Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Lazy, lazy, lazy

Yep, that's me. I have been a lazy lazybones this weekend.

Well, not entirely. Actually I've been fairly active, I just haven't been blogging.

Saturday we went antiquing, which was really cool. The antique shop we went to is one of those cavernous warren-like places, with lots of little rooms and, unlike antique stores in Florida, actual antiques. Including an entire carved wall panel, about 50 feet long, with a mantel and door set into it. It was amazing. Plus several staircases. Antique fireplaces, furniture, an entire wall of stuffed dead animal heads...

It was most atmospheric, too. Lots of narrow little aisles made entirely of musty dressers and wardrobes. Lovely.

Sunday we went to Bristol. Yesterday we went grocery shopping. Nothing too exciting, but we certainly filled the time.

And now the long weekend is over, and the hubs is going back to work, and it's just me and the girls here alone for the rest of the week (it's Princess's half-term break.)

And I started the Blood Will Tell sequel, Blood on the Rocks. And I've started outlining the Personal Demons sequel, tentatively titled The Demon You Know.

So. On to the topic.

Kis asked:
...what if some of your stuff is erotic, and some is more mainstream, but it's all set in the same fantasy world, with the same history and cultures and races and languages and stuff? Same pseudonym? Different one? I'd be looking possibly at different publishers for the differing styles. Will this make contractual issues unnecessarily complicated as far as the options clause is concerned? Is this an issue for anyone else?

To be honest, I wasn't really sure what to say to this one, so I turned to Briana St. James, editor extraordinaire, who's been in the business for several years at Ellora's Cave, knows everyone, and is smart and great and all of that stuff. Briana is my editor and likes my work, so that right there tells you what a genius she is.

This is what she said:
I can’t really advise, but it usually isn’t a good idea to split a series over imprints or a publisher. It will make it much harder for the readers to find it, and often times publishers would much rather have an entire series.

I'm guessing as well there would be legal issues with this, as so many contracts do have option clauses that ask for the next work with the same characters or whatever. If you have an agent the agent would help negotiate all of that, but my best advice here--which, you know, probably isn't worth doody--is to heat up the non-erotic stuff a little bit more and just sell it as a series with varying degrees of eroticism. In a series, part of the appeal is going to be the world and the characters, so readers will forgive some variations.

You could try different pseudonyms in that same series to differentiate if the books are really that different, or give them a series title: "A Gwellian Whores Book/A Soldiers of Tarok book" might clue the readers in a bit.

At least that's my thought. You could try emailing Evil Editor to ask, or any one of the great agent bloggers in my sidebar too (*sniff* no more Miss Snark.)

Personally, I'm worrying that readers will get sick of reading about the same two people having sex over the course of more than one book. I wonder if this is one of the reasons why LKH turned Anita Blake into such a vagina-centered waste of space. At least it's something new to write about.

Anybody else have some thoughts on either of those topics? Kis's question, or my worries, or both?


Bernita said...

Think the advice is good.
If it's the same world,one wouldn't want one set to be viewed as fan-fic or, worse, plagarism.

December/Stacia said...

Oooh, that would be awful, Bernita!

Anonymous said...

Antiquing, huh? Did you run into Lovejoy? What a great character he is, huh? -V95

bunnygirl said...

I love antiquing. Now, if only there were real antiques in my corner of the world! Lucky, lucky you!

December/Stacia said...

Lol V95, no, no Lovejoy, although we did talk about him while we were there. Wishing we had that instinct. And money--we didn't buy anything but two used paperbacks for £1.

Yes, Bunnygirl, but see above. No money at all. Still fun to look, though, but some of that stuff I would have given quite a bit to have. :-) I would have given even more to have a house big enough to fit it in.

BernardL said...

Even if a writer uses the Kama Sutra, to put the characters in a novel through their paces sexually, a time comes when the personalities, plots, and surroundings will be the only interesting variables in the writing. Those variables will be what hold the readers’ loyalty in a series, and not the act of sex, no matter how exotic/erotic it is. I think your worry about holding the reader in a series with mainly sex between the same two characters is well founded.

Anna J. Evans said...

The secret to keeping the sex exciting is conflict, I'd think. You need conflict between the two characters and an external conflict that challenges their relationship.

