Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I want ...

'Trial By Desire'. Just saying ...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bitching Time

I am sick to death of lust! Lust, lust, lust, lust, lust!!

Don't get me wrong, I like a nice round of sex as much as the next gal. It's very good exercise and a great picker upper. I much prefer sex with feelings attached, even if it means the dreaded fated mate bond, but I'm not talking about the actual act.

No, what I'm referring to is lustful thoughts. You know, where everytime the heroine looks at the hero her panties get wet and she goes over all his outstanding attributes (heh) yet again for the umpteenth time. This is how I learned anatomy (deltoid, bicep, pectoral); I have to admit it holds my attention better than a dry A&P text, but still... They can't talk without lusting and if they should happen to touch - even just a pinkie finger touch - they have to exert extremely over-the-top discipline to keep from jumping each other and doing the dirty deed.


How the hell does anything get done, what with all this lusting going on? It takes up so much of the characters' time and the reader gets that anatomy lesson over and over again.

I get it, I do get it. She likes him, he likes her. His hair is marvelous, his eyes even more so. His muscles, right down to his toenails are outstanding. Her hair is marvelous,her eyes even more so. She's toned with smooth skin, her boobs are just the right size, her ass is outstanding. She makes him hard where he's supposed to be hard; he makes her tight where she's supposed to be tight.

I don't need to be hit over the head with it. Go do something you're supposed to be doing, like saving the world or finding a killer, or even getting a life!

This message was brought to you by a sleep deprived Old Fart whose hormones were stolen sometime in 1999.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Start Your Engines

So there I was writing a gritty paranormal and my heroine was a mechanic and my hero was a God and then somewhere I read that most gritty heroines nowadays are mechanics.

I thought I was being original. I personally know nothing about cars so I thought that was crazy new.

Well, if it's commonplace to have mechanics and tattoo artists and firefighters and race car drivers what is it that women don't do in romance novels?

Really. Give me an idea. What is no longer women's work?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Carolyn's Writing Odyssey

The Seduction of Lady Bea is now a 'coming soon'.

'Coming soon' in publisher land is July 4, 2011. At least there'll be lots of fireworks. ☺. Sometimes I go over to Lyrical just to gaze at my empty, 'coming soon' bookcover. It's a promise of good things to come and proof that this Old Fart isn't quite over the hill yet.

And Lori's second book, Sugar B is 'coming soon' the month before, June 2011. Good lord, we're living in the future, how Science Fiction is that?


'Coming soon' means something entirely different at my time of life-like, let's try to make it within the week. Just in case, you know? I've left Bea to Lori in my will; I know she'll do right by her, lol.

I think it's beginning to sink in now. I've stumbled through the first edit and driven my editor (the very patient Antonia Tiranth) crazy with questions, well, those left over from my interrogation of Lori.

Being an Old Fart isn't easy, you know!

I'm finishing my second book, Mariposa, which was started in April of 2009. What can I say? I'm a slow writer. It's completely different from Bea, full of magic and dragons and talking cats, oh my! Much more me. I even thought of throwing in a dinosaur but not even I could manage to justify it.

I wish Blogger had emoticons. I'm a very emotional person and I need my emoticons. I'm lost without my emoticons, just like some folks wouldn't be able to talk if you tied their hands.

Lori set up this blog, so she's in charge of changes. As soon as she gets herself painted and moved and settled, I'm gonna nag her to update the writing page, with links and everything. :-) I thought I'd figured out links (you know, with that Link thingy up top of the Compose window) but alas, it was not to be. Turned out blank. Probably just as well, I'd be linking every damn thing. I can be a tad obsessive. Just a tad.

I'm off to see if there's been any changes to my non-cover. Hey - you just never know!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Writing a Guy

One of the things I'm trying to do currently is write from a man's point of view. Despite my unnatural hirstuteness, I don't have extra testosterone running through my system.

I don't know how men think.

I remember in childhood when I first realized that women of different colors, cultures and backgrounds were rarely that different from me. As I've aged I've become even more aware of the fact on a global basis. Women are worrying/working for and creating the world their children will live in. We worry about love. Those we love, those we wish to love.

Men like sports. And they like boobs. And um ... they think farts are funny.

Men aren't women.

