Thursday, September 30, 2010
We're fresh back from Wellington. Took the kids to see WoW (the 2010 World of WearableArt Awards Show). In a word: Spectacular!
It's described in the program as: "a stunning exhibition of creativity, bringing to life artworks designed for the human form". No exaggeration. This is definitely not your average runway show, and aside from the models and their incredible garments, the performers were also so compelling that at times I found myself torn as to what to look at and where to look! We were glued to our chairs for the entire two hour show. We're still leafing through the program and whispering WOW! at various photos.
Loved the "Bizarre Bra" section -- the fact that some of the bras were modelled by guys was a special treat ;-). And another favorite was the "Illumination Illusion" section, featuring garments that self-illuminate to enhance or alter their appearance.
We weren't allowed to take photos, but here's a link to the 2010 WoW winners for you to check out. Not a patch on the real thing, unfortunately. Here's hoping that one day Montana take the show on tour.
But enough rambling on about our holiday. This year seems to be sliding past at the rate of knots, as we say in New Zealand. It's October tomorrow (tomorrow!!!) and in just two months my first full-length novel will be released with Red Sage. WOOT!
I just got the final cover proof through for From The Ashes so I thought I'd share it with you:
I know I'm biased but IMHO, Red Sage give seriously gooood cover.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
I got two glowing reviews and found out Cover of Darkness won first place in The Heart of Excellence Readers' Choice Awards. And, No Turning Back came in second to it. I was pretty excited about that. I got several e-mails from judges congratulating me that said how much they loved the books, so that tickled me pink.
Weeks like that don't happen very often, at least to me, so I cherished it :) Of course my family thought it was great, but they all wanted to know about the bottom line. Is the award going to sell me more books? No idea. Can't hurt though, right?
My question to all of you is, are you more likely to read a book that's won awards? Or, do you only look at a new author if their covers catch your eye or a friend has recommended them to you?
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
In 2009 I heard about the "Next Best Celler" romance writing contest on Textnovel.com. That's when I decided to open the "vault" and take a look at an old, unfinished manuscript titled Reflections. I still remembered the characters and some of the plot, and that's what I decided to keep, though some characters went through name changes. As did the title, which became Lancelot's Lady. It's a purely fictional story about love and fate.
How did you hear about the Textnovel contest and what were some of your strategies for drawing attention to your romance novel, Cherish?
I heard about the contest directly from Textnovel as I had already been posting short stories there. Like other authors in the contest, I spent a lot of time looking for potential readers amongst my existing fans. I blogged about Lancelot's Lady, begging for votes. I tweeted and begged some more. I visited my local Starbucks' and most of the staff voted for me, plus some of the customers.
What romance authors contributed to your love for the genre and how did they come to bear in your development of Lancelot’s Lady?
Since I grew up reading Harlequin romances as a teen, there were many authors who created a love for romance in me and possibly affected my work. Danielle Steel really delves into family connections, and you'll find bits of that within Lancelot's Lady. Iris Johansen inspired the twists of fate and hints of mystery, as did Heather Graham, Colleen Thompson and many others.
I know from my own experience in the Textnovel contest, the support of my fellow contestants was absolutely invaluable. We’d love to hear about some of your interactions with authors on the Textnovel site.
I've met many wonderful writers on Textnovel, some published, some waiting to be published, and I truly enjoyed their friendship and support throughout the contest. I partnered with a couple of great writers during the contest and we tried to mutually help each other go as far as we could go with that contest. Though I'm not contributing as frequently on Textnovel right now, I remain friends with these talented writers.
Do you plan to enter any other public contests and if so is there anything you would do differently?
I'm taking a break from contests and focusing on writing and getting my books out to the public. While contests offer so many positives and can be great motivators, I find they can be overly time-consuming. And the begging for votes that so many contests use nowadays is exhausting and not really what I want to do. I want to write!
According to your website Whale Song, published under your name Cheryl Kaye Tardif, was a bestselling novel. Do you find the need to reinvent yourself as an author to stay on top of a changing market?
Whale Song, Divine Intervention and The River have all reached bestseller status, but it's not reinventing the author that keeps you on top--it's reinventing the marketer or shameless promoter. With the rapid changes in the book industry, it's vital for authors to stay on top of what's going on. You either change with the times or get left behind. But I did go through a major author reinvention when I switched genres from suspense to romance and went from Cheryl Kaye Tardif to Cherish D'Angelo.
