Monthly Archives: September 2009

Short Attention Span? I don’t think so

I’ve been working on Succubus-in-Waiting since mid-July and haven’t gotten very far. It isn’t because I don’t love the story, because I do. I want to find out how Connor and Piper end up together and I think I’ve written some good stuff lately. However, their story has been pushed further and further from my mind as Pagan began demanding her story.

Pagan is a character I began trying to write five years ago. Even then, I had the idea for The Veil and couldn’t wait to start writing about the beings within it. But no matter how hard I tried to write Pagan’s story, I didn’t know who she really was and why she would fall in love with Christian. (I know, Pagan…Christian…am I hoaky or what??) Recently though, she’s become more prominent in my mind. It could be because she made an appearance in my finished MS, Ruby: Uncut and on the Loose. Or it could be because I’ve finally figured out who she is.

Whatever the case, I started writing her story this morning. I’m playing with the idea of calling it Falling for Dr. Love (I did say I was hoaky). Why this title? Well because I have a playlist in mind for it. Let me list it:

Playlist title: For Medicinal Purposes
Song/Artist
‘Dr. Feelgood’ by Motley Crue
‘Calling Dr. Love’ by Kiss
‘You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet’ by Bachman Turner Overdrive
‘Sexual Healing’ by Marvin Gaye
‘Doctor My Eyes’ by Jackson Browne
‘The Nurse Who Loved Me’ by A Perfect Circle
‘Just Like A Pill’ by Pink
‘Bad Medicine’ by Bon Jovi
‘I Wanna be Sedated’ by The Ramones
‘Contagious’ by Trapt
‘Remedy’ by The Black Crowes

I know, I have too much time on my hands. Anyway, Pagan is demanding her story right now of all times. Doesn’t she realize I’m in the middle of Piper’s story? Or doesn’t she care? Probably the latter. And I know, Piper, Pagan…I’m going to get mixed up with my P’s. These two characters are so different, I don’t think that’ll happen.

So, what do you do when you’re stuck on a story? Do you try to work on something else? Do you take a break from everything and go back to it?

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Reading Between the Lines

I have a confession to make. I love to read. Really love it. I can remember the first book I read for my own enjoyment to this very day. It was called ‘Socks’ and it was about a stray cat. I was about 11 years old, at a new school away from all of my friends and Socks helped me escape how ‘unbearable’ my life had become. I put unbearable in quotations because when you’re 11 your definition of unbearable and others’ aren’t quite the same.

Anyway, after ‘Socks’, I moved on to Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys Super-mysteries. I sure did love solving the crime before the book was over. I’m something of a smart ass when it comes to that. If you’ve read/watched enough, you pick up the clues that tell you who the perpetrator is. Remember ‘The Usual Suspects’? Yeah, I knew who Keyser Soze was. So thank you Nancy and the Boys. You helped me be the person who ruins the end of movies for their friends!

Once Nancy Drew was no longer fun, my aunt’s neighbor was getting rid of boxes of books. We’re talking about years of Harlequin romances. Some of these books were probably as old as I was (at 13) and they were going to throw them away. My aunt, being the thrifty person she is, asked me if I wanted them. I said ‘sure’ and the world of romance was opened to me.

That was it. I was hooked immediately. By the time I was sixteen, I’d read all 300 books the neighbor gave us and began checking books out of the library. I was reading all the time. It got so bad that my mom threatened to throw my books away. I think she was worried I was going to rot my brain or something. I didn’t party, I read. I still did things with friends, but seriously, those books kept me out of trouble.

Senior year: My high school was right across the street from the library and since I didn’t have my license and had to wait for someone to pick me up from band practice, I’d hang out at the library. Every week I checked out anywhere between 6 and 12 books, finishing them and returning them the next week to trade for more. This went on at least 9 months. I began to read fast enough to finish a full-length novel in 3 hours. This excessive reading actually helped me on my ACT! Can you believe it? I wasn’t the best student (hiding my romance novels in my textbooks), but I scored well enough that the valedictorians and all were asking me how I did it. What’d I tell them? I just read a lot. Yeah, the geeks thought I was a geek, lol.

When I finally got a car and a job, I began to cultivate my collection. Over the years, I’ve had to thin it out, but I still own some of the first books I bought for myself. No, I don’t have anymore of those old Harlequins or Barbara Cartland’s (they were taking up too much room in my bookcase!).