So here I am wanting to write from a man's POV about love and family and those deep feelings that I believe they have but rarely have ever seen and I don't know what to do. I've already had one editor say that she felt a man I wrote sounded more feminine than masculine and except for the shaving, I really don't get men at all. (I swear, it's not extra testosterone.)

What do I do?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Lori's Contest Entry

The Mills & Boon contest and Lori's entry. Not really very Harleqiny but might be fun to read nonetheless.

This, That and the Other

Just a few thoughts that passed briefly through my brain.

1. I mistook Julia James for Julie James and thought I'd discovered a whole backlog of Julie James' Harlequin writing. I don't even know if she wrote for Harlequin, but I never hesitated.


See, this Greek alpha asshole hated his ex-mistress because she married his brother for the money when the asshole refused to let her get pregnant. Or something. Of course, she ended up pregnant anyway. And when he turns up in her life again after 5 YEARS!!! she's a total wimp, falls right into bed with him and I'm going ARRGGHHH!!, Ms James - how could you DO this to me!

Oops. Wrong James. I apologize profusely to Ms Julie and to make it all better (for me) I'm reading Just the Sexiest Man Alive. Lord, I hate it when I do things like that. :-(

2. Why do they make things so complicated and difficult. All I want or need is a simple Word I can use for my stories. It used to come with the computer. Now, if you want the Office suite you have to put out a couple hundred extra dollars. I think not. This may be the shortest writing career in history.

Actually, I was trying to be funny. I'm going to download a free Word thingy and hope Windows 7 and/or my computer recognizes it. It/they don't recognize the Word 2003 Lori sent me. I've been informed it's because it's too old for Windows 7. Isn't that age discrimination? I'd almost learned to use that Word too!

3. Sarah at Monkeybear Reviews did a review of Courtney Milan's newest book and I want it! Her first book was meh for me but this one sounds more up my alley. Lot of books coming out for which I lust. Patricia Briggs, Kate Elliott, Deanna Raybourn, Meljean Brook, Nalini Singh.

Oh lord, better finish my WIP; doesn't look like I'll be having any time to write, lol. (If you believe that, I have this bridge ...)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Blog Wars

Carolyn asked me to write a post so it doesn't look like we don't care about the blog. We care very much about this blog but we don't know what to write sometimes.

We don't do book reviews because we read books, enjoy them and then we're so freaking old that 5 minutes later we forget what the characters names were. Makes for a strange looking review.

Book X by Unknown Author had an alpha shifter hero with an extra middle finger and a name that was something like Lheo or Mark and the heroine was Tracy or Tina or something with a T and she was generic except for her ability to have 3 hour orgasms...

We go to Dear Author for our book reviews and suggest you do also.

We can talk about editing but that's boring pretty much and we're not good enough writers to give too much advice and we're not clever enough for much of anything. So we should start a blog war.

There's never too much drama in anybody's life so maybe we can create some. We can find another blog that has the blah's and create some unnecessary controversy, post pithy pissy things on each and take the high road when we realize we're in the wrong "I'm tired of fighting so at this moment I shall officially say no more."

So who wants to battle?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

He Might Not Be An Alpha But I Don't Care

He's 46 and still looks like this. Proof that there's a higher power.

Monday, September 13, 2010

What Would Sarah Addison Allen Do?

Many years ago before the end of time when chocolate was considered part of the food pyramid, I took a creative writing class at the local community college where the teacher was a hottie and I was struggling my way through fiction writing during my young poetess stage.

One night before class I was at a small hole in the wall Asian restaurant having dinner and the hottie teacher came in. He asked if he could join me, I died inside and said yes and then we talked about writing.

At the time I wanted to write literary fiction but I remember our conversation circled to Harlequin romances. Hottie McHottie's advice to me at the time was to copy a Harlequin word for word to learn the structure of the writing. Then do it again but replace characters and plot elements. Then one last time and change it all to your own story.

The suggestion seemed strange and silly and the only reason I remembered it was because he had longish black hair (which I have a HUGE soft spot for) and dark eyes and visible chest hair. Oh yum.

But remember it, I did. And now I get it. Although the copying word for word part is a bit ridiculous, the copying part is not. Stealing is wrong. However we're not talking about stealing. We're talking about What Would Sarah Addison Allen Do?

After a difficult writing spell (I was working on a story that was easy to write but had plot holes and discrepancies so large the only thing to do was toss it) I'm finally writing again. The story I'm working on is a gentle, small town story of 2 women, 2 men, a slight hint of magic and redone kitchens and talking dogs.

