Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Mrs. Giggles Likes Me

This is SO a huge deal...Mrs. Giggles review The Black Dragon.

Seriously, read some of her other reviews and you'll know why this is so huge.

Also FAR gave Prince of Death Four Angels.

So the reviews are going pretty well, and I am quite pleased!

Getting ready to start the query process, always terrifying. And, I finally managed to get some New Year's Resolution books!

Here's what I got:

The Rest Falls Away by Colleen Gleason, who used to stop by here every once in a while. I have no idea if she still does, but I grabbed her book anyway.

Blood Angel, by Justine Musk.

Touch the Dark by Karen Chance.

Sadly, I am still waiting for Amazon to bring me Jackie Kessler's Hell's Belles. Hurry up, Amazon!

So I am currently reading the beginning of Touch the Dark, and I shall let you know how it, and the others go. I would have started them all earlier but I was distracted, not just by the Mrs. Giggles love, but by another book I grabbed, "Call Me Elizabeth", the true story of a wife & mother who became an escort when her family hit serious financial trouble.

It was okay. Not great, but okay. Honestly, for books about sex workers/the sex industry, you cannot beat Mayflower Madam by Sydney Biddle Barrows (if you can find it. My Dad threw my copy out, apparently thinking reading such things would corrupt me, and I never managed to get another copy and it's now out of print. Which pisses me off, because it really was a good book. Anyway.) The author actually shares very little about her clients and her relationships with them, and a lot about her six kids and their schooling etc. All the male characters are, of course, basically cookie cut-outs. I wouldn't have believed before that men could be like her husband, who apparently does nothing but sit watching tv all day speaking to no one, but it turns out I actually sort of know a few women who claim their husbands do nothing else, as well. So there you go. Ladies, I guess if our husbands speak to us we should consider ourselves very lucky indeed.

And I am pretty lucky, despite getting a rejection this morning on an old project. Oh well.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Movies and Stuff and being sick

We watched a couple of movies. Miami Vice and Talladega Nights. Hated the first, loved the second. Miami Vice was a huge disappointment. First, the director (Michael Mann) seemed to go out of his way to make Colin Ferrell look bloated and pasty. He was about as sexy as one of my used tissues in this movie, and I gotta tell you, that whole crazy-irresponsible-drunken-Irishman-who'd-fuck-anything-that-moves thing he's got going? Yeah. I'm into it big-time. So major disappointment there. Second big problem is, the actual city of Miami--which, given the film is called Miami Vice, and given how much on-location stuff the TV show used to do, we rather expected to get really homesick from seeing so much of--is basically nonexistent in the film. They spend some time in Cuba, which is always exciting for South Floridians, among whom Cuba is sort of like Shangri-La: exciting and forbidden and dangerous. So that was kind of neat to see, but again, we might as well have been seeing a soundstage. All of the film was like that. With the exception of a couple of shots in the beginning of the downtown skyline and a few shots along I-95...nothing.

Plus the entire thing was shot in these very tight close-ups that gave the movie a claustrohpobic feel. And everyone muttered and looked very serious all the time, and the whole film was them muttering and looking serious. Hardly any action took place. No car chases, one shoot-em-up that lasted a few minutes and was filmed, like the rest of the movie, in such darkness we couldn't see what was happening. It was always cloudy, and when we saw the ocean out someone's windows it was hazy enough to obscure the horizon. Just blah. Dull and ugly.

Talladega Nights was fun, though. Mindless, but clever, if that makes any sense. The cast was stellar, including of course John C. Reilly who is always so damn funny (except when he's doing wonderful dramatic work, of course.) Every time I watch Boogie Nights he makes me giggle. And Gary Cole! And Michael Clarke Duncan, reading "Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret". Which is one of my favorite bits in the movie. (My favorite is the haunted house thing. "Get out..." Tee-hee-hee.) Anyway, since my Dad is a big Nascar fan, and he used to run quarter-miles all the time when I was a kid (he had a '67 Mustang fastback he used to work on), watching racing movies of any kind still has a nostaligc feel for me. So perhaps I enjoyed this one more than I might normally have, but I love the Frat Pack movies anyway, so I liked this one. It might become one of my "watch when sick" movies, along with The Godfather, A Room With A View, and lots of sitcoms on DVD.

What are your "comfort" films?

Bronchitis is fun!

Note: This isn't the most pleasant story in the world, so if you have a delicate stomach, don't read this post.

