Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Because I'm Lazy and Drunk

I don't have a blog topic at the moment. So why don't you tell me what to blog about?

G'head. Ask me a question. Suggest a topic. Anything you want to hear My Illustrius Opinion on.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Unromantic, unsexy sex

So I just finished reading an erotic romance from an author I've never read before, a very popular best-selling-type writer (whose name I will not reveal.)

Eh. It was okay, I guess. I had some issues with the idea of someone who'd time-travelled from the particular time and place using modern expressions. I had issues with some of the background because it was not historically accurate (not as bad as the person who thought medieval men's hose were actual pantyhose, and so put a waistband in them, and had the man wearing them under a kilt. But whatever. The inaccuracies weren't that bad. It's just that I don't think Dark Age Druids would use "For the love of Christ" as an expleteive. I'm just saying.)

But something really, really bothered me about this book. Once I got past the initial stuff anf the story moved to modern day, it was fine. I enjoyed it. I was getting a little tired of the way the H/h kept making out all over the place and never actually even getting to third base, but whatever. Sexual tension is just dandy, and it was perking along quite nicely.

Then we got to the Big Scene. The one where I, the Reader, knew we were in for one fantastic sex scene. I was ready to read this scene. I thought the hero was pretty sexy. The heroine had, like all good little romance heroines, been "saving herself" and so was a virgin (a fact the H/h discussed several times), but that didn't bother me. I don't mind the defloration so much.

So here we go. They're making out all over the place in an empty room in a castle. They've had the romantic little talk about how she wants him to be her first. Lalala.

And then...

he bends her over a desk and takes her from behind.

Yes, you read that right. The romantic first time for the heroine is frickin' doggie-style over a desk.

Isn't that romantic?

And he made her talk dirty, too.

Now, don't get me wrong. Having characters bent over furniture is fine. Dirty talk is fine. Believe me, my characters get up to all kinds of things in all kinds of places.

But you know what? That's not romantic. It's sexy, sure. But the first sex scene after the "I love you"s should not be from behind! He couldn't even look at her! She couldn't look at him! Who the hell thought that was a good idea?

There is a difference between romantic sex and erotic sex. Wait. That came out wrong, like I don't think they can be both. They can, of course. What I mean is...some moments in a book call for a tender, loving sex scene. The first sex scene after the "I love you"s is generally one. The heroine's First Time is definitely one.

The sex should evolve and change just as the characters and their relationship do. It's fine to have all kinds of crazy sex all over the place. But when we finally have an emotional connection, when the H & h are finally truly baring their souls to each other, they should be looking at each other.

That scene-the only truly detailed sex scene in the book-lost me. I don't even remember it very well. I skimmed it, because I was so irritated that in the author's Big Emotional Moment she got scared, and skipped the emotion, and instead gave us a fairly clinical description of two bodies having sex, not two people making love.

Not to mention that as a woman, I couldn't imagine the heroine wouldn't feel pretty upset and cheated that at this very important moment for her, her man doesn't even want to look at her. That he doesn't kiss her once while the action is happening. That her first time is being turned into some porno movie and not the special moment she obviously always wanted it to be.

Nothing's wrong with writing scenes where that position is used. It can be pretty hot. I've done several, every erorom writer I know has done them.

But pick your moments, please.

What's the worst sex scene you ever read? One where you would have gotten out of bed (or the car, or the room, or whatever) because somebody's actions in the heat of the moment were such a turn-off?

Friday, June 23, 2006

And In Other News

It seems convicted child rapist Victor Salva managed to get himself another job directing a movie. The film is called "Peaceful Warrior" and is open in select cities now.

PLEASE DO NOT see this movie. Don't go see it, don't rent it, don't buy it when it becomes available. And please tell your friends not to go see it, either.

Every time you buy a ticket to see that monster's films, you send a message.

Think about what that message is. Think about whether or not that's a message you really want to send.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

As Bad As A...really bad thing.

So I'm working. Well, sort of working, anyway. My current WIP needs pretty much an entire re-write, top to bottom, which is a little discouraging, but 've realized a couple of things about my characters that means my initial scenes are totally off. So back to the drawing board. Better now than later, eh? Still sucks though.

Anyway, I was thinking about comparisons, about similes and metaphors, and how they're used, and what uses are cliche. Like how "cold as death" is cliche. It still works, or rather, still can work, but it's an oft-used simile and so one to try and avoid.

Coming up with new ones is hard, though, isn't it? Especially when you have a mind like mine that runs to understatement and silliness. Especially when your secret fantasy is to someday write a romance spoof, an anachronistic historical, one that uses every cliche in the business. (Seriously. I dream of this and how amusing it could be if I could do it right.)

