Friday, July 29, 2005

Blessed News from Reno

Barb Ferrer, my dear friend and crit partner, has gone and HIT THE BIG ONE!

No, not BIT the big one. She's not DEAD, silly.

She sold a book.

Two, in fact, to MTV Books at Pocket. Apparently, she got the news whilst playing the slot machines and...

Here, I'll let her tell it. She's does it brilliantly.

Linky-poo to lurid tale of gambling and furtive, late-night cell phone usage.

I broke down and sobbed with joy when I heard the news, but we all know about me and the hormones this week. Seriously, no one deserves it more. Barb's incredibly dedicated to her craft, talented beyond compare and have no idea.

No, really.

But you soon will.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Trying not to embarrass myself by bursting into song...from OKLAHOMA! no less...

**I've been taken to task by an anonymous--but no doubt LOYAL and SUPPORTIVE--reader who thinks my blog is too dark. (Not the editorial content, but the actual color scheme--which is a good thing, because little Wednesday Addams isn't likely to change her mood anytime soon, but she CAN play with fonts and stuff. Because beneath the murderous scowl lives the soul of one who lives to please others. Yes, I know. We've covered this. Moving right along...)

This morning dawned the perfect summer day, like I remember from my early childhood. At nine o'clock, the thermometer registered a relatively crisp sixty-eight degrees, and the breeze felt positively arid compared to the drippy mess it's been lately. The sky glows a deep azure overhead, fading to baby-blue at the horizon, holding the promise of pleasant--but not stifling--heat as the clock creeps past noon. The lake is covered in a bright, white blanket of fog leftover from last night's cold snap.

The fields are better than halfway to harvest; the corn high and tassled, and the bean plants all lush and bushy. We've been low on rain, so the haying's been good--big, rolled bales sit on yellow hills, looking like yo-yos of the gods. And this morning I passed a field that was nothing but green and pink clover, right up to the horizon. It made me hungry.

It's the time of wildflowers growing in clumps alongside the back roads: Queen Anne's Lace, Indian Paintbrush, Tiger-Lilies, and the lovely-but-evil Purple Loosestrife. It's the time when fawns begin to lose their spots and wander on skinny legs away from their mothers, so drivers accustomed to whizzing at sixty between one small town and the next know to use care when passing Bambi's thicket.

It's the kind of morning that refuels my tank, and I'm thankful.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Ragtime Band

Thanks to all who offered words of encouragement and support in my hour of need two nights ago. Didn't mean to sound like such a weenie. I was having a MOMENT. I'd love to be able to say it had some profound meaning in the scheme of things, but as it turns out...

You'd think, after experiencing the joys of womanhood for a full twenty-seven years* and counting, I'd learn to recognize the symptoms, but wasn't until last night, when I shed tears of sentimental joy over my husband's purchasing of the correct brand of trash bag without having been reminded, nagged or otherwise driven to an early grave, that I realized the true nature of my MOMENT.

To be fair, I'm a week and a half early, according to my less-than-meticulously-kept records, though I'm betting if you asked my husband, my son, or Watcher Don--the three males with whom I have the most regular contact--they'd tell you they've seen it coming for DAYS. Though my son probably can't tell you what "it" is, exactly.

After giving it much thought, I've chosen to blame the early arrival on...wait for it...


Or, more precisely, the fact that I'm not going to The Conference.

I pretend not to care that I'm not going to The Conference. I joke about sulking while patting myself on the back for all the money I'm saving. I tell myself I'll get LOTS of writing done while the loops and blogs are quiet. I remind myself about the deal I made with Husband--website and promotion expenses, plus one or even two smaller regional cons in exchange for not going to National. (It sounded like an excellent deal at the time. And it was even MY idea.)

But today, while everybody else is boarding flights or at the very least stuffing suitcases and getting those last-minute mani- and pedicures, and I'm sitting here waiting for the cable guy to show because my internet connection is tenuous, at best, I'm suddenly transported back to 1979, when I was the only girl in Mr. Tylawski's seventh grade class not invited to Paula Wyss's rollerskating party. I remember I wrote a really bad poem about it and left it on the kitchen counter for my mother to read. She corrected the grammar and left it next to my bowl of Grape Nuts the next morning. You just don't find that kind of parental warmth and compassion anymore.