So I kept feeling worse and worse, all day Wednesday, and having a harder and harder time breathing. I went to bed around 7 pm. The coughing woke me up a few times, as did the horrible noises my lungs were making, but the best part was when I woke up around 2 am and coughed so hard I threw up all over myself and the bed. Yay!

Got myself cleaned up, changed the sheets (thanks to hubby's help, and luckily I got the brunt of it), attempted to go back to sleep. Hubs had decided to sleep in the bed with me at this point (he was going to stay on the couch both to give me some room and so my choking coughs didn't keep him awake all night, but apparently he decided I needed watching.) Every time I managed to drift off to sleep, he woke me up saying, "Honey, don't breathe so fast. Take slow, deep breaths." Which, if I was able to do that, um, I would be.

So I went to the doctor Thursday. Hubs came home from work early and off I went. I dozed off in the waiting room, unnoticed. When I got in to see the doc, she agreed my lungs did sound "a bit wheezy" (which is really an understatement, considering that the hubs could hear them across the room) and asked if I was allergic to any medications. Yes, Biaxin. But it isn't called Biaxin here, and I couldn't remember the "clinical" name (it's Clarithromycin, for future reference.) She named something and I didn't understand her so I said that was fine and there you go.

Cut to two hours later, when hubs has gone out to fill my script and buy me medicine and iced tea (no Gatorade here!) and some movies (see above post.) He brings me my antibiotics. I tear open the box (they come in boxes here, like free samples!), pop one down...guess what?

So while hubby is out getting me a new script and getting that one filled...I get to go make myself throw up. For the second time in 14 hours. Luckily I felt so awful I was basically able to just kind of think really hard about doing it and there you go, but it was not pleasant. No, not pleasant at all. And it's only today that I have actually been able to really move, except for the shower I made myself take on Friday.

I have not had a cigarette since Wednesday. And so I guess I went ahead and quit. Damn.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Y'all, I am so sick. I have a horrible cold.

So no December chatty today. I just want to go to sleep. Being able to breathe without coughing would be nice, too. And thinking clearly is usually good.

It reminds me of one of the best lines from the Tom Hanks movie "The Money Pit":

A while ago I thought the Care Bears were here!

Hopefully this won't last long--of course, my Princess has had it for three days now--and I will be back to my cheerful self. Meanwhile, if you don't see me, it's because I decided no posts or responses were better than delerious ones, funny only to myself (c'mon, I just quoted "The Money Pit". Is that the act of a healthy woman?)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Bits and Pieces

As I lay awake last night in bed (I'm an insomniac, as I think most of you already know), I came up with a really great blog topic. I wrote like a third of a clever post in my head, but, of course, I don't remember it now. So here's some random observations and thoughts and we'll see what we can come up with, shall we?

First, since adding a hit counter back in August (it's at the very bottom), this blog has had over 5,000 hits! Which may not be much, but I'm awfully proud. PLUS, even better, it looks like traffic to my website might cross over a thousand hits this month! It's been hovering in the 7-800s for a few months now, but it's already at almost 700 and we still have several days to go. So let's keep our fingers crossed--and seriously, this isn't some winking hint. Don't go over there to up my hit count, please. I want to hit a real goal, not get my wonderful friends to inflate my numbers.

And speaking of the site...this blog is now officially part of it. The Deadjournal is no more. Nobody commented there, anyway, and I couldn't post pictures there, so...it's still there, it just isn't part of my site anymore. I really wish I could get this to look a little nicer (I hate those stupid corners) but I can't seem to make it look right and the template selection stinks, so I'm stuck with it for the moment.

It's gotten cold here now. Overnight the temp dropped from the 40s to freezing. My Princess has a cold, so luckily I don't have to walk her to school, but she's not gonna be out forever. Not looking forward to that.

Edits, edits, edits.

I was thinking about psuedonyms the other day, and pseudonymous vs. anonymous. I've never understood why it's so important to know people's real names. (I'm thinking of the Jennie Crusie/Miss Snark thing of a few months back.) We spend half our time warning each other that the internet isn't as safe as it seems, that we must be careful not to post pictures of our kids (and although I have posted one or two, I agree this is good advice--notice the pictures are usually a little blurry, and I don't give their names), not to give out our addresses or phone numbers, whatever. I managed to pick up a little internet stalker a few weeks back myself. The situation is now resolved, I believe (but hey, if you see somebody spreading crazy gossip about me out there, let me know, huh?) but imagine if DQ wasn't a pseudonym. Imagine if this person was able to find my address or phone number, or where I went to high school or where my parents live or any number of things.

