Friday, November 30, 2007

You don't bring me lotion...anymore

And that's a good thing.

They're all out there now, you see. The magazines loaded with "holiday gift ideas". I've been avoiding them, for the most part, because I rarely bother to read magazines of any kind anymore. (And even when I did, the only one I bothered with regularly was Maxim, and the British Maxim sucks. Seriously. Take out all the ironic humor and fun, add a bunch of naked women and some seriously shitty attitudes).

But yesterday I was thumbing through Skye magazine, which comes free every month with our cable and is usually tossed unread. They had a little article about the Dr. Who Christmas episode though so I took it out of its plastic wrapping and opened it.

And there it was. The "Buy for Her!" article. And what were half of those gifts?

Frigging lotion. Bath kits. Environmentally correct body salves made from guano and recycled tea leaves or whatever. Make-up kits. Excuse me, but anyone who buys me any of those (who buys someone else make-up? How do you know what colors to get? Maybe they're like me and have sensitive skin?) will get a polite thank-you and my undying secret contempt.

Okay, maybe not that harsh. It is the thought that counts, after all, and people who know me will tell you, honestly, that I have more fun buying gifts for others than I do getting them. Foreals. But seriously, lotion? Why don't you just hand me a card that says, "I don't know you at all"?

I blame a lot of this on the idea that gift cards are somehow impersonal. I can tell you, though, a bookstore or Amazon gift card tells me you know me a lot better than a basket full of Jean Nate, because being able to get some free books=my idea of Best Holiday Ever. Gift cards may be impersonal, but let's face it; so are those "What to buy for Her/Him/the Boss/your neighbor" articles. Just like a few years ago when Amazon promised overnight shipping for Father's Day gifts so they'd be there in time--but only offered it on the items Amazon apparently thought were appropriate Father's Day gifts, which included golf equipment but did not include Wolverine graphic novels. And nothing I could do would get those gifts in time, because they'd set the days before FD aside just to ship golfing equipment, plaster ducks, ties, coffee table books about sports, etc.

Lotion is a bad gift. Most women already have a ton of it, because every year somebody forks it over for some holiday. Women who use it have a brand they already like. Women who don't aren't going to change because somebody gave it to them for free. And honestly, although I am probably the least easily offended person I know when it comes to matters of gender, I think it is a little offensive, because the implication is there's nothing I--or any other woman--enjoy more than spending hours in the bathroom. When in fact I enjoy quite a lot of things more.

I'm tired of being told pampering myself involves bubble baths and cloying fragrances. When for men pampering themselves means playing golf or doing cool stuff with their car or reading or whatever. You want to pamper me? Cook. Or, y'know, diamonds are always good too. :-)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Um. Um um um.

I am stuck.

I don't even have a blog post for the day, so let's do this again. You suggest a topic. Give me something to write about.

I do have a few little things to share though. Remember a while ago, when I blogged about chandeliers etc. made from human bones? Someone over on Livejournal payed a visit to an ossuary in the Czech Republic and posted some pictures. Amazing. Check them out here.

One of my favorite books from my teen years, Pamela Des Barres' I'm With the Band, was apparently reissued a couple of years ago, and I had no idea. The hubs and I went to Bristol yesterday and I found it at Forbidden Planet, so yay! Just as much fun as I remember it being, too.

Because I was away all day and struggling mightily with Unholy Ghosts (groan), I failed to respond to any comments on my last post. But really, what could I say? You're all geniuses, with all sorts of nifty info right at your fingertips. I am proud you bother to read my blog.

What else? Hubs and I rewatched season one of Monk while he was off work (Thurs-yesterday, today was his first day back) and really enjoyed ourselves. I am tired. We've had a couple of dr. appointments because of Princess' flat feet (inherited from the other side of the family, ahem, as everyone on MY side has aristocratically high arches) and they are giving her some prescription insoles to help strengthen the muscles in her ankles. It won't change her feet but it will hopefully help her ankles to stop wobbling.

And that's it. You see how dull I am. Sorry. Hopefully by Friday the floodgates will have reopened.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


And that's my day at the League of Reluctant Adults blog. We're talking about cliches.

Monday, November 26, 2007

What do you know?

