Monday, June 29, 2009

In the Beginning was the Word

It's not that I have no ideas for the next book (the one I was supposed to start working on last week). I have plenty of ideas. Some of them, I stupidly shared with others:

"Don't write that," I was told. "Nobody's buying that concept."

"Don't write that," someone else said. "Shifters are hotter. Write shifters."

So there they sit on their shelf, my poor little unmarketable, non-shifty ideas. Next to them sit a couple of others who are similar enough (lacking shifterliness) to make me worry.

Oh, em, gee! Have you seen my schedule? Sure, I can scribble junk on a notebook longhand while I sit in a parking lot for ten minutes waiting for the Stevenses, Jr. to get out of summer camp, but really, what's the point? None of those words will make it into a book anyway.

EXCUSE #3 (The Deep Thoughts)
It's a fear of commitment. Once I embark on my unsaleable shifterlessness project, that's it! I have to see it through. And what if I hate my protags? What if my antag takes over the story? What if I invest 100,000 words in the initial draft and have to throw all of them, ALL of them back out again? What if I can't figure out what to name this dude? What if he ends up just another Nathan Kamp look-alike cardboard romance hero? I AM DROWNING IN ANGST!

I have a blog to write and post.

Oh, wait. It's finished. Well, crap.

Help me procrastinate (don't worry, you won't end up #5 on this list): What excuses do you use to put off getting started? And if you are rolling your eyes as you read this, enlighten us: How do you overcome initial inertia to get your book rolling?

*No. Clint has nothing to do with this post. I just like the picture.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Pelvic Power for Core Stabilization

Yes, Grandma, I write about sex. I write detailed descriptions of people having sex.

No, I can't and won't simply "fade to black."

Why, you ask, must I write that smut?

#1) Because it's plot-relevant. What happens between the sheets changes what happens on the streets, and vice versa. If the sex doesn't forward the story, I don't write it (nor do I want to read it).

#2) Because sex is integral to the developing relationship between the hero and heroine. Intercourse of all kinds is a power game (especially in a new relationship). Intimate details about who is on top and how he or she got there let us see (once again) how power games in the public arenas of our characters' lives will play out.

#3) Because sex is fun. Unlike, say, golf or shuffleboard, almost everybody does it, sooner or later. People read for pleasure. Sex is (or should be) pleasure. Eating, for the same reason, is also featured in most books. Put the two together? That's a recipe for sex-cess!

#4) Because nobody talks about sex. Sure, we read the how-to books. We joke with our friends. We even might confide in a doctor or girlfriend if we think something is wrong. Unlike with eating, however, "good" people aren't allowed to go look up new and different recipes. Except--we want to. And we do. And just as a learning a new spice opens up a whole new approach to the same old bread and cheese, reading about a new approach to lovemaking can (and does) spice up our sex lives.

What do I call pornography? Any sexual activity in which the participants are unwilling or unable to make a rational choice to participate (rape, as opposed to dominance; pedophilia). Those things, Grandma, you won't see celebrated in any books I write, nor those on my shelves.

But down-and-dirty, sheet-soaking, wall-crawling, primal-screaming sex?

Sigh. Yes, you can borrow a book. Just let me leave the room first.

(BTW--the title of this post came from an e-mail I got this morning about Pilates).

Monday, June 15, 2009

VOTE for ME!

So I think I got it right this time:

If that doesn't work (and recent rumors suggest it might not) try the LONG version:

Enjoy my flash fiction, "Christmas, Filtered" and rank the story. The forum owners (with guidance from the voters) will choose a winner in a month. So, if you please--go guide 'em!

For those of you at the OVRWA holiday party--this is the story I read aloud.

Let me know if you want the recipe for Spamadakia.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Get-Together, Part Deux (w/pictures!)

That's me, pretending to be useful. The nice thing about volunteering to stuff the bags is that you get to scope out the first round of swag ahead of time.

Lori, Dianne and the gals. It was a weekend full of , "OMG, is that Toni/LuAnn/Marjorie/Lora . . ." And the answer was always, "Yes! Yes it is."

