Thursday, July 27, 2006

Blog personalities

I've seen a bunch of posts discussing the blogging experience. Someone really should ask the blogees - but that's another post.

The question that interests me is the one that goes something like - is your real life persona the same as your blog image. Stunningly the answers I've read have all been yes indeedy this is the real me. Really? Your public face and insides match? No deviant tendencies, no neuroses?

Guess it's just me that in real life is grumpy, critical and snarky. And those are my good points. Aren't you glad you didn't ask? And aren't you glad you only meet the blogging me? She's much nicer.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Sure Things

Still polishing, a slow process that fits perfectly into the heated days of July. Reading is my reward. Not research reading. Reading what I fancy.

The latest Lee Child in hardback waits as a special treat.

But I have real life running around to do and need to choose from the paperback TBR pile. I want entertainment - to be swept into a story.

I chose a Rachel Gibson title from my carefully hoarded stack.

Rachel does not disappoint. She's a sure thing for me. I love her voice. I love the predictability of her stories. I know there will be a sexy bad boy hero. I know there will be a slightly off center heroine. I know she will draw both so perfectly I will think of them as a new couple in my neighborhood. I know they'll fall in love. I know they'll be happy even though their happy ending seems impossible. If there are flaws in her stories (no one is perfect) it doesn't matter because I don't notice them.

Tomorrow I start on a vintage Johanna Lindsey Prisoner of My Desire

Ms. Lindsey never disappoints either. The story will whirl me into the past, medieval England complete with a dashing Knight and a desperate lady. I expect to be royally entertained.

How about you - are there authors you autobuy, count on for a good read? Who's on your sure thing list?

Monday, July 24, 2006

Word count - a rant

The entire subject is humbling. Over on eharlequin's Subcare thread another aspiring author asked a question about her manuscript, which was short of the desired word count. The woman's story came in at fifty seven thousand and the guidelines say sixty to sixty five. She got lots of advice about layering. All well and good, but how exactly are we supposed to calculate word count?

Is it estimated? Or actual computer word count.? The writer's guidelines don't say. Editors say don't worry - if it's too long we can always cut.

But I do worry - probably obsessively. The variance between computer word count and calculated word count is huge. The manuscript I'm polishing at the moment is sixty one thousand some odd words by actual computer word count - perfect for Blaze. By calculated word count it weighs in at a hefty seventy seven thousand five hundred words, way too many words. :~

I've decided to be optimistic and figure the guidelines are referring to computer count.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Stay at home fun

Drifting around the blogasphere it's easy to develop a bad case of RWA Nationals envy. I'm not going.

Here's the good news - I get to stay home and write. Hey - it's my favorite thing to do. I might be slower than I like and it might be mostly polishing - but it still beats any other job I've been not paid for.

I've found two fun rewards has nice give aways all week. Maybe the competition will be thinner than usual. ;) Here's your second consolation prize blog Aint we got fun?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Small world

The annoying Small World song of Disneyland fame keeps running through my head as I bounced through blogs in my early morning semi-conscious state - catching up with the news and weather before beginning the day. Over at the Highland Fling controversy continues.The link provided for those who feel the urge to weigh in on one side or the other. The sides are harsh reviewer versus bashed author.

In my spare time I plan to return and study their book reviews. There's an art to trashing a book in an acceptable and inoffensive - other than to the author - manner. Since it's not part of my current skill set I'm sticking with reading reports on books I think merit time and space.

Scrolling down to the previous post I found a discussion of rejection letters. Tales of rejection, like stories of childbirth, are a perennial favorite subject among romance writers. One of the commentors was Nora Roberts, who added her own rejection story. Seeing her post restarted the annoying It's A Small World Afterall lyrics playing in my head.

Back to polishing up still itchy-scratchy manuscript.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Writing process

I'm sulking away in the edit cave. There are those who like polishing. I don't.

Preferences aside, I will admit I've gotten stuck in the editing phase and ground away endless days. Making no discernible progress, while obsessing over the placement of a comma versus perhaps a semi-colon or maybe two choppy little sentences. . .

The next story whispers seductively in my mind. You've learned so much. This one will be magic. It would be too - if I had the skill to transfer the brilliant scenes in my head onto the blank screen. Wonderful prose seldom flows from my fingertips - even when I think that's exactly what's happening. :(

Reality is plodding through an outline, character sketches, a first draft and then a second, a third - you get the picture. I don't keep track of the number of revisions before submission. It might discourage me.

Grudgingly, I'm coming to the conclusion writing the synopsis before the first draft might be a good plan. I learn things about my story when I write the synopsis that weren't obvious when I was in creative mode. For me there are benefits to preparing a long and a short synopsis. Different tools, which yield different information about the story.

How about you - what's your favorite part of writing? How much do you polish?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Reading Report - Avon Red - Continued

I picked up the Red Avon title - If This Bed Could Talk and found myself engaged with the first story (see earlier post) I promised to come back and report on the rest of the book and then ignored my commitment. :(

The second story in the anthology was Unrequited by Kimberly Dean - even more engaging than the first story. I've read Ms. Dean before and find her version of erotica to walk the delicious line between shocking and exciting with style and fun.

The third story fell a little flat for me - there's a paranormal sub-plot. I understand that all things paranormal are incredibly hot at the moment but they operate under a handicap with me, A paranormal story has to be better than a historical or contemporary to hold my interest. One woman's treat is another's poison. . . While not my favorite, the final story in the trilogy was well crafted and held my interest.

