we can get away with a lot of stuff as authors when it comes to the quality of our books. This is not a new phenomenon, no matter what anyone says. There have been many very successful hack writers over the centuries, so let’s not pretend the publishing of mediocre books is caused by the internet or the new publishing culture. We often sacrifice quality for speed, or to be able to seize an opportunity we fear won’t wait or come again. That’s fine, but is no excuse for stopping learning and growing, so as to improve your writing. When your editor (be it at a publishing company or the freelancer you’ve hired) points out something you consistently do incorrectly, take it as a lesson and take it to heart. Having pride in your work doesn’t only mean being able to say you’re published, but also in being able to know you’re getting better and better.
3) Determine for yourself what success looks like. Don’t let what others are doing or saying make you lose focus. Figure out what it is you want and work toward that goal. Now, there are many ways to measure success, and there is nothing wrong with any of them, as long as it’s what you want. Some people want a traditional publishing contract, others just want to be able to say they’re published, however that’s achieved. Some are in it to say they make art, others want to make money, or any combination of the previous. Whatever will make you feel successful, go for it.
4) Accept the fact we can’t all be superstars. No, I mean that, and say it with all due respect. BUT…this ties in to what I was saying above…we don’t all have to be superstars to be successful. Again, it all depends on your definition of success. If there was some way for me to make a good living without anyone knowing my name, I’d be quite happy to go that route. Hmmm…maybe I should take up ghost writing…
5) Finally, take your writing career seriously but yourself not so much. This is very important for your sanity and that of the people around you. Believe me. Please. Keep the drama for your plots.
Now, I’m off to research ghost writing 🙂
So, this month we’re talking about what shifter we’d be if we could shape-shift and I had a revelation. Thinking about it reminded me of the episode of Star Trek TNG, when everyone on the ship starts to devolve. Who knew Troy would be a fish-thing, or Picard would turn into a weasel? The only one who seemed true to type was Worf, who was extremely scary and inclined to eat all the rest of the crew. No one ever said whether he had eaten anyone or not when not trying to mate with Troy… surely not everyone got away from him?
Anyway, so I approached this question first from a “What would I like to be?” perspective. That was easy! Something sleek and powerful—a cheetah or a dragon, maybe even a wolf or a lioness. Top of the food chain bay-bee. All flash and glory and snarly teeth. Sounded awesome, until I started considering what being one of those would entail. Things like running, hunting, fighting knights and guarding treasure.
That’s when I had to have a nap.
I’m just not cut out for those kind of energetic activities.
On a basic level I’m lazy, have a ‘soon-come’ kind of mentality and don’t like doing more than absolutely necessary. I do like to eat though and will exert myself to cook or search out food, as long as it isn’t running away, forcing me to chase it. So, surfing the internet for a new restaurant is within the realm of my abilities in the hunting department. Not much more than that. I was, I think, born to be in a harem with nothing to do but eat, be bathed and wait around for the sultan to want nookies. Yeah, I could be down with that kind of life…
While I’ve been known to lose my temper, I’m generally easy-going and mostly prefer to let trouble pass me by if I can hunker down and just watch it fly over my head. I’m a lover, not a fighter. I’m also a dreamer, lost in thought half the time, eyes glazed over, no doubt forcing people to check to see if I’m breathing. Oh, and there’s that crazy hair too.
So, eventually, thinking it through carefully, I came to the conclusion I’d probably be happiest as… a sloth! And, I’d finally have long fingernails to boot! BONUS!!
Imagine from dobrador.com
Sorry for the late post today. Frankly, the weather’s been so nice, after being crappy for so long, my head is full of gardening and birdsong LOL! Thank goodness for auto-reminders, although I only just saw that too, having already been out with the dog and having drank a cup of tea sitting on the patio. Here’s just a little of what I did yesterday, after a trip to the plant store. So lovely to be in an apartment with good light again, and have plants indoors!
So, to get to the question of which author I’d like to be, well, that’s an interesting one. There are so many authors whose work I love and admire, some of whom have already been mentioned by others here, but there really isn’t any one I’d truly want to be, because then I couldn’t be me, and I’ve grown quite fond of my strange, quirky self (and it’s about damn time too, after all these years!). What I’d really love, though, are some of the attributes of other authors, kind of smooshed to fit my personality and voice.
I want the imaginations of Stephen King and Charles de Lint (to name just two of many!), the prolific abilities and business acumen of Nora Roberts or Maya Banks, the opportunity to write books that become classics, like JRR Tolkien–you know, stuff like that. But really, what I secretly dream of–although it won’t be a secret anymore after this–is the ability to create and sustain a character people come to love, like John Sandford’s Lucas Davenport in the Prey series. I love how Sandford makes the setting and people come alive, how Lucas has remained recognizable throughout the series but has also grown and changed, just like people really do. If you read the first book in the series and then read the last, it would be like seeing someone you haven’t seen in years but instantly recognize because they were memorable and, although time has brought changes, they’re still the same person. Another character like that is Harry Bosch, created by Michael Connolly, and yet another is Jack Reacher, in Lee Child’s immensely popular series.
Of course, characters like that are generally more suited for genres other than romance, but Nora Roberts did the same thing with her In Death stories, embraced wholeheartedly by romance readers, so there’s still hope for me! I’ll just keep plugging along here, hoping for the day a character rises up and says, “You know, I could be a series…” *nudge, nudge, wink, wink*
What are your favorite characters that have stood the test of time, and what is it you love about them?