Was your agent supportive of your decision to jump on the epublishing trend? What do you envision as the future for publishing and ebooks and how does that figure into your career arc?
My agent Jack Scovil is hugely supportive of my decision to jump into ebooks. He knows that it's important to me to always be moving forward with my career. While I work on ebook projects, he is busy pitching 2 suspense thrillers and the print rights for Lancelot's Lady to publishers. In this, we are a team, and I love that about Jack.
Ebooks will continue to rise in popularity, ereaders will come down in price and be sold for less than $60, ereaders will offer more formats so that ebooks can be purchased virtually anywhere, schools will bring in ereaders and publishers will get smart and lower the prices for their ebooks to under $5. Those are my predictions and these will only benefit me and every other writer.
Editing can be a difficulty for many self-published authors, myself included. In my experience, I read what should be on the page not what is actually there! How did you deal with this essential step in producing a professional end product?
Before my agent or publisher sees my work, it has undergone rigorous editing by me, a handful of beta readers and 2-3 editors that I've hired. With Lancelot's Lady, there was even a fourth component--the readers on Textnovel. Occasionally, one would catch something and mention it to me. I firmly believe in putting out a quality product; I won't rush to press with anything that hasn't been properly edited. Of course, no work is perfect, but I'm a stickler for having others edit my work.
You are also a successful book marketing coach for up-and-coming authors. What crucial tidbits of advice could you give a writer embarking on the voyage to publication?
To become successfully published and sell books/ebooks, writers need to learn the business of writing/publishing, perfect their craft and learn how to market effectively. This is the best advice I can give any writer. I find writers often do one of these, but few do all three.
We’re launching our new Wild Card question for our interviews.
How much foreplay is too much?
If we're talking physical foreplay, then just enough to drive one crazy and wild with desire. There's a lot of foreplay in Lancelot's Lady, but not all of it is sexual.
Lancelot's Lady ~ A Bahamas holiday from dying billionaire JT Lance, a man with a dark secret, leads palliative nurse Rhianna McLeod to Jonathan, a man with his own troubled past, and Rhianna finds herself drawn to the handsome recluse, while unbeknownst to her, someone with a horrific plan is hunting her down.
Friday, September 24, 2010
This business of writing can be vicious. But it doesn't have to be.
Saying the last year has served me up a heaping helping of suckage is an epic understatement. But that's all past history. My period of shell shock is over, and it's time to put on my (cliche alert) big girl panties and get back to work. I will no longer accept personal angst as an excuse for my lack of word count, blog posts, tweets and general lack of support of my fellow authors--particularly the ones who have kept this particular wild party going!
Thank you, ladies for all you do.
Thank you readers for sticking with me.
I'm in my renewal phase. Without the connections I've made both here and in last year's Next Best Celler contest, I'd never have gotten here. My friends and fellow authors have stood by me. They've swept up the ashes of what I thought just a year ago was a fast burgeoning career. They've held my hand while I decided whether I even wanted to start over. Ultimately, the call of the muse was too much to resist.
Firm in the belief creativity spawns more creativity, I have wisked myself and three of my most creative friends to Sanibel Island for the first annual Sanibel Word Orgy. With the support and encouragement of my fellow divas...that and a whole lotta wine, I've ground my way to a finished a manuscript and spit shined it within an inch of it's life. Passion Storm, the sequel to my mermaid romance, Heart Storm, is sitting in my outbox.
I give a huge amount of credit for that accomplishment to my fellow authors, Saranna DeWylde, Gail Hart and Jennifer Hart who are here on the island with me even though there were times in the last year they probably had every right to vote me off the island.
Also to the wonderfullyt altented Robin Wright from the textnovel diva's blog, for her helpful enthusiasm and for my writing. And to my mermaids...you know who you are. There are some days you all were the ONLY thing that got me to the keyboard. Hell, that got me out of bed.
So I'm here to say I love you. And thank you. For those of you still reading, if you're floundering and lost, please read the next lines until they sinks in.
1) Girl, sometimes you have to just step back and renew your spirit. Because the words won't come until you do.
2) If your world has gone so dark you wouldn't give a damn if the sun didn't rise tomorrow,seek medical help. Now. I don't think I'd be alive today if I hadn't. There's no shame in using whatever means are at your disposal to shine a light in the darkness.