I’m 33 years old and if I had the money, I’d be at the bookstore every week buying 20 books at a time. Because I don’t have the money (and I’ve started writing). I re-read my novels. I have some books I’ve read up to eight times. Excessive? Probably, but when you’re desperate to read and can’t spend money, this is what you do! I keep telling my mother this, lol. If a new book comes out in a series, I have to read the entire series before reading the newest release. This is a little more difficult with some of the series (like Sherrilyn Kenyon or Laurell K Hamilton), but I do it. The Black Dagger Brotherhood? Immortals After Dark? Lords of the Underworld series? Yeah, I’ve read them about eight times.

My joy of reading has helped me so many times. Now that I’m writing, I hope that my books (should the blessed things ever be published) do the same for some other teenager.

Now that I’ve finished rambling, does anyone else re-read their books frequently? Do you remember the first book you read for the joy of it? How fast do you read?

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Slow Start

If you follow this blog, you may have noticed that I didn’t post anything yesterday. Yeah, I felt weird about not giving my daily two cents, but my mom had surgery, so that took precedent over anything else. I think the most I did yesterday was check my e-mail and even that was iffy.

What’s today’s blog going to be about? Well, considering I was taking care of mom yesterday, I think it should be about mothers. Now, my mom is something else. She likes to go around saying she’s a little old lady, but if anyone else even suggests such a thing, she gets offended. Maybe not ‘offended’ so much as it puts her back up.

She just turned 60 this year and (I guess this is where I should say that my sister, brother, and I love to torment her in a nice way) she wanted a party. I kept telling her that all she was getting was a cupcake with a candle on it. Meanwhile, we were covertly planning a birthday party. Yeah, we knew that was all she wanted, but we couldn’t let her know we were doing it! When her birthday came around, she had no clue about the party and we surprised her but good. She loved it. Of course, she said we were trying to kill her because we scared her. It isn’t true though.

She wasn’t a conventional mother, I guess. She wasn’t a mom who made breakfast for us every morning (we were lucky if she made breakfast once a month), she didn’t help us with our homework (she kept telling us that she wasn’t the one in school, we were and it was up to us to learn what we needed to), and she didn’t believe in things like senior trips (once we graduated from high school we were expected to go to work). However, she was always there when we got our hearts broken by something or other, she always made sure we spent time with our families, and she taught us to think for ourselves. She frequently gets frustrated with us because we’re all as hardheaded as she is and we won’t listen to every pearl of wisdom she hands out, so we have to remind her that she taught us to make our own mistakes, opinions, etc. and stick with them.

Do I think my mom is unique? Well, yeah! I think she’s amazing. A strong woman who’s spoiled rotten by her kids. Have I mentioned that if we don’t buy her soft drinks or sweets when she wants them, she pouts? Oh yes. She pouts. She likes to have her own way (who doesn’t) and isn’t above using guilt to get it, lol. Mom’s favorite sayings are ‘When I’m gone, you’re gonna remember this’ or ‘When I die…’.

So is it any surprise that when it was said she needed surgery, all of her kids took off of work to wake up at 3 in the morning to take her to the hospital? I don’t think so. Is it any surprise that we ignored her medicated ramblings? I don’t think so. She’s mom. We pick on her, we love her, we’d do anything for her. She’s my role model and my biggest fan (even though she DID say my business cards looked like I was writing porn).

Oh, don’t worry folks. I haven’t forgotten about the contest. I’m extending the first week in light of personal stuff going on, so any comments made beginning last week until this Sunday will be put in the drawing for a book.

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Fantasy Man Fridays

Today isn’t just another Friday. It’s also the 8th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. This brings to mind horror, grief, disbelief, and a lot of anger. It also reminds me that there are civil servants who are there to protect and save us from horrors such as this.

I have a cousin whose boyfriend is a volunteer fireman and when 9/11 happened, he was devastated. Just devastated. Everyone was, but I think it might’ve hit our civil servants harder. Was this something they could have prevented? Could they have saved more lives if more workers were out there? It’s something we’ll probably never know the answer to.

I don’t normally post in a serious tone and I hadn’t intended to when I began, but this was a serious moment in our nation’s history (and the history of the world for that matter). So do what you feel is right to honor those who lost their lives, those who saved lives, and those still mourning the tragedy.

Give it up to the police officers, the harbor police, the air force, marines, army, and navy. Give it up to those people who give their lives to protect us day in and day out. They deserve it.

Now, to go with our Fantasy Man Friday theme…is there anything sexier than a man who puts his life at risk to help others? An Alpha who does what needs to be done without hesitating? Who fears, but doesn’t let that fear stop him from protecting? I don’t think so.

Enjoy!

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Revising and the Bloody Manuscript

Since I got home on Sunday, the only thing on my mind has been how to edit and revise my manuscript to make it as perfect as possible before sending it off to the requesting editors. Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve edited or revised my MS.

