Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Reading Report

The Greek's Virgin by Trish Morey

Love those Present titles! I'm hooked on Ms. Morey's aussie version. Yes, the Greek is in Australia and Lake Tahoe and New York. Presents men get around.:) Ms Morey's heroines are strong and well motivated, making them worthy opponents for her strong heroes. Dark chocolate truffles with a hint of cayenne and maybe a bit of caramel. Delicious!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Reading Report

Undone by Carly Phillips, Donna Kauffman and Candace Schuler

I've told you all about my book buying addiction and the sagging to-be-read shelves. I'm going to reform any minute now. Well maybe next year.;) All this is just a reminder of why I'm just now getting around to a book that has been sitting on my shelf for more than a year. :(

The first story, Going All The Way by Ms. Phillips is a novella. Right off the bat she gains my admiration. She has charming characters and a typically tender-hot Blaze romance in half the usual words.

The second My Secret Thrill by Ms.Kauffman is a reissue of classic Blaze circa 2001. Undone is a great chance to acquire it along with two other blazing stories. The characters come life from the start with admirable skill.

The third Good Time Girl by Ms.Schuler is also a classic Blaze circa 2002 is lots of sexy fun with a cowboy to die for.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Writing Life

One of the recurring writing debates involves chosing between writing the story that moves you and the story of the moment. Personally, I don't have enough range to write the story of the minute. Besides I don't know what the story of the minute is. I'm sure someone knows, there are market analysts, book brokers, buyers for the big bookstores, editors,and agents all with lots of information and the savvy to interpret said information into real world decisions. And even they fail to predict new trends with perfect accuracy.

Does this mean I should never slant a story for a particular market? Of course not, not if I want to sell the stories I write. And I do. For me it means there is no point in my jumping in young adult, vampires as romance heroes, fantasy worlds, or erotica. Are those hot markets? Maybe. Will they be hot markets two years dowm the road, when the story I'm working on now might actually be available for purchse? I can't even guess.

And that's my point about writing the story you want to tell.

Long before I ever thought of writing, I was an avid reader. I have new favorites, comfort reads, must buys and reward reads. What do they all have in common? Damn fine writing. For me, that means characters that live on after the final page has been read. There are those who read for plot. I've got nothing against plot, bring it on, but give me someone to care about in all that action or I won't bother turning those heavy heavy pages.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Writing life

Romance writers are the best. Last night Melissa posted support for me as a Presents writer (still dreaming) and this morning Kate Walker, a real Presents author, welcomed me to their thread.

Maybe it was simply hearing from Melissa,who writes wonderfully emotional, and steamy romances, but suddenly this morning I knew what is wrong with the revised version of my Blaze story. The heroine isn't a Blaze babe. Yes, she's got more depth and yes she's more sympathetic. But she's not on fire.

Can she ignite? Hmmm. Wish me luck.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Writing Life

After all my navel gazing and stubborness in insisting I can handle writing for two lines - I have humbly admit I'm having a heck of time getting my head back into Blaze territory. I keep having thoughts about, well Presents stories. Things are never as easy as they sound. The more emotional the writing, a good thing - the harder to just jump out into a different type of story.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Writing Life

One of the things I struggle with as a writer targeting category romance - yes those books! LOL Is the balance between reader expectation and an original story.

I'm a reader who loves her alpha heroes and plucky heroines who manage to captivate the untamed males. I love the sizzling Blaze babes whether they start out bold as daybreak or full of self-doubt,and their hunks. I love the protectees and their protectors, battling for truth and justice. I love the good women struggling to create family and the men who stand beside them. When I pick up a Presents, or a Blaze, or an Intrigue or a Superromance I have certain specific expectations for each line. And yet - I want surprises too! It's easy to be a demanding reader.

It's hard to walk that line as a writer.

Believe me, I do not have all the answers. The writers I adore all share certain traits. They create real characters, unique characters, characters I believe. Voice, detail, setting, emotion ,and dialogue all play a role in creating memorable characters. Even their secondary characters spring to life with stunning credibility. Do they have to be consistent? No, change is good - character arc anyone? But their inconsistencies and growth need to be properly motivated.