Mmmm...Grape Nuts. Bet they don't have THOSE at that crappy hotel in Reno. And I don't have to wear a single foundation garment in the next five days if I don't want to. (And believe me when I say I don't--see earlier post regarding underwear in general.) Or makeup. Or shoes, unless I go to the grocery store.

Yes, the bright side of being left out is that I get to be a slob in the privacy of my own home. A HORMONAL slob, prone to having MOMENTS, no less.

Barb, if you're out there? You dodged a bullet, babe. Methinks I'd have made a less than satisfactory roommate. Think Jack Nicholson from The Shining, but without the sense of humor and good hygiene.

Hmm...maybe today would be a good day to start work on that straight horror story?

*No, that's not my age, that's just how many years it's been since that first unforgettable experience with Kotex and safety pins. I was eleven at the time, and HORRIFIED. But not as much as my poor father, who thought I was FAR TOO YOUNG for such 'goings on' and grounded me for a week, over my mother's strident but ultimately ineffectual objections.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Who Flicked My Switch?


I'm sitting here, struggling to find words to describe this AWFUL feeling of...shut-off-ed-ness? This blank, empty sensation, devoid of everything except frustration and the growing urge to empty my Documents folder into the trash and start researching recipes for Mediterranean Veal, like a good little Greek-American hausfrau.

Writer's block? Not so much. More like somebody switched off the power source. It was on two days ago. Two days ago, I was frustrated because I couldn't find the time to sit down. Today...tonight...I can't come up with a coherent blog entry that doesn't sound as if it were written by a wino the shakes.

In my various files, I count twelve unfinished pieces of writing, not counting the completed and sold novella awaiting revision notes from my editor. Even supposing half the unfinished works are worthless piles of feces, and another third of those remaining would need a total rewrite to be even remotely salvageable, that still leaves four chances to open a file and continue a project that has a hope of seeing the light of day.

And I just...can' it.

My best buddy
Barb wants to know when I'm going to finish that great book I started last year...the one that won that contest, and hooked that agent's interest? The one I stalled out on and could not--COULD NOT--find a way to finish. She thinks I should give it another shot. She's right. She's ALWAYS right. That's why I hired her.

But I'm scared chicken to try. And if you think THAT'S not a painful thing to admit, then you just haven't been paying attention around here. :p

My other best buddy,
Don? He loves my dark, kinky stuff, but he thinks I've got a straight horror story in me. Well hell, so do I. The question is, will anyone pay for the straight horror story I have in me? Because crass as it may seem, there came a point about a year ago when I stopped doing this for pure love of the craft and started chasing the specter of an eventual pay-day. But he's right, too, dammit.

And my mother wants to know when I'm going to finish the historical women's fiction she can show to her church group.

And my father wants to know when I'm going to write something he'd like to read.

And my husband wants to know when "this writing thing" is finally going to start paying off.

And my children want to know when they can use the computer.

And look at that...the blog entry that began with three false starts is written, and there's no blood on the keyboard. I feel less like punching the monitor than...maybe...opening a file and...possibly...LOOKING at a manuscript. Probably not historical women's fiction (sorry, Mom) or winning contest entry (sorry, Barb) but something.

Which is good, because a) I have ethical issues with veal, and b) I make a crappy Greek-American hausfrau. (I lack the correct dedication to cleanliness as an art form.)

Onward. Upward. Aren't you glad you stopped by?

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

High School Stereotype Quiz...How Scarily Accurate...

Snagged this from Monica...

Take the What High School
Stereotype Are You?

Friday, July 15, 2005

So Long As We're Crowning Ourselves, I Wanna Be Princess Pudenda...

Have I ever mentioned how much I love PBWriter, aka author Lynn Viehl, aka a host of other aliases? I don't always agree with every word out of her fingers, but my affection and respect for her only grows as I watch her lay it on the line, day after day. (And her latest release, IF ANGELS BURN? Got me through one of the most difficult weeks in recent memory. Buy it. Read it, slowly. Savor every twisted little image.)

Yesterday, she linked to
SquawkRadio, the which is ostensibly the home of a group of romance authors, but really...they come off as a tribe of Ladies Who Lunch and maybe write a little on the side. The post PBW linked to was...incendiary. And on my FAVORITE TOPIC, too--whether erotic romance IS romance, and whether, as authors of erotic romance, we have a right to belong to RWA.