Today as I made ready to hop in the shower, I closed the windows. It's a little cool outside today and I didn't want to freeze when I got out of the bathroom wearing only a towel. (The bathroom window is usually closed. I don't trust those people across the street not to peep at me as I brush my teeth. Call it paranoia, I don't care.) I was thinking how cold it was, and the phrase, "Cold as a cold, cold ass" went through my mind.

That's right, folks. Cold as a cold, cold ass.

That's poetry, that is. I should win a Pulitzer for that one.

But really, don't we all think of stupid comparisons like that? Similes or metaphors that just don't work, not in English or any other language? That say nothing, and say it badly?

I once read something about this subject, and the writer used an example from-I believe-Erica Jong. The phrase was, "the dawn sky was the color of fuschianated water in some half-forgotten apothecary jar", or something like that. Sounds poetic, if a bit odd, but it the only word that tells us anything about the actual sky is "fuschianated". (Which I might have spelled wrong.) All the other stuff is wasted, pretentious muddle words thrown in to try and make the line sound smarter than it is.

It's not necessarily the fault of the writer, though, because we all do stuff like that. We all write that stuff, in a desperate attempt to find a way to express ourselves that's original, that grabs the reader, that says what we want it to say without resorting to the tired old standards.

What was yours? What simile or metaphor or whatever did you think of, maybe even wrote down, that you later realized either made no sense or was just plain ridiculous?

Or did you read one somewhere that you want to share? (Please do!)

Me and my cold, cold ass will be waiting eagerly to read them.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

I Like Men Who Hit People

I was going to write about my obsession with Cold Case, but then it occurred to me that A)it's probably pretty dull to read about (unless you're a fan, in which case, please comment! But keep in mind I'm quite a bit behind) and B)that would probably only lead me to one of the reason I love Cold Case so much, and it's because I have a geeky love thing for Det. Valens. I loooove him. Why? Well, he's fairly hot, although not in that "Oh my God who is THAT?" kind of way. No, I love him because he bit the living snot out of that pedophile in the park. Just walked up to the guy, presumable led him away into that tunnel or whatever, and beat the man into a bloody pulp.

That's when it occurred to me. With very few exceptions, the heroes in my books tend to be, well, pretty damn violent. They fight with swords or they beat people up for a living or whatever. Why is this? Why did I, as an eight-year-old, form such an attachment to Conan? (BTW they're apparently remaking the Conan movie-the first one, the good one. Blasphemy!) (BTW again I read an article once by a woman who interviewed Schwarzenegger not too long after his election as Governor. He keeps his Conan sword in his office. He let her hold it. I think I would die if I got to actually hold Conan's real sword.)

I digress. My point is, leaving out, of course, men who are violent or abusive towards women (which is so unsexy I don't even need to tell you how revolting it is), what is it about a man who thinks with his fists that's so appealing? Is it because we see it as a sign of virility, because our little hormones were hot wired in prehistoric times to go for the man who could protect us against wild animals or whatever, and so fighting prowess automatically equals sexy?

I would think so, but I've had the sneaking suspicion at times--usually when reading other romance novels in which the hero is supposed to be tough but actually behaves like a friggin' eunuch--that there aren't too many women out there who think the way I do. I've often felt there's an unwritten rule in romance writing that while it's okay to talk about how tough your hero is, and to discuss battles he fought and won, it's somehow distasteful to depict him really and truly kicking the shit out of people, especially if maybe he enjoys it a little bit.

And we musn't dare imply the heroines are turned on by watching Our Hero kick ass. Noooo, they're all supposed to hate his violent drinking roughhousing side, because it means they have to spend more time making poultices from recipes passed down by their grannies, instead of helping sick children or making pies or inventing plaster casts to help a sweet dog walk again. They want him to stop being so darned mean and rough and be all affectionate and looove people, and forgive his enemies, and whatever other crap we're supposed to buy from those godawful Mary Sue-esque heroines who teach Our Hero how to get in touch with his feminine side.

Yes, there are exceptions. But to me this goes with the other unwritten rule about how the hero can never kill the bad guy. The bad guy can die, sure, but he's always beset by bandits or taken ill or accidentally drowns. Blah. We cheer when Mel Gibson kills the bad guys, so why not our romance heros?

What do you think? How tough should he be? What particular form of violence turns you on, if it does, and if it doesn't, why not? Can you think of any good examples of either a real, true, tough guy hero or a real, true, wimpish hero?