3) The people you meet on the ride up will circle back into your joureny a thousand times over. Be kind to them. Nurture them. And swear to Universe, they will feed your soul, even when it's starving.
With that said, there's a lot of giggling going on in the kitchen. I'm off to play. To renew. To restore.
Well, that and drink some more wine.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Gimme me a head with hair,
Long, beautiful hair,
Streaming, flaxen, waxen.
Give me down to there,
Shoulder-length or longer hair
Here baby, there mama,
Everywhere daddy daddy....
Oh, sorry. Just humming the lyrics to Hair.
I'll get to that in a little bit.
Hard at work with some quite challenging revisions at the moment -- happens when you've working with manuscript written a few years back for an entirely different market 0_o
Anyway, a welcome respite from revisions was getting the cover-proof for my December Red Sage release, From The Ashes. It's a futuristic and in my totally-biased-not-so-humble opinion the cover is going to be out-of-this-world *VBG* Will show you when it's finalized.
And on the subject of covers-- specifically, cover-models -- I spent three hours yesterday searching stock photo websites for a halfway decent shot of a hunky guy with long hair.
(Aha! I hear you saying. Hence the Hair lyrics. Gotcha.)
The color didn't really worry me, and it didn't have to be really long, either. I wanted shoulder-length, and preferrably not dead straight. I'd even settle for anything not brutally short, that looked healthy and nice and thick.
I found a couple shots featuring an ethnic guy with the most amazing bone structure and blue-black waist-length straight hair. And then there was a couple of shots of guy who had a 'fro and incredible eyes that just made me want to melt in my chair. Yum! But unfortunately, for this particular project I required a -- I hestitate to say -- run-of-the-mill European dude.
After searching through hundreds and hundreds of shots, my eyes were bleeding and I had only come up with a grand total of five. Two of them were the same guy. And two others would only work because the guy's hair was in dark shadow, so you couldn't actually determine the length of his hair.
I'd been told that finding photos of long-haired, good-looking guys is a hard ask. Riiight. How hard can it be?
Duh! Damn hard. Evidently, short is in.
So, Wild Readers, cover guys: short or long hair? What's your preference?
BTW, I'm on holiday next week, so apologies in advance if I have a brain fart and forget to do my regular Thursday slot. I wish I was organised enough to do an advance post but alas, time is not my friend at the moment. Argh!
Friday, September 17, 2010
I thought I'd finished with the Imperial Were-Panthers, but they just wouldn't let me go! They went and got themselves their very own planet...
Series: Mating Season
Title: Imperial Command
ISBN : 978-1-60521-330-9
Genres: Paranormal, Sci–Fi, Futuristic
Release Date: September 17, 2010
Author: Anne Kane
Publisher URL Changeling Press - Erotic Fiction
When a flitter-craft crash lands near Gregory's lair, the Imperial were-panther doesn't expect to find an unconscious female dangling from the captain's harness.
The fact that she's his bond-mate and in her first heat cycle is complicated by the reptilian cyborg who'd been sent to take her to her father's estate, and an ex-fiancé who just won't take no for an answer.
This e-book file contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language which some may find offensive and which is not appropriate for a young audience. Changeling Press E-Books are for sale to adults, only, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.
Danika opened her eyes and found herself looking directly into a pair of dark amber eyes. Imperial Were-Panther eyes. A soft sleeping platform cradled her body, and for a moment she stared in confusion at her surroundings. She flared her nostrils, inhaling deeply as she tried to identify where she was. Natural smells, rock, water, woods and plants mingled together in a pleasing aroma. This was no space flitter, but she couldn’t remember how she got here. The last thing she remembered was the flitter running out of fuel, its flight path destabilizing.
She moved her head, and the smell of aroused adult male wafted past her nose. She gasped, naked lust flashing through her veins. The mystery of her surroundings became unimportant as she turned her attention to the male.
Dark as sin, his crisp short hair invited her to run her fingers through it, and she lifted one hand to touch it. Heat flared in his eyes, amber streaks swirling in their depths. From his stance at the side of the platform, he lowered his head, his mouth searing across hers in a kiss that sent caution fleeing.
