Thursday, August 31, 2006

Oh blah blah blah

So it's the whatever anniversary of Princess Diana's death, and we're all supposed to be weeping and gnashing our teeth in misery because the world lost such a wonderful, sweet, kind, person.

Fie! I'm not glad she's dead, but I thought she was a dumb bitch. A woman who went on national television to talk shit about the father of her children. A mentally unstable woman who tried to manipulate and change a thousand years of tradition to suit her own ends. A woman who used people, made bad judgements, expected everyone else to feel sorry for her, and generally created her own hell.

It's a shame. I do feel bad for anyone who makes their life such a misery. But a saint? Come on! The best thing that woman ever did for herself was die before people could realize what a vacuous fame-whore she really was. The cult that's built up around her (and c'mon, she wasn't that pretty or stylish. Catherine Zeta-Jones has more flair and flatters herself better in clothing. The only reason people think Diana was so stylish is that British women in general look like overly fussy schlubs all the time. Even Diana's famous wedding dress was frumpy and unflattering, I thought) makes me ill. Dodi Fayed was a dumb ass rich kid playboy bent on star-fucking his way into the National Enquirer, and Diana wasn't much better. Am I the only one who looks at that famous interview done back in '80,'81, the one where Prince Charles said something like "Yes, I love her, whatever love means"? And everyone says what a horrible thing that was for him to say...but if you look at Diana standing next to him, she looks smug. Like she's about to go phone all those kids who were mean to her in school and shout "Nyah nyah nyah!" It's not the face of a woman in love, that's all I'm saying. If you can find the video (and with all the Diana-madness we have to endure every year at this time I'm sure you can) have a look at it again with that in mind. You'll see what I mean. (Update--I found the interview online here. It's a bit grainy, so I don't know if you'll get the full effect.)

People who knew her as a child say how she always insisted she was going to marry a Duke at least. People who knew her when she was dating Charles say she totally changed her personality in order to nab him, making him think she was a different person, one who actually liked him and shared his interests. After they married, she went out of her way to upstage him and make him look stupid whenever possible. And we're supposed to think she's a wonderful person?

Does a good mother expose her children to the kind of scrutiny and negative public attention she subjected hers to, in her media war with their father? Does a good mother fire their beloved nanny because she feels threatened by their affection for her? And then publicly accuse said nanny of aborting a pregnancy caused by the children's father? Not last time I checked. I always thought that was the type of action only a selfish, manipulative egomaniac would perform. Oh guess what, I was right.

Don't even get me started on that fucking Elton John song. I remember when she died, and for the next couple of weeks at work, the soft-rock station we were forced to listen to played that goddamn thing like twice an hour. Every hour. All day. And we had to hear celebrity-worshipping morons call in to the station too, sobbing about what a "special person" she was. Just like they thought if they ever met her, she wouldn't look right through them because they couldn't throw her expensive parties or write songs about her.

Sure, she did some good. She touched AIDS patients when nobody would. She deserves credit for that, although I've never heard of any other member of the Royal Family who refused to do the same. But her later causes were a bit facile, weren't they? As Hilary Mantel said in her novel Beyond Black (and this is from memory because I'm too lazy to go upstairs and get the book) "Campaigning against land mines isn't exactly controversial, is it? Everybody is against land mines. It's not like she took a big stand and came out against dolphins or something." Prince Charles created the Prince's Trust as a young man, an incredible charity that helps teach young people valuable skills, get starts in business (including financial aid), earn school qualifications, all kinds of things--practical things--that Diana never went near because it wasn't high profile enough. He also championed organic goods and farming methods long before they were fashionable (Diana laughed at his environmental interests). His Duchy Originals line of organic foods donates all profits to charities (including rural housing projects and international Red Cross appeals) and champions organic, earth-sustaining methods both of growing produce and raising livestock.

