Friday, February 09, 2007

TGIF

"True love comes quietly, without banners or flashing lights. If you hear bells, get your ears checked."
~Erich Segal


Wow! Grey’s Anatomy certainly handed us a cliff-hanger last night. A little bit of everything, too: drama, humor, romance, suspense (and what’s up with that near-catatonic blonde girl hanging around Meredith?) Was I the only person who couldn’t look straight at the face of the pregnant woman crushed under the pylon? Yikes.

So, I recently had to write up a promotional blurb for One Night in Boston, and when my editor sent it back with a few wording changes yesterday, I got a peek at my tentative e-pub release date: July of this year. Exciting! And the print version comes out 3 months after the online release. So it looks as though (fingers crossed) you might be able to put it on your Christmas list for 2007!

Any interesting plans for the next couple of days?? I’m just trying to stay warm--it’s been in the single digits all week. At least there’s very little snow on the ground, so when the deer come to feed in our front lawn (there were 4 last night), they actually look as though they’re finding something.

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Writer's Life

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”
~Ray Bradbury


I joined Writers Village University about 5 years ago, when I decided to take the plunge and see if writing was a hobby or something I really wanted to devote more time to (can you guess which I discovered?) And really, it’s been a great experience. I haven’t taken advantage of the classes they offered as much as I could have, but the writing groups I joined turned out to be invaluable in helping me grow as a writer. Sometimes I still marvel at the way you can become such good friends with people you’ve never seen or met in person.

Anyway, the other day one of the women who’s been in and out of one study group emailed me--she’s the columnist for WVU’s partner ezine, T-Zero, and she asked if she could interview me for an upcoming issue:

…All of us unpublished writers want to know how it feels to see our words in print and long to learn what it takes to live the writer’s life. Give us a taste of your achievement…

It was a surreal request, really, because sometimes I really don’t think of myself as someone that other writers would want to read about. The writer’s life, I’m finding, is not that much different after I signed contracts than before. The only difference is that I feel busier than ever! But I’m flattered all the same, and in thinking about her questions, I decided that this is what I would tell anyone who’s unpublished:

Be persistent, and believe in yourself. There are so many times on the lonely writing journey when it would be much easier to give up. Many times when you could spend an afternoon watching movies or working in the garden or curling up with a good book instead of struggling with your own. Many times, especially if you’re in the query pipeline, that you’d rather toss out all those rejection letters along with your stupid manuscript which is never going to be any good at all, and dive into a pint of ice cream for solace. Don’t.

Writing is hard work. It takes more time and self-discipline and dedication than you might ever imagine. But you can’t let the frustrating times get you down so low that you stop altogether. If you want to write, write. If you want to be published, learn everything you can about your target market and the business and the craft itself. Then come up with the best story you can think of, the one that makes you fall in love with the characters every time you think about it, and write it. Enlist the help of others: friends, family, fellow readers and writers, support groups. Revise your work until you can’t stand to look at the words anymore. Find new agents, new editors, new markets. But don’t give up.

Believe me, you never, ever know when you’ll have that one opportunity, when that single editor or agent will tell you they love your ideas and can’t wait to work with you. And when it happens, you’ll be over the moon.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I'm Cheating Today

"Of all God's creatures, there is only one that cannot be made slave of the leash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve the man, but it would deteriorate the cat."
~ Mark Twain

Since I have a huge presentation at work today (tonight, actually), today's blog won't be about much of anything at all. I've been writing, yes, and doing some marketing and publicity, yes, but those updates will have to wait 'til another day.

In the meantime, for your viewing pleasure:

my cats, sunning themselves on the loveseat yesterday…




and a fun read that Marianne had up on her blog a few days ago (it's worth a rerun)...

FOR PET LOVERS -

To be posted VERY LOW on the refrigerator door - nose height.

Dear Dogs and Cats, The dishes with the paw print are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Please note, placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Beating me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster than you can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort. Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.