Back to reader mode for a minute. If I understand the reasons why a character is acting as she is then the author can have her do almost anything.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Writing Craft

Yesterday I treated one of my old stories like a new one. That means it got a fresh new notebook, the characters got biographies(complete with backstories), new pictures,a new GMC worksheet, and a shiny new plot. Is this a detailed plot? Nah, there's little point in a detailed plot at this stage.

Everyone works differently, I need a short outline and a couple of pages of synopsis to get going - along with the notebook, pictures, biographies, and most critically, a handle on their goals, motivations, and conflicts.

Since I'm writing romance the critical question is what has to happen for this hero and this heroine to fall in love? The answer needs to be simply stated because it is the book premise.

This was a long day of writing for me and they were characters I already know well. If I'd truly been starting from scratch this process could take a week or more.

Every story is different. This is a first for me. I'm reinventing a book that was written and submitted before. My heroine needs depth and humanity and a good dose of likability. My hero is a cliche and needs to become unique and heroic. The conflict between them is tired and needs to be rethought.

When I read over that advice, my tender writer's heart quelled. That sounds like everything to me. Why bother with revisions?

Since I was in the midst of another project I couldn't tackle another story right. So I set it aside, which turned out to be a good move.

A few weeks later I was ready to make a game plan. There's still a story there. One that was good enough to get a request in the first place. One that I simply failed to tell well enough.

Now I'm grateful for all the work I did in between submitting the ultimately rejected story and now. I'm rewriting it. If I can't get it flow on paper after a two week try then it's time to scrap it.

For today those characters live in my head and they deserve to be together. It's my job to make that happen.

After all my imagining and plotting I sat down with a new craft book. It's already bristling with sticky notes.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

This was a reward reading week

Vagabond Viscount By Loretta Chase

Since having found Ms. Chase last year, I've been treating myself to one of her stories a month. I'll try not too gush too disgustingly. But it's (the not gushing thing) a challenge because not only does she write about my favorite regency England (almost a religion among fans) but she does so with wit and charm and range. Meaning she writes wonderfully, each story a gem in its own right and every cast of characters producing new friends who live on in the happy reader's imagination long after the cover is closed. Many of her early titles are still in print, and deservedly so.

Sex, Lies and Online Dating by Rachel Gibson

Ms. Gibson writes contemporary romance with equal but different charms. I was laughing aloud in the prologue, a series of snappy emails between friends. The story continues on a collision course between the to-die-for hero and the lovely, cautious heroine generating more laughs and moving the reader effortlessly into the world of two very real people who manage to be poignant and amusing in one book.

Asking for Trouble by Leslie Kelly

A modern Gothic Blaze, if it had been written by anyone other than Ms. Kelly I would've skipped the title. I couldn't imagine a modern Gothic period let alone a Blaze. But, I'm wild about Leslie Kelly stories and her name on the cover is enough for me.

After all, if I didn't like one it would help cut down on the excessive book buying problem I have. No such luck, she did everything possible to turn me off, one chapter is in first person (Not my favorite. Briget Jones fine - Jack Reacher okay - but the rest of you? Forget about it.)There's a creepy old mansion, a dark and stormy night, and a too familiar mystery. But this is Leslie and Blaze, so it's also funny, quirky and sexy as all get out.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Writing Life

Skimming the surface over at eharlequin I noticed that I'd missed a sale party for Robyn Grady. (Waves to Robyn - with many heartfelt though :( belated congratulations. ) Why is this blog worthy? Robyn has contracted with two lines. And everyone at Harlequin Mills and Boon is cool with her writing for Silhouette Desire and Modern Extra. BTW Robyn has submissions in with Presents and Blaze, so this could get even more exciting. How lovely for Robyn.

See, it can be done!

I know it is not the kind of thing anyone advises, or that is in the least bit sensible. I also understand how unlikely sales are, period, let alone dual sales. ;) But there is zero chance of selling to more than one line without submitting.