It won't surprise you, I'm sure, to know I'm a fan of his, and of Camilla, who I adore. C'mon, the woman introduced herself to him in the 70s with the line, "My great-grandmother was the mistress of your great-grandfather. So how about it, then?" That takes balls, my friend, a streak of banditry we would all do well to emulate. That's a woman with real style, no matter how cruel people might claim she's "not pretty enough". (I've heard she's very pretty in person, and as someone who generally looks like a moonfaced ogre in pictures but am actually okay in person, I believe it.) I'm also a monarchist and so dislike her attempts to "liven it up" or whatever. I also really like the Queen. I even have a soft spot for poor Prince Phillip, a man destined to shove his foot right into his mouth any time he gets the chance to speak.

But Diana...bleh. I didn't want her to die, but I didn't like her one little bit, either.

*I should hopefully be getting some good news very soon, and I'll post it when I do!*

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Where's the Sex?

You know why my life is so amusing? Because last night at midnight someone called our house, propositioned my husband, then when he handed the phone to me, asked if we would like to have a threesome.

I politely declined.

Is this what people are doing now? After I hung up we thought we should have said yes and told them to meet us at the convenience store across the street, then watched to see if anyone showed up.

My goodness.

It's especially ironic because I've been having a very strange form of writer's block the last week or so. I'm tired of writing sex scenes.

I know, I know. You gasp. You're shocked. How could I--sexy writer extraordinaire--ever get tired of writing steamy stuff?

I don't know how it happened, but it did. Somewhere in between the fifth and sixth sex scene of one of my WIPs I realized I was getting a little bored. Then when I was on the second scene of a different project I just couldn't get it going. My prose kept leaping into purple. I felt like it needed to heat up but I just couldn't seem to get it there.

Re-reading it, it was fine. But I didn't care. I could not bring myself to be excited about these two people and their outdoor lovin'. It was even worse because the hero is a kick-ass dark medieval man, my favorite kind, all tortured and misunderstood.

Maybe it's my fault. Maybe I'm just not feeling the short story format these days. Maybe I'm just experiencing a lull. I dunno. But I'm really getting tired of writing more and more and more sex scenes.

So I'm working on something else, something I'm really excited about--I mentioned it a few weeks ago when I first got the idea, remember? I wrote a query for it. I'll be sending that and the beginning to the Crapometer. It's about 7k words right now, but I'm setting aside several hours a day from now on to get going...because I love it, because I feel good about it, and, honestly, because the sex won't happen until the last half of the book (as I have it planned, anyway) and I'm kind of looking forward to that.

Anyone else ever have writer's block in a specific area like that?

Thanks for the stories of clumsiness. ("And now...Stories of Clumsiness...brought to you by Band-Aid.") They made me and my poor bruised finger feel much better.

Also, does anyone know any therapists (not physcial therapists, but head therapists) who would be willing to give me some info on their working routines? Their education and qualifications? General background stuff?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Mysterious Disappearing Week

I had two more blog entries planned for the week, but since I'm a pantser not a planner, you're getting this whinging little rant about the days I lost this week.

I was up all night Monday. See, I was trying to place an order on Amazon US. My brother gave me a gift certificate for it for my birthday, and I had no idea what to get but since shipping takes so long from the US I thought I'd better get to ordering. So I browse around, la la la, and have a genius idea. I can't get my face soap here, but they have it on Amazon. I find it. I put it in my cart. The prices are so good I throw in another bar of soap and a lip gloss. Yay! Add a couple of books and I'm done.

Go to checkout. My item total is like $47. They want an extra $50 for shipping. Huh?

Turns out, the Burt's Bees soaps don't come strictly from Amazon, they're in conjunction with or something and they obviously don't want to ship internationally. So I tried to change the shipping addresses to have them sent to my mother. Then she could ship them to me. (Trust me, this was exactly as exciting to actually do as it is to read about.) I changed the address on the wrong items. I couldn't fix it. I finally did. Shipping costs down. All well.

Until it hit me that the whole point of ordering the stuff from Amazon was so my Mom wouldn't have to go ship them to me.

So I cancelled it all. Meh. I'll fix the order later. It was 4 am.

And the Faery woke up, and didn't want to go back to sleep. So I put in Season Three of Nip/Tuck and ended up watching five episodes--I'm only two away from the ending of the season and finally, finally finding out who The Carver is! I have my suspicions, oh yes. And when did Julia become such an idiot? Your ex husband says your son's girlfriend is a racist, and the girlfriend stands in front of you and says he's a jerk for giving nose jobs to "Jews", and you tell your ex he's out of line? Huh? If one of my girls ever has a boyfriend who says something like that to me I'd kick the little bastard out of my house and tell him never to come near my child again. Anyway.

