Monday, August 29, 2005

Hot Salsa!

This is a salsa post. I'm talking the kind with tomatoes and onions and jalapenos and cilantro and all that good stuff. I currently have a great big pot of the stuff simmering on the stove, and I have to stay up till it sludgifies so I can stick it in containers and freeze it. (I'm to lazy to go the canning route.) And while I'm waiting for it to cook down, I thought I'd come blog. (I told you my life was boring.)

I've been waiting a while for tomatoes to get cheap enough to buy a bunch of them, and finally they did. At this price, I can make a buttload of salsa for a lot less than what it costs to buy the good stuff, and the homemade is LOTS better than the storebought. And I only cut myself once, right at the very end of the chopping portion of the job--cutting oneself while making salsa is Really Bad, because the acid in the tomatoes burns like crazy, and the jalapeno juice isn't that great either. And I don't know how anybody can make it without cutting themselves at all...they're more coordinated than I am.

So, besides the salsa bubbling away in the kitchen, it's been a good day otherwise. The editor liked my answers to her questions in the revision letter. She liked my idea for the option book, and she liked the thought I had about future books set in Adara. Which means that when it comes time to start the next proposal for Luna, I'll be writing sexy Victorian steam-punk...

But first I have to finish The Eternal Rose. Which means sitting down tomorrow to do it. Work, work, work.

Friday, August 26, 2005

A visit from Gena Showalter!

Here's a good read-- Take a look!

Heart of the Dragon
by Gena Showalter

HQN books, 037377057X

He is a Dragon, a rare breed of warriors able to transform into the legendary creature at will. Though the mighty warlord breathes fear into the minds of his enemies and fire into the blood of his women, no one has ever stirred his heart -- until he encounters Grace Carlyle of modern day Earth. He burns to possess this proud, alluring beauty . . . but he has sworn to kill her.

Set in the mythological world of Atlantis, where the gods’ hid their greatest mistakes – the vampires, demons, minotaurs, dragons and too many others to name – Darius en Kragin is the fiercest creature of all. But this immortal warrior is unprepared for Grace and soon finds himself caught between sizzling white-hot passion and duty.


Sexy, funny, and downright magical!” New York Times bestselling author Katie MacAlister

Sexy and sparkling, Award winning author Robin D. Owens

Bold and witty, sexy and provocative, Gena Showalter's star is rising fast! Carly Phillips, New York Times Bestselling Author.

Gena's website


Buy from Barnes and Noble or Amazon

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Poetry at College

We took the youngest to college last week. It was an experience. Fortunately, I didn't have to do too much of the climbing up and down stairs. I'm a GREAT door-holder. We left the boy heading to marching band practice and returned home. The house isn't really any quieter during the day, when I'm there by myself. But it feels quieter.

Classes started Monday. And Monday afternoon, when I checked my e-mail, I discovered that the boy has WAY too much time on his hands. He wrote us a poem. At midnight.

The Night Before Classes

Twas the night before classes,
And all through the dorms,
Not a student was stirring,
No parties, no porn.
The books were all bought,
And the kids were all ready.
Not one dreamed of sleep,
But all dreaded study.
The money ran thick
In the deep freshman pockets,
The wise parents knew
That this would not stick.
Scrounge the students would
For every nickel and dime
And find the deals that only kids could.
The girls staked their claim,
On the unwary young men.
The boys ran for cover
From these apt, prowling dames.
Horomones ran free,
And the competition: Fierce;
Those who weren't there
Must have had to pee.
So the students relished
Their last night of freedom
The classes would start,
The work would begin,
That which was, is never again.

- Rob Shelton, Penland 305

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Protect The Work

> I have listened to too many other
> writers and changed the beginning and ending so many times the story
> was not the story I started out with.
(Someone posted this to a loop I belong to, and I just had to respond.)

I think we have all done this. I know I have, and I remember fussing at critique partners in the early days when they couldn't tell me what kind of story they wanted to tell ("one that will sell" is NOT the right answer) and kept changing it according to whatever the last person to crit the ms might have said. In fact, I have one (now published) crit partner I STILL have to fuss at for that.

You need--we all need to hold that vision in our heads, that heart-deep need to tell THIS story, not that one or the other. We need to figure out the tone and the feel we want the story to have, the kind of person we want our characters to be, and then hold on to it. Characters can have all sorts of jobs and still hold true to who they are. I changed a character from a patrol cop to a night-club owner, but he still had the same personality (I did add a stint in the Marines when he left the police force). That was the second book I sold. (Her Convenient Millionaire, Silhouette Desire, May 2003)

Figure out the things that are important to you, the things that make the story the story, and hold on TIGHT to those. That's what you need to protect. The other stuff can change, but protect those essentials, the things about the story that you love.

I don't care what your critique partner says. The only person who really matters is you. Yes, the editor matters, but you're the only one who can decide whether you can stomach the changes, or how to make those changes, and it's usually a long way to go before you get the editor's input. But if you change the story so much that you don't love it any more, how can you write it?

Now, if your cp doesn't get what you're trying to say, or if the hero you love seems like a brute to her, yes, listen. Add motivation (that usually helps in the brute thing) or explain a bit more. But hang on to the important stuff.

Sometimes, it's just easier to start over and write a new book. If you learned from that story, even if it's just one single thing, then the story was worth writing, even if it slides under your bed and is never heard from again. (And I have several of those...) The main thing is: Keep writing, and Protect the Work.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Death in Books

I've recently read a number of books in which a secondary, or a secondary/almost-main character is killed. And the impact of that death is different in each one. In some of them, it's almost an "oh well, they're dead, too bad, so sad." And in others, the death has much more of a horrific impact.

And it got me to wondering why there was such a difference in impact, and what created it.

Most of it, I think was a difference in staging. In what events were "on stage" when the death occurred. In the ones where the death seemed to hit me less, the main focus of the scene at that moment was not on the death. Other things were going on, and if the death didn't occur off stage, it was in the background. Then the main character discovered--Oh my goodness! George is dead! (or whoever it was that died). And while there is an aftermath of sadness and shock and such, it still doesn't seem to have quite the kick that other deaths in other books have.

But in the books where the death was a huge kick in the teeth, the dying was center stage with the hero/heroine fighting desperately to prevent it, or somehow horribly prevented from stopping it. There was anticipation--fear that it would happen, hope that somehow the hero/heroine will be able to stop it--lots of build-up. And when it happens, in a way, you're prepared for it, even though you were hoping it wouldn't happen, so it's still a shock, but you can feel the full impact of the death because its coming was threatened.

Do y'all agree? Disagree? Let me know. One of my main-ish characters is facing death in the next Rose book...and I want everybody to feel every last pang of the dying...