There are lots and lots of people with the dream of being a writer who never actually write a book. There are more who never submit what they've written. There are those who try and get rejected and never try again. I am convinced that persistence is more critical to success than any other single trait.

As of last night the Presents is polished up and awaits the lovely CP's feedback. I may goof off for a day or two before diving into Blaze revisions.

BTW, I did not get a revision letter, i.e. one that says fix this and this and this and send it back. I got the liked-your-premise, but it needs this and definitely that and a whole lot more of this before it would work for the line. Nevertheless, I still love that story and I need to at least try to improve it. If it's a total rewrite then it's a total rewrite. :(

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Writing Life

I'm going to get back to writing samples, craft and the reading report soon. Promise! I'm obsessing at the moment. Polishing will do that do a writer. ;)

If the process of submitting and getting a response were faster then I'd have less angst. Or at least that's what I like to believe in my own little virtual world. Maybe it's crazy to target two lines but that's what I'm doing.

I've asked myself what is the worst thing that could happen? One of the two lovely editors slaps me and says don't clutter my inbox with this trash? BTW that's exactly how I read a form rejection (sniff, sniff).

In reality even the form rejections are actually worded quite tactfully. They run along the lines of while this (insert title) was not right for us, we thank you for thinking of us and wish you luck in finding a home for your work elsewhere . . .

Are readers confused or upset by an author who writes for more than one line? Or for that matter more than one publisher? They don't seem to be. . . In fact there seems to be lots of the happy cross over that enhances everyone's bottom line.

Does the fact that Ms. Roberts has moved on and no longer writes for Harlequin keep them from reissuing her category titles? Certainly not. It seems to be a situation that benefits all concerned - admittedly this is an outsider ( a way outsider LOL) opinion.

The odds against getting published at all are overwhelming. Getting accepted by two different editors at the same time is highly unlikely. Is there a downside to trying? The only one that comes to my mind is the one Melissa pointed out - focusing on the line where I fit best makes the most sense. But since I'm not as smart as she is about figuring out which line that is - I'm blundering along with my usual combination of doubt devils and mule-brain.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Writing Life

So I've been plugging away polishing the recently finished story. Polishing is a love - hate process for me.

I love having it done. I love the results. I love getting perfect scores on grammar. I love making the story stronger, cleaner, better.

I hate feeling like I'm sliding down that slippery slope of 'not good enough' that leads to endless editing and never submitting.

This is not a groundless fear. I have four complete manuscripts that have never been submitted anywhere. Are they truly crap or are they salvageable? I haven't even looked at them in ages - it's a hard call. They star characters I love, and stories that sing to me. I know I could do a better job today on any one of them, but deep revision isn't any faster than writing fresh. So which is smarter?

The reason behind all this thinking? It's almost time to start another project. I'm a believer in never mind the book of your heart, write the book of your voice. But there's a teensy little catch to that piece of advice. It is easy to figure out what you love. It is hard to figure out what you're good at.

I love reading both Presents and Blaze. I love the Alpha male heroes in Presents, but they're okay in Blaze too. Maybe not quite as cruel, more likely North American than Italian or Greek, or Spanish but one of my favorite Blazes had a Spaniard for the hero so . . . Sassy Dialogue is one of my strengths, Blaze is a better fit for banter. I like writing hot, but high degree of sensuality is essentual in both lines. The heroines are different, not in strength, but in experience, assertiveness and style.

None of this helps me. It's like asking which is better - chocolate bomb or hot fudge sundae?

Feel free to comment, how did you decide what genres or sub-genres to target?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Writing Craft

One of my favorite fantasies is not only being published but writing for more than one line. Hey, dreams are free. :) Since the passion lines are my favorite I'd love to write for Presents and Blaze! All writing is hard work and category is, IMHO especially challenging. Absolutely essential to writing for a line is loving it. And even more, understanding the unique requirements of the line you're targeting.

Blaze has such a wide variety of different kinds of stories, paranormal, chick-lit, action adventure, romantic suspense, romantic comedy - seemingly anything goes. So I asked the women who are nailing the tone.