So basically, I was on my third or fourth wind, and finally went to sleep at like 1 in the afternoon, napped till 5 or so there you go. Tuesday's, as they say, gone with the wind.

Yesterday I almost broke my finger. I was trying to kill a fly. Since there are no screens on the windows, we occasionally get these little flying bastards in the house. I was getting ready to start dinner and nobody likes to cook when there's a fly around, right? Just like nobody doesn't like Sarah Lee. The fly landed on the ceramic-tiled kitchen floor. I grabbed what was handy, which turned out to be a semi-empty cigarette pack. I snuck over to within slamming distance of the fly. I slammed. The cigarette pack fly from my hand and I slammed my middle finger hard on the tile. The fly, of course, buzzed away, laughing, while I screamed and tried not to pass out. He got his, though. The hubs came in and got him with a rolled-up magazine. Ha! Ha!

Meanwhile I can barely move my finger. We had dinner. It still hurt, and I realized I couldn't really bend it well. So I went to the hospital. Digging up change to pay for parking was fun, as I could barely use my right hand (yes, you have to pay to park at the hospital here, which must be great in a real emergency.) The nurse in her frumpy blue dress prodded my finger, asked me to bend it, then told me I probably just overextended the ligaments and so should take ibuprofin and flex it a lot. So that's what I've been doing. Flexing, taking Advil, and watching an amazing bruise blossom under the middle joint of my middle finger.


Please make me feel better, and tell me about something clumsy and stupid you've done?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

A Heroine Needs a Hero Like A Fish Needs A Bicycle

A few years ago--2003, if I'm remembering correctly, which my husband says I am--he, our friend George, our Princess, and I went to DragonCon in Atlanta. Yes, that's right. Where once I'd made the 12-hour drive from Ft. Lauderdale to Hotlanta in order to see the mighty Supersuckers play live (and they fucking rocked, baby), now I was doing it to see a bunch of grown men dressed like Mr. Spock (and a lot of grown women dressed as Drusilla, complete with creepy baby doll, too.)

Anyway, having just completed the shiny new manuscript for my very first novel, a piece of shit whose details I will not shame myself into admitting but which I still have a secret fondness for, especially since I still believe it contained three very good scenes. Unfortunately, as it ended up tipping the wordy scales at about 114k, those three scenes did not do much to redeem the book itself.

I actually agreed to go to DragonCon not just because my hubby and George like to go to comic book conventions, not just because I was dying to buy myself some cheap Buffy-inspired jewelry. Not even because in the almost ten years the hubs and I have been together, I've developed a fondness for comics and the attendant geekiness that go with them. No, I was going to DragonCon because Luke Perry was going to be there.

Oh yessss. I was gonna meet Dylan McKay if I had to beat someone over the head with my then-20-month-old's very heavy diaper bag to do it.

(Okay, I am one of the hugest 90210 fans ever, really. And I have this creepy ability to recognize a 90210 alum, no matter how bit the part, at 20 paces. "Look!" I'll say, as a face flashes across the screen while some bad Sci-Fi channel film is playing. "It's Steve's crazy girfriend, the one who tried to kill herself because Brenda got the part in the play and she didn't!" Or maybe, "Look! It's the guy Kelly had a crush on who turned out to be gay so they were just good friends instead!" Or even, "Look OUT-it's Donna's stalker, Garret Slan!" Unfortunately, I have never seen Brandon's Bigoted Girlfriend ever again, which is a shame, because she was really funny.)

Anyway, so I agreed to go to DragonCon to bask in the glow of Mr. Perry. And, let's face it, probably to attempt to touch him inappropriately. And as part of the information they give when you you arrive at DragonCon and get your roadie-esque plastic badge, you get a booklet that lists all of the panels and groups and plastic toy-making workshops and Special Effects on Your Home Computer for Guys Who Will Never, Ever Get Laid if They Don't Manage to Build A Computer Woman A La Wierd Science workshops.

