Thursday, March 30, 2006

The cost of success

It's kind of amazing that when I first started writing, I really had little thought to getting published. Then when I decided to give it a whirl, I thought -- oh, it won't be too hard, I'm good.

Yes, I hear you snickering out there. Stop that.

Reality landed square on my shoulders in the the form of my first rejection letter. At the time, I thought it was a sign of failure -- now I know it's a badge of honor in my profession. Very few professions consider you 'one of us' when you fail, btw. That just shows what a strange lot we writers are by nature.

Now I have success. Not exactly as I envisioned it five years ago when I started this ride, but success all the same. And I'm finding the work has just begun. So has the price.

Promotional items; advertisement; websites --- all of these cost money and/or time. While I do have a do-it-yourself freebie website at the moment, I know the time will come when it won't be enough. I'll want something 'prettier', more professional looking. Whatever that may mean.

So how do I explain to my oh-so-supportive dh that I need to invest money where I've made very little? Well, he's a smart man. He'll be able to see the wisdom in that eventually. It's just getting up the nerve to approach the subject that's the problem.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Author page

I now have an Author Page up at Samhain Publishing, Ltd.! It looks so nice -- I love the font and colors on the site are gorgeous. Cannot wait until my cover art is ready! I'm expecting great things from their artist, Scott Carpenter. :)

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Chat tomorrow!

We're holding a chat tomorrow, Monday, March 20th, at Moonlit Romance to celebrate the release of Nell Dixon's book, The Cinderella Substitute.

Join us from 4-5 p.m. EST, and chat with Nell and other Moonlit authors.

See you there!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

In my hands

I ordered a copy of By Grace Publishing's Short and Sweet Anthology (2005). It arrived yesterday. My first published story ... in my hands ... pretty candy cover and all. :)

Needless to say, I was very excited. There's just something about holding your book in your hands. Don't get me wrong, eBooks are wonderful and probably will be the thing of the future. I'm even giving serious thought to investing in an eBook reader. But I'll probably always be a paperback kind of girl. When that baby is brought to three-dimensional life, well, it's just a thrill beyond words.

So... my first baby has arrived. She's lovely and came with friends in tow. ;) Can't wait to read those other stories now.

By the way, due to upcoming deadlines, revisions, etc, I'll just be blogging once a week unless something exciting happens, I have a slow day, or need an excuse to procrastinate. ;)

Have a good week and read a good book ... or two. :)

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Pain and suffering

My head hurts. No, not a little. Yes, I've taken something. Gotten it down to a dull roar, but I can feel the pain lurking.

And it leaves me to wonder -- and ramble, as I tend to do when my head aches -- how do people live with chronic pain? How can you possibly get used to something like this? But I know some people do. They are truly heroic.

The thing about headaches -- and I woke up with this one, so it could be anything from stress to migraine -- is that they make it difficult to think coherently. And to write. Except that as I lay there this morning, wanting to die, a thought did manifest in my throbbing skull. This is how my heroine in my next paranormal can get together with the hero, a healer. Working title: The Healer's Touch

So, one headache = one miserable day BUT with one good plot idea attached. Hey, I'll take it... and a couple more aspirin, please.

(Thank heavens for spell check!)

Friday, March 10, 2006

Writing quotes

Yes, I'm out of ideas today. But here are some quotes that caught my eye.

Everything that doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. And later on you can use it in some story. ~~Tapani Bagge

When in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand. ~~Raymond Chandler

When in doubt, blow something up. ~~J. Michael Straczynski

The value of life lies not in the length of days, but in the use we make of them; a man may live long yet live very little. ~~Michel de Montaigne

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Wanted: One Muse

One who will not argue or leave
his/her writer at the slightest whim.
Must love dark chocolate, Gerard Butler,
country music and all things Irish.
Ability to converse in both contemporary and
historical terms a plus.
Must be willing to dabble in both paranormal
and suspenseful elements.
Apply within.
Urgent ... I have deadlines to meet.

Anyone have an extra muse sitting about? Maybe one you don't get along with?

Mine has flown the coup. And it's all because I wouldn't agree to start another story -- a historical showing my version of what happened to a man very much like the infamous Phantom of the Opera. Yes, it's a romance. Somedays I wish I had never seen that darn movie.