Hunger. Need. Want. Feelings flashed through her, one following the other in rapid succession while his lips moved on hers. Danika felt herself drowning in the unfamiliar feelings running rampant through her body. She opened her mouth wide, sliding her tongue along the side of his in an erotic caress.
He groaned, and the kiss deepened, became more demanding. He ran a finger down her cheek, tracing a line of fire down to her throat. His tongue dueled with hers, sending lust spiking through her.
Danika stirred, turning her head toward him to let him take full advantage of her. She wound her arms around his neck and pulled him closer, her body craving the feel of his skin against her. The crisp hair on his arms bushed against the bare skin of her breast, and she jerked away, the realization that she was naked sinking into her consciousness. “Where are my clothes?”
The male stretched out an arm to hold her still. “I had to remove your suit to make sure you weren’t injured in the crash.” The amber streaks in his eyes swirled dangerously.
Danika surged up, swinging her feet over the side of the platform. “Who are you? Where am I and how did I get here?” The call of her heat cycle temporarily quashed, she glared at the male.
Unperturbed, he let her go. “I’m Gregory Anatolia of the Seething Pride, and this is my home. I pulled you from the wreck of the flitter that you crash landed in my territory and brought you here.” He raised his brows, his eyes narrowing. “And now you can tell me who you are and what the hell you thought you were doing using a flitter shuttle for interplanetary flight.”
Danika felt a knot forming in her stomach. Seething Pride was known for their ruthlessness and cunning. Of all the prides she might have thrown herself on for mercy, it wasn’t even on the list. She tried to keep the fear from her eyes as she judged the distance to the entrance. If she could distract him for just a moment, she could shift and be out of here before he realized what was going on.
“My name is Danika.” No point in lying. Her mother would mobilize every resource she could find in this sector of the galaxy when she realized Danika had escaped. “I came to beg asylum from the ruling junta. My mother arranged to sell me into a marriage I didn’t agree to, so I ran.” She shrugged sheepishly. “The flitter was the only craft available, so I took my chances.”
Gregory cocked his head. “This marriage -- why do you object? You are definitely in need of a protector.”
Danika snorted inelegantly. “Protector maybe, but the man my mother chose to foist me on is the worst kind of male. He isn’t even a shifter himself; he’s a mere human. He wants to use me to breed his heirs, use my Were-Panther blood to strengthen his bloodline and improve his offspring’s strength and intelligence.” She snapped her teeth together, she’d already said more than she intended to.
“I don’t recognize you, and I thought I knew all the Were-Panthers in this sector.” Gregory studied her intently. “What pride are you from?”
Just then, a loud boom echoed across the jungle, most likely her ship exploding. Danika didn’t care what caused it, only that it took Gregory’s attention away from her long enough for her to sink to the floor and will the shift to come. She felt the familiar tingle of magic sweep through her, and then she was up on all four paws, streaking toward the exit.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
I subscribe to various agent blogs and I've often seen posts advising on what to do and what not to do with queries.
For example, a pet hate of some agents is a query that starts with a question:
What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and found a vampire sitting on the end of your bed, watching you?
"Scream and then stake his ass. Duh! *eye roll* Now where did I put that form rejection letter?"
Another no-no is to compare your writing to some famous author or another. It's evidently considered a wee tad arrogant:
In the spirit of authors such as Stephenie Meyers, James Patterson and J.K Rowling, my completed manuscript XXX is blah blah blah.
"Oh really. Delusional, much? Now where did I put that form rejection?"
The same goes for trying to hook an agent's attention by comparing your manuscript to popular movies:
My completed futuristic romance XXX is The Thomas Crown Affair versus Transformers, with a soupçon of Silence of the Lambs.
"You have got to be kidding me. I hated Silence of the Lambs--had nightmares for a month! Now where did I put that form rejection?"
"I have no freaking idea what this manuscript is about. Duh, I haven't seen any of these movies! Now where did I put that form rejection?"
Okay, so I'm poking fun a little bit, but I'm sure you get the picture. And to me, the picture makes a lot of sense. Why give an agent any more reasons to say "thanks, but no thanks"?
However, at our recent RWNZ conference, one of our guest editors debunked the last two no-nos. She said that she appreciated these sort of comparisons in a query. It's the kind of information she needs to be able to pitch a manuscript--give those who have the final veto an immediate sense of what the manuscript's about, and how it might be marketed.