Amazingly, they answered. Wonderful, thoughtful, informative responses. If you've ever wondered what makes a Blaze a Blaze here's some insight on the question. Enjoy!

Now I have a new question for all you talented Blaze babes. Jo Leigh mentioned enjoying writing her romantic suspense titles (which I love reading) and planning another series (yes!) BUT BLAZE ALL THE WAY. That little phrase got me thinking.

What makes a Blaze a Blaze? Yes I've read the writing guidelines. Heck, I've even written a couple. But I still don't feel like I have the tone of the line nailed. There's a huge variety of editorial within the line. That variety is the very thing that I think makes writing for Blaze so challenging.

Is-it-truly-as-anything-goes as it looks from here? (Evanne Lorraine)

Evanne, I'm sure you'll get a lot of different answers, but having made a stab at Superromance, I think that's exactly the thing that makes the two lines so comparable -- Blaze, like Supers, has an enormous range of tones, plots, stories, etc and you can't nail it down to any one thing. I kind of had the opposite thing happen with Supers (which I still haven't given up on), that I had the tone down, but needed to revise the story, which I'm going to try to get to one of these days...

In Blaze, you know you have to have it hot, have it sexy, but even in my own experience, from books like ABOUT LAST NIGHT or my upcoming PICK ME UP, which have love scenes just about every other chapter (or so it seems, LOL), to books like UNTOUCHED, which don't have a love scene until halfway through the book, there's huge variety even for individual authors. Some dark, some light, some funny, some paranormal, some adventure... lots of possibilities.

So, I think you have to read, absorb, and trust your gut -- the variety makes it very difficult, true, but it also means if your story is right, there's a lot of room for new and different in the line (especially at the current moment, when there are so many new things happening....). (Samantha Hunter)

I think that's one of the toughest questions out there --what makes a Blaze a Blaze. Believe me, it wasn't something I knew when we first started the line, and the line has changed since then, too. For me, no matter what the story, and yes, it can be everything from comedy to adventure to suspense, has a couple at the core, and that couple has to explore their budding relationship in a very physical way. That love occurs both physically, emotionally and sometimes spiritually. Some have the physical thing first, but not all. For me, and from comments I've gotten especially on the RS books - each Blaze is essentially about the love story, and everything that happens in the external plot has an impact on that love story. At least, that's the way I explain it to myself when I'm plotting. (Jo Leigh)

I like to think that Blaze takes a reader to a place where she is beautiful and strong, wearing her most expensive lingerie to seduce the man of her dreams.
Because that's what our heroines do, right? Regardless of any other element in the story, the seduction (a mutual seduction, at that--not just a man showing a woman the ropes) is at the forefront. I'm not sure any other line has that kind of sultry tone. And what makes it even cooler is that in the midst of all the sex and heat, the characters are in love and committed to each other (even if they don't know it yet). It's an awesome thing to have both the sweet romance and the hot passion in one relationship. (Melissa James)

And hmm, how to define a Blaze? I always think of it as a romance novel in which the *sensual/sexual* relationship of the hero/heroine drive the emotional relationship toward its inevitable hea resolution. Does that make any sense? Otherwise, there really is no other definition! Anything goes in Blaze, which is so totally cool! (Leslie Kelly)

I think Blaze heroines make the line. There is something signature and strong about a Blaze babe. The heroes can run the gamut from alpha to beta, but the heroines have something solid about them. (Jenna Bayley- Burke)

Evanne, When I first started writing, I had no clue of the differences in the lines, and just wrote what I wrote. I couldn't feel anything different between Temptation and Desire, for example. I got a lot of the same things in both lines. Same with Supers and Specials. I was reading as a reader, finding similarities, loving the books, but as an author? Clueless as to the nuances.

And honestly? Even after I sold I was clueless. I had several proposals rejected by Temptation AFTER I'd sold 3 there for not being the right tone. ::shrug:: Went right over my head. And I still didn't sense the differences until the lines seemed to me to get even more sharply defined - and that's been within the last few years. Again, this is all me, but now I can see some unique trademarks to various lines, while some books I still think could cross.