But I have too many things going at the moment. First round edits for my June Moonlit Romance title, Learning to Live; final rewrite and polish on my Irish historical, Alaina's Promise (so I can inflict... uh, submit it to my wonderful editor); another short romantic comedy for By Grace, Table for Two; a short story to go with the Blue Plate Special anthology, as yet untitled; and ... the grandaddy of them all ... my monster paranormal romantic suspense (the first of a series), Chameleon.

That doesn't even cover the starts and stops waiting patiently in my computer files -- some I will finish eventually (especially my Lakota hero, yum), others will never make it past the few pages I've managed. And Ms. Muse wants me to start another story?!?! Ain't gonna happen.

No no no no no no no!!!!!!!!!


Okay. Maybe just one page.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A very long weekend

Why did this weekend seem longer than others?

Good question. I think the answer lies in the fact that I have been unable to write. Okay, so that's not quite accurate. Let's say: "I've been unable to write anything that isn't crap."

There. Much better.

Why do I go through this stage periodically? Not sure. It could be that the stress of life interferes. It could be that I'm putting too much pressure on myself to get certain projects done. Or it could just be that I'm destined to produce garbage for a time. But, this too shall pass. I know it will -- it always does. Just have to keep writing something, anything and hope the good words come sooner rather than later.

However, a spot of good news made it down the grapevine today: Moonlit Romance's webjournal received a Journal of the Week award! I'm very happy for everyone involved. And while I did take part, I know the real kudos go to our fearless leaders: Sheila Holloway (publisher), Laura Hamby (editor/author) and Shara Jones (publicist/author), for all the hard work they put into making this project an organized, fun and gorgeous endeavor.

Congrats, all!

Stop by and tell everyone "Hi!" while you're blog hopping. ;)

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Reaffirming the gift

Writing is a gift. Not everyone can do it and do it well. Not everyone thinks like a writer. Believe it or not, most people do not have imaginary people playing out scenes in their minds. Don't call the men in white coats. I'm perfectly normal. Really.

I finished my first round edits for Secrets and Shadows yesterday. Two whole weeks before my scheduled deadline. In any profession, beating the deadline is a really good thing. For me this meant two things: the book was in great shape and needed little done; & my faith in that writing gift has been reaffirmed.

Writers are frequently an insecure lot. So it helps to have someone pat you on the back and point out how good your work really is. My editor is wonderful. Very helpful and professional -- and she likes my writing. Yes, that does help or she wouldn't have bought the story, right? But she also mentioned that she enjoys the way I write love scenes.


What a relief! Because I have to say love scenes are among the most difficult aspects for me as a romance writer. I don't want it to sound like purple prose ... I don't want it to be a step-by-step instruction guide as in Tab A goes into Slot B (snicker) ... and I want to keep it in harmony with the personalities of the hero and heroine.

Some writers are great with love scenes, others not as good. One who I think is almost perfect is Heather Graham. Yes, I want to write like her when I grow up. So I find myself thinking about just what makes her scenes so wonderful -- besides her basic gift with words. Then I try to use that same sort of approach in my stories. I concentrate on sight, sound, scent, touch and emotion. Whatever applies. I don't worry as much about what goes where -- that'll work itself out -- and the scene just flows from there.

Since I write both sweet and sensual stories, I enjoy both ends of the spectrum. The key element is attraction which develops into something deeper. Depending on which story I'm writing (and for which publisher) I know just what type of language I can use to show this couple falling in love.

One of my publishers is strictly for sweet stories. Another is PG to soft R -- the latter meaning no detailed action 'below the waist', to put it in simple terms. ;) My third publisher is looking for just about everything -- as long as it's well-written. It's by these guidelines -- and my personal comfort level -- that I work.

Overall, emotion is the key. That and really knowing your characters. If you rely on those two things, you should have a good start.

I think I've known for a while that I'm getting good at this stuff. And now that my gift has been reaffirmed in the kindest of ways, it gives me the little push I've been needing to jump over this latest writer's block.

Speaking of characters -- there are a couple that need my attention.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Come and join us...