And for me, that makes a lot of sense, too. Especially after reading Rachelle Gardner's Behind the Scenes at a Pub Committee Meeting blog post. A real eye-opener!
So I guess the answer to whether or not to make this sort of thing a pivotal part of your query is: It depends.... on the editor. Or the agent.
Probably the best thing you can do is hope whomever you're querying has a blog, so you can check it out and do your best to avoid their pet dislikes.
How do you feel about querying an editor and comparing yourself to a well-known author?
What about coming up with some clever movie or tv series mash-up to describe the essence or high concept of your story?
Mmmm. I wouldn't know where to start if I tried to compare myself to any well-known author, but that last one sure is fun to do.
"SUPER-FREAK is Terminator, The Sarah Connor Chronicles vs Beverly Hills, 90210."
Just kidding. Kinda. ;-)
BTW, feel free to share your high concept mash-ups.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
The punchline was, I had to cut three POVs from the book. I was horrified at first. Three?! That's like, half the book! It wasn't even going to be the same story if I did that.
After a week of agony, I bit the bullet and did as I was told. I kept the plot and the basic layout of each scene, but I had to change it to one of four existing POVs. It was hard to show what I wanted to through someone else's eyes, but it had to be done. It was not a fun exercise. And just for kicks, I went through this same process with the third and fourth books, though not to the same extent. So after that, I've religiously stuck to four POVs or less.
In my current book, I already have four POVs. Problem is, I want to add in a subplot, and that means adding another POV. This is book one of a trilogy, so the characters will continue throughout the next two books and I think adding a fifth POV is fine. I want to do it. I need to do it. What do all of you think? Am I just setting myself up for more pain later on?
Do you have a specified number of POVs that you work with? Does it annoy you to have too many POVs? How many is too much? (But really I want you all to tell me 5 POVs is cool. Or even 6 or 7, LOL.)
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
But enough about me, I want to hear from you and the topic of the day is size. Publishers have the final say in the length of the actual novel, most of which is tied to the cost of paper and ink, so e-book only publishers have more flexibility in that regard. But between zero and 90,000 words, the writer holds court.
Personally, I aim for ten page chapters. Ten is a nice round number and it's easier to keep track of word count goals that way. But I do have one requirement that might dash my ten page guideline to smithereens. Always end on a hook.
The end of a chapter is a natural break in a story, a good time for the reader to set the story aside and get on with life. Under no circumstances do I want them to do that! If you must go, I'm going to set it up so that the story comes with you, that you do a half-hearted job at whatever because you must rush back to see what happens next.
A hook can be anything from leaving a main character in peril, to posing a question that we just know will change the course of the story, to dropping an information grenade on your characters but not allowing them time to react before the close of the scene. I think about hooks like commercials during prime time television in the days before DVR. You are a the half hour mark in an hour long drama, but the mad scientist just told his mother and step-father that he's successfully raised his biological sire, the serial killer, from the dead. The camera zooms in as the horror dawns on her face and...
Cue diaper commercial.
See, even if you're annoyed, you need to find out what comes next. How is she going to react? Tears? Screaming? Slapping? Inquiring minds want to know!
And like my prime time mentor, I'm a helluva tease, love to bring the next chapter in with another storyline just so you have to wait a little bit longer to find out what happened.
While I do kowtow to my obsessive need for uniformity, if I can't make ten pages and end on a hook, I'll stop at eight or push on to twelve. Other writers effectively use short chapters, sometimes instead of scene breaks.
So tell me, what maters to you? The length of chapters, or how they end? What do some of your favorite authors do to keep you coming back for more?
Thursday, September 9, 2010
I don't know about you, but in New Zealand, our evening TV viewing is littered with ads telling us what to do and what not to do and how to live our lives.
Some of them are no-brainers: If you drink and drive, you're a bloody idiot. Make sure you cook your meat properly, and store it properly. Don't leave your stove unattended when you're cooking. That sort of thing.
Then we're bombarded by the clean-freak brigade, touting antiseptic wipes and products for every surface of your house, not to mention your hands. Special cleaners for your loo, your shower, your bath, your windows, your carpet, your furniture -- the list is endless.