So I just find it interesting, when someone posts under a pseudonym or anonymously, the number of people who are absolutely outraged because they do. Isn't the internet itself a sort of anonymity? There's no real "Come and say that to my face" about the internet, is there? There's still distance there. There's still some small lack of accountability there, whether you use your name or a pretty made-up one or none at all. I guess it's just a matter of opinion as to what that means.

Which probably doesn't make much sense but you know, I'm tired. :-) Three hours sleep and a day spent doing nothing but editing does muddle me a little, I'll admit.

What are your thoughts? Are anonymous comments worth the internet space they take up? How do you feel about cold weather? And why can't I ever sleep at night (I sleep just fine all morning)?

Friday, January 19, 2007

First (Great!) Review for Prince of Death!


Romance Junkies Blue Ribbon Reviews has given Prince of Death FOUR Blue Ribbons!

From the review:

More than just an inferno of a book with enough sultry fire to burn up the pages, December Quinn gives an insightful glimpse into the complex personality and kinships of such intriguing characters like Cynwrig and Ayani. With an ultimate princely hero, scorching love scenes, and an unexpected twist to a well composed story, what is there not to love about December Quinn's PRINCE OF DEATH?

You can read the whole thing here.

Very gratifying.

Is it just me, or is this month the longest month ever in the world? Seriously. It feels like it's been January forever and it's only the 19th, we're just barely halfway done.

Trying to get edits done while working on the new project with Anna. Trying to make kiddies happy while keeping the house clean at the same time. Bleh! I want to go away for a weekend by myself, is what I want to do. Just me and my laptop. Sigh. What a lovely break that would be.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Bitches, man.

The promo rant is reaching critical mass, but I'm going with this one first. Why? Because I'm in a bad mood, and if I get started on the promo stuff I'm liable to say something career-ending. Before my career has really gone anywhere.

So I'm reading some Kim Harrison books lately.

Aside from the literal sick feeling in the pit of my stomach any time I hear about demon books, or urban fantasy sales involving demons--and believe me, I do feel like I'm going to throw up everywhere, then curl into a miserable litle ball and rock myself into a pit of despair--something bugs me about these books. Something of which these books are only the nearest example to mind, and is not meant to imply these books aren't good.

Why, oh why, do we as readers seem to accept behavior from female characters that we would never in a million years accept from a man? And is it only in books, or is it in life as well?

Here's the big example. Rachel, the heroine of the Harrison books (try saying that three times fast) has a rommate, a vampire named Ivy. Who is also apparently a lesbian of some kind.

Now, I didn't read the first book in the series. I thought I was but it turned out to be the second. So it's possible, I guess, that something happened in the first book to give us a reason why Rachel puts up with Ivy. Because I don't see it at all.

Rachel is a kick-ass heroine (It feels like I should start putting a TM after that, I swear.) In the world of KH, Rachel and Ivy run a bounty hunting business (or something. Yeah, I've only read one and a half of the books, okay? It's an example, the rant's not about these specific books.) There's a whole bunch of business with vampires that would take too long to explain, but basically they get off on scent, and so smelling Rachel's scent is a big deal to them, as is drinking blood, of course. Rachel starts dating Ivy's brother in the second book.

Every time Ivy sees her brother, she threatens him. She'll do this if he dares drink Rachel's blood, she'll do that. he better not touch her. he better not kiss her. She better not catch them actually having sex. Rachel and her boyfriend actually have to hide their intimacy, washing sheets and opening windows etc., so Ivy's widdoe feewings won't get huwt.

Now, let's pretend Ivy is Ivan. And we know Ivan has a big thing for Rachel, but we know Rachel isn't interested.

Would a reader still like Ivan if he were threatening Rachel's boyfriend? If he pulled him aside and said he'd tear him apart if he even touched Rachel? If he dared to actually forbid the boyfriend to drink Rachel's blood, as if it was any of his damned business? If he became furious after discovering their relationship had progressed and threw a little hissy fit?

No. We'd think Ivan was a dick. A creepy, stalkery, controlling kind of dick. We'd wonder who the hell he thinks he is, and why he seems to think his feelings for Rachel automatically mean she has to reciprocate.