I know the characters in PD, they're a long way from happy ever after, and have at least a few more 'interesting banging books' in them. Especially since Megan has a lot of issues despite the fact that she's a therapist you know?

:) I feel so speshul, having read the book already, lol.


Anna (who should be working...sigh..I am lazy lazkins today as well with no excuse because the kid is actually napping...for once.)

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anna.

And you can never see too much of that - sex/anguish/etc.

Tension is just enough sometimes - can have a whole series on it! Ex: Moonlighting, Buffy/Angel, Bones!

I am ADDICTED to Bones, and will watch it forever until they finally do the deed!

Course, once they do I will lose interest.

BUT! If they fight or something and then split up.. and keep tension.. I will be interested again!

Sad, aren't I. ;)

Robyn said...

Blood on the Rocks...now I'm hearing Neil Diamond singing that.

December/Stacia said...

Yeah, Bernard, it is a concern. These books aren't actually erotic, so there's nowhere near as many sex scenes as in my other work, but I do worry if people will get bored of the two main characters having sex once or twice per book.

Thanks Anna! I do think every scene I have planned is going to show us something new about the characters and their relationship, I guess I just...as I said above, worry that people will skim over them because after the first one they don't care anymore. Hopefully you're right--I think Greyson is sexy enough and their relationship is interesting enough that the sex will still be good for the readers too. I'm so glad I have you to crit and tell me if it is or not!

December/Stacia said...

Mmmm, Isabella, sex and anguish...sigh. I do love the sex and anguish. And lol about Bones. Shame, isn't it, that so many shows start to suck after the sex finally happens? Moonlighting is an excellent example.

Good, Robyn, you're supposed to! The title has several different meanings as relates to the book.

littlebirdblue said...

I just wanted to say hello, Stacia. Do you plan to eventually drop the December from your December/Stacia signature?

December/Stacia said...

No, I'm both. I'm still writing erotic romance for EC (and maybe NY one day) as December and hope to do so for the rest of a long career. :-) I love erotic romance and I love EC, just like I love urban fantasy, and I want to do both!

kis said...

First, just let me say you're my hero, December. You've really gone above and beyond to help me out, a couple of times now. I just want you to know how much I appreciate that.

The "Gwellian Whores/Soldiers of Thorak" thing sounds like it's about my best option. Not that those Soldiers from Thorak live in a world devoid of sex, mind you, far from it. In fact, they speak of sex in (ahem) a soldier's vernacular, if you know what I mean. It's just that the stories (and the sex, cough, cough) aren't very romantic in Thorak.

Bernita brought up one of my main fears. I'd hate to write my BFF under the name Tolkiensdotter, and my LSF (little sexy fantasy) under McHotpants, and then have people accuse poor McHotpants of plagiarism.

Also to be considered, I don't want a bunch of sixteen year olds liking my tamer stuff and then going off in search of more, only to have to have their eyeballs surgically cleaned and their minds flushed out. Granted, my tamer stuff is more George R.R. Martin than J.R.R. Tolkien, but it's definitely less explicit than the few stories I've been working on lately.

That said, all my erotic stories are stand-alone. They feature some spinoff characters from my other work--secondaries that I fell in lurve with--but they are a series only in the sense that all of Tolkien's Middle Earth based fiction is a series, which is to say, not really a series at all. Just like not every novel set during the French Revolution is a romance, not all my stuff is remotely similar in tone or theme. And unfortunately, those publishers of erotic romance and straight erotica would likely not be the best fit for my cleaner stuff. (I'd add more sex, but I have word count issues as it is.)

Of course, being as yet unpublished, I'm really jumping the gun here. But I'd rather have an idea of what my options are now, rather than get that first book published only to find out I don't have any.

You've given me a lot to think about, December, and some good ideas to consider. Thanks for your help. Once again, you really are my hero.

Arin Rhys said...

LKH -- A prime example of what not to do.

Good advice!

Anonymous said...

I've been thinking about the name thing a lot lately too, as I'm looking into branching out in genre. The conclusion I've come to is that Michele Lee is for dark stuff. Dark world or dark ending or whatever. You *might* get a happy ending. But generally it'll be pyricc or not resolved or not happy at all.