And let's not forget the car ads. And the fast-food ads. And the skin care & cosmetic ads. And all the other Buy Me! attempts to sway us. Which, just to raise the irritation levels, always have the volume up so loud that you're constantly adjusting the volume button down when the ads are on, then up again, when your program comes back on. Aw, heck. Little wonder some of us just press mute on the damn remote and read a good book.
It's enough to make you turn off mentally and ignore every single fricking ad.
Which is kinda what our family has done with the Civil Defense disaster ads. We're supposed to be stockpiling canned food and water and other essentials in the event of a national disaster. We're supposed to have a plan on where to meet up if we're caught in separate parts of the city. But after all the fuss about bird-flu, and swine-flu, and tsunamis, and other disasters which never quite evenuated, we've not even gotten around to putting together a Civil Defense emergency kit. Oh, we talk about it. But as for forking out our hard-earned dollars and putting one together, what's the point? It's never gonna happen to us. Right?
Well, I think that complacent attitude has just taken a swan dive off a skyscraper with no net in sight.
New Zealand has had a few earthquakes -- enough major ones for us to be aware of what parts of the country they might likely occur. But no-one ever expected Christchurch to be hit by a 7.1 in the early hours of last Saturday morning.
When my mom rang me to tell me to switch on the TV, I couldn't believe my ears or my eyes. Her side of the family were OK, thank goodness. One of my uncles had his house slide off its foundations, but houses are replaceable. I was just happy to hear he was alive. So once I got mom off the phone, the next thing I did was contact my my dad and my grandmother to check that they, and all my relatives from Dad's side of the family who live in Christchurch were OK. Suddenly Christchurch seemed so far away -- especially when phone lines were affected and it was difficult to get a call through.
And yes, Grandma and Dad and my uncles and aunts and cousins were all OK, too. There was suprisingly little damage and Grandma sounded remarkable cheery, considering. I can't imagine how terrifying it must have been for her -- 90 years old and almost blind -- to lie in bed while her house shook. And kept on shaking. Thank goodness she'd moved from her flat to live with my dad a few months before so she wasn't alone in her house.
The damage to the city has been extensive, and as I write this, it's still suffering some pretty major aftershocks. (Check out this link to a time-lapse representation of the quake and the ongoing aftershocks that my uncle emailed me today -- it really brought it home to me what they have, and are still, experiencing. Scary as all hell.) Many families are homeless and it'll take many many months for damage to be assessed, insurance claims to be processed, damaged buildings to be demolished, and rebuilding to begin.
But, awful as it has been for those affected, for me, a Turkish man who was being interviewed on TV put it all into perspective. The Turkish Consulate had just arranged for its students to be evacuated, and this man told the reporter, "God loves New Zealand." And he went on to say that what he meant by that is amazingly, no one died. In retrospect, it is amazing. One boy had the side wall fall off his bedroom and he was "shaken" out of the second story. His father had to dig him from the rubble. He suffered only scrapes and cuts and bruises. And there are many stories like this still being told.
What I take from this unexpected earthquake, and the tragedy of the plane crash later the same day that killed 9 people, is that we shouldn't ever take our safety for granted. Just because we're not in an earthquake zone, or a flood zone, or whatever, doesn't mean we can afford to be complacent. So this weekend, we're not talking about putting together our Civil Defense Disaster Kit, we're doing it.
Note to self: get DH to read this blog post so he knows what to expect!
Hugs to you all and stay safe,
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Mary Gramlich is known as The Reading Reviewer, and she has a really cool philosophy about book reviews. She loves romance, all genres, and loves reading in general. She wants to promote authors and help the publishing industry by spreading the word about books she likes. The best part is, she never posts a bad review. If she doesn't like the book, she doesn't review it. Isn't it nice when someone remembers that all important lesson your mother taught you when you were little? If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all.
As if that wasn't reason enough to contact her about a review, Mary is also part of SOS (Support Our Soldiers) America. This incredible organization gathers the reviewed books and other things to send to military personnel or their families. How amazing is that?
So for all you romance authors out there, if you have something you'd like reviewed, please take a look at Mary's website and see what she's about. I think you'll find her work a refreshing and worthwhile endeavor. Also, if you've got any books, bookmarks etc. laying around, please consider donating them to her and SOS America for their giveaways. Please help support our military personnel and their families!
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
So who am I proud of? Who in my life do I want to brag about? The list is kind of long, but bear with me? I am hard on the people in my life who are the closest to me, but no harder than I am on myself.