So why does Ivy get a free ride? Because she doesn't have a penis?

This isn't the only place I've seen this. Female characters who betray their friends are forgiven in ways men never would be. A man who cheats on a woman is always bad. A woman who cheats on her husband is just misunderstood.

Now yes, there is that subset of female characters known as The Evil Ex. Or the Evil Seductress. They're the same woman, it's just one of them has already done the deed with the Hero and the other simply wants to. I know those women exist.

But let's face it, most of the time women--and, I'm beginning to notice, especially the kick-ass heroine(TM)--are allowed to be as miserable and bitchy as they want, and everyone just thinks that's fine and lets them get away with it. And it bugs me.

What do you think? Do you think fictional women are allowed more leeway? And do you think that has anything to do with the fact women buy more books?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Fangirl Squeee!

Hey, lookie!

Joss Whedon is doing a "Season 8" Buffy comic.

Am I the only one totally peeing-myself excited over this?!

Yeah, so the last season of Angel wasn't that great, and the ending to that show totally sucked. We can forgive him anything, because he is Joss Fucking Whedon.

Other news? Not much, I'm playing the waiting game. Waiting for news on two subs. Waiting for the hubs to finish reading my book so I can get to editing. Which will probably be like three months from now, if the fact that he's currently wasting valuable reading time by flicking through this month's Previews (it's a comics solicitation magazine) and cataloging his latest comics order instead of reading my stuff.

Finished season 4 of The Shield. Two episodes left on the Nip/Tuck season 4 disks I have. What will I watch? I guess I'll have to, you know, start another book or something.

Although my CP and I are over halfway done with another co-written project, a menage paranormal, which I think is even hotter and better than our first one (which was pretty damn hot and good, and we should be getting our first round of edits for next month.)

I had two ranty posts planned--one about the way we accept shit from female characters in books that we'd never in a million years accept from men; the other about promo and reviews. But I shall do them in the next couple of days, because I'm tired and I am stuffed full of homemade steak pie (mmmmmm!).

I will post tomorrow, though, because I've cheated you out of a decent post today.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Another great review!

Okay, y'all...this is a big deal. A huge deal.

Dear Author gave The Black Dragon a B-.

Any of you who read the Janes on even a semi-regular basis (which, you should read regularly, because they rock) knows that that's pretty good. I'm...honored.

*sob* They like me! They really like me!

Other bits:

I discovered a few days ago that I'm allergic to the new pillows we bought just before Christmas. I couldn't figure out why I was waking up in the middle of the night unable to breathe, like literally having to stick my head out the window and cough and wheeze for twenty minutes before my lungs stopped making horrible noises it was actually quite scary). Pillow allergy. Who knew? No sneezing or runny nose, just an almost total inability to inhale.

I so wish I wasn't as far behind on The Shield, because I'd love to discuss it but it's all old news now to anybody watching in the States.

I am waiting with bated breath for the announcement of the Harry Potter release date. I keep getting pre-order solicitations in my email, but I'm not pre-ordering until I know when it's coming out. I'm also trying to convince my husband to drive us up to Scotland so we can haunt some Edinburgh bookstores on Release Eve, but I doubt he'll do it.

Apparently it's National De-Lurking week. So do that. De-lurk here.

Savior and healer of the sick Madonna is "urging" more people to adopt babies from Africa. "...those children need to be rescued," she says.

Hey, Madonna? Maybe, instead of taking one kid away from his home and family, and thus taking one potential doctor or honest government worker or future leader away from those children who need rescuing, next time you'll think about donating maybe a tenth of your sizeable fortune to the orphanages and schools in that place. So *all* the children there--and gee! Maybe some adults too!--can benefit from your Lady Bountiful act. Grrrrrr.

In short: another great review for The Black Dragon, which pleases me immensely. Non-hypoallergenic pillows suck. Love The Shield. Want Harry Potter. Comment and say hi.

And Madonna is a stupid bitch.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Black Dragon gets its first review!

And like a proud Mommy, I watch it trot off to get reviewed with a big fat tear on my cheek.

Check it out at Annie Dean's blog.

She liked it! Whee!

I'm still nervous about what everyone else will think, of course.

We've been watching Season 4 of The Shield the last few days, and getting totally obsessed and wrapped up in it again. Plus I have those lovely bootleg DVDs of Nip/Tuck Season 4--it just started airing here, but I have up to episode 12(?) in my kitchen. Yay again! Can't wait to watch. Between Vic Mackey and Christian Troy, I have pretty much everything I could ever want in a man.