A response to my metrics over on livejournal got me thinking.

The comment alluded to the famous "horse-head-in-the-bed" Godfather scene, but didn't menton names. It occurred to me then, not only do I know the owner of the bed's name--Jack Woltz--I know the horse's name. It was Khartoum.

Just like I know Ashley Wilkes' real first name was George. Just like I know Doc Brown's time machine needed 1.21 gigowatts of energy for the flux capacitor to work.

I also know the name of Nick and Nora Charles' dog (Asta--perennial crossword puzzle favorite). I know Captain Queeg's full name was Philip Francis Queeg. I know the Millenium Falcon made the kessel run in less than 12 parsecs. I know the man who shot President Garfield was named Charles Guitaeu, and that he said in court, "Your Honor, I confess to the shooting of the President but not the killing." Typhoid Mary's last name was Mallon. The Beatle's first drummer was Stu Sutcliffe. Amylase is a digestive enzyme in saliva. There are almost 300 different germs which cause the "common cold", which is why there's no cure for it--it's not one cold, it's hundreds with the same symptoms.

And I'm boring you with all of this because I find it interesting, how we remember things. Test me on some of the stuff I learned in high school and I have no idea, but I can tell you that defenestration means falling out of a window or triskadekaphobia is fear of the number 13 without batting an eyelash.

Why do we hold on to some bits of knowledge and lose others? Not even always more interesting bits of information. But some things seem to stick in our heads, and stay there.

What bits are you holding on to?

Unholy Ghosts

New Words: 5,641
Total wordcount: 64,649
The Good: Oooh, men getting all protective and angry! New information makes pieces get closer to fitting together!
The Bad: We might have caught a bad guy! And we’re about to watch him get the living shit kicked out of himself.
The Gross: None at the moment.
The rampant drug use: Just regular addictions.
Location: Drug den, car, behind a messy desk, on a lawn
Downspeech: “Ain’t gonna see me, sweets. You just keep him by the building.”
I Hate My Work: This is going to be way too long, or way too short, you couldn’t pace a book properly to save your life, you talentless hack.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

This should have gone in yesterday's post

Unholy Ghosts

New Words: 9k or so, throughout the week
Total wordcount: 59,008
The Good: Woo-HOOO! Big makeout scene! A sex scene (they made me do it, knew I wouldn’t be able to resist)
The Bad: Oh, dear. We’ve totally hurt someone we care about. Also, bad guys hitting people and killing people.
The Gross: Dead person left in Chess’ bed.
The rampant drug use: a banned pill found in a tunnel full of dead people.
Location: Bar, rainy streets, Lex’s place, Chess’ place
Downspeech: “You ain’t count on no rules to save you, Chess. You oughta know that. Don’t know where your head was.”
I Hate My Work: You’re never going to get all this tied up, you’ve written yourself into a corner, you suck.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Just a short one

and very late. Both girls were in school this morning, and the hubs is off work for a few days, so we headed off into a nearby town to do a little shopping. Of course we bought nothing but it was nice to be out on our own anyway.

Had an okay Thanksgiving. Being sick didn't help. But we had turkey and all the trimmings, I made pumpkin pie, and we watched our Thanskgiving movies.

First was Planes, Trains and Automobiles, after which we had a long discussion of the genius that was John Candy, with analysis of our favorite Candy films.

And then...L.A. Confidential, which is one of the greatest films ever made. There is no limit to how much I adore this movie. Every performance in it is perfect. The plot is amazing. The look of it, the dialogue, everything. And freaking Titanic beat it for Best Picture. I'd love to know if that movie still holds up as well as this one. I bet it doesn't.

And now we're watching Raiders of the Lost Ark.

What are your Thanksgiving movies? Which John Candy film is your favorite?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I never do this, and I hope I'm not jinxing myself...

But since I did a longer post yesterday than I planned (stupid woman!!! I saw her car this morning--she'd back in to her spot. HA!), and I'm reaching a pivotal scene in Unholy Ghosts so really want to get back to it, so...

I'm going to post a snippet.

I'll probably remove it after a day or two, but here it is. Keep in mind this is a first draft, please! :-)

**** missed it.****

Oh, and...Tionna has done it again.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

In Which my Bad Mood leads me to behave in a most unmannerly fashion

First, I posted at the League of Reluctant Adults blog, about what I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving.

