Friday, January 27, 2012

Don't Piss off Romanceland

It's happened again. Another jackass is bashing the romance genre with asinine assumptions and incorrect data to support his argument...and that's the issue. I don't care if someone doesn't like a genre, but ad hominem attacks on readers and writers in such a libelous manner get me seething.

A few highlights from this guy's rant: Romance authors are mistakenly put on a "pedestal as if they are in the same class as authors of a much higher standing." Romance novels will never be part of a college curriculum..and of course they are "lessor" works. (His typo, not mine.) Oh, and he called us illiterate n' stuff.

I would have been content to giggle over that and submit a comment citing proof of his errors...but he grew even more obnoxious in the comments section: " As I said earlier, I object to grown women reading and thinking on thigs they should have gotten out of the way when they were still girls. It seems to me the inellectually lazy shoe is very much on the other foot."

I responded to that comment...but then it got deleted. 

Apparently the same thing happened to author Shiloh Walker. But she was tech savvy enough to take pictures. She discusses her experience here.

Since Ms. Walker summed up the matter very well, I see no need to repeat the same arguments. So instead, I made memes.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: TROLL MAN!

He described himself as "sexy" and "single" Hmmm... the latter seems obvious, but the former?



And the guy has a donate button. For what purpose, I don't know. Even Comic Book Guy from "The Simpsons" has more class.


....The last is inspired by mine and Shiloh Walker's experience.



Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Becoming a Ninja in Productivity


Yesterday I had a bunch of stuff going on that interfered with my writing. The first one was a four hour long bunch of BS that I wasn't supposed to be involved with, but still had to show up and wait in line to prove this was the case.

When I arrived, I slipped on the ice and nailed my elbow and knee, which doubled my foul mood. Then I got packed in a room resembling a sardine can with 30 people while we waited...and waited...and waited. It was too tight to use my laptop but luckily I was given a pen and scrap paper. With this, I was able to compose Friday's blog post and next week's author interview. Then I outlined the next few scenes in my WIP, write 300 words, and organize my to-do list for the next 2 days.

Thankfully, I provided the right paperwork so I don't have to go back there again.

Then, while waiting at the doctor's office, I was able to email the interview questions to my next guest author and transcribe the 300 words to my manuscript.

The moral of the story: Don't let things stop you from getting things done. Sneak in what you can when you can. You'll be surprised at the results! 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Courting the Muse with Unconventional means.

Trent Reznor: King of Depressing Inspiration

Every writer has types of scenes they dread writing. For some it's love scenes, others have issues with action or exposition. For me, it's the sad scenes that do me in. I will use any excuse necessary to avoid the keyboard when one of those come up. And once I do get to the document, the words crawl...and they often turn out dry and distant.

Well, this time I couldn't do it that way. My crit partners are on my butt to get my weekly quota of pages to them  AND they will have no mercy if those pages aren't up to snuff.

So I really had to dig deep and utilize some unconventional methods to get that scene out. I don't usually listen to music when I write because I prefer total silence. But this time I did. I listened to REALLY sad music. Highlights were: "The Moonlight Sonata" by Beethoven, songs from the soundtrack for INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE, and most of all, "Something I can Never Have" by NINE INCH NAILS.

...and it worked. The scene came alive to the music, so much that I had a giant lump in my throat the whole time writing it.

What about you? What scenes are hardest for you? What unusual (for you) tactics have you used to get them out?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

This is a subjective business....


For the last few weeks, bloggers have been addressing bad behavior between authors and reviewers. Apparently things got so ugly that insults were thrown back and forth on the comments sections of one another's sites.

I still see authors mentioning reviews in their Facebook/ twitter posts. Everything from "Please review my book" to "Omg this person left a terrible review and they didn't get my book at all cuz ______."

On the flip side, I see reviewers getting all high and mighty like they're the final word on whether you should buy a book or not. A lot of their issues I think comes from their popularity. I shake my head every time when followers of the site slavishly declare: "Thank you so much for posting this review. This book was on my TBR list but now I won't buy it."

REALLY?

People seem to be forgetting something. Tastes are different. Raise your hand if you liked every single book you've read.