Well written erotica for a female audience is still rare. The Red Avon collection stories in this title all had a strong romantic element, The focus was on one man - one woman interaction, while including language, frankness and an emphasis on the sexual relationship that go beyond the typical romance with an erotic element.

Having sampled a few erotica titles I've come to the unstartling conclusion that like all reading my pleasure depends largely on the author's skill and choice of story matter. I enjoy a sizzling hot story, but no more than I enjoy a thriller or cozy mystery and not as much a well done romantic suspense. Now if it were a romantic suspense with an erotic element. . .

How about you, how hot do you like your love stories?

Blaze reading report - Highland Fling

A casual morning round of blog visits led me to Jennifer Labrecque's site and in turn her blog. (Is it just me or blogs always the most entertaining part of a site?) After reading the negative review I had to rearrange the tottering TBR stack in order to retrieve my copy of Highland Fling.

Aside from curiosity - it is the first time travel Blaze (research) has plaid on the cover (love Scottish heroes) and it looks like fun. After a over-full day I managed to read the first couple of chapters before bed. (The addicted reader has to read at least one chapter or she can't sleep.)

The book is exactly what I like in a Blaze - sexy plus fun or sexy plus dangerous, or sexy plus romantic or occasionally a combination of all three. I look forward to reading a gothic Blaze. To paraphrase Ms. Chin - everything goes with sexy.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Superromance reading report - With Child

I'm reading deprived. The TBR stack threatens the safety of anyone passing by. Yesterday I lowered it by opening a Superromance. I eyed the book with the jaundiced eye of a jaded reader.

The books is labeled Nine Months Later, pregnant heroines aren't my favorites. A few pages in I realize it is set in Seattle. Another strike against the already suspicously viewed story.

I read either for education or entertainment. When I'm looking for escape from the daily grind I prefer somewhere more exotic than my home town. Ms. Johnson managed to overcome my doubts capturing my interest with three dimensional charactes and a deep emotional connection. The story is so engaging I will make a point of looking for more of her books.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Deceiving Appearances

I look sane and reasonable huh? Have you looked at PD James? Back in the day when I read for fun - not as easy once you start thinking about writing from the other side - I used to wonder about those mild mannered little old ladies who wrote about murder, mayhem and deviant sex.

Monday, July 10, 2006


A couple of years ago I sat down the romance novel I was reading. "I could write one of these," I said.

I had no idea what I was in for.

Naive is too mild to describe the state of my ignorance. I'm mildly dyslexic - hence I'm hopeless at proof reading. My spelling has always been iffy. Grammar was never an interest of mine. Oh yeah, I'm a mediocre typist - on a good day. None of these obvious disqualifications dissuaded me.

If I'd known about the patience requirement I might never have ventured into writing romantic fiction. The first two years I had a good time writing books that don't fit into any marketing niche, nor do they deserve to. Still in my blissful state of ignorance, I frowned at the speedy rejections. Speedy being a relative term. From initial submission to form rejection taking about three months. I took further steps to learn my craft, primarily begging, borrowing and buying critiques.

What was I doing wrong? Just about everything. No one even said nice formatting. In fairness the formatting was probably wrong too. It hurt, these were stories I loved, but I listened. I wrote new stories and I got nice comments. It now takes much longer to get rejected.

Is that progress?

Darned if I know. I'm still waiting to hear on my last submission of a requested partial. Five months and counting.

Blaze Reading Report - Closer

I started reading Jo Leigh's latest Blaze - Closer, last night . Already it's got keeper written all over it. I'm jealous as hell that I didn't write this story. At the same time I'm so glad Jo did. I'm sad it's a short book. As a selfish reader I wish she wrote more books. I'm blown away by her continued growth as a writer. Well, you get the idea - I really like it!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Too much or not enough?

I'm editing my most recent manuscript. Backstory is my first concern. Personally, I'm a patient reader I don't mind getting acquainted with the main characters and having a bit of setting before getting into the meat of the story.

That's not the current trend in romantic suspense. Stories open with the bullets flying and the reader bumps along with the protagonist catching onto the situation and players as the story unfolds.

Since I want to write thrilling, steamy romance I pay attention to advice and trends. Or try to. When it comes down to it - I want characters to root for. The question is how much character development is enough. . .

How do you like your stories? Jumpin' from the get go? Or some chit-chat before you start ducking for cover?

Monday, July 03, 2006

Blaze Reading Report - Submission

Last chance for the week's free books. Submission by Tori Carrington. The story is an excellent quick read. The characters came alive, the suspense was well done and intricately woven with the romance.

I'm making a trip to post office next week so anyone wanting to claim this book send me an email with your snail mail addy to evannelorraine at hotmail dot com (changing to the usual email format). Please put free book in the subject like so you aren't deleted as spam and indicate which book you're requesting.

If you miss out on the free book - here's another chance.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Reading Report - Avon Red

Picked up an Avon Red title If This Bed Could Talk a few weeks ago. The book lumbered toward the top of the TBR stack (shelves actually, but let's not be fussy)

The first novella, Agent Provocateur, by Liz Maverick came as a delightful surprise. Sexy, fun and fresh. The story included a delicious suspense element along with a red-hot read.

Stayed tuned for further reports.

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