Okay, no talking dogs.

The story is, in other words, very much my own version of Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen. If you haven't read Garden Spells, I'm here to tell you that you should. It's a beautifully written book about two sisters, a small town, magic and love. Oh yeah, I know. I admit it too: I'm ripping off mightily but with my own story.

So in writing a derivative book, I ask myself "What would Sarah Addison Allen do?" It's a wonderful way to write. When I'm unsure I imagine I was reading a book by a favorite author and I think "This is where Sarah would..." and I know what to write.

I'm willing to bet that there's enough difference between the stories, the humor and the plots that nobody will read my story and say, "Aha, there is a derivative work of that wonderful novel Garden Spells written by Sarah Addison Allen who is not only one of the most talented authors alive but also damned attractive."

In middle earth, many hobbits find me attractive also.

Again, this is NOT in any way a post saying plagiarism is the way to go. This is understanding that in writing something similar or dirivative of someone else's work (or in the case of Harlequin, following their guidelines for one of their lines) then asking yourself, what would (fill in the blank) do?

One day someone might be asking that about your writing.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Julia Grey Mysteries

I picked up a book bundle over on Amazon - 3 ebooks for the amazing price of $9.99. The author was unknown to me, but really - 3 books for $9.99? Well worth the gamble, I said. Loudly.

And it was.

The author is Deanna Raybourn, the books are Silent in the Grave, Silent in the Santuary and Silent on the Moor.

Y'all - I have a new author to follow! (And to celebrate I just bought her stand alone The Dead Travel Fast.) *grin*

Okay. Why did I like these books?

Reason the first - they're a trilogy! Yes indeed, everything wrapped up in three books. For real. The romance arc arced over all three books, character reveal lasted for all three books, character growth ran through all three books. And there was a humdinger of a HEA in the last book.

Reason the second - each book is a contained mystery, solved by the end of the book, even if the characters' relationship isn't. I love mysteries, even if I do suck at solving them. Solving them isn't why I read them. Like everything else I read, I read for good writing and great characters, with plot coming in a distant third.

Reason the third - they're historical, but NOT regency. *two thumbs up*. They take place around 1858. The description of clothing, buildings, people made everything seem more real.

Reason the fourth, but should probably be the first - Nicholas Brisbane, our egnimatic, brooding but ultimately tender hero. Oh le sigh!! I want me one of them for my very own. When I say he's half gypsy, does that tell you anything? Instead of our heroine having the sight, it's our hero. He doesn't want it and resists the visions to the point he gets debilitating migraines. I found this a refreshing change.

Even I could see the growth of the heroine through these three books, from a girl just existing in her well padded life, to a women who will fight for the man she loves, defying her family and the conventions of her time. As for the hero, the reason he resists his love for her is very plausible, given the mores of the era.

A very satisfactory, sigh-worthy read. I recommend these books highly and hope to see lots more from this author.

I'm so sorry, I don't know how to make live links. :-(

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Intellectualization of Romance

Now come on, you know what this is right? Right. It's a socio-political contemplation of the paradigm of sensuality versus autonomy as prevelant in modern culture versus feminist theory.

And you thought it was just a silly clinch cover, didn't you?

There seems to be a lot of brainy types discussing romance nowadays and elevating it to the levels of intelligensia masterbation as they've done to Hemingway, Faulkner and Flowers in the Attic.

Romance is:

Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy gets girl back. Happy ending.

Viscount seduces maid. Maid loses head. Viscount marries Lady who has secret sensual side. Happy ending.

Girl meets vampire/shifter/immortal being. Girl and vampire/shifter/immortal being fight. Vampire/shifter/immortal being turns girl immortal. Happy ending.

Romance is simple. It has a happy ending. It has people falling in love. Sometimes someone saves someone else. Sometimes they're funny and sometimes they're both men. Sometimes there's a world built and sometimes they wear crinoline.

Carolyn expressed dismay to me the other day. "I didn't know you need a college degree to read romance," she cried. "I barely got through sixth grade."

Oh Carolyn, I know what you mean.

Currently I'm finishing Lord Perfect by Loretta Chase. (So I can read Last Night's Scandal by Loretta Chase.) It's sigh worthy wonderful. The characters are brilliantly drawn out, the story moves at an excellent pace, the writing is approachable and studded with humor. If you haven't read Loretta Chase, stop reading this blog post and go order her. NOW!!