So here's what happened.

It's raining today. So after I picked Princess up from school we're walking along the gravel road that serves as a parking lot, and we're sticking fairly close to the cars because there's a lot of puddles and I'd rather the girls not get their legs and feet wet (we're all wearing raincoats.)

There are two cars left to pass before we get to ours. The first is a red minivan kind of thing, and the woman who owns it is loading her kids in. All her kids are standing in the fairly narrow space between her car and the blue car next to it, beyond which is mine.

We wait, but she sees us and steps back a bit so we can pass. At which point, Blue Car Woman starts backing up and almost runs over Princess.

I yank Princess back. Blue Car Woman has stopped. I yell, "Hey! You almost hit my child!"

She sits there another minute, then rolls down her window. So I say it again. "You almost hit my child, were you even looking where you were going?"

She says, snippily, "Yes, I was."

Me: "Well, you weren't doing a very good job of it, because you almost hit my child."

She: "Do you drive a car?"

Me (who knows good and damn well what inspired THAT little comment, and it has to do with me not pronouncing "can't" as "cahn't": "Yes, I do, I drive every day, and I certainly know how to use my mirrors. This is a school, you fucking moron, you need to be more careful."

She starts to say something else, but I say, "Oh, fuck off," and turn away. So she pulls back into her spot. I wait for her to pull out. She is apparently waiting for me to walk behind her, as if I'd give her another shot at my kids. Finally she rolls down her window and I say, "Are you going to go, or what?"

And she--I still can't believe this--crinkles up her snotty little face and says, "Are you going to stand there, or what?" Yes, that's right. I was mimicked by a grown woman.

It goes a little hazy there. I'm sure I told her she should go because I wouldn't walk behind her car again. I suspect I called her a fucking bitch. I know I told her all she'd needed to do was apologize, and she should be more careful in future.

She started to pull away, yelling something unintelligble about how I should wash my car because it "looks disgusting" (it's RAINING and has for days), to which I gave her the finger.

I'm not proud of it...but if I had to do it again I probably would have been even nastier. I cannot believe she almost hit MY child with HER car and had the nerve to act as though something was wrong with ME for saying something to her about it. What if she had hit her? Should I have let that go too? It's a school parking lot, you need to be careful. My daughter was in a white raincoat.


Unholy Ghosts

New Words: 5,205 (in three days or so again)
Total wordcount: 50,002
The Good: Remembering someone else thinks we’re brave gives us the strength to be brave, aaaw.
The Bad: Library stalkers, terrified in pitch darkness.
The Gross: Decaying bodies in a tunnel
The rampant drug use: a little speed, a pill or two
Location: Library, platform of the train to the City of the Dead, tunnels under the regular city
Downspeech: Hardly any speech at all—I’m a little worried about that
I Hate My Work: You’ve tried to make this taut and scary, but everyone’s going to hate it, aren’t they?

Monday, November 19, 2007

I Should Not be Blogging Today

Seriously, I shouldn't. Because I am in such a bad mood. I mean, the kind of bad mood where you start to not care what people think.

I'm in a bad mood because both the kids are sick now.

I'm in a bad mood because I'm getting sick now.

I'm in a bad mood because it's Monday.

I'm in a bad mood because I got no new words made yesterday.

I'm in a bad mood because it's cold.

I'm in a REALLY bad mood because nobody's beaten the fucking New England Patriots yet, which is a huge pile of shit, and yes, videotaping other teams' practices IS cheating, you shitheads.

Mostly, I'm in a bad mood because there are some people on this planet who fucking refuse to think, speak, or write logically about anything, who refuse to use their brains, who insist they know everything about places they haven't even been or industries they haven't worked in or whatever the fucking topic of the day happens to be, and I've had enough of it, and I should seriously probably get offline before I start cussing them out.

You know what? Some things relating to your life, are not my fucking responsibility. If you fuck up your life, that's your problem, and I resent that I'm supposed to step in and help you or hold your widdle hand and tell you yes, it's awful those big bad people are being so darn meeean to you. When if you'd just done what you were supposed to do in the first place, you wouldn't be having this problem.