In the booklet is a fiction panel discussion. Women in Fiction. Hey, I didn't have much else to do but wait for Mr. McKay--I mean, Mr. Perry--to show up to discuss his Showtime show Jeremiah (Or so he thought, ha ha ha. I planned to spend the entire hour finding out if Shannon Doherty was really as bitchy and evil as Brenda Walsh), so why not?

So upon my hour, I trotted to the Marriot Annex basement room B or whatever, some dingy cell in the warren of similar cells, far away form the action, to sit in on this panel discussion. I'd already seen Richard Kiehl and Lou Ferrigno, so there wasn't much point in standing around.

Among the panelists were Betty Ballantine and Sherrilyn Kenyon. Now, Sherrilyn Kenyon meant nothing to me, but I realized as soon as they introduced the panelists to the whole twenty of us girls in the room that Sherrilyn Kenyon was also Kinley MacGregor, whose book Born in Sin I had just finished the day before we left for Atlanta. Yay! (Okay, stick with me. There really is a point. I promise.)

Ms. Kenyon's appearance at the con had not been publicized at all. There were only a few other people in the room, I think, who knew who she was.

Most of the women on the panel were sci-fi/fantasy writers. This was DragonCon, after all. I wish I could remember their names but honestly I can't. I only remember Betty and Sherrilyn/Kinley, who was perhaps not quite as young as in her photos but was still a very sweet, pretty lady.

One of the audience members asked a question, about what had drawn the panelists to fantasy in particular. Why did they write SF/F? What did they like best about it?

One by one, the panelists answered. "The heroines". "The strong heroines." "The tough heroines." And so on. They each explained how much it meant to them to read those books, because they hadn't realized women could be strong and capable or whatever and apparently each and every one of them had been raised in some cuddly pink gyno-world where no one ever let them see any movies or TV more strident or interesting than The Sound of Music, or read any books aside from Barbie Buys New Clothes. Seriously. I mean no disrespect but I have a hard time buying that "Nobody told me women could be interesting or smart or strong in real life" stuff from any woman born after about 1950, and even that's stretching it. You guys had Katherine Hepburn movies, FFS.

Until it got to Kinilyn (which is what I will call her because I am tired of typing out Sherrilyn/Kinley). She looked a little embarassed, a little shocked, as she explained that she frankly couldn't disagree with them all more, that she liked the tough manly heroes who got to fight with swords and beat people up, and that the female characters were basically uninteresting to her as long as there was an alpha male in the story.

The other women were horrified. How could Kinilyn say the girls weren't important? Werent's SF/F books all about--should be all about--

The Kick Ass Heroines?

They rather visibly shunned Kinilyn for the rest of the discussion. They weren't overtly rude, but you could see them dismiss her. She writes romance. She's not smart and brave like us. I doubt any of them consciously thought it, or deliberately tried to shut her out. They were just less interested in her after that.

When the panel was over, I had the chance to go talk to Kinilyn, and proceeded to act like a complete and total idiot. Eagerly, I explained that I'd just finished her book and how I loved it. So far so good. Now, in my defense, there was a very rude, very large woman in a wheelchair trying to cut into the conversation the whole time, even though I was there first and there were only three people in line. I stood aside and let them go, but by that point the room was essentially empty and I felt stupid. So when I had a chance, and I am still horrified by this, I explained to Kinilyn that I was a writer too, I'd just finished my first book, and wouldn't it be neat if I ended up with her publisher, too! Like we could be Publisher Pals or something.

I would have eased into it if I hadn't felt so pressured, but I did. I said it really fast and shy, with my face flaming.

I still cringe. I still bless Kinilyn, who must have thought I was a total and utter moron, and who I swear hid her pity well.

I don't remember exactly what she said, because by then my sanity had returned and I wanted to beat myself over the head with the hardcover copy of Born in Sin propped on the table, so I scuttled away as fast as I could.

The point of this? The point is, kick-ass heroines have their time and their place, and it ain't in frigging romance novels!

Expect Part 2, babies. I'm only getting warmed up.

