Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sex-ay! So Sex-ay!

These are all wrestlers with the WWE. Someone needs to write romances about them.

They are so freaking hot!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

In Other Words

Yesterday my group feeds were exploding from some yak editor who did a blog post of the 10 words that editors hate and among the words were: love, spirit, forever, heart.... you know, romance words. Of course all the romance writers were all screech and daggers out.

I guess on Twitter someone guided Angela James, exec editor of Carina to it and she laughed at it and said no doubt someone was joking.

Got me to thinking though.

My daughter is ten years old. We've been really having a great summer and we've been able to concentrate a lot recently on ourselves. Not just hanging out but also we've been shopping for fall, getting our house more put together and having fun. And my daughter is so appreciative. Super appreciative. Annoyingly appreciative.

She thanks me constantly. Such as: last night we went out and I decided on the spur of the moment to go to a local arcade to play games and have dinner. We did arcade games, did a 4D movie, had burgers and salad and hung out till closing. She thanked me for dinner, she thanked me for surprising her, she thanked me for playing, she thanked me for the fun ad nauseum.

I finally asked her to stop saying thank you and she told me she likes saying it. Okay. So I thanked her for being so appreciative and we went on with our night. And later I told her that I love her and being with her makes my heart full. And I finally realized why my daughter was thanking me.

My daughter thanks me because it's her way of saying I love you. She's at that age where she doesn't want to be a baby and hang all over her mama and say the words but she totally is my baby and wants to hang on me and say those words. So instead she leans against me to look at what I do, she tells me she's afraid of something when she wants to get cuddled and she thanks me because she wants me to know she loves me.

I get it and I love it. I use the words heart and love and forever. She uses other words. It all means the same thing.

And by the way, the "editor" who wrote that blog post is still a stupid bitch. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Letters From Greece

Awhile back Carolyn and I decided to send our piece de shit, The Bodice Rippers, to a few pubs to see what would happen. The publishing world collapsed and everybody was forced to self publish their work after that.

So then we finally finially finished another story we wrot together, Letters From Greece, and we've sent that baby out too.

So far we have 2 publishers who have it in submissions. It was sent on July 8 and we're waiting. I think it's always good news when it isn't an immediate rejection.

Then again, Bodice was with Carina for 20 weeks before they said they couldn't publish it because they were voilently ill after reading it. So who knows what will happen this time.

Fingers crossed.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Same Song, Different Verse

I'm going through the first edit for Song of Life, and once again learning.

I'm a seat of the pants writer. I've had no formal training, I hold no degrees. I like to think I write from my heart, yet I have trouble getting into the character's heads to any great depth, and more than occasionally slide into omniscient view.

Song was started in February 2008 and was my first attempt at writing something besides fan fiction. I'm sad to say it shows, and I can't believe I sent it in without recognizing and correcting problems. I've learned a lot since 2008.

I remember thinking back then I was going to try to write 'grownup' stuff. Unfortunately, most of my life I'd read sf&f and straight historical, even women's lit. Definitely not Romance, not since The Wolf and the Dove shocked my socks off when I was a young teen who'd only read Georgette Heyer. Oy, as Lori would say.

So what am I trying to write? Romance, of course. And Romance has it's own rules. A writer cannot lollygag around, describing this, that and the other. One must catch the reader's attention, hook them into the story; start with the action, as they say. I don't know what that says about Romance readers, but I'm trying to oblige. Song was a First Page at DA eons ago and garnered a lot of posts, even some editing by Shiloh Walker.

Romance also demands a deep POV, the deeper the better. I've seen complaints in reviews that the reviewer didn't understand where the protagonist was coming from, that the actions weren't justified or explained by inner dialogue. I've read books that went on for pages with inner dialogue, so much so that I started to skim. I suck at doing deep POV, I guess I'm a shallow person. ;-)

So Song has a lot of sweeping descriptions and imagery and sort of sneaks into the action:

The house endured. It crouched, solid and there, an aging lion sitting on its knoll with its claws dug deeply into the thin mountain soil, its honeysuckle mane dipping and swaying in the breeze.

A lot of head hopping (which I thought descriptive at the time):

A short, broad figure, dressed in blue jeans and a plaid shirt, with a white cowboy hat on his head, turned and glared at the offender, catching sight of Cas and Sunny from the corner of his eye.

See, we weren't in the 'cowboy's' POV. So this is head hopping. There's a lot of that, especially in dialogue scenes, where you're supposed to be viewing from one person's POV. I find it very frustrating. Another example:

He started walking again, a tall, lanky man in his early twenties, his dark hair floating about his head, his eyes intent on the town below.