DD1- She's dyslexic, but she still wants to be a writer. Not only is she looking at an uphill battle all the way like every other writer, but she's got this other issue that most people would find incredibly daunting. She doesn't care. I think because I never let her use that as an excuse not to learn. The wonderful part? She's got talent. I think she's going to be the horror writer I almost was. This isn't just mommy bragging, I know what my kids' weaknesses are. She wrote a story for English the other day and she let me read it and um, I had to tell her she wasn't taking that to school. SRS and the Law would be at our house looking for bodies. I was so proud. *g* To top it off, she's got the biggest, kindest heart. There is room for everyone and every thing. This kid feels so much and so intensely. The bane of all creative types, I think.
DD2- She is the most self-aware person I've ever met. She doesn't care what other people think of her, she's already very sure of her place in the world and what she wants out of it. This child has an old soul, ancient even. And brilliant? I don't think that begins to describe it. She's got an 8th grade reading level and she just started 5th grade. She's got a way about her where just being in her presence is soothing, calming. She's very level-headed for how young she is. Of course, that boat has been rocking just a bit these past couple of months. I think she's about to hit THAT time. Which infuriates her. She doesn't think it's fair. *g* But she's stoic, she's a toughie too. A mini-Viking, takes after her father.
DH-Where do I begin? He's the only man who has ever measured up to my expectations. Like I said, I'm hard on the people in my life. He works. He's put in 20 years of work in the last 10 with two full time jobs to take care of his family and to let me pursue my dream Now, there's a man. It was his idea for us to move in with his mother and take care of her. What could I do but agree? He's also promised a place in our home for my parents (who hate him) when they can't live on their own any longer. He never complains about the way the house looks, never complains about the way I spend our money, and never asks for anything for himself. When I talked to him about going to Florida for this wonderful writer's retreat, he said go and have a good time. He hasn't had a day off in years. Further, he doesn't care what his friends think, or his mother, or anyone else, but me. To top that off, he's the best in bed of any man I've ever known in my *blushes* considerable experience. And he's hot. How did I get so lucky? Sure, there were the asshole years, but I had my own bitch hat on then too. Look what we got out of it. He's my white knight, my tortured anti-hero, my pirate, my viking and my very own lap werewolf all in one.
My Father- The yardstick by which I measure all other men. He's a quiet type, but a total badass. Not in the action hero kind of way, though, he was a Marine before he worked at the federal prison, but in the gritty never complains will go the distance kind of way. Although, sometimes it gets the better of him. Like when he drove himself to the hospital while he was having a heart attack. Or he misfired the nail gun and nailed his thumb to a board and wrapped it in duct tape and worked another 8 hours kind of way. When I was a single mother at 19, his head didn't twist off like I thought it would. He just worked more hours to help me. He walked the halls with me for 19 hours while I was in labor. He held my hand when I didn't have anyone else to do it. He also made me be strong. He has a way about him that forces you to pull up your big girl pants. He's 67 now. He's blind in one eye, deaf in one ear and has plantar fasciitis, which feels like standing on needles if you're on your feet too long. He takes care of my diabetic mother who has a whole other mess of post-cancer issues, still works full time that requires him to be on his feet all day and runs my children all over hell's half acre.
My Mother- She and I have never seen eye to eye. In fact, she's been pretty damn nasty at some of the most horrible times in my life. But she's been through a lot. My grandfather beat her with a 2x4s when she was growing up, her first husband was abusive as well. She's mentally ill, she's had cancer, she's diabetic. She always feels persecuted and has been suicidal for most of my childhood. But she hasn't given up. She's been mad as hell, but she hasn't given up. Whether her trials are real or just in her head, they're real to her. She's unaware of herself and the things in her head don't always translate well to her mouth. She only hears how she sounds in her head too, not what's actually coming out of her mouth. I admire her and I'm proud of her because I wouldn't want to have lived 69 years in that sort of hell. The world is a very scary place to her right now, but she's trying. She just had cataract surgery and she's trying to get back out in the world after being housebound for almost five years. Yeah, I'm proud of her.
And last but not least, all of my amazing friends. I couldn't begin to list them all, but Liane and Jennifer and Gail... just to name a few. :)
So who are you proud of?