What that says about me, I don't know.

Getting ready to start editing, I think...but my head is also swimming with a million different projects too. I swear I wish that Naturally Speaking software was worth a damn, because I'm a pretty fast typist but even I can't type much more than 2500 words per hour tops. The speaking program can triple that but it just doesn't work for me. I tried to "train it to my voice" but it wouldn't obey.

Just like me, to have the disobedient voice-recognition software. Maybe it's hard of hearing.

So go read my review, and hopefully I'll have more soon to post (fingers crossed!)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The First Resolution book & a big old RANT

Well, my first real Resolution book was a mistake. Not because it wasn't a good book-although we'll get to it in a minute--but because I didn't notice until I was paying for it that it was a Richard & Judy Book Club choice for last year. Which sucks.

Richard & Judy are TV presenters over here. Essentially, I bought a Today Bookclub choice, or an Oprah book. Which as you know, was NOT what I wanted. It sold big, it wasn't a first book...oh, what a mess.

Here's what really pisses me off about this R&J Book Club thing. I read an article, which I bookmarked and of course the bookmark didn't work and I can't find it again so you'll just have to take my word for it, where R&J talked about how pleased they were to have some "challenging" books on the list.

Fuck challenging. You're doing a book club and aiming it at couch potatoes who don't read. People who like to read don't need you to tell them what to read--they go to bookstores and lookthemselves. So you're trying to encourage people to read. To ENJOY reading. The way to do that isn't to pick "challenging" books about issues or ideas. It's to give them some good stories. Why not pick some genre fiction for your bookclubs, for once? Did Oprah ever do that? Did the Today show? Does anyone here know of a single romance, horror (not Stephen King), or fantasy novel EVER picked for a TV book club? Because I don't.

All these clubs are doing is enforcing the idea that reading is hard. That you need someone to help you understand a book and encouragement to actually finish a book. That you can't just pick a book because it sounds good, because the process is too confusing, so you need someone to tell you what's good. There's no pleasure in that. It doesn't encourage people to read--the book club choices are usually put in displays near the front of the store. The zombified R & J or Oprah viewer walks into the bookstore (or the shelves at their local grocery store) and grabs the book their Host said they should read. Nothing encourages them to browse the shelves, to wander around. They go from display to checkout without even having to see those other books.

It makes me sick. If you want to encourage people to read, encourage them to read. Try something new, dammit.

Anyway, on to the book, quickly because I'm on my way out the door. I bought The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice. It's out in paperback here but not yet in the states, though I've linked to Amazon US.

It's not a bad book. I enjoyed it, I did. The story is a little...shall we say...facile. It's a cliche romance plot, to be honest: guy wants girl back, so he bribes another girl to pretend to date him to make first girl jealous. He and second girl fall in love, of course.

But tht doesn't make it bad. The setting, England just after WWII, made it interesting. The heroine, Penelope, has an obsession with pre-Elvis heartthrob Johnnie Ray that she shares with her friend Charlotte, a delightful character. All of the characters are at least interesting, and the story moves along quickly. (Hey, I never said I was good at writing reviews.)

But here's what pissed me off. Did anyone even edit this book? The whole thing is littered with continuity goofs. And not just little ones. I mean things like the age of Penelope's mother changing from 35 to 37 to 35 everal times. Penelope herself is nineteen, then seventeen, then almost twenty-one, then eighteen.

At the end of one chapter she tells us it was the next morning at breakfast, when Hero came down with a sleepy smile on his face, that she realized she might actually like him. The next chapter opens with her attempting to sneak out of the house before breakfast, gettig caught by the hero, and running off into the dawn (it wasn't so dramatic as that) without eating anything. Uh...I thought they had breakfast? You said they did, three pages ago.

Another scene has Girl #1 showing up at Penelope's house after a long walk. Penelope tells us the girl's skirt is crumpled. The next page, in the same scene, the girl is wearing trousers.

Did nobody notice any of this stuff? Come ON, people! How could you not notice that? If a character's eye color of the color of their shirt changes once, it doesn't bother me. Accidents happen, though they shouldn't. But when your people's ages and circumstances change every other page, you've got a problem.

So...it wasn't bad. I really loved the period setting. But there are better books out there.