Today's post was supposed to be about art, and creative arts specifically. This stems from a conversation my husband and I had, ages ago, which I believe related to the whole "Hannibal" movie Jodie Foster refused to be in, which I know I've mentioned here before. Because Jodie Foster said Clarice would never do what she did in that book, and I got all irritated, because how the fuck would she know? She didn't create that character. She interpeted it.

Actors may be artists. I suppose they would be, in the same way that a dancer is an artist. But not quite. Because while I consider dancers to be creative artists, I consider actors to be reactive artists--they interpret what is already there. They didn't write anything. They didn't create a world in their head. They simply took someone else's work and added a face and voice to it.

In other words--and this was supposed to be a longer post but let's just get to the fucking point--without writers, there would be no movies. No TV shows. No plays. Nothing for actors to do but sit around, improv, and irritate people with their childish demands for attention and their self-created drama.

Behind every award-winning performance in a film or play or tv show, there is award-winning writing. Or at least, writing of such a caliber that the interpreter of it can win an award. Without those words to say, the actor wouldn't know what sort of person they were being. Without that speech being written, there is no performance of it.

So sign the petition, because without writers the world would be a much less rich and interesting place.

Friday, November 16, 2007

New Release!

"As the Lady Wishes", the first of (so far) two EC novels my lovely cp/wp Anna J. Evans and I wrote together, is released!

Here's the blurb:

After escaping an abusive marriage, Lila Hayes never dreamed she'd fall into bed with a tall, dark and domineering man like Arthur. He's a stranger, he's cocky as hell, and…he seems to have emerged from the painting on her wall. From the second she feels his touch, Lila knows she's found the lover of her wildest fantasies.

Arthur of Sefyll is an ancient Druid, a man cursed for thousands of years to grant the wishes of those who summon him from his enchanted rest. He's had enough of serving mortal whims, until he spends a night satisfying Lila's every carnal fantasy and losing his heart in the process.

But soon, the new lovers' happiness is threatened by a monster from Lila's past and a horror from beyond the grave.

Now Arthur and Lila must convince sexy Sheriff Sam Walker to succumb to his desire for them both and help them form a mystical threesome. Wishes are no longer enough to keep Lila safe. Only the love of two special men can save her life — or maybe just as importantly, mend her heart.

Very exciting, especially as this book was actually my very first EC sale, and tons of fun to write.

Buy it here.

What else? The edits load is lightening a little bit--the first round is done on Personal Demons, and Megan is not a therapist anymore! She is now a Counselor, with a PhD in Counseling Psychology instead of the MA she had before. Lookie there.

Everything else, still editing. I've only managed a little over a thousand words on Unholy Ghosts (as you will see by the pitiful metrics), which is grr but hopefully by tonight I'll be able to get cracking again.

Princess woke up at 4 this morning sobbing because her ear hurt. Oh yes, the Ear Infection Fairy decided to pay a visit to our house last night. Poor little thing, I gave her some Calpol (baby aspirin, basically) and tucked her back into bed, only to learn around 7 that the ear hadn't stopped hurting and she hadn't gone back to sleep. I feel like the Worst Mother Alive, despite the fact that Wednesday night Faery woke up at 1 with a cough, and I stayed on the couch with her all night, propped up so she could lay on me in a more upright position (and woke up with a crick in my neck for my troubles). So Princess stayed home from school today and we went to the doctor and the bookstore, because little girls with ear infections get a new book. It's a law.

Tomorrow I will be posting an incredibly amusing interview with Caitlin Kittredge over at the League of Reluctant Adults blog, you should be sure to check it out.

And Monday we will be discussing writing and art here. Which sounds boring but will hopefully be fun.

Unholy Ghosts

New Words: 1,121 (in three days, thanks to being slammed with edits)
Total wordcount: 46,797
The Good: Oops, looks like somebody has a real heart!
The Bad: Still the bad, bad evil magic man.
The rampant drug use: Speed
Location: on the beach
Downspeech: None, really, but there is some idiosyncratic Puritanesque speech: “Thou saw things thou did not want to see again.”
I Hate My Work: Why can’t you write the next scene? Why are you so dull and unimaginative? You’ve done this whole thing all wrong, haven’t you, you idiot.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Some small joy in Mudville

Not a lot, but not none at all.