But for Blaze, and for me, it's all about tone and the attitude of the characters. The characters, no matter their sexual experience, MUST be adventurous and willing and accepting of their sexual natures. They can be put into all sorts of plots, but they are not shy about sex. For me, that's the biggest thing to keep in mind. (Alison Kent)

Leslie, that's a great way of putting it. And Jenna, I think you're right about Blaze heroines. That was the primary reason my partial on the continuity got tossed back for re-do. I hadn't painted the heroine right, and Kathryn mentioned, "Blaze heroine" a number of times in the conversation. In my case, I'd had to take her from grumpy and kind of a bummer to more confident and determined. I tend to think while you can do a zillion things with the story line, if you can get the characterization on the heroine right, that's a big foot in the door. (Lori Borrill)

As far as what makes a Blaze, I think I'd take from a couple of things I've heard here already--first, is that sexual tone/awareness that the characters have built into them (whether they're virgins or seductresses; players or abstainers)--the hero/ine need to be characters who embrace their sexual selves and are willing to explore/discover/have adventures/redefine/expand that sexual side. And secondly, the strong heroines. Of course, that means the heroes have to be strong, too, to match and not be overshadowed by them. But no matter her level of sexual experience/expertise, the heroine has some backbone that makes her strong and self-sufficient. I think Blaze heroines need that inner (and/or outward) strength to make it believable that they are adventurous sexual creatures and aren't being taken advantage of by the hero or by the conflicts in Blaze stories. Even if they aren't aware of that strength (a great story arc is for the heroine to discover her own chutzpah), or they have a softer outward personality--even shyness--that strength is there. (Julie Miller)

Contemporary, independent heroines, who are not afraid to be sexy or go after what they want? They're not your mother's Harlequins, for sure. (Sheila Baker)

Hi there Blaze Babes,

I'm popping back in with a sincere thanks for all the great answers to my question: What makes a Blaze a Blaze?

Sam mentioned the wide variety in the line's editorial, makes it hard to pin down. I agree completely. Blaze has been a forest and trees problem for me I keep finding a different style Blaze when I thought I'd figured it out.

Jolie pointed out it's even more complicated because the line keeps evolving. but reminded me (always a good thing) that Blaze is always love story.

Melissa explained the key is a certain kind of heroine; one in charge of her sexuality, meeting her hero as an equal. Blaze being a combination of passionate and tender romance.

Leslie added that the physical relationship drives the emotional journey. So pithy, so true.

Jenna seconded the essential strong heroine. Gamma babes?

Alison charmed me with an explanation of adventurous characters with a certain attitude as being the defining Blaze aspect.

Julie dropped by to enlighten me further with the clue that the heroine can grow into the emotionally confident ideal rather than having to start there.

Sheila summed it all up - sexy independent women

Thank you all bunches - there's so much collective wisdom here it may take me awhile to process. Please accept my apology if I've mangled your answer by paraphrasing.

Blaze babes are the best.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Reading Report

Last week I had a little Blaze fest starting off with It's a Wonderfully Sexy Life by Hope Tarr

This is Ms. Tarr's debut Blaze, an extreme presumably for the paranormal element. Despite the title, the plot is closer to one Magic Christmas. It is a do-over fantasy.

My favorite part of the book was the heroine. And this from a hero driven reader. Not that there was anything wrong with the hero. He was suitably hunky and heroic. In fact all the characters were well drawn and believable. But the heroine was oh so human and fresh. The kind of woman you want to cheer for.

Next I gobbled up Untouched by Samantha Hunter another extreme Blaze. And again I connected with the slightly paranoid, slightly twisted heroine. And a bonus creepy villain. Is this heroine connection a new trend for me or for the line? Dunno.