Yeah, that's what I thought.

If you're an author, some people are going to hate your book. It's a fact of life. Quit fussing about it and focus on the ones who love it.

Because this really is a subjective business. Agents and editors don't say that in rejection letters to blow smoke up your ass. It really is true. This is why you must keep writing, query more than one agent or editor, and have more than one beta reader.

And if you like or dislike something, quit trying to convince others they should do the same. I'm not just talking about books here. I like heavy metal music. A lot of people don't. But it really pisses me off when someone insults my favorite bands when they're in my home or on my Facebook wall, etc....you know, my turf.

Do they expect me to jump for joy and say, "Oh thank you for enlightening me. I had no idea Iron Maiden sucked until you told me. I'm going to go buy all the Jonas Brothers' albums and start worshiping Lady Gaga straightaway!"

Seriously, all art is subjective. People like what they like. That is why there's variety. Quit getting pissy and celebrate it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Lesson on Priorities

Dio says, "Listen up!"

Last Saturday, I dragged by hungover ass to my 2nd RWA meeting. (It had been a month since I'd had a karaoke Friday and I'd desperately needed it.) Despite my queasy stomach and exhaustion, the meeting was well worth it. I learned so many things about goals and time management and I hope to share them all with you as well as how I do with implementing them. My husband says I have the organizational skills of a cement mixer and he's totally right.

One thing I want to discuss today is this: One author shared a story about another author who had been angry with someone. Later, she calculated the time she spent on being angry vs. the time she spent writing. Naturally, the results were unpleasant. The author sharing the story then gave us all handouts to fill in our goals for a day and a slot to fill in how much time we spent on them.

This really hit home with me. First because only a few days prior, one of my crit partners and I were doing a writing sprint...but then it dissolved into a conversation about an inconsequential matter. It was fun and much girl talk was exchanged, but we were supposed to be writing.

Then, today I had my weekly session with my therapist. Yet another thing had happened which could potentially affect my writing and a bunch of other stuff. My therapist said, "Come on, I know you are dedicated to your writing career. If this does happen, you'll move things around, but you WILL get the writing done. Sometimes it may not be easy, but you will do it. I KNOW you will. Worrying about it will only waste more time."

Then I remembered the lesson of the RWA meeting and I'm all, "Oh yeah, duh."

Moral of the story: STOP letting inconsequential matters get in the way of what you need to do. STOP worrying. Worrying wastes time you could be spending on more productive or pleasant things.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Seeking the The "Holy Grail" of publication. (rerun post)



I'm going to share a few things I've learned about my journey using quotes from the movie, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." Hey, someone did it with "Princess Bride."

"When I first came here, this was all swamp. Everyone said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built in all the same, just to show them. It sank into the swamp. So I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So I built a third. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up. And that's what you're going to get, Lad, the strongest castle in all of England." 

Getting published takes determination and you likely won't succeed until your 3rd or fourth book.

  "Welcome, brave sir Knight. Welcome to the Castle Anthrax."  
"The Castle Anthrax?" 
"Yes... it's not a very good name, is it? Oh, but we are nice, and we'll attend to your every need."

A good title can get you far.

"Meanwhile, not more than two swallow's flights away, Arthur and Bedivere had discovered something. Oh, that's an unladen swallow's flight away, obviously. There were more than two laden swallow's flights away, four really, if they had the coconut on a line between them. I mean, if the birds were walking, and dragging the coconut..."
"Get on with it!"

Your plot needs good pacing and better not ramble.

"Oh, wicked, bad, naughty Zoot! She has been setting a light to our beacon, which, I've just remembered, is Grail shaped. It's not the first time we've had this problem." 

Be sure to always check submission guidelines to be sure that your manuscript is what they are looking for.

"First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin. Then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it." 

Follow Directions!!!


"The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. THAT is why I am your king."
 
"Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony. 
"Oh, but you can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you. If I went 'round sayin' I was Emperor, just because some moistened bint lobbed a scimitar at me, they'd put me away."

You may have some credibility issues with your plot.