I had a lovely post planned for today about art, and writing as, and whether it is, and what it is, and the difference between creative and reactive art.

But I have suddenly been slammed with edits on three different projects at once, so I am going to have to work, because not only do I like to get edits OUT and away from me as soon as possible, this is putting me well behind on Unholy Ghosts.

So. Here's some random stuff instead.

This is the new, Cerridwen Press cover for Black Dragon. Isn't it so much better than that other thing? I'm pretty pleased with it, all together. It's not exactly what I had in mind but I think it's very nice, I love the dragon in the background, I love that they at least made an attempt with Gruffydd's scars, I like that the setting looks natural and not forced. So yeah, I am pretty happy.

As I dropped Princess off at her school this morning, I saw the following posted outside her classroom: This year's Nativity is about a disgruntled snowman. It made me smile.

Karl Lagerfeld apparently has a sign over his toilet that reads: Pissing everywhere isn't very Chanel. Which is the awesomest.

And that's basically it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


And that's my day at the League of Reluctant Adults blog. We're talking about critiques this week!

Unholy Ghosts

New Words: 3,239
Total wordcount: 45,676
The Good: Aaaw…those little glimpses
The Bad: Bad, bad magic man, all evil and shit.
The Gross: The book! You feed it pain and it bleeds and the blood forms words and symbols…
The rampant drug use: Speed
Location: Muscle car, cave-like house on the beach
Downspeech: “Just we don’t know the man. You don’t know him, and I don’t know him, and he maybe knows too much himself about some shit nobody want to be involved in if they got their sanity working right.”
I Hate My Work: Is that showing or telling? Are you being lazy?

Monday, November 12, 2007's the book of my heart


There are a few things--a few phrases--I really hate. General stuff, like "We can't afford that" or "We don't carry half sizes" (stupid English shoe stores, what the fuck is your problem with half sizes? Do all English women have perfect-size feet?). More specialized phrases, like "Don't go there."

But the one that really gets on my nerves these days is "The book of [my, her, his, their, our] heart."
Why? Because it sounds sappy. Because it's redundant. All my books come from my heart (and I just gagged, even having to type that, but I had to make the point). And reeks of the Harriet Carter catalog, the home decorated entirely in calico fabric stuffed cats and potpourri, the appliqued sweater and bejeweled eyeglasses. Of women who think Beanie Babies are just darlin' and wear a lot of Black Hills gold.

Now, there's nothing inherently wrong with those things (well, except the Black Hills gold, but then I don't like gold in general). But neither are they really professional.

And therein lies the problem. When I see someone online talking about "the book of their heart" I immediately assume two things: One, that the person is a bit pretentious, because frankly I don't think what's in my heart (hate, lust, rage, the occasional urge for some fries) is all that special that people would be lining up to examine it; and two, that the person is a beginner. Because all of our books come from inside us. If you think there's something special about yours coming from there, you're not really familiar with this process.

Worse, denying that your book came from your heart then makes you sound cold and clinical. Like those "book of the heart" people are artistes; you're just some hack spitting out words in a calculated attempt to make some money. It's kind of like how in '97 everybody loved Titanic, and if you said you didn't even bother to see the film they eyed you with suspicion. (Yes, I speak from experience. Never saw it, never will.) It was as though I'd admitted I liked to slaughter babies on my off-hours, rather than simply choosing not to see a schmaltzy tragedy film with a soundtrack that registered just above Bryan Adams on the Irritating Scale, when I could have been watching Hard Boiled instead.

Even more bothersome is the idea that because a book came "from the heart" that automatically gives it more merit than other books. Hey, Mein Kampf came from the heart too. That doesn't mean it's a worthy book. (It's not. I've read parts of it, don't ask why it's a long story. It sucked. Obviously.) (Okay this is going to bug me. I had a rommate for a while, and one day her boyfriend "found" [so he claimed] a copy of the book, and he brought it to our place and left it there, and I was curious, and then I threw it away.)