Last but best of all was another debut Blaze. Private Confessions by Lori Borrill. This is what I expect in a Blaze. It's young, hip, urban, romantic and blazing hot with a great emotional connection between the couple. I loved the human, but of course, hunky hero a nice guy who is justifiably wary of the heroine. Again all the characters were well drawn and credible. I'm just partial to hunky heroes. The heroine's supportive family was another nice touch.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Writing Life

I'm thinking one of the prerequisites for a writing career should be patience. Seriously. No one talks about the patience needed to go over each page again and again like some manic cleaner tending to the grout with an old toothbrush. Not that I would know anything about such sick tendencies. ;)

No one talks about the long, long, long period between submission and response. Well, to be fair I've read a couple of published authors who were frank about how long the road was, but I've paid more attention to the chipper call stories that run along the lines of:

"So I express mailed the requested full on Friday and the following Friday the lovely editor called to tell me they loved it."

Was it one of those brightly polished manuscripts that had been revised fifty times over a period of years? Maybe. Maybe it was dashed off over a few weeks. Does it matter?

I think one of the best things I can do for my writing is to recognize my strengths and weaknesses.

I may never dash off perfect copy. Actually, I'm pretty certain I won't. This doesn't mean I can't do a good job of polishing a manuscript. It does mean I need to accept how much time that process takes. Speed is not the objective, quality is.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Writing Life

This afternoon I printed out the first draft of Blackmailed By The Billionaire. The story instantly became more real to me. It's a real manuscript that fills me with a sense of accomplishment.

I tried something new with this story I wrote it in order. If I got stuck I took the dog for a walk or did chores. I did not skip ahead to write a more entertaining section. After the first couple of weeks of discipline, it became habit. The payoff for me was simple, the writing never slowed down I didn't wind up staring at the screen or deleting whole sections and having to re-do those pages. This doesn't mean the story doesn't require lots of polishing - but it's closer to a complete story than any other first draft I've ever produced.

Next I read and edit and hope the lovely editor is intrigued by my lovers.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Writing Craft

Romance novels are all about the characters. After all it is a love story, which means it is the lovers' journey from that first meeting to a mutual lasting commitment. For this age old story to make engaging entertainment, we readers have to care about the couple.

Many readers are hooked by the hero.This makes sense to me. He's human, attractive, honorable, sexy as all get out, wild for the heroine and a one-woman man. :) What could be more magnetic to a reader?

Precisely because the hero is such a paragon, the heroine needs to be worthy of this drool-worthy hunk. She must be equally human, intelligent, kind, attractive, modest and all things noble. She may not see herself as sex goddess, but the hero does and that's what counts.

Just how does one go about building these entertaining charcters? The longer I study this problem, the more I'm convinced one needs to do everything well.

Dialogue, action, description and introspection all serve to expose character. Character is revealed in everything your hero and heroine do. Every choice they make, every move, every word, every thought reveals them.

As in real life, when we meet a new person we aren't ready to hear their life story or deepest secrets. So it is with story people. They attract the reader first, by word or deed. Or even by thought.

The ability to share a character's thoughts is unique to the world of literature. For a romance writer this is one of the most powerful tools with which to show the reader what ones characters are truly made of - by sharing their inner fears, hopes and dreams.

Conflict is another key to deepening character. Character is forged under pressure. The stronger the opposition, the stronger and more the hero and heroine grow.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Reading Report

Building Believable Characters - A Writer's Digest Sourcebook

This was my first stop on the quest to deeper characterization. For a fairly fat book the advice section is rather skimpy. What it does have is a character thesaurus. There are hefty sections on face and body, personality, expressions, body language, voice,dress, dialects, names and homes.

Sort of like buying a cookbook and finding instead lists of ingredients. Less roll and click, and more thoughtful reading about the book, on part. Yet, I'm not sure I'm disappointed. I think it might well serve the way a regular thesaurus does as a memory aid or brain nudge.

The Good Son by Craig Nova

Mr. Nova is one of the most brilliant unknown authors around. Worthy of reading strictly for craft. His sentences are dense with precise meaning, each requiring careful savoring in the mind to absorb the full flavor. In addition, he has a distinctive author voice.

