Thursday, August 31, 2006

It's Alive!

Cat Scratch Fever is in bookstores in the US. There have been verified sightings (and purchases!) Dayle has signed some copies in her area. Alas, I've been sick all week and haven't had a chance to get to my local bookstores.

* * *
Today I start a part-time job doing data entry. Ah, the glamour of the writer's life!

I love my job, love putting words together, love the thrill when people read and like my work. I am amazingly grateful I have the chance to write as close to full-time as I do, to spend so much time on work that, much of the time, feels more like play. (The marketing end not so much...) But I'm certainly not in it for the fabulously high pay, and at the moment, sacrificing 12 hours a week of writing time (at least some of which can be squeezed from "running errands/doing housework/farting around because my brain needed a break" time) for a little less financial stress is worth it. It may not be forever, but will be now.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

In Boston? Visiting Boston? Mark your calendars!

From the Good Vibrations Boston web site:

Heat Between the Sheets: Lesbian Erotica Reading Tuesday,
October 17, 8-10 pm
Looking for some new one-handed reading? Want some stories that will take you from a simmer to a boil? Come join us for an evening of lesbian erotica that’ll be sure to inspire! Hosted by Sacchi Green, coeditor of Rode Hard, Put Away Wet: Lesbian Cowboy Erotica and the upcoming Hard Road, Easy Riding: Lesbian Biker Erotica and Lipstick on Her Collar, this evening features authors Rakelle Valencia, Amie M. Evans, Chuck Fellows, Alicia E. Goranson ,Val Murphy, Jake Rich & Teresa Noelle Roberts. They’ll read selections from their work and will definitely get your blood moving.

(Just to prove Murphy's law works, my mother will be arriving in town that night. She was excited to hear I was doing a reading, until I explained what I was reading and where. Fortunately, it's a bit past their bedtime anyway--her traveling companion is a retired dairy farmer and true to stereotype, does fall asleep by nine and wake up at dawn. Oh well, the reading's late enough I should be able to catch the AARP dinner special with her and then get into Boston. After that, I'll be off to chauffeur two great older ladies around Cape Cod for a few days.)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Recently back from a ten-day vacation where nary a word of writing got done (no computer access and no time for longhand) and seems the long break did me good. Yesterday I basically finished Revised Draft 1 of the Controlled Burn proposal, although I think I need to move things around. It will mean losing my precious opening sentence, but I can replace it with an equally strong one--and this change will allow me to add a Very Important Plot Point to those critical fifty pages.

This revision is far more complex than I realized it would be, about a 75% rewrite rather than a mere revision. What happened is the editor who's interested in the proposal pointed out a Plothole in my original version, and my method of fixing it means several changes from the original timeline. And once that happened, I found other things that would just be improved by a fresh start. I think I knew in my heart that CB was a good first draft that needed to be approached pretty much from scratch, but until I got a nibble on it, I didn't have the impetus, or perhaps the cojones, to tackle it.

Today, I realized that the deadline for a certain erotic romance novella anthology (the new volume of Ellora's Cavemen) was fast approaching--and that something languishing in my "I lost momentum on this one" file might suit. So I decided to poke at it a bit for a lark.

3500 words later, I'm more than half done and know how the rest of it will play out.

I've also been working on scheduling and prioritizing, trying to use some of what I learned in Atlanta to help me write more efficiently. It's tough. Just listing out the various projects I'm working on, as me and as half of Sophie Mouette, is a bit overwhelming, or could be if it weren't also exciting.

Now I just need to remember to schedule in the editorial work, the housework, and chiropractic visits. Oh, and poetry. And promotional stuff. And oh, breathing, exercising, socializing, petting the cats, and of course, sex. (Yes, in case you were curious: sometimes writing about it gets in the way of actually having it.)

But all in all, I'm a couple of days back from a pleasant vacation and I'm blissfully happy to be back at work. How cool is that?