Just because the book is "from your heart" doesn't mean the rest of us have to give a shit, and ultimately, I feel like that's what people are trying to force me to do when they say "This is the book of my heart." It feels like I'm being manipulated. It feels like someone plucking at my sleeve and demanding I care about them, then following me around with big mournful Keane painting eyes until I want to murder them with an axe.

So please, let's just avoid it from now on, okay?

Oh, and one other quick thing, just for my own benefit: a publisher that sends you edits when they do not have your signed contract or even the promise that they will get your signed contract is probably not a publisher who has their shit together enough to be worth your time. Thank you; I had to get it out, it was killing me.

Unholy Ghosts

New Words: 2,430
Total wordcount: 42,437
The Good: Yeah! Violence and sexiness!
The Bad: Oooh, bad guys breaking and entering and threatening…
The Gross: Well, injecting someone with WD-40 is pretty gross I guess.
The rampant drug use: Lines, pills.
Location: Chess’s apartment, Lex’s place
Downspeech: “Chess? Damn, baby, where you at? Terrible ripping this town apart looking for you, said your door open and your place all scraped? You alive?”
I Hate My Work: Oh, why do you suck so bad? This isn’t good. This is taking forever, because you are a hack.

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Squick Factor

(St. Audries Bay, North Somerset. I'm not sure if you can see it, but the white blur on the horizon is the very south coast of Wales.)

An Anonymous commenter on a previous post said the following the other day, which I believe is one of the nicest compliments I have ever been given:

Your ability to maintain a website, blog and discussion about erotic romance without sliding into the licentious or sensationalistic is one of the main reasons I read here.

So now I'm going to tramp all over it. Well, hopefully not. But I've been thinking a lot about that comment since I read it, because it is something I try to do: keep it clean.

Odd as it sounds.

I do use all sorts of c-words in my work (don't know if y'all remember, but last year I wrote an entire essay on the word "cunt" and why we shouldn't be afraid to use it in erotic romance, and what a useful word it is and how its origins are attractive.) So, not afraid to get a little dirty.

But I walk a fine line. I read a lot. I read a lot of erotic romance. And I have to be honest. Notwithstanding how talented my fellow authors are, there are a lot of things I read that just turn me off.

I want to make it clear this is MY problem, me me me. It's not that what they're writing isn't sexy or appealing. It's not that I think they write disgusting lowbrow crap. That is not it at all, nononono. It's my own strange interior line, one I actually think makes ME an outsider.

Take dialogue as an example. My characters don't tend to talk a lot in sex scenes. Because dialogue at that particular time usually feels to me like a mood killer. I put myself in the heroine's place and think, "Are you gonna do it, or are you gonna just talk about it all day?" Some dialogue is fine, but let's not go overboard. As Miranda said on Sex and the City, sex is the one time in life it's okay to not talk. This isn't to say they don't talk at all, or even that they don't ever talk dirty. But I do keep it minimal, and I try to keep it down to stuff that wouldn't make me laugh or squick if someone said it to me. Grown men should not, for example, refer to their Manbits as "him". If you consider that part of you to be an entirely separate person, doesn't that indicate (aside from a certain silliness) that you are unwilling then to take responsibility for "his" actions?

(BTW, this very subject led to a particularly amusing conversation this morning between the hubs and myself, based on the scary sci-fi idea that "he" might actually develop a mind of "his" own, and control the rest of the body, and how would you explain that to your wife? What if it decided to up and leave the rest of the body and strike out on its own? Hilarity ensues.)

Anyway. The point is, some things just squick me out, so I try not to go there.

What squicks you out? What in a book, specifically in a sex or love scene, turns you off? Comment anon if you want, but let's see if we can have some fun on this bleak Friday!


If you are on Livejournal, you must go join the community What was that book. SO awesome the awesomeness cannot be quantified.

Unholy Ghosts

New Words: 3,384
Total wordcount: 40,007
The Good: Hoo hoo, guess who sees somebody’s death wish?
The Bad: Big Bad follows us around, scaaaary!
The Gross: None, I guess. Hmm. A spilled milkshake?
The rampant drug use: Lines, pills, a joint
Location: Smelly alley, safe warehouse for street kids, diner, Chess’s bathroom
Research: WWI aviation uniforms
Downspeech: “Some of us needs an edge on things make us feel right, else we don’t like feeling at all, aye?”
I Hate My Work: You are so boring and obvious and dumb, and you suck like a starving leech.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Naughty-Sexy Contest!!