Monday, January 08, 2007

I am a Terrible Pen Pal

I may have mentioned this before, but it's true no matter how many times I say it.

I am seriously the world's worst Pen Pal.

You'd think email would make it easier. I'm on the damn computer all the time, right?

But it doesn't. It actually makes things worse, because I forget emails. I don't want to; it's not that they're unimportant. But I think, "I don't have time to write back now, I'll do it later," and nine times out of ten I've forgotten by then.

And then I hate myself for it, but I get so many emails a day that I never remember who I owe emails to, and it seems the kids have some sort of radar for when I sit down to try and figure it out, and the bottom line is, if I owe you an email I'm sorry. Maybe you could email me again and remind me?

I promise I won't forget this time.

We watched "Munich" this weekend. Damn, that is a good movie. And damn, Eric Bana is HOT in it! He never really appealed to me, but the 70's-looking Bana, with stubble and longer hair ...oh yeah! Yeah! Not to mention our lovely new Bond, Daniel Craig, is in it too.
But no matter who was in it, it's an excellent film. Bana was freaking robbed when it comes to the Oscars. That was a performance worth a statue, and while I can't comment on the performances of last year's Best Actor nominees (because sad to say, I haven't seen any of the films)...they must have been truly amazing to top Bana.

I hadn't wanted to see the film, because I thought it was about the actual tragedy at the Olympics and I don't particularly like movies where everybody dies at the end (except The Dirty Dozen.) But it wasn't. It's about the aftermath, and it's about assassination, and if there's one thing I love to see movies about it's assassination. (Unless it's tacky "what-if" films about assassinations of actual living figures, in which case I do not watch. That's not a political statement, simply a matter of style.)

Anyway, go rent or buy "Munich".

And I almost forgot: Happy Elvis' Birthday, everyone!

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Those Boring Male Strippers

No, seriously--keep reading, even if you're a man.

(BTW, I've found one thing I actually like about Beta Blogger--the "New Post" button in the upper right-hand corner. It's nice not to have to go to my dashboard every time I want to do a new post. So, surprise surprise, there's one un-sucky thing about Beta Blogger.)

I planned to do a very different post today, but I realized that might step on a post I have planned for next month. So you get this instead, and you'll hear my thoughts on male archetypes of the 70's next month. Seriously. It'll be a lot of fun, too. I'm excited about it.

No, today I'm going to tell you why I have an aversion to male strippers. And trust me, it relates to writing too.

I've seen male strippers a few times. I went to a male strip club about, oh gosh, ten years ago now, for the first time. A friend of a friend was dating one of the guys and we all tagged along.

It was...okay. It wasn't quite as sleazy as I thought it might be, but it was pretty sleazy, and I have to admit, seeing Stripper's Girlfriend giggle and say "I wish he wouldn't look at me while he does that, it gets me too turned on" or whatever the exact phrase was, while Stripper humped the air and made his banana-hammock bounce in what I frankly thought was a revolting way, made me wonder what was wrong with me. Maybe there still is something, because I'm not really a fan of the Bouncing Peenie.

This feeling was confirmed when I went with a friend of my brother's to the "male dancing" half of a strip club on my brother's bachelor night. And was confirmed for the final time when my best friend Cori and I went to what was otherwise a pretty good ladies' night at a Ft. Lauderdale bar. (Actually, it was kind of a genius LN--$1 Cosmos, Sex and the City on the big-screen, and drinks served by male strippers. Pretty cool. Except the music was too loud, which defeated the purpose of having SATC on the TVs. Anyway.)

Every hour or so, one of the "waiters" would do his strip show. And here's my point, hidden though it may be:

Watching male strippers actually strip is pretty hot. Watching them hump the bar in a g-string? Isn't.

My favorite part of the male strip show was that first time, and always has been, watching them actually disrobe. At that first club there was a guy in a full Navy uniform. It was An Officer and a Gentleman right there in the club...until he tore it all off--even the hat, the moron--within about thirty seconds and proceeded to be Bouncing Peenie Man.

Why, oh why?

Why bother wearing this great costume--the Navy uniform, the police or mechanic uniform, the tuxedo (that was nice), if you're going to lose it all before the first chorus of whatever song you're using and just be Mr. Generic with your dangly bits flying around?

It's the unearthing part that's sexy. The rest isn't sexy. It's just graphic. It's the difference between a sex scene in Body Heat and a sex scene in Not Without my Dildo.