Since we're in the man's POV, the descriptor has to go. Alas, I thought it very dramatic at the time I wrote it.

Funny thing though, as I scanned through the manuscript, I noticed the editor's color codes became fewer in the last part. So maybe there's hope for me yet. Or maybe she'll be concentrating on that the next go round. Oy again!

This solidifies something for me. No way - no way - could I ever self publish without rigorous editing. What reads perfectly fine to me does not meet the Romance genre criteria and I'm not ashamed to admit I need all the help I can get.

Hopefully, between all of us, we'll produce a story that will draw readers in and that will read so smoothly that some might say 'wow, she makes it look so easy'.

It's never easy, but all the work is worth it in the end.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Interview with Renee Rocco of Lyrical Press

With all the conversation about publishing, I had a few questions I wanted to ask. I decided to start with Renee Rocco, owner of Lyrical Publishing.

Renee runs an amazing company and Lyrical has been a dream to work with.

In your opinion, do you think that e-publishing/e-publishers will become the new New York standard?

RR: Although I think in some ways we already do set the digital standard, it'll be a long time before the NY houses blow the dust off the way they're doing things. Small presses do digital in a more reader and author friendly way (higher royalty rates, lower ebook prices) and if the NY houses continue to fight change and don't rethink how they present digital reading to their audiences and authors, that's just bad business...in my opinion.

Do you think self-publishing will affect epublishers negatively?

RR: I think self-publishing will only hurt those epublishers who fail to provide a reliable and author-friendly house for their authors. Is it true that some epublishers have felt the sting of fewer submissions? Yes. I also think some houses may be reluctant to admit this fact publicly, maybe fearing it reflects poorly on them. That's simply not true. Most authors I've spoken with about self-publishing want to be the next Amanda Hocking. When they realize she is the exception and not the norm - which will take time as sales figures continue to come in - those authors will return to quality epublishers.

What do you think the the next few years in publishing will look like?

RR: You know, I was laughing about this very thing this morning. Here's an example of what was on my news feed today (these two headlines were back-to-back about ebook pricing): The $0.99 ebook will save publishing / $0.99 pricing will kill the value of ebooks. I think this goes to show no one knows what will be, but everyone has an opinion about what might happen. Me? I'm a wait-and-see person. I'm not going to speculate. If I've learned anything over the last few years it is, no one can predict what's going to happen with publishing. All I can do is be prepared for change and evolve Lyrical Press as it happens. Until then, I'll sit here, quietly reading how one person's prediction of what will save publishing is another's person's opinion of what will kill it.

What do you think new authors should think about when they're considering their future in publishing?

RR: First and foremost, authors need to realize they are a business. Their books are not their babies. They are the tools of their trade. They must be willing to accept constructive criticism. They must learn the art of self-editing. Most importantly, they must leave their expectations at the door. Simply put, what *was* no longer *is*, and what *is* won't be for much longer (see above question about the future of publishing!). A large part of that means print can no longer be an author's ideal and the days of marketing packages are long gone (unless you're a Stephen King type). Yes, your publisher should offer some form of marketing, but unless you're a name (even with large houses, I've recently learned), it will be a more generalized promotion of the house, rather than individual authors. A major repercussion of that is, authors need to embrace social media. That means more than just Tweeting '1k more and it's lunch time!'. That's not being social, which is the main function of that media outlet (hence the name 'social media'). It's about interacting with your readers and not just posting word count updates or only writing-related news. It's about being real, being present with your readers. It's not longer only about writing - even though we all wish it was because let's be honest... that's the fun part!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Odds and Ends

* Lori has a sick computer and she's retreated to her iphone. This is not a good thing, because who wants to write on an iphone? Let us all think positive thoughts that her laptop isn't terminal.

* My SO is finally working! Jump up and down with joy, y'all. I am.

* Lori and I have a co-authored book submitted to a few pubs, and were not so busily working on another before the Great Laptop Crash. I really like this new story and since the first only took us three years, I have high hopes for this one. We are 'discussing' the title. Heh. Did Lori already tell you this? Well, pretend you never saw it, I'm scrapping the bottom of the barrel here ...

* I'm looking forward to several upcoming books:

Angels of Darkness, an anthology with stories by Meljean Brook, Ilona Andrews, Sharon Shin and Nalini Singh. It releases in October.

One Grave at a Time by Jeaniene Frost, the next Night Huntress book. That will be available August 30. Woo hoo!

Fate's Edge by Ilona Andrews. Not until November. :-(

I know there's more, will have to make a list and post later.

* It seems TL will make her debut in October, October 3rd, to be precise. This Old Fart had a brain fart or something. I should be embarassed, but I'm not, for some reason. Maybe I think like TL - tomorrow's another day. And us Old Farts have learned delayed gratification - what choice do we have?