All that said he has a small reading audience, the uniformly admiring critics, a few discriminating readers and, occassionally, me. Why? Frankly, I think he was born too late - if F. Scott Fitzgeral were writing today - would he be a best seller ?

Isabella by Loretta Chase

Having discovered Ms. Chase last year - she's now a favorite reward read. So far each title has been thoroughly delightful. This one, sadly, is currently out of print - but available from selected re-sellers.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Writing Life

By virtue of excessive internet surfing and the always popular (with me) procrastination pattern - I've met several generous and talented women willing to share their time. As a by product I've learned the shining goal of publication is not the end to all doubts, troubles or even (horrors) rejections.

Yeah, they happen to published authors too. :( In fact, once published the pressure and expectations increase. Still the dream lives on after publication too. A better story, bigger sales, and retiring from the day job dangle seductively in front of the recently published.

Amazing, to me down here on the struggling rung, is even NY Times best selling household names still have writing related fears, hopes and dreams. More evidence to support my theory that a writer needs to embrace the journey; it never ends.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Sample Saturday - Hiatus

Fact is (and I bet all you other writers have already figured this out) it takes a lot longer to write something than it does to read it. :) A book I can read in a few hours takes months to write. At least in my case. Why is that? Dunno - even I can type way faster than I can create a story.

Slow thinking, is part of it, and then even as slow as I go I still type three words for every one that makes it on to the page. If you've been reading here a while you've seen the changes a chapter goes through from first draft to submission.

All these words to get to my point.:) No samples for awhile - I'm getting close to finishing the current manuscript and there's a backlog of projects behind it.:(

Friday, January 05, 2007

More writing life

It's a good thing I opted for indulgences rather than resolutions. If I had made resolutions one would have been to cut down on book buying. I've already purchased five books and it's only the fourth. :( No will power.

Writing Life

Romance writers are by and large women. And women are (at the risk of being sexist) the kinder, gentler gender. I've benefited from the very tactful advice of many writers ahead of me on the writing journey.

In turn I've tried to share those hard won lessons with mixed results. Teaching the newly learned subject is fraught with peril for anyone. Writers, for all the ego bruising involved in the business, tend to be easily wounded souls.

A writer needs to care passionately about her stories to get through the process of transfering a dream to the actual page. At the same time she needs to seperate her self-worth from the story. When someone criticizes your performance that's all it is a critic of your execution of certain skills at this point in time. All opinion about art is subjective.

As an example of my lack of objectivity: I don't care for Hemmingway's story choices. I can recognize his genius with words, but still not enjoy reading him. There are other writers whose story craft is shaky that I adore.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Writing Craft

Last year I concentrated on mechanics: grammar; punctuation; and learning techniques to proof better. Studying the rules and understanding why they existed, before deliberately breaking them. :) I learned about house styles and how little is hard and fast in the fluid world of the English language. This wasn't the only aspect of writing I worked on but it was the main thrust. Toward the end of the year I saw improvement and moved on to structure and setting.

Am I done? No way - not even close. The perpetual student aspect of professional writing is part of the attraction for me. This year's focus is going to be on characterization. When that's as good as I make it for now I'll push on pacing and revisit conflict.

During all this studying I'll continue to write, to apply the lessons learned and hone the skills acquired. I have a big goal. I want to be one of those writers who grows with each book. I'm reading one now and it's a lovely bonus when an author surprises you with a new level of story craft.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Reading Report

Over the past few weeks I've been greedily reading. In no particular order:

Have you been naughty - want to be even naughtier?

Try Entertaining Mr. Stone by Portia Da Costa how often do you read well written erotica? Enough said.

Not quite that naughty?

Try this anthology from a trio of good girls with a weakness for dangerous men.

Still too naughty? - Much nicer girl meets a decent guy for hot sex and tender love

What's holiday reading without a decandent Present or two?

Dark Italian truffle in a dark chocolate with a hint of orange liquor

And then the same dark Italian truffle with a hint of earl grey - trust me, it's an addictive flavor

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