Oh, and would you believe, Luke Perry cancelled at the last minute?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I Wrote a little Article

For the Erotic Romance blog, about a certain very graphic word that starts with c and ends with t. I use the word several times in the article (I lost count, but it's a lot) and hopefully managed to use it in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way (although I decided not to mention tongue-in-cheek in the article itself, all things considered.)

If you have any interest in reading it, I'd love it if you'd comment here or there or both and let me know what you think.

It's here.

I've been work, work, working and my fingers are sore. Not much happening in romance blog-land that I want to touch. We still have some whiny asses bitching about "unproductive" and "personal" bad reviews--apparently mentioning the name of the author in conjunction with the badly-reviewed work, as if-gasp-holding the author responsible for the work, makes it a personal attack now--and there's some rumblings about race and black romance writers that even I am not brave enough to go within several blogs' distance of. Or rather, I am that brave, I'm just not that stupid. (Okay, now I have to say something or you'll all think I'm hiding an evil, racist secret. But all I will say is that I don't care if you're black, blue, or green, if you write good books you deserve to have it acknowledged, and if you don't you deserve to be panned or ignored, but readers have a right to not read books with plots that don't interest them--I wouldn't read a "secret baby" book unless my life depended on it, personally. Pleasedon'tkillmeIhavetwochildren.)

Sorry this is so short, but I really have been playing in Blogland a little too much over the last hour or two-that c-word article took some time-so I should get some actual work done. It occured to me recently that if I want to be a writer I do need to actually do some of that pesky writing, so I shall go do that now.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Scot Wha Hae, or Glencoe Part 2

As one of my birthday gifties, I had £15 worth of book tokens for Waterstones. Which is seriously like the best kind of gift you can give me (not that you should all be giving me gifts. Several de-lurked and introduced themselves, which was lovely lovely, and again, if you're now linking to me & want a link back let me know. Anyway.)

I decided, as I do every time I go to the bookstore, of course, to see what kinds of romances are on the shelves. This particular Waterstone's (Exeter) even had a section titles "American Romance". Cool. So I had a look. Let's see...contemporary paranormal, Regency, Regency, Regency, Victorian (ooh! But I won't get it today), Georgian, contemporary paranormal...ah! A book with "Knight" in the title! Just the kind of thing I like...oh.

It's set in Scotland.

So I put it back and look for another. Oh, there's a guy on the cover with a sword! Oh...and a kilt. The shelves are full of kilts these days, just like how all over America there is the smell of burning dinners.

You know, rumor has it historicals are coming back, and nobody could be more pleased than me. I love historicals, love love love them, because I love history and this way I have my two favorite subjects all in one.

But enough with Scotland! Please! How many of you people saw Braveheart and decided to write a frigging book?

Of course I'm sure most of these books are not written by Braveheart fans who consider the movie research, although I have noticed a lack of research in a large portion of Scottish romances I've read (sometimes, you just want a historical and do't care that buying the book means you're going to be stuck with 380 pages of phonetically spelled accents-hae, havena, noo, etc.) And a large portion of them conform to Gabriele's Rules of Scottish Romances, which isn't always a bad thing--some of those Rules are Rules because no matter how many times we read them we still enjoy reading them.

But come on, people! Why Scotland? Why does it seem to be the only setting medievals are still published in? (I should have written, "in which historicals are still published", I know. But you know what? I've just been doing edits in which all of my imperfect grammar has been ruthlessly excised, so fuck you. I'm ending with a preposition. As Churchill said, "That is the sort of English up with which I will not put.") Why not give us some loveable strong alphas fighting for Richard I in France, or John in France, or go back a little further and involve our H/h in twisted doings during Stephen's reign? There's plenty of intrigue and delight in early medieval England--my beloved Planatgenets aired their family greivances across several continents--and still later. The Hundred Year's War! Medieval pirates (yes, they had them!) The frigging Spanish Armada! (Notice I'm not mentioning the Wars of the Roses. That is because I hereby claim them. I will be writing about them for at least my next two historicals. I also claim medieval Wales. You guys can have the rest. Except Jenn, because I know she's already got something medieval and Welsh cooking in her bookpot.)