If you are on twitter, you aren't anywhere.

On the left: Michelle Buonfiglio of Romance B(u)y the Book fame. Don't hate her because she's beautiful. On my face is the expression one wears when not hating one's new friend because she is beautiful.

Here, we're attempting to understand the latest trend in erotic romance/erotica. It requires stick-figure diagrams.Gabriella decided stick figures didn't cut it.

The incomparable Becke Martin took some great shots of us cutting up at the Lori Foster/Dianne Castell/Linda Keller weekend. No, I am not picking my nose.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Lori Foster/Dianne Castell Reader & Author Get-Together 2009

I'm home from a gloriously decadent weekend with more than 305 of the loveliest people: readers and writers of romantic fiction. When you spend 3 days with people who all believe in Happy Ever After, you can't help but feel that the world is a joyful and miraculous place.

Three of my friends from the Ohio Valley Romance Writers of America chapter roomed with me. They were party animals who kept me awake all night talking about--what else? Romance books. And sex . . . in romance books, of course.

We swapped books. We bought more books. We hounded more than 100 published authors present at the Get-Together for their autographs--and they were unfailingly gracious.

We tweeted at each other (it was a twitterific time and I found a dozen new friends to follow). We bid on the best selection of silent auction baskets I have ever seen--full of books, ARCs, wine, chocolate, purses and even a couple Kindle e-readers.

Sometimes we worked. My friends and I participated in a two-hour presentation by Samhain Publishing's Angela James--a useful primer on e-publishing. Some of us met with agents, editors and romance experts like Romance B(u)y the Book guru, Michelle Buonfiglio. I even caught a couple writers writing (you know who you are, Gia Dawn!)

We drank a cocktail or three. We sang Babe. We played trivia games. I lost, but Donna MacMeans gave me a consolation bracelet, although I would have rather had her hat. We drew naughty pictures. We took photos and videos to blackmail each other with (keep your eye on twitter links and blogs from attendees--you might get to see yours truly making an idiot of herself.)

And at $52 for the entire two days, I think I made a profit--and I wasn't selling anything! I came home with fifty (count 'em, fifty!) new books and SO much swag! Never shall a book of mine go unmarked again.

I'm exhausted and blissful . . . and I'm going to read a book. Top of the stack is LuAnn McLane's Redneck Cinderella--perfect for a new Kentucky girl who's happy to be home.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Cleaning Up as a Writer

Last Friday at 3:05PM, I reported to the twitterverse that my house was completely clean. I had mopped, vacuumed, dusted and windexed my backside off. By 3:15, two toddler toys had made their way to the middle of the TV room floor. At 4:00 my oldest sons got off the bus--and that's all she wrote.

Truth be told, however, I had left some dust on the fireplace grate. The substance settled in the bottom of my A/C vents could fertilize every wheat field in Kansas. And that waterproof eyeliner my youngest smeared all over the hall wall? Still there. Upon close inspection, I have to admit that at 3:05 last Friday, my house was not, in fact, as clean as it possibly could have been.

I am editing my WIP ("work in progress" for you new readers who want to learn the trendy jargon) and running into much the same problem. The words are spelled correctly now. The passive voice (actual passive voice, not just variations on "to be") has been made active (and yes, I do realize this was a passive-voice sentence). I cut almost all parenthetical statements (I do love me some parentheses . . . . and ellipses--and dashes!) The time line is clear, the story arc is solid . . .

. . . . and I want to throw this puppy out and start all over again (which would, in fact, make the fourth time I've done so).

How clean is clean? How finished is finished? If I told my husband, "We can't get the eyeliner off the wall, so let's tear down the house and rebuild it," he would lock me away in the mental institution I often fantasize about (seriously--sitting on a bench in front of manicured garden while pretty young women bring me cups of pills. Lovely!)

I'm not going to do that to WIP again, either.

How about you? Writers--when do you know your story is clean enough? Readers--do you ever get the feeling a writer has just tossed a book out there without swishing the metaphorical toilet first?