So, the question is posed: why do I like writing in my particular genre(s)? And, thinking about it, I realized it’s a really good indication of two distinct sides of my character. On one hand, I love to research. I mean, REALLY love it. I could spend hours searching out and absorbing information about just about anything–time periods, occupations, what people wore, ate, thought about different topics. For the most part that type of info goes into my historical novels, hopefully giving them a certain depth and flavor.
Then there is the other side of me… the one that gets up and shouts, “Don’t need no stinking rules. Don’t wanna follow any but my own!”
That side is in charge of the paranormal/fantasy writing, gleefully making shit up as she goes along, often throwing physics, normality and even on occasion sanity out the window.
Damn, I love that chick!
So now you know why I write what I write… It’s authorial schizophrenia! And I wouldn’t want it any other way.
When I sat down to think about this post, I almost gave myself a stroke… How the Dickens am I supposed to chose a literary favorite after *mumble* years of reading, and not just reading but LOVING books? I was first infected with readeritis at the tender age of six, when an aunt started reading The Hobbit to my cousin and me as a bedtime story one summer. I needed to know what happened, thought she was reading too slowly, and while the other kids were swimming and playing on the beach I kept sneaking back to the house to read. I still have that book–the exact volume from that summer–which has survived a hurricane that destroyed most of my other books and umpteen moves, and it’s my go-to book when I need to clear my head.
But the best thing about that summer was the long-term effect. I was hooked on books, read anything I could get my hands on. It was a strange time back home. Lots of people were leaving the island, going to the States or Canada mostly, and they were giving stuff away. I snagged so many books during that time–three of the Anne of Green Gables series, which led me to hunt for others, a copy of Heidi, The Odyssey, Olive Twist (Dickens phase!), to name just a few. I devoured them, turned into one of those geeky kids who would read all the books on the English Literature list for the year as soon I got them and was always haunting the small school library for new stuff to read. There are books I lost and haven’t been able to replace– Lady In Waiting (about Sir Walter Raleigh and his wife Bess), The Black Rose, about a medieval trip to the Far East, a la Marco Polo–and they’re still on my favs list, although they’ve no doubt been out of print for years.
I discovered Lord Peter Whimsey, by Dorothy Sayers, went through a mystery stage. Loved all the Shakespeare books I had to read for school, discovered there were some truly depressed writers out there (Thomas Hardy, anyone?), learned to read everything anyway, because you never knew whether you’d like it or not by the cover or even the blurb. It’s a life-long journey. I’m still discovering new authors, like Charles de Lint, whose writing I fell in love with right after I moved to Canada ten years ago.
It really is like trying to herd cats for me to try to pick a favorite or even a definitive list. Each time I try I remember more books I’ve loved, and it’s impossible to quantify how much I love one in comparison to another!
I’m Anya, and I’m a book fanatic…
I love the story of Snow White. It has a little of everything… magic, betrayal, jealousy, the fight between good and evil, all that fun stuff. Now, even the Disney version has those things, but the original story is much darker, as is true with most fairy tales, which have been sanitized for modern children—who apparently are hardy enough to play Grand Theft Auto, but too delicate for dark literature!
Of course, like many heroines of the early Middle Ages, Snow White is pretty daft (they don’t call that period the Dark Ages for nothing!) and the queen gets not one but three chances to kill her, once she realizes the huntsman didn’t do the job the first time around. But, despite that, it’s still my favorite, because each time I think I’ve seen or read the very last interpretation I can of it, some wonderful author comes up with another. I’ve read Sapphic, vampiric, erotic and adventure interpretations, even a BDSM one, and each retelling highlights a different facet of the story, sometimes even introduces me to one I hadn’t considered.
Maybe that’s why it remains my favorite. It’s a story in and of itself, yet has enough nuances and levels that it lends itself to true longevity. After all, there’s no higher compliment than imitation and I think Snow White, its themes and sub-plots, will continue to spawn new stories as long as humans still exist.
Okay, so I get it. I’m being asked to delve into the darkest heart of my psyche and reveal to you the one thing that gets my engine revving, no matter what…
It doesn’t exist.
Come on…that’s like asking a foodie what’s the one dish he or she’d eat no matter the circumstances. I bet that no matter how much you love lobster, spaghetti marinara or whatever, if it’s burnt, bastardized in some weird way or just plain unpalatable You. Will. Not. Finish. It.
The reality is, I like sex. I like reading about sex. I like writing about people having hot, smexy encounters. I enjoy reading about all KINDS of sex, as long as it’s written well. No matter what the scenario, if it’s done with grace, finesse and a heaping helping of jalapeno-hot hotness, I’m in.
If I’m picking at the editing (or lack thereof), wondering how the freakin’ freaky-deak the woman’s leg is in that position without her snapping in two, or flipping back to figure out if the hero was wearing two pairs of pants…you’ve lost me. And I don’t care if it’s a threesome on a tightrope over the Grand Canyon, if I yawn, even once, it’s all over.
Okay, so maybe I’m just crabby, but it would be easier for me to tell you what I DON’T like to read than pick one favorite act or arc I find bulletproof. So make it hot. Make it sexy. Make me wanna push the heroine (or one of the heroes) off the hood of that car and get it on with the other participant, and I’m all in. Suck me in (no pun intended!) and I’m as happy as a woman with two hung husbands.
I’m all yours…