Okay, I'm wrung dry. It's been the week from hell, and I'm tired and hungry and dinner is served. :-)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Good Free Download

I have no idea what I did to make that last link in the TL post! It was evidently a total aberration, because I can't make this link work.



Anyway, this is an Amazon freebie: Hollywood Scandals by Gemma Halliday. I finished reading it today and totally recommended it to Lori.

The heroine is a gossip columnist for a tabloid. She's independent and snarky and marches to her own drummer. She has a swear pig on her desk and contributes to it daily, usually more than once. She admits she lies and will do just about anything to get a story. But she loves and takes care of her aging aunt (who is a hoot), and although she's fiercely independent, she does have her vulnerable side.

The hero is hired by her boss to bodyguard her after she receives death threats and boy, does he have his hands full. Her way of doing business stuns him at first, but he soon adjusts, lol.

Together they get in and out of scrapes, until the mystery is finally solved. Along the way, we learn some of the ins and outs of the scandal sheet industry

I liked the characters, enjoyed the storyline and I have no idea if this is an indie writer, or one who's epubing her backlist. Doesn't matter anyway. It's a damn good read and I recommend it for light entertainment and loads of laughs.

Edit: OMG! I did it again! This time I know how - you gotta have two links. Sort of. It looks weird in the draft, but it works on the published post. I have no idea how or why, but I'm saying this so I'll remember for next time. I hope ... :-)

A TL Tidbit

- from The Trials and Tribulations of a West Coast Southern Belle.

Well, hell, I was a southern belle, wasn’t I? Southern belles had tough reputations - soft silk covering a spine of steel. Just look at Scarlett. She’d certainly had it worse than me and she’d managed and triumphed. Even if she did lose her man, something else we had in common. If Scarlett could do it, then by God, so could I.

“Tomorrow is another day,” I muttered, digging in my duffle for clean clothes. “And I’ll be a new woman. Strong. Tough. Oh Lord, celibate.” My throat tightened. Used up before I was thirty, because I couldn’t imagine loving anyone but Rhett … Rafe!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Sorcery and Cecelia and Carolyn and I

Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and Carolyn and I first started writing, we wrote email stories which we loved and adored and oh yeah we still write.

One of the pleasures of writing the letter/email stories is that you're writing with your best friend, it's just like getting letters for real and if you're lucky you get a moderately decent story out of it.

Or you get a Bodice Rippers but that's okay because it might forever be the funniest thing we ever wrote (available on Amazon for 99cents Kindle and more money than it will ever be worth in paperback).

So then Carolyn sent me a book called Sorcery and Cecilia which was written by 2 women that I can't be arsed to check their names and it's the same kind of story. Two women writing letters and having adventures. All in letter form. And I said, "meh, already done this ourselves."

Actually the book was enjoyable and although there were a couple of things I didn't adore, overall I'd give it a solid B grade and suggest it to others. But what really turned me on about the book was the afterword. There the women described the writing process and how it was a game to write. They didn't discuss the plot or plan it together ad it was a stump the author kind of book.

I love that. **happy sigh**

So poor Carolyn has found a very interesting letter in her email this morning and I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes. I do so love to play stump the southern belle.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Almost to the Finish Line

TL, of The Trials and Tribulations of a West Coast Southern Belle, has been primped (that's with an R, y'all, don't overlook the R!) and polished and is now ready for prime time. Can't wait until the 15th!

To celebrate, I added a long excerpt to my 'official' site. I hope you'll check it out, see if TL might tickle your reading bone. :0)


Well, I just previewed and I see the links still aren't working. I'd say it was me and my lack of techy know how, but Lori is having the same problem. We must have upset the techy gods somehow.

The fact remains, it's very inconvenient for any readers who might happen by, and I do apologize.

I also hope you'll still check it out, lol.

Edit: OMG! It works!!! I guess you have to go 'live' to make it work. Well woo and hoo! I made a link! *grin*

Monday, August 1, 2011

Meet Matt Collins, Cover Designer

With the number of authors self publishing nowadays, we wanted to give a little shout out to a cover artist of our acquaintance.

Matthew Collins, http://mcollinsartwork.blogspot.com/ and email matthewcollins.art@gmail.com, is a wonderful artist who made the cover Teeth, Incorporated for me. He's affordable, fast, professional and so cute he makes my teeth ache.

If you're planning on doing the self-pub route, you need a great story, a great editor and a great cover. You're responsible for the story but we'll give you a nudge for the rest.

These are some covers Matt has done and some art he'd done for fun. He's easy to work with, will tweak till perfection and again, very affordable. Check him out.