I love Scotland. Hubs and I spent our honeymoon in Edinburgh and it is hands-down my favorite city I've ever visited. Scotland is truly beautiful. It's a fabulous place, and I think you should all go there because you will love it, too. I'm all for Scottish Independence and think it's wonderful that they have their own Parliament. We've even talked about moving there at some point. But it's not like it's the only place to set a historical romance (outside of London and the ton, of whom I am sick to death of reading.) There were wars and people being fiery all over England and Wales, too, and Ireland! (And I am really interested in reading about medieval Ireland, btw, and thinking of it for a book. My next medieval hero is Irish.)

But medieval Scotland was not this perfect land of milk and honey, either. And they DID NOT WEAR FRIGGING CLAN TARTANS, people! Not in the 13th & 14th centuries! Scottish history is rich and beautiful enough! Quit futzing about with it, quit stealing it and changing it and exploiting it. If you want to write kilts, write about 18th century Scotland, a rich and fertile time and place that nobody seems to want to touch for reasons unfathomable to me.(For that matter, the time of Mary Queen of Scots had enough intrigue and excitement and strife to fill Loch Ness twice over, with murdered bishops and exploding Prince consorts and all. Write about that!)

But Scotland is not the end-all be-all of medieval history. It's not the only place where men were men (again, more on that very soon. I'm formulating that rant, which will probably be a two-part rant but I can't promise anything) and ladies were ladies, or weren't ladies as the case may be. And honestly, I'm a little tired of seeing the poor Normans and English get the short end of the stick. They had their good points too. They weren't all murderous rapist baby-killing thieves. I swear.

So let's write some other times and settings, okay? Please?

Friday, August 11, 2006

Give me a Birthday Present

Okay, I wasn't going to say anything, but today is my birthday. And so you know what you should do?


If you've been reading here and not commenting, or if you've commented once or twice but not often, or whatever, comment now. Tell me something about yourself. How you found me. Things you like or don't like. Your favorite food. Whatever you want to say.

(This doesn't excuse anyone from commenting about my post below, btw. It's an additional duty you must perform because today is my birthday, and as we get older those days get considerably less special, don't they?)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

More About Heroes

I was going to discuss those irritating "kick ass" heroines today, and I do plan to very soon. But I was thinking about a question someone else asked somewhere else (if I can be any vaguer than that, please tell me and I will try) and decided to discuss that instead. Mainly because I'm not feeling very ranty. I'm tired and a little pensive and my MIL arrives tomorrow for the weekend so I'm apprehensive about that.

So here's what I was wondering. When you write a hero (or, if you are a man, when you write a heroine) do you fall in love with them?

I do, at least to some extent. I have to. I can't write a hero effectively if he doesn't have at least some qualities that I admire or am attracted to or, you know, obsessed with or whatever.

A while ago I had a story in mind. I had an opening scene. It was a pretty good scene. It was a pretty good story. But the hero...I just couldn't get into him. He was too much of a crusader. He cared too much about the poor and unfortunate. I just don't find that sexy.

Which makes me sound kind of shitty, I guess, but I can't help it. It's not that my heroes don't care about stuff, but the way this guy kept coming off was like some sort of Francis of Assisi or something. The kind of guy who would follow those silly permission guidelines that some college (I keep wanting to say Oberlin; am I right?) instituted in the early 90's. You remember, the one where anytime anyone wanted to touch anything or remove any clothing they had to ask first?

This isn't yet another discussion of manly heroes, though. It's more about what kinds of characters we write and why. I think there can tend to be an idea that if you're writing romantic heroes that you're in love with, you're basically writing a Mary Sue heroines to go with them, a thin stand-in for yourself so you can have this fantasy relationship with your perfect hero. That a real writer doesn't fall in love with their hero because they're writing someone who is perfect for their heroine, not for themselves. (And this is just the way my thoughts ran, it certainly wasn't suggested or implied by anyone at this other place.)

I don't think that's true, though, at all. Perhaps I'm just not talented enough, but to write a character really effectively I think I need to either love them or hate them. I need to feel strongly about them in order to convey them strongly on the page, if you know what I mean.