Monday, June 12, 2006

The More Things Change...

the more I really, really hate them. Yahoo already changed its homepage in the US a few weeks ago, which pissed me off but I wasn't saying much. I only check Yahoo US once a day or so, anyway, to get the headlines.

Now they're changing it in the UK, too. And they always act like it's such a good thing. "Oooh, we've made special changes! Look! Bright! Shiny!" Well I hate the new homepage. It's ugly and it's (for me, at least) counterintuitive, and I wish they'd just leave well enough alone. Quit fucking with it! It doesn'r work any better or faster, why do you have to mess with it?

Anybody know of a good homepage I can use, with headlines and stuff?

In other news I've been having an absolute blast the last couple of days here. Superdickery. Serously, even if you're not a comic geek or even a mild fan you'll laugh, I promise. Set aside some time, though, there's almost 200 images in the "Examples of Superdickery" alone. The one where Superman explains why he won't marry Lana or Lois (15th in the gallery, but start from the beginning, trust me) made me laugh so hard I literally could not speak, and I was still giggling over it hours later. In fact, I'm still giggling about it now.

So that's what's happening with me. I'm hoping to finish one WIP this week, and that won't happen if I don't get to work. So off I go.

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Friday, June 09, 2006

Fun with Nonpaying Publishers

Looks like we have a new publisher to avoid. Ocean's Mist Press has apparently kept one of its authors-one that we know about, anyway-waiting over a month for her royalties, which by contract she should have received weeks ago.

Jade James tells the story of her wait in her blog. Niiice. Nice that an author finally has to ask on her author loop when she's going to get paid. Nice that her publisher keeps sending her double-speak and acting like it's her fault.

This is why websites like Absolute Write(back after the crisis-!) and Preditors & Editors are so important. So that we know when stuff like this is happening, and we can warn others about it.

(Which is another way of saying you can make a donation to Absolute Write, if you wanted to. Personally, Jade, if I were you, I'd take those books you were going to ffer as free downloads to Lulu, make them downloadable for a buck, and donate the proceeds to P&E or AW, just to spite them. :-) But then I'm fairly vindictive.)

I'd love to hear any updates on this, if anyone knows anyone else who's being cheated. Jade says P&E has been notified, so that's good.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

All work and no play

Well, it hasn't been that long since I updated last, I guess. It just feels like a long time to me. I've been working my butt off. Seriously. I have two projects going and I think between the two of them I've written about 35k words in the last two weeks or so. Gasp. I haven't been sleeping well, either, and my hubby tries to be sweet by letting me sleep until 11 am but then I'm up half the night again. Whick is fine because I like to work at night, but it would be good to get to bed before three at least a couple of times. Of course, the fact that I've lately been reading a bunch of books about Jack the Ripper doesn't really aid sleep, if you know what I mean.

Nor does the temperature. IT went from cold to hot here overnight, and of course there's no air conditioning for reasons I cannot fathom. No screens on the windows, no a/c, and the carts at the grocery store slide all over the place because the rear wheels aren't fixed. It's like trying to push a cart across ice.

Seriously, England. These are not new technologies. It's not like the US invested millions of dollars into building shopping carts that don't require the strength of a friggin gorilla to maneuver. I watch people wrestling with these things at the grocery store every day. Fix the back wheels!

Nor is the US the only country that cracked that air conditioning thing, and I'm pretty sure the idea of putting a screen on a window so no bugs fly in has been around for a while, too. I appreciate the history here, I do, and I know I have to adapt and blah blah blah. But it's a screen, okay? You're not losing a valuable part of your national identity if you keep bees and flies out of your house.

I can easily adjust to pretty much everything else, but damn, sleeping with the windows open and nothing between me and the outdoors bothers me, for a number of paranoiac reasons.

But then maybe that's just me. :-)

Saturday, June 03, 2006

A New Review!

I just got a review for my Teaser from Fallen Angel Reviews!

"Ms. Quinn seems to have an incredible talent for remaking random, ordinary settings into a HOT place for seduction. This flair is more than apparent in The Ice House, which is sure to open your imagination to the erotically raw potential of the wilderness. At the same time, I enjoyed the bit more drama A Fine Line offered. The primary focus of both short stories, however, is on the sexual chemistry between its couples. As such, readers may find the characters a little vague, but overall likeable. With hints of BDSM, this Torrid Teaser is a surefire way to quickly heat up a night. Look out because these pages are scorching!"

Thanks to the reviewer, Jen. H.

You can check out the review and the rest of this excellent site here:

Fallen Angel Reviews