To celebrate the launch of our redesigned website (done by our own Sierra Dafoe, and the upcoming holidays, and, um, some other stuff I think, we Deliciously Naughty Writers have teamed up with the ladies of Six Degrees of Sexy to do a big old contest, with lots of prizes! That's right, FREE STUFF.

To read the rules and how to enter click here.

To read an interview the Sexy ladies did with us, in which I come across as a sort of unimaginative, monosyllabic nerd (thanks, lack of sleep), click here.

I will be checking in at the Sexy blog all day, so if you want to make fun of me you can go ahead and do it there. :-)

Have fun!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

That Old Black Magic

You know, I might have titled a post this already, some time ago? This is how dull I've become. I'm copying myself.

I'm writing about magic. The new WIP is largely about magic, and ghosts, and all that good stuff. And drugs and drug dealers, but for the purposes of this post, we're talking about magic.

Now, I'm happy to suspend disbelief. I'm happy--nay, thrilled--to read books where characters can levitate, shoot lightning bolts, make fire materialize from nowhere (uh, duh, since I have characters in Personal Demons who can do some of the above), etc.

But what I hate is when they're lazy about it. Or obvious. Or just plain irritating.

I read a paranormal romance not long ago that, okay. Not great, not terrible, although the "they fell onto the bed and he made her feel like woman, then the next morning" one-line sex scenes irritated me (I know, big surprise, right?) But what really bugged me, more than anything else, was that not one of the characters in the damned book ever used a fucking match. They lived almost exclusively by candlelight, but magically starting a flame wasn't a reflex; they had to "mutter an incantation" in order to light one.

Which meant they were constantly wandering around talking to themselves.

Now, okay, I do understand part of this. If I could make a candle flare just by talking under my breath, you bet I'd do it. Several characters in PD can start fires with a wave of the hand, and they do it. But seriously. Is it necessary every time? If I had to physically hold the candle to light the fire, I'd be tempted to just use a lighter at some point. Wouldn't you get used to it at some point, so it was no longer a cool trick and more just a "Hell, I'll just flick my thumb and light this thing, save my breath." I don't want to talk all the time, me.

Not to mention, the author had to clarify for us, every single time, that her characters were PARANORMAL FOLK by telling us they muttered said incantation. Phrased just that way. Every time. Dozens of times. They couldn't just light the candle, oh no. They had to mutter an incantation to do so. You know, we get it. They are Teh Magikal, okay? Why else would they even use all those candles all the time? I love candles and light them whever I can, but let's face it, my vision is shit. If I'm reading a book, I ain't doing it by candlelight, not if I don't want to go completely blind. Which I don't. Hence the bright electric lights in my home.

It's just something I'm getting sick of, just like I grew tired of historical heroines who spent every free moment making poultices and administering to sick children. I still love paranormals, but I do wish we could stop with all the mutterings. Wouldn't it be fun if magic had to be loud? Like, the louder you spoke, the more powerful it was? Hee.

Unholy Ghosts

New Words: 2,602
Total wordcount: 36,623
The Good: Hey, you’re ugly but HOT!
The Bad: Baddie cleverly misleading Chess
The Gross: Ha! A character being artistically scarred, complete with gunpowder lit in the wound
The rampant drug use: None
Location: Tattoo parlor, warehouse
Research: WWI aviation insignia, unforms
Downspeech:“Goan, take it. I ain’t hurt you. Lookin all starved.Hunchback, you start feeding them kids, hear me?”
I Hate My Work: Ugh, any fool can figure out these clues. Lame, lame loser.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Career Advice from Me?

Okay, Blogger is being all wierd (is anyone else having trouble?) so I can't post my little picture AND it took several hours for my League blog post to show up.

We're blogging about helping your writing career here.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Without a Net

(We went for a long drive on Saturday through Exmoor Forest. This is just a pretty picture from it. Don't say I never gave you anything.)

Wow. This feels so odd to write, and I'm not even sure I should because something could very well change...

But I'm not sure there will be a sex scene in Unholy Ghosts.