I fall in love with the heroines a little bit, too, though. Not in the same way, of course. But isn't making a new friend a little like falling in love? First you're interested in the other person, then you want to get to know them better, and you get together, and then maybe start talking on the phone, and at some point you do go through that same "falling in love" thing where they're basically the only person you want to talk to because it's so much fun to talk to them, as you learn all about them and they learn everything about you.

That's how it is with the heroines. Some of the things they do might irritate me but generally I admire and like them. I want to hang out with them. And--and this is something I'll go into another time--I get a little irritated when people say writers inject too much of themselves into a character. I'm a pretty complex kind of a lady. I have a lot of interests and a lot of opinions, and when you get right down to it, how many character traits are there out there that we don't all possess in ourselves?

So in a very roundabout way I guess that's the crux of the thing. When you write, how much of yourself are you investing? Do you have to love or hate your characters-does it make it more fun when you do?

And I almost forgot: a big huge Congratulations! to my great friend SW Vaughn, who sold a romantic suspense novel to Wild Child Publishing! No release date yet, but I'm very excited for her!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Happy Birthday

Today was my older daughter's fifth birthday. I know I was supposed to do a real post but it will have to wait until tomorrow. The day totally got away from me.

Monday, August 07, 2006


1. The second chapter of my short story is up at Indulge. (Note: I neglected to mention there is a sex scene in this chapter. It's relatively mild compared to some of my work, but still explicit. You may want to be sure your boss or child or whomever is not around when you read this one. Sorry for not saying it earlier.)

2. Looks like The Black Dragon, my medieval romance, will be released in December as an ebook. No word yet on wther or not it will also be released in print, or when. Fingers crossed!

3. I have a Library Thing now! Look under my links on the right!

I'll do a real post later today or early tomorrow.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

It's Real Literature! (Part 2 of "Old School")

I had a little epiphany the other day. Someone posted a comment about romances on another blog and I said something like, "Oh, you're judging all romances by one" or whatever. And I was actually a little irked. Not a lot irked, but a little irked.

Then I saw that article I linked to (which is turning up everywhere, btw.) And I started thinking about it. Cue epiphany.

Who cares?

Why do I care if someone thinks romances are crap? Why do I care of someone thinks they're easy to write, or dull, or stupid, or Not Real Books?

In other words, why do the opinions of the rude and pretentious matter to me?

A lot of people I know were pleased with that article. They thought this might be a step towards getting romances somehow recognized as art or something. And you know, that's fine. If it's important to them, that's fine. But for me it's a little like being good in bed. As long as the person who shares that activity with me (that would be my husband) is pleased, I don't care what people I've never slept with think about my performance.

And ultimately, I do believe all this "We're serious artists" stuff is bad for romance. Why? Because, as I said the other day, romances should be fun.

I think there are a lot of people who are trying so hard to prove that romances are smart and well-written and Worthy of Serious Consideration, that they've forgotten to write fun stuff. I've read some dull-as-dishwater romances, believe me. And I really think this is the reason why.

Romances have gotten so politically correct. So safe. So bland! You rarely see, for example, heroines who throw china and heroes who punch holes in walls and people who scream at each other and then start kissing and have angry, tearful sex on jets flying to their private island, where they'll connive to take over the corporation of some hapless fool who is the heroine's real father but she doesn't know it. Or whatever.

Part of this may be because such characters became a little cliche by about the early nineties (although one thing that does piss me off is when current writers pick on those 70's romances. Those writers had it a lot harder than we do, writing on typewriters all day and not having communities or blogs or email. They were published authors in an age where a woman having a career that she cared about was still an anomaly. So quit talking about how much better you are than those hacks, okay? Or how dumb and cliche their books were. They paved the way for you, and you should have some respect.) Part of it may be simply that such stories aren't fashionable at the moment-market trends do change. But I firmly believe there are a lot of women out there who are bored by the romances coming out now, who would jump all over something like that were it published now. Something big and blowsy and fun. Like The Crimson Petal and the White was touted as being before we all read it and realized it wasn't that sexy at all, not was it especially fun, and the ending sucked.