However, I'd be really pretending to see any way one could take this novel and turn it into a socio-economic treatise of feminine mystique versus masculine meandering.

Can't we just read a book because it's a wonderful form of escapism written by some talented women who just get it?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Blog Blah's

Because we have nothing to blog about, we decided to blog about nothing.

We have never joined a writing organization nor have we gone to any conventions. We do not have famous friends. Nora Robert's has never shared her phone number or writing tips with either of us.

Our dream editor has nightmares about us. (Did you read Bodice? She did. 'Nuff said.)

Neither of us has an agent, has a book we can deem our baby or has enough sense to figure we can barely spell so why are we writers...

We do enjoy ourselves though. There's something fun about those early morning phone calls when we start saying "what if..." and the ideas flow and the plot holes that seemed big enough for a semi couldn't fit a Beetle.

We're nothing special. Our blog is nothing special. But we're happy with it just the way it is.

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Blast From the Past

Die for Love by Elizabeth Peters

Lori's post about pen names brought this book to mind. It was first published in 1984, back when I was a wee young thing, but very precocious (I was reading before I could talk. Yup.)

Peters wrote several series, the most successful of which are the Amelia Peabody books. This series stars Jacqueline Kirby as our heroine, a single mother of adult children (she moved from NYC to Nebraska when she considered her children self sufficient and liable to present her with grandkids). She's a college librarian and she's become bored with flat fields and has a hankering to take a vacation back in her old stomping ground.

She wants it to be tax deductable (she once tried to claim a new TV set because she said she needed it to listen to writers being interviewed on the Today show) and so she chooses a writer's conference - The Historical Romance Writers of the World.

This is where the fun begins.

Peters uses every romance cliché from roses to pen names to book titles to purple prose. Interspersed between the fascinating committees and luncheons is a mystery involving the Queen of the agents, Hattie Foster, who seems to be the most hated woman in the industry.

An excerpt: Jacqueline has met a young author whose first book is about to be published. She titled her book This Blessed Plot but her editor changed it to Dark Night of Loving.

"I see."

Her noncommittal tone brought a blush to Sue's freckled cheeks. "It isn't that kind of book," she said defensively.

"How many rape scenes?"

"Two. But they aren't really -"

"Got any sodomy?" Jacqueline asked. "Incest? Sado-masochistic orgies, whips, chains, dismemberment?"

Sue's face was scarlet, matching the balloon that had dropped onto the table. Jacqueline took pity on her. "You must be very poor," she said in a kindly voice.

From the ridiculous pen names to the excerpts of the purple prose and the baniality of the conference, this satire kept me in whoops. Through it all, Jacqueline manages to maintain her aura of knowing all, even when she doesn't. There's also a nice little romance between Sue and Victor Van Damm *snort* (real name Joe).

In the end Jacqueline solves the mystery and decides to write a romance novel. You just know it'll be a runaway success. LOL

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Writing Round the Block

The worst thing about real life is how much it takes away from having fun. Or getting other things done.

I've been completely blocked with writing. Killer dead in the water. It was so bad that last night I had my 9 year old giving me story ideas. This morning I got 1st round edits in the mail for my second book. I'm so grateful I could cry.

Doubt you'll ever see a writer so happy to see edits again in your life.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Reintroducing Ourselves

We've been a little quiet lately. Even with each other. Which is highly unusual because Carolyn and I are usually living our lives with our phone stuck to our ears and echoes of "oh no she did not!" rending the air.

I'm buying a home and Carolyn bought a Kindle.

Hell, you may never see either of us again after this.

Talk about evil empires. Carolyn has sold her soul to Amazon now. She spends hours searching Amazon for more and more titles to add to her Kindle. "This one is 99 cnts!" she cries, ignoring that it's The Feeding of Dwarf Pygmie Albino Goats.

I understand she has over 4000 books currently in her library.

I'm either scanning the internet for decorating ideas (thinking of doing a homemade backsplash in the kitchen using old teabags and Preparation H) and of course, trying to find my first grade teacher's name to make the bank happy since they qualified me for a loan and now seem to be trying desparately to disqualify me.

We promise to write more. After Carolyn sends her paycheck direct to Amazon and I find the bank proof that I worked for McDonalds during my senior year of high school.