(I realize I write very explicit things, so this may seem a bit incongruous coming from me. But I don't think it is, and here's why. Because I try my best to allow my reader to form at least some kind of connection with the characters before the sex starts. Because although I use words like cock and cunt, I also try to focus on emotions. I try not to make it mechanical. In other words, I try to keep the male dancers' clothes on long enough for you to enjoy seeing them dance shirtless with their pants on for a while [am I the only one who thinks a guy in just pants is hot?]before you get to the good stuff.)

But that isn't even the point. It's not about my sex scenes, or any sex scenes. It's about character. It's about show, don't tell (really!)

You can rip that stripper's pants off in the first ten minutes by introducing a character like so:
Mollie was thirty-three and wore a long black dress covered with lace. Her hair was light brown and curly. She always wished she had straight hair. Her eyes were blue. She was an accountant and she liked numbers. She was lonely. She hadn't wanted to go to this party but she thought maybe she could meet somebody, a boyfriend even, so she let her friends talk her into going. Mollie wanted to get married soon and her friends said...blah blah blah...

Or you could keep things hidden, like so:

Mollie adjusted the skirt of her black lace dress and tried to look like she belonged here. When did people attending parties get so much younger? And when had she started thinking longingly of her empty bed, instead of wishing someone was in it with her?
Probably around the time she realized Tammy had lied, and her chances of meeting an eligible man here were about as good as her chances of falling down a well into another dimension. Sp, pretty much zero chance.

Now, neither of those are great examples, but you get the idea.

This works for plots, too. Let the reader guess things, let them wonder. Let them be intrigued by the little mysteries you've created around your characters as they get to know them.

Don't put it all upfront.

Don't turn your characters into Bouncing Peenies. Keep the stripper's pants on for a while.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Living in Terror

Okay, first of all, I am officially blonde again. After going fire-engine red last May, I switched to dark brown about two months ago because the red kept fading and looking rusty. Plus, as is always the case when I color, I get bored and was already feeling the re-blonde itch, so wanted to get rid of as much red as I could so I wouldn't turn brassy.

(Those of you who also have pinkish tones in your complexion know what I'm talking about--golden or yellowy blondes make us look like horrible tomato people.)

Anyway. I better finish or this whole post will be about hair, thus rendering the clever title ineffective. Last week I scoured the shops here to find a bleach that actually works--for some reason, blonde dyes here are really useless. They couldn't lift an empty paper bag. But I did find a 40-volume developer and bleaching kit which would have worked beautifully if I'd had time to really let it. I didn't. (See, I used to bleach my hair white. The way to do that is to leave the shit on until it dries. Seriously. I'd leave it on for like 6 hours.) This time I only had an hour and a half, so my hair ended up orangey-pink with white roots. It was, in a word, absolutely fucking hideous. I looked like some sort of creepy sugarplum doll turned evil. And also, tomato face. It didn't help that I had a stress-related spot on my chin, either (which is thankfully gone).

So hubby had to go to Tesco for me, because I didn't want to leave the house, at least not without piling my cotton-candy hair in a hat, and buy me some dye. Light ash blonde.

Sigh. I look like a normal, pretty girl again. I'm sure in photographs I'll still look like a fat-nosed moonface with piggy eyes and no chin, but trust me, I do actually look pretty in person. And that's probably the only time you'll ever hear me admit that.

I also chopped off about three and a half inches, so I have a chin-length bob. I prefer to think of it as sexy flapper hair, not dull suburban mom hair.

Anyway, on to the point of the post, if you're still with me.

I'm scaaaared.

Scared because my 750 will be up at Miss Snark this weekend, and I am more and more convinced that it will make me look like a hack. I rewrote it but thought I had to send it right away so didn;t give myself enough time to edit. I'm sure it's garbage. More to the point, I am sure every agent and/or editor I might ever want to query, or who might ever see it, will be reading the COM and will know I'm a terrible writer. They'll get my query and say, "Yeah, I remember this. Garbage. She sucks" without even looking at the new, improved pages I sent. I mean, c'mon, it's not like my hook is one people will forget, is it?

So that's Fear #1. But nipping at its stylish heels is Fear #2...because I have two lovely new releases, I will also soon be getting reviews. That's right. People who don't know me, or possibly know of me and think I'm an idiot bitch, will be telling other people if my books are worth reading or not.