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Can't believe it's September already! Yesterday, Auckland celebrated it's first day of Spring with a day so fine, that I actually risked hanging out the washing. Daughter, who was home sick from school, even ventured outside to sit in the sun and read a book for a bit. And to my surprise, neither washing nor daughter got rained on. Pity about today. Spring might have officially "sprung", but it's not quite holding its own just yet.
So here's where I'm at now Spring is here. I have dilemmas, dilemmas, and more dilemmas -- which is pretty much typical for us angsty writer-types, I guess *VBG*
I'm waiting on possible revisions for a contracted novel, meaning I'll have to shove everything else aside to tackle them when -- if? -- when! -- they arrive in my inbox. So it's tempting to chill out for a bit and not to start anything new until I know what's going on with this manuscript. Would hate to get Ms. Muse all excited, and then have to box her up again to ensure I meet my contract deadline.
I have one totally awesome idea for a YA that I'd looooove to tackle. So maybe I should just get stuck in and go for it.
The manuscript partial I sent to the agent (as a result of a conference pitch) is a YA. So what if she tells me I actually suck at writing YA my voice is all wrong for it? Tempting not to start writing this one until I hear back from her.
I also have an idea for a contemporary category romance that I'm currently outlining. (Yes, you heard it here first: Maree Anderson is voluntarily outlining a manuscript. Not only that, but it's NOT a paranormal. Egads! LOL.)
What if the agent doesn't like the YA, but it's not an all-out rejection because she would like to see something else from me? Like, another paranormal YA? So I should get started on the YA idea, right?
But what if the editor I sent a paranormal romance to doesn't like it, but it's not an all-out rejection because she wants to see something else from me? Like, another paranormal romance? So I should really be putting my efforts toward writing something of the paranormal persuasion for adults, right? Meaning it's reeeally tempting not to start writing this category, or even continue outlining it, either, until I hear back from the agent or editor about the other manuscripts.
To further complicate my life, I also have a completed fantasy trilogy that a good friend who runs a bookstore told me I should brush off and take another look at, because she loved the story. And honestly? Knowing what I know now, I'd love to tackle it again, too.
Although it's satisfying as all heck to know that old, beloved story will be as good as it can possibly be after a rewrite, rewriting old manuscripts is not the same as writing new ones. Rewriting doesn't satisfy that something lurking deep in my soul which rejoices whenever I'm writing a shiny new story.
And then again, I already have an editor who loves my erotic romances, and a small group of dedicated fans who dearly want me to write Asmodeus, my demon king's, story. So why not tackle that?
Argh! Too many choices -- help!
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
But the thing that bugs me the most about seeing my own work after it's published are the little errors that snuck in there without me noticing. The dropped hyphen, a spelling mistake, whatever.
Now, I don't know how it works in bigger houses, but my publisher is a small e-press and at the end of the day it's my responsibility to catch all the mistakes before the book goes to print. No one else's. Mine. I have to sign off on the final galley before I send it off to my editor, who in turn sends it to the production department. Yet somehow throughout the substantive and line edits, the galley proofs and the final read by the proofreading department, those little suckers still survive the red pen.
How is that possible? Well I'll tell you. By the time I've written the book, edited it before I submit it, then revise it with my editor and go through 2 galleys, I'm frankly sick of the thing in general. When I finally sign off on it, I've probably read through it at least seven or eight times, and usually at that point I never want to see it again, LOL.
Because I read the file so many times, it really irks me when mistakes make it into the final product. I've tried reading the book aloud, but that took me forever and gave me a really sore throat :) Plus I'm a workhorse, and usually sit all day and night in front of my computer to get through revisions/proofreads in a day or two at the latest. Yet no matter how many times I read the book some mistakes still make it through all those steps, and it's usually my hubby that points them out when he finally reads them (because he'll only read them once they "come out"). You'd think my laser-like glares would be enough to deter him from this practice, but...nope.
So with the last book I finished galleys for a few months back, I tried something recommended to me by another author I met at a conference. I started on the last page and worked backward. It was weird, but reading this way stopped my eyes from accidentally skipping over words, or jumping ahead to finish a sentence. I was much more focused on each word, searching for spelling errors/typos or sentences that didn't read right. I guess I'll find out in early December if it worked or not, because hubby is sure to tell me if anything slipped by me this time.
Any of you have other suggestions for proofreading or stories to share about it?