I finished Ruby: Uncut and on the Loose on July 4th (cool, huh?) and put it down for about two weeks. I began editing on the computer, but after hearing someone say the best way to edit is to print your MS and read it out loud, I did just that. At that point, the editing process took on a life of its own. I had post-its and red ink all over my beautiful manuscript’s pages. I took things out here, moved things around there, and when I turned the final page, I had a grin from ear-to-ear. I was finished! Right? Wrong. Oh, so wrong.

I’d been asked for a partial from an agent and was all set to send it out when a published author offered to look over my partial to make sure it was sparkling. Excited by this chance, I sent it to her and she had some suggestions for more revisions. Oh boy. So my baby still wasn’t ready for its big debut? Eek! I revised everything she suggested and sent it off last week. That’s one submission down.

But I still wasn’t finished. When the editors requested fulls, I knew I had to apply all the techniques this lovely author recommended for the first 50 pages of the MS. I’ve read and edited and revised my MS at least four times since then. Do I think it’s ready to go? Probably not. This puppy is getting the look over with a fine tooth comb. I hope *crosses her fingers* to have it ready to go on Tuesday. I don’t want to wait any longer than that.

Is that too long between a request and submitting? I don’t know. Part of me is also hoping the agent will get back to me and request the full before I send it to the editors, but I’m not holding my breath. Here’s to hard work and bloody manuscripts!

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Contest Perhaps?

I’ve been trying to devise ways to get this blog out there, get some more readers (because I know everyone wants to read about my fabulous lifestyle). Having commented on several blogs, I found myself winning a book from the lovely ladies at http://southernsizzleromance.wordpress.com/ and it gave me the idea that perhaps I should do something similar.

Unfortunately, until I get published, the books folks can win will be from my own (enormous) collection of romance novels. If you’re interested in this type of contest, here are the rules:

There are none! Just comment on something I’ve blogged about. I’ll put all the names in a hat and randomly choose one winner a week and give them a choice of novels to be sent to them. Trust me, my bookcases will appreciate it. They’ve been recently cleaned out, but I have a nasty habit of buying and buying…well, you get the idea.

If you’re interested, comment and send your friends over to comment as well. We’ll have the drawings on Sundays and winners announced on Monday morning.

How does that sound?

On a different note…the ladies at SouthernSizzleRomance are trying to give me a heart attack with their pictures of sexy men taking showers. Shame on you! I think I need my heart checked at least once a day, so post more! haha I’ve decided I need to have something like this as well. It’ll be very difficult to search for pictures of hot men, but someone has to do it, right? So this is your chance to leave some great comments.

We’ve already got Gena Showalter’s Beefcake Mondays, Sapphire Phelan’s Hot Hunk Wednesdays, and SouthernSizzleRomance has Wednesday Eye Candy. I’ll take Fridays…here’s your first assignment for the contest! Come up with a proper name for a Friday hunk fest…should it be Frank and Beans Friday? (Okay, that was awful which is why YOU need to come up with the right name. Get to work!!

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You can’t make me!

Not to keep going on about the conference this weekend, but I’m so glad its over. My feet were hating me for stuffing them in heels all weekend. I was never so glad to put on my sneakers to come to work as I was today.

How sad is that? Aren’t women supposed to be able to suffer for beauty or something like that? I think I’m missing that hormone…the one that allows women to wear heels and look comfortable doing it. The entire time I was stuffed into wedges, heels, and boots, all I could think was ‘Oh God, let me find a seat’. The really sad thing is, I loved every pair of shoes in a ‘I like to look at them’ way, not a ‘I can’t wait to wear them’. The heels were seriously cute, but I had to pry them off my feet when I was finished wearing them.

I have to give major kudos to women who can and will wear heels every day. I envy you! My feet don’t have a very high threshold of pain. Give me a tattoo, but don’t put heels on my feet.

On a slightly different note, I’ve got to buckle down this afternoon and work on my synopsis and clean up my MS more. I’m going to just blurt it out. This weekend, I had requests from 2 editors for full manuscripts. I’ve been so over the moon about it, that I didn’t care about my feet until they started feeling normal again.


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Cut it with the negative waves

I was talking with my family yesterday about my writing and my cousin said ‘Why write romance?’ When I told her that romances are great and very popular, she replied ‘There’s lots of sad, desperate women in the world.’

Now, my cousin doesn’t mince words. No one in this family does, but I was a little offended that she thought sad, desperate women are the only ones who read romance. It was on the tip of my tongue to start spouting off statistics about the education level of women who read romance, but didn’t want to waste my breath.