Tomorrow--editing-for-pay, editing-for-love, making some minor revisions on a Sophie story, more work on the novella, and crank out a new short that's all there in my head.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Mixed Messages

The reviewer at LoveRomancesandMore says we're a hot light read, but really isn't sure about our heroine's lively and varied love life prior to hooking up with the hero. (Interestingly, she doesn't complain about our hero, who doesn't exactly keep in his pants either.)

I have to say that some of what's going on here is that we wrote the book thinking "erotica with a romantic subplot," but it's being promoted (by us to some extent, and definitely by the publisher) as "erotic romance." This helps reach a wider audience, which is good, but these days the label erotic romance is being used to cover a lot of territory, from a fairly conventional one-couple love story in which the sex scenes are unusually adventurous and explicit to wild 'n' crazy, anything-consensual-between-adults-goes erotica written with het female readers in mind. Some readers like the diversity and loosey-goosey genre definition. Others want to know up front if they're getting a side of sex with their love story or a side of love with their sex story.

For those of you who've read Cat Scratch Fever already, what's your opinion: erotic romance or erotica with a touch of romance? (And if you haven't gotten to read it yet, pre-order your copy, read it when it arrives, and let me know what you think!)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

In want of an actual update

Neil Gaiman and Steven Brust do the books-as-food thing. A metaphor you've probably seen before, but the discussion is fun.

I freely admit that much of my fiction is popcorn. But I like to think of it as good popcorn. Not that movie-theatre stuff, which is always stale and laced with fake butter, or the microwave stuff, which is better than nothing, but not quite right, but hot, freshly popped popcorn, topped with genuine melted butter and just the right amount of salt.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Interesting exercise

All right, this isn't one of the post topics promised in the last update, but I still think it's of some interest, simply because I hadn't really thought given the matter a great deal of thought before.

At the Atlanta conference, as I believe I mentioned, I pitched a book called Controlled Burn, which I'd finished in draft form a couple of years back and had never quite known what to do with. I started writing it intending it to be literary mainstream fiction, but it turned out to be something a little different. (Or maybe it could be considered literary mainstream, but I'd prefer not to give it away, thank you!) Finally I determined it was women's fiction, pitched it as such, and got an editor interested in having a look at first-3-and-a-synopsis, with a few changes.

One of the changes was a switch from first to third person, in part so I could incorporate the points of view of other characters.

I've done this before with short fiction and it was a fairly straightforward process. But in this case, it's necessitating pretty much a complete rewrite of some sections. The main character spent a lot of time alone in the original draft, and developed a very introspective, moody first-person voice--and a bad tendency to info-dump in the form of internal monologue, which seems far more glaringly obvious when I change the POV.

I think it will be a much stronger piece when I'm done: tighter yet richer, and with better character development for the characters who aren't the current sole narrator. But wow... I'm glad I revised my initial "Sure, I'll get it to you in two weeks!" estimate to "How about after Labor Day?" and that the editor was agreeable.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

A Promissory Note for Actual Content

Wow, do I have a lot to catch up on! Expect posts in the nearish future on:

RWA Nationals, where I met my editor, Adam Nevill; pitched a women's fiction and had the editor say, "Sure, send a partial" after asking a few great questions that made me see a plot hole AND how to fix it (holy fast rewrites, Batman! Fortunately she doesn't expect it until after Labor Day) ; learned a lot; met many wonderful people; ate far too much chocolate; and drank a lot of mediocre wine. (I was going to say cheap wine, but it wasn't, not by the time the hotel finished with it.) And of course, got a cold, because that's what happens at large conferences, no? At least it's not the Great Arisia Bronchitis.

Adventures in When Stories Fight Back.

The joys of trying to figure out a business and work plan for someone who's been ducking the business end of writing for far too long.

But meanwhile, I leave you with a little gift, one of my stories that has just appeared on line:

(DISCLAIMER: This story is not remotely worksafe. Kink abounds, as does love-conquers-all romanticism. If one or the other's not to your taste, you have been warned.)