Then I have one for porn. Erotica has always meant explicit sex to me. And I know not everyone agrees, but a real hot sex scene can be a plot for a short.

Then probably one for the cheesy romances that are hiding in my head.

Maybe another one for the YA plans I have. Maybe I'll use the same one a for the romances. Maybe not, because I include GLBT in romance and some parents would automatically ban me if they realized I write both. But then, my YA plans aren't so much on the back burner as they've fallen behind the stove and I'll fight with it later.

December/Stacia said...

Kis, you make me blush. It was no big deal, it's not like I don't email Briana a million times a day anyway because she's so awesome.

I was thinking about the titles, though, and I thought you could have the books differentiated by cover art too, so people knew what they were getting. If all the romance ones have, say, "Passion" in the title or something? Just a thought.

Besides, there's lots of pubs like, say, JUNO, or Kensington, that do different levels of sensuality. :-)

Indeed, Arin. Author behavior aside, I know a ot of readers weren't and aren't pleased with the highly sexed road the LKH books have gone down. That's why I made sure to have sex right up front. If the reader knows right off the bat there's going to be descriptive sex happening, they won't mind if they end up with more than one scene per book (not that I ever intend to go the Magic Vagayjay route, oh no.)

December/Stacia said...

I think a real hot sex scene can be a plot for a short. One of my first short stories--the one that ended up in the "Best of" Torrid Teaser compilation--was basically an interlude between a couple, with a marriage proposal ending. It wasn't a classic romance story because there wasn't really conflict, but I liked it (and so did WCP-Torrid and the reviewers, thankfully.)

I think it's always a good idea to use a different name for YA, for that very reason. I know a few writers who do adult and YA and they all use a different name, even if the connection is public.

December/Stacia said...

Oh, and Michele, congrats on your sale!

ERiCA said...

Hmm, interesting conundrum! I'd guess the same thing, that splitting a continuity series across publishers would be either complicated or impossible. Best of luck to the author!

Tempest Knight said...

Don't worry about being lazy for a while. It's good for the mind and body. ;)

December/Stacia said...

It's amazing the complications that can turn up, isn't it Erica?

Thanks Tempest. I need to get back in the saddle now, though--publishing waits for no girl! Mostly.

writtenwyrdd said...

"vagina-centered waste of space" LOL! That pegs it exactly (not to make a sexual metaphore or anything)

I like it when you get a tag line that tells you what series a book belongs in. But I think that if the markets vary distinctly, the trend to use a different author name is a wise one.

Cora Zane said...

Ooh, antiquing! I love going to the local shops, but a lot of the items you see are in ill repair. I'd love to find an antique French door for my hallway. *drool* Then again, I might ought to wait until the Mini monster gets out of the terrible twos before I get anything with glass panes.

As for the series books things... I think it's a smart idea to keep the books all the same heat level. As for publisher hopping with your series... some authors do it without any trouble, but unless you're Christine Feehan, I think it's a good idea to keep the books in one place. Who knows. Maybe your publisher will bundle them one day and make them into one big collection. ^_^

December/Stacia said...

Heh heh, Written. You said "pegs".


Yep, I'm very happy with my names. What fun! I'm tempted to branch into another genre so I can make up some more!

Yep, Cora, it's best to wait. I'm not even buying new furniture to replace our formula-and-food stained couches until the girls are older. That's what slipcovers are for, right?

Yes, I agree on the heat level. One or two sex scenes per book is enough to keep me happy and I think the readers too.

McKoala said...

I think that the important thing is to remember that even a long-term relationship can have tension. So many authors build a relationship to that first hot sex scene - then they wake up, have coffee and go to the supermarket. Unless they have a flaming row in the first aisle their relationship has lost all interest to me. Much more interesting to keep us guessing - one of the couple gets up/disappears. Is he/she into her/him, or not? You're building up that tension again - all the way to the next release. Will these people ever really bond - or will there always be some kind of obstacle, preferably internal?

Sorry got to run, doorbell! hope coherent

December/Stacia said...

Thanks McKoala! That's what I'm hoping to do--there's a whole bunch of personal stuff for these two to slog through, and that's not even counting the external stuff either!