After I stopped wanting to claw someone's eyes out...because, really...messy, and there's that whole "orange jumpsuit, side-seam pocket" thing to consider again...I crafted a response. But the post is old, and they probably wouldn't read it or respond to it, as the ladies in question are most assuredly off vacationing in the Hamptons or wherever women who think Blaze is pretty much as hot as RWA publishers and authors should be allowed to get go in the summertime. So I'm posting my response here, because only about six people read it anyway.

So... let me see if I've got this straight. Because ONE Ellora's Cave author says she writes porn, that paints the entire company with that label? I've heard more than one romance author say she writes "trash"--shall I call my sisters in romance purveyors of garbage based on that? How many EC books have you read, yourself? Have you picked up Sarah McCarty's PROMISES series? I dare you to read it and call it anything other than profound romance.

I wish I could say I'm surprised at the hypocrisy I've found here. Even so, it saddens me. You're happy to have my dues, I suppose, as they fund your PAN retreats, even as you wonder how I dare write what I do and call it romance...because I use words YOU find offensive? Because I have six sex scenes per 100K words instead of the three YOU find adequate? Because some of us dabble in same-sex fictional relationships, or allow our characters to experience sexuality outside what YOU consider safe, clean and reasonable?

Who died and left YOU Queen of the Book-Nookie, hmmm?

This week, the Passionate Ink Chapter of the RWA was officially recognized. Although it doesn't state so explicitly in the title--because it might scorch someone's retinas I suppose--it was formed as the erotic romance special interest chapter. It boasts a hundred and fifty souls who were already members of RWA at the time of its formation--a record, or something close to one, I believe. So I'm guessing neither Ellora's Cave, nor eroticism in romance, is going anywhere any time soon.

We're here. Some of us are even queer.

Get used it.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

If I were a betting woman...

...I'd gamble that a bunch of people read the Publishers Weekly article on the state of Romance in which RWA President Tara Taylor Quinn says, "Everyone is jumping around looking for the next new trend instead of writing where their heart is...Publishers need to become much more flexible about the kinds of stories they accept" and said "HUH?? How many personalities does this woman have, anyway? And isn't there a treatment program for that disorder?"

Barb lays it out better than I can, 'cause she's brilliant and stuff. (Scroll down to the 7/6 post entitled "It'd be funny if it wasn't so pathetic...")

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Snap, Crackle, Pop, BOOOM....

Thanks for all the congrats I've received, both public and private. I'm still floating along on that "first sale buzz." I don't even mind Barb's crowing "I told you so" every thirty seconds. I'm actually looking forward to seeing notes for revisions...although I'm told this anticipation is a one-shot deal.

Here's the blurb I promised:

"To Have and Have Not"

Fifty years in the future, the collision between unchecked Global Warming and unforeseen metaphysical conditions has created a tear in the fabric of reality known as the Breach. Now, the inhabitants of the city of Baltimore must live side-by-side with creatures they've never before encountered, except in their nightmares.

Jack Murphy: "sub-human, blood-sucking freak," or just a guy who's had the bad luck to be transformed into a vampire by forces no one understands? Either way, he's not taking the easy way out--no leisurely strolls beneath the noonday sun for him. If he's going down, it will be fighting the brutal regime that's taken over his city, and if he has to go undercover as a "male escort" to do it, then so be it.

Except his lover, Laura, doesn't care for Jack's new career choice. Their bond is strong, and when they hit the sheets, they spark a heatwave to match the one that holds the city in its scorching grip. But the gigolo thing? And the mean streak Jack's developed lately? The combination is enough to shake anyone's trust.

Telling Laura the truth about his job would put her life at risk. Telling her why his job makes him so crazy...that would put Jack's pride at risk.

And blood-sucking freak or not, he's still a man, after all.

As I mentioned,
Phaze is looking at a late 2005 release date. This is the first novella in a planned series of four, all set in the same word. If all goes according to my nefarious scheme, I'll be able to gather them in an anthology at some point.

My website has also been retooled, and I'd would love to hear a frank, objective opinion or two. The link is at the top of the sidebar, to the right. (Warning: although I don't consider the images used in any way vulgar, they are most assuredly NOT RWA Graphical Standards-friendly, and neither is some of the text.)

A happy, safe, and fire-crackery Independence Weekend to all.