I think this is why paranormals have become so big. Because vampires are allowed to be sort of smooth and sexist (mmmm). Werewolves are allowed to be rude alpha males (in fact, it's pretty much a requirement, isn't it?) Erotic romance is part of this, too. Lots of action, lots of sex, lots of excitement. Not page after page of the heroine's crusade to help the poor, or whining about the man who left her when she got pregnant, or whatever.

The point is, I'm tired of hearing about and reading about and seeing articles about how romance writers should be taken seriously and look how good these books are and what modern topics they cover. I realize it's necessary in some places to keep new readers coming into the fold. But the people who we seem to be trying so hard to impress are never going to care. They just won't. A romance could win a Pulitzer and they'll still say romance is crap. So why bother? Why not just say, "Yeah, and lots of people love reading my crap, so there."

Let's all try it, shall we? Let's be proud to write fun stuff, to write books people enjoy reading.

It's like that guy Miss Snark overheard talking about his Life of the Mind. Screw you, you pretentious weed. It's probably easy to live a life of the mind when nobody wants to talk to you because your head is so far up your own ass you're practically a gordian knot.

People like that aren't worth my time, and they shouldn't be worth yours.

So bring on Lady Sheba St. John and her mortal enemy, the handsome Lord Devlin, and their forbidden passion!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Famine to Feast--for the moment--and a little end note

If the length of the title doesn't clue you in, I have words, words, words all over the place. ("Because I was afraid of worms, Roxanne! Worms!")

Ever have one of those days where it seems like you get a million story ideas, each one better than the last, so good you're tempted to abandon your current WIP and the work you planned to start next and start on the new idea?

I've had two days like this now. Last night I couldn't get to sleep I was so excited. Now I am literally bussing like a cokehead over a different idea. (Also maybe caffeine is involved.) Seriously. I was reading something and a random sentence jumped out at me and a whole book fell into my head.

It's great. It's also really, really bad and dangerous. You know why?

Reread that second paragraph. See the part where it says, "you're tempted to abandon your current WIP and the work you planned to start next..."? Get it now?

I would be more excited about this burst of creativity, but part of me is convinced it's that nasty little sneak, the Subconscious Fear of Failure, working in combination with Old Lazy. If I never finish another book, I'll never sell another book, but I can keep writing newer and better ideas! The next one will surely be the one I finish, right? Of course! Why wouldn't I finish a book with such fantastic potential, the book sure to rocket me to the top of the NYT bestseller list?

I'll tell you why. Because halfway through that-once I'm through my clever opening and the story is really getting going, I'll get a little bored because that first burst of excitement will fade, and I'll decide it all sucks, and instead of working through it so I can get to the point where I know it doesn't suck again, I'll start something else! Something better! Something...shiny.

Plus...there's The Shield on DVD to watch. I'm a much better writer after I've watched Vic Mackey kick some ass for a couple of hours, right? Or after a little snack. Or maybe a movie. Then a cigarette. Then they might show a good rerun of Frasier or something. And next thing you know...thassright. I've writte 200 words and wasted my whole evening.

So while part of me is way, way excited about this new story, I'm not going to hurry up and start writing it (except for as much of the plot I can get, written in longhand--which is how I always do my synopses before starting work) until it's had some time to sit in my head and I can be sure it isn't just my Sneaky Sub trying to distract me, magpie-like, with Shiny New Story Ideas.

Some Random Notes:

So excited! I almost hit 30 comments on my last post (and I haven't forgotten about Part 2, or the Kick Ass Heroines, or any of the other stuff. It's all written down where I won't lose it, I promise, and besides, that shit's in my head all the damn time anyway.) I know it's actually more like 27 because I had that lame-ass spammer show up, but still. It's more than I've ever had. Simple minds, simple pleasures, you know. That was a very cool simple pleasure for me.

And on that note, sometime in the next few days I plan to update my links (adding, not removing). SO if you want to link to me and would like me to link to you, let me know. It might be good to keep in mind that I do read the blogs I link to every day, and that generally they are the only blogs I read. I go through them one by one (although, as I say on the sidebar, in no particular order). If you're not there, I probably won't check yours, just because I either have to dig through comments every time or I have to bookmark you and I always forget to bookmark. So either comment or shoot me an email.