I've had a couple of kisses happen already, and I have one big makeout scene planned for later that I'm very excited about. But I'm not sure any relationships will actually be consummated in this book.

Here's my problem. I like writing sex scenes. I have fun writing them. I like writing sexy books.

So, because I know there will be sex at some point in the series (assuming it becomes a series pleasepleaseplease) I hesitate to put no sex in the first book, because I don't want to mislead people.

Don't get me wrong. The books will never become a pure sex-fest. But I have a very inricate relationship set-up happening, and I fully expect a lot more actual sex as it continues.

At the same time, I'm not going to put any old sex scene in this book if it isn't going to flow organically, just a scene stuck in there so it's there.

I'm only just about to hit 35k words, so there's plenty of time. I'll see what happens. But it feels very odd.

What do you think? If there's no sex in Book 1, do you get irritated if sex starts appearing in later books? Or are you glad, if the relationships grow to that point?

Also, my terrible dry skin problem from last year has returned with a vengeance. My cheeks and over my eyebrows are all pink and scratchy. Ech!

Also, editing The Demon Inside. The first few chapters are SUCK. Seriously. I hate them.

Unholy Ghosts

New Words: 3,275
Total wordcount: 34,397
The Good: A hot kiss from an Asian drug lord
The Bad: Evil accomplice shows up
The rampant drug use: Giving beer to a thirteen-year-old boy
Location: Street at dawn, Chess’s apartment
Downspeech:“Ain’t suppose you got some eats? Only my belly getting tight. Can’t remember last food I put in.”
I Hate My Work: Blah blah blah planting clues in conversations. BORING! Why do you write boring shit like this?

Friday, November 02, 2007

Guess Again...and again...


As I have now hit the 30k mark (slightly over it!) in the new book, I am reaching that terrible Second Guess point. The point where everything I've written feels like crap, where I'm convinced I've blown my wad early and given too much info on some thing, but not enough on others (I still haven't explained why a particular entity is in charge in this world, because I thought it made sense to wait, but now I'm wondering if people won't have given up at this point, but it's not like it's really important to the story, blah blah blah), and my characters are dull, and why would anyone want to read this shit, and since I don't have any guarantee the book will even sell or go anywhere why am I wasting my time, etc.

I honestly believe this is where people give up.

I'm not giving up. Because I know myself and my insecurities. I know that when the book is done I'll be pleased with it. My cp says it's awesome and that's enough for me. I want to finish it.

But if I didn't know this about myself...if this was my first real attempt...I could see giving up, and deciding to try something else. And falling into that trap. Because the 30k curse will hit with the next book too, and the next, and the next. Until all I have is a huge stack of unfinished ms and nothing else.

I see the second guessing a lot online, too. People constantly asking for advice on what their people should do next. How should they kiss? Is it okay if they do this or that? What about if they do that? Would that be good? And I just want to bury my head in my hands because if you are trying to write a book based on what other people tell you to do, it's not going to work. I mean, okay, in my opinion it won't work. I suppose it's possible half the books out there were written by people who constantly called their friends to ask what should happen next or if Scene X would be okay here or there.

This is my story. I know what it is. I know most of what happens (this is actually one of the only, if not the only, books I've written where so much of it is in my head. I don't know exactly how it ends but I have a good idea, and I know almost everything that leads up to it, which is very rare for me as I'm a pantser.) And it's because I know what happens later ad who these people are that I'm the one who can write it and make those kinds of decisions. The sooner you learn to stop replying on others, the better your work will be.

I'm trying something new, inspired by Caitlin Kittredge: metrics, a little chart for my books. Hopefully it will be fun.

Unholy Ghosts

New Words: 2,620
Total wordcount: 31,122
The Good: A faintly sweet “getting to know you” moment
The Bad: Evil ghost stalking Chess in a dark house while a family sleeps
The Gross: Mutilated corpse’s heart beats
The rampant drug use: Snorting crushed amphetamine pills off a hairpin in a church stairway
Location: Abandoned haunted airport
Downspeech:“What you see, ladybird? You think witchy?”
I Hate My Work: I don’t think the scary scene is as scary as it should be. I think it’s stupid and pointless.