I know that most of the world view women who read romance as sad, desperate women who are either: lonely housewives, bitter divorcees, old maids, or grandmothers. I’m sure they read romance as well, but I know a lot of women who are successful, educated to the nine’s, beautiful women in loving, secure relationships who also read romance. I also know this is an ongoing struggle withing the romance writing community. It shouldn’t be.

From this weekend, I met a lot of fellow pre-published and published authors (my first conference) and found them to be funny, outgoing, smart women. They’re confident and make no apologies for what they write, as it should be. You don’t see Stephen King apologizing for writing horror novels and no one seems to expect people who read his books to be closet serial killers.

It’s a shame there’s such a stigma associated with the genre when it’s the fastest growing genre in the country. So either there are a lot of sad, desperate women in the country, or more and more people are drawn to these stories. And why not? With a romance, you’re almost guaranteed a happy ending, a resolved conflict, and the hope that love really does conquer all. Who doesn’t want that?

It isn’t like all romance these days is of the ‘oh dearest, I love you and only you and we will never fight and have many children together’ variety. Today’s heroines are smart, tough, and don’t wait around for the hero to save them. It’s a reflection of the new wave of feminine confidence that our mothers fought for in the 60’s. We’ve embraced our sexuality, are confident in our abilities to take care of ourselves and we want to read about heroines who feel the same. But the stigma remains. It’s truly sickening.

So what do I say to people who think romance is for the lonely, sad, and depressed? Well, if it’s a man, I’ll tell him ‘Maybe you should read a romance before you make any assumptions. You might learn a few things’ (and hand him The Darkest Whisper by Gena Showalter) and if it’s a woman, I’d say ‘What’s so wrong with a little peace, love, and understanding?’ (and give her a copy of Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers).

Love is the universal language. The job of the romance writer is to ensure that the Happily Ever After is so satisfying that the reader is left with a feeling of good will towards their fellow person.

Viva la romance!!!

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Just Home

From the Heather Graham Writers for New Orleans Workshop and I’m pooped. Well, I’m not just getting home. I’ve been home since about noon, but had family over so wasn’t able to really relax until now.

It was my first conference, so I don’t have a basis for comparison, but I will say that I had a wonderful time. My toes are numb from wearing dress shoes (I’m a total jeans, T-shirt, and tennis shoes girl) so heels and wedges kill me. Considering we walked around the Quarter as well doesn’t help matters much, lol.

The people were amazing. I met so many wonderful pre-published and published authors that my head is spinning. Kathy Love and Erin McCarthy were hilarious and threw a wicked welcome party (Hello, it was also Decadence Fest and there were plenty of beautiful bodies all over the place). Helen Rosburg hosted a steamboat ride on the Natchez that was very soothing (even though my heels were killing me and I was terrified to go anywhere near the rail!!). Saturday was filled with a flurry of informative panels from Pros and Conflicts of writing to Handling your Dream job and real life. Everything was interesting and very helpful.

This morning was set aside for editor and agent appointments. I’ll just say that I started out my morning feeling somewhat sick and ended it feeling faint. It was a rollercoaster ride I’m not sure I’ll ever feel blase about, but it went wonderfully! The two editors I met with were very nice and didn’t make me feel nervous at all. Overall, it was a very satisfying twenty minutes lol.

Le sigh. Folks, I just have to say right now that if you haven’t been to a conference, you should. I was somewhat resistant, but I’m so glad I did. Heather and her gang did a wonderful job of making everyone seem welcome, New Orleans was hospitable (as always), and of course the food was good! It was a lovely weekend and I’ll probably be walking on Cloud 9 for the rest of the month lol, well, I would except for all the work I have ahead of me now!!

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Book Soundtracks

As I’m sure everyone knows by now, I’m seriously nervous about my manuscript and the editor appointments I’m attending this weekend. Yes, I leave tomorrow morning and won’t be back until Sunday. I plan to take my laptop along so I can attend some of the FF&P chats and boost my confidence a bit.

What I’m really blogging about, is a strange sensation I just had. I’m looking over my completed manuscript, cleaning up this part here, that part there, and right when I get to the part where Lucian finally FINALLY realizes how important Ruby is to him and how badly he’s betrayed her…REO Speedwagon’s “Can’t Fight This Feeling” begins to play. I got goosebumps! It fit the scene perfectly, like it was Fated to be…or just really good timing.

I wish there was some way to make soundtracks for books…like a disc you buy with the book that plays while you read, giving you the perfect atmosphere for each scene. That would be awesome. Of course, it’s impractical since not everyone reads at the same pace.

Anyway, I just had to share that since it was so…serendipitous.

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