You guys know how strongly I believe people have a right to their opinons. I am fully prepared to stand by my previous rants on the subject. If a review opens with, "December Quinn thought she could pass this shit off as a story people might want to read, but we know it's The Worst Book Ever Written and she's a talentless hack with ugly pinkish hair," I'll take it on the chin (where the stress spot thankfully no longer rests). I sent it to people for reviews. My publishers have sent it to people for reviews. It's the name of the game, and I've sent it to some places where I highly respect their opinions and ability to express those opinions but where, also, I'm quite aware they get snarky. I love the snark. If they snark me, I asked for it, and it won't mean I think any less of them for it.

But that doesn't mean I'm not terrified, and hope hope hoping they don't snark it (too much) and call me a crapbag who only thinks she can string a couple of words together. I hope they don't laugh at me. I hope they don't make fun of me. I hope they love the book(s). I hope they love the characters and are entertained. That's the point, isn't it? If I was writing just for myself and not to entertain people I'd be writing Mary Sue fantasies about me and various comic book heroes/actors/Sid Vicious.

But there's no guarantees...so I'm very, very scared.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


I had TWO new releases yesterday, from Whiskey Creek Press-Torrid!

First is my novel, Prince of Death. It's available both in ebook and print...and is very graphic, so be warned! Here's the blurb:

They called him the Prince of Death…

War is coming, and Prince Cynwrig's enemies the Cliothens will do anything to have victory. So when he finds Ayani Suntwister, a Cliothen warrior woman, lying beaten and near death in the road, he knows she's dangerous. When he allows her to seduce him, suspecting there is more to her sudden appearance in his lands than meets the eye, he knows he’s risking his life.

What he doesn't know is that the danger isn't just to his body, but to his heart as well. Will the Prince of Death find a reason to live in the arms of a woman he cannot trust-but cannot resist?

Next, I have a short story, The Ice House, in The Best of Torrid Teasers, Volume One. My Teaser (two erotic shorts in one book) was the debut book for the Teaser line--released in January 2006--so it's really exciting to have another Teaser release to start this year with! They're already up to Volume 20 with the Teasers--40 short stories--so being picked as one of the "Best of" is quite exciting. Not to mention my fellow Indulge Authors Anna J. Evans, Sherrill Quinn, and Kate Lang have stories in there as well! The Best of... is also available in ebook and print.

So go get those, and if you haven't already, go download your copy of The Black Dragon as well!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Greetings from the Future!

Yep. It's been 2007 here for a couple of hours already.

It looks pretty much the same.

I have to say, as much as I enjoy the whole "eat what you want, drink all day" holiday mentality, I'm kind of glad the season is over.

Why? Because I'm looonely. (And gaining weight, but that's a whole nother story.)

So many of my bloggy buddies are away for the holidays, or taking time off. My comments levels seem to have dropped. Hardly anyone is posting. It's depressing, especially when I have both kids home and a husband off at work, which means I don't have to get up early or, well, leave the house at all, and so can spend as much time as I want online in between making lemonade or pasta for the girls.

Jenny Rappaport posted about a different writer posting about how many words he wrote this year. His included blog posts. I have no idea how to even come close to guesstimating word count for my posts, so let's just look at actual written work:

approx. 2006 word count (first drafts only): 280,000k.

You can probably add another 20k or so for edits and second drafts, to bring me to an even 300,000 original fiction words written this year.

On the one hand, not bad. On the other, totally sucks. That's not even a clear thousand words a day. Yes, I was forced to take a lot of time off this year, with one thing and another--parental visits, a little writer's block, family who seemed to think I should actually pay attention to them, blah blah blah...and I did take some time off between projects, too.

But next year, dammit, I need to do better than that.

I think I've probably done at least another 100k in blog posts, when you consider how wordy I can be, and that this isn't my only blog.

My goal next year will be 500,000 written fiction words.

Oh, and to get an agent and a book deal, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

I am convinced my 750 for Miss S stink. I decided to rewrite my opening before sending it and I really don't think I let it sit long enough after the rewrite. For instance, there are some repeated words I would have caught if I hadn't thought I needed to submit right away. Just hoping A) I don't get roasted for that, and B) the actual opening scene is compelling enough to make people not think my writing sucks.

We shall see.

2007 looks just fine, folks. Come on over!

(Oh, and I have a couple of books releasing from Whiskey Creek Press-Torrid today! Links later.)