By the way, you can join me and some of my writing buddies at a live chat this coming week.
Here's the official announcement:

Moonlit Romance is excited to announce we'll be having our first monthly chat on Monday, March 6 at 9 p.m. US Eastern Standard Time. Come chat with the Moonlit authors, editors and publisher! Come join us for fun, games and contests on the first Monday of every month for our Monthly Monday Moonlit Chats. The entrance to our chatroom is on the main page at the Moonlit Romance website.

And, also stop by on Monday, March 20th, to celebrate the release of The Cinderella Substitute by Nell Dixon. We'll be chatting 4 p.m to 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time at the Moonlit Romance website chatroom.

Hope to see you there!

Intergalactic Dating?

Read a very interesting article in an old Popular Science (June 2005) I found in the house. All about sending messages to outer space -- anything from trying to give the Earth away, to selling ugly sofas and finding the perfect *mate*.

While at first I LOL at the weirdness of it all, the writer in me soon took over and sped off in a different direction. What is someone jokingly sent a lonely hearts ad out into the middle of the Milky Way --- and got a response? In person? That could be interesting ... and funny.

Another story idea? Heaven forbid! It's not like I don't have enough of those already. My list is about ten titles long, at the moment. But the creative juices are flowing. Of course, I'm sure it's already been done somewhere ... by someone. If not...

Okay, okay. I'll put it on my list of Things to Write. It may get done before someone actually gets a response.


Thursday, March 02, 2006

Mythical Creatures

Santa Claus does a great job at our house every year. The kids are always happy. He seems to know exactly what they want -- or manages to get them just what they like, even if it wasn't on the list.

The Easter Bunny is good, too. Smart bunny -- always bringing nice little plushies and wonderful candy in bright colored buckets we leave sitting out. Even leaves *extra* behind on occasion.

But I have a bone to pick with one particular mythical creature. The Tooth Fairy. Who the heck thought up this one, anyway?

She is totally incompetent. Inept. Lazy. The Tooth Fairy almost always manages to forget those precious little baby teeth laying unprotected beneath the pillow. She almost always manages to be a day late and quarter short. For instance: The Baby (as he will be known for the rest of eternity, poor thing) lost another tooth earlier this week. And he waited patiently all week for that stupid fairy to visit.

Nothing. Luckily big brother saw the problem and came to the rescue this morning. The Baby is now the proud owner of two more quarters and another gap in his teeth. Very cute when you're six, btw.

The Tooth Fairy, on the other hand, is about to get demoted to plaque scraper.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Getting stronger sux

What doesn't kill me, makes me stronger.

I like and dislike that quote (or the paraphrased version of it) all at once. Yes, if I don't die, these experiences will likely strengthen me somehow. Kind of like making lemonade if life gives you lemons.

But sometimes ... just sometimes ... I feel like shouting, "Where the he**'s the sugar?!"

Some of my friends are going through difficult times. One of my closest friends faced the death of her father this past weekend. I didn't know until tonight. And there's not a whole lot I can do from almost the opposite end of the country.

E-cards seem shallow in these cases. E-mail hugs cannot replace the real thing. We live in a world where we are so close, so connected because of this marvelous technology --- and yet at times it seems rather cold ... impersonal ... useless.

Give somebody you care about a real hug today while I collect the lemons and try to make something good to drink. Don't worry. I'll share.


Taking chances

I have been informed by my very nice editor -- who apparently read this blog, heh -- that the reason there is so little to do, is because I sent in a very clean manuscript.

See? All those months of rewrites, revisions, hair-tearing and nail-biting did pay off! Can't tell you how glad I am that I took a chance and sent that story out one last time. Whew!

See, it was written (and revised) for category length ... but they finally decided to pass. If you haven't noticed, there aren't too many category pubs out there these days. And while it would take a major overhaul to make it long enough for a Single Title publisher, it was just the right size for this new e-pub everyone's been talking about. (Samhain Publishing, Ltd. -- check out my links.)

Took a chance. Said a prayer. Sent it out.... sent it out again with the synopsis attached, this time. Duh! And a couple of days later I got the e-mail version of The Call. Much screaming of joy ensued, followed by children asking what on earth was wrong with mom. (I love scaring the children.) And now I await the I-know-it-will-be-gorgeous book cover.

Those first round edits? Oh, I'll be done rather quickly. Before the deadline, I'm pretty sure.

Now I need to finish that other book.