For the last time, there is not a secret exit from the bathroom. If by some miracle I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge and try to pull the door open. I must exit through the same door I entered. Also, I have been using the bathroom for years -- canine or feline attendance is not required.

The proper order is kiss me, then go smell the other dog or cat's butt. I cannot stress this enough!

To pacify you, my dear pets, I have posted the following message on our front door:

To All Non-Pet Owners Who Visit & Like to Complain About Our Pets:

1. They live here. You don't.

2. If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. (That's why they call it "fur"nature.)

3. I like my pets a lot better than I like most people.

4. To you, it's an animal. To me, he/she is an adopted son/daughter who is short, hairy, walks on all fours and doesn't speak clearly.

Remember: In many ways, dogs and cats are better than kids because they:

1. Eat less

2. Don't ask for money all the time

3. Are easier to train

4. Normally come when called

5. Never ask to drive the car

6. Don't hang out with drug-using friends

7. Don't smoke or drink

8. Don't have to buy the latest fashions

9. Don't want to wear your clothes

10. Don't need a "gazillion" dollars for college.

And finally,

11. If they get pregnant, you can sell their children.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Sex or the Story??

"If sex doesn't scare the cat, you're not doing it right."
(Anonymous)


Okay, I have to know: how many of you read romance for the sex? And how many for the story?

See, here’s the thing: I don’t write sex. I write a few scenes that might involve a kiss or two, a touch, some want, but I don’t delve into the bedroom scenes like I know a lot of romance authors do.

Why not? Well, I suppose it’s just not my M.O. I’m way more interested in the emotion of two characters getting together than the mechanics. I’ve read too many romance novels where the love, and the entire storyline, took a back seat to the scenes of “lust-driven pleasure” and “his quivering member” and “desire feathering up her spine.” And honestly, it’s a reason I resisted categorizing myself as a “romance author” for a long time.

I also have a hard time finding sex scenes that actually make me appreciate the moment and not cringe at the writing, so I’m less than inspired to try it myself. It seems as though clich├ęs run rampant in romance novels, [see above] and when I’m reading them, I just want them to be over, so we can get back to the plot moving forward and some interesting dialogue.

I like happy endings. I like watching characters struggle through conflict to be together. I like desire that strings you along. I like painful separation and exhilarating reunion. And while, sure, sex can play a satisfying part of the coming together (no pun ended), I’m just not interested in spending time writing about it. But I think that puts me in the minority of romance writers.

So back to my original question: do you read romance for the sex, or for the story? Or both?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Football Heroes and Defensive Driving

When I went to Catholic high school in Philadelphia, we just had one coach for football and basketball. He took all of us who turned out and had us run through a forest. The ones who ran into the trees were on the football team.
~George Raveling

Well, I was happy to see the Colts win the Super Bowl last night and Peyton Manning finally win his first championship. I remember him from his days playing at Tennessee, and I did always like him. Plus he's a cutie, and he and his brother rolled up their sleeves and helped out New Orlean a lot after Hurricane Katrina last year.


Hey, how many romance novels do you think feature pro atheletes as the hero? I remember this discussion on a blog somewhere a while back, and I think the answer was close to zero, for a variety of reasons: they have no time, they're too in love with themselves, they aren't the "typical" romantic hero in our society. What do you think?

###########

OK, so somehow I let my husband convince me to take a defensive driving class, the next two Monday nights. Yeah, yeah, I know it will lower our car insurance. But the last thing I want to do on a Monday night in February is spend 3½ hours watching videos of car crashes and listening to someone talk about the correct way to pass and merge.

Okay, maybe I shouldn’t be so irritated about it. It’s a good thing, right? Everyone should probably be mandated to take the course, on a regular basis. ‘Cause I’m pretty sure those women driving their SUVs down the road while on their cell phones and checking on their kids in the back seat and weaving in and out of lanes at 85 miles an hour could use a reminder about safe driving.

But Monday night?? Now I have to miss Prison Break (and you *know* how much that pains me). I'll be sitting there listening to strategies for safe merging and dreaming of Wentworth Miller heating up the screen with his doctor love. Darn it.