 "Go and tell your master that we have been charged by God with a sacred quest. If he will give us food and shelter for the night, he can join us in our quest for the Holy Grail."
 "Well, I'll ask him, but I don't think he will be very keen. Uh, he's already got one, you see."

They may have already bought something similar.

Finally, they may not be the right publisher for you. But if they do this, you should probably report them to Preditors and Editors.


Monday, January 9, 2012

No post today, so here's some awesome.

Due to a family emergency, I shall have to postpone our regular scheduled program. So here's my latest favorite thing I've seen on YouTube. Thanks, Bonnie R. Paulson for sharing this on Facebook!


Let's sing it together: "I'm INNNVINNNNCCCIIIIIIBLLLLLLLLLE!"

Friday, January 6, 2012

Why Is Female Sexuality Kept In The Dark?


  • Though she did beautiful paintings, Georgia O'Keefe is to blame for the references comparing our junk to flowers.
    The awesome ladies at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books recently did a post on the hymen. I did one last year touching on the subject. Both our posts were inspired by different points.... but the comments section revealed something disturbing...and depressing. 
    To start, here was my comment on their post: 
    "Thanks so much for this post! I blogged about the hymen after discovering the website, THE_Clitoris.com (http://www.the-clitoris.com/n_... and learned a lot. Here's a highlight: 
    "Contrary to popular myth, the presence or absence of a hymen in no way indicates that a girl or women has or has not had vaginal intercourse. The hymen of some girls totally disappears prior to birth. The tissue of the hymen is very thin, it does not take much tension on the surrounding tissues to cause it to stretch open. Normal childhood activities like spreading the legs widely during gymnastics, riding a bicycle, playing on the jungle gym, and masturbating can result in the hymen disappearing prior to puberty. Later usage of tampons, and the insertion of fingers into the vagina may also stretch the hymen. Some hymen are elastic enough that when a penis is inserted slowly and gently, it may stretch versus tear, so that when the penis is removed, the hymen returns to it prior shape. It appears that about 50% of women experience bleeding when they first have intercourse. This explains the common practices of getting married while a girl is menstruating, inserting a fertilized bird's egg into the vagina, and the staining of the bed sheets with the blood from a chicken when proof of virginity was required."

    The huge point of relief for me was the proof against the concept of "A girl always bleeds after her first time." I didn't (though there was excruciating pain) and for awhile was convinced I was raped as a child or something...since I didn't do gymnastics or ride horses.

    So, many girls don't even have hymens. YAY! And that's why when I have virgin heroines, I don't mention a "barrier." I just stick to the discomfort factor because hell, even without a hymen, "going where no man has gone before" is a painful experience.
  • ....Oh, and a tiny defense to the authors writing from the hero's POV. Most men are even more ignorant than we are on female anatomy. Proof lies with the previous comment mentioning the dumbass males Gynos and the one about males being unaware that the urethra and vagina are separate holes. My husband is in his 40's and didn't know... and my 1st boyfriend scratched his head after we did it and said, "Weren't you supposed to bleed n' stuff?" 

    That said, though I still wouldn't write a "deflowering" scene from the man's POV, I understand why many authors have done so and the way they did it."

    As you can see, I put in my own two cents, but that's not my main point here. What really freaked me out was the reactions in the comments. Many were along the lines of "I never knew where my hymen was" and "My mom/ health class/ whatever" never covered the hymen," "My gynecologist said I was abnormal" and "I didn't even know where my clitoris was!" 
    The Smart Bitches' point was more about errors in the technicalities and character reactions to THE FIRST TIME.
    ...But I think there's a bigger issue. WHY do so many romance authors "get it wrong?" 
    I believe it is mainly two reasons: A.) All women (and men) are different, so naturally their first time will be different. and B.) WE ARE ALL VERY UNAWARE OF OUR OWN SEXUALITY.
    My question is: WHY? Seriously, why are things like the hymen and clitoris not covered in any basic health or reproductive anatomy class? Why do many males..and some females not know that a woman pees out of a different place than the one with which she gives birth? What purpose does this ignorance serve?   
    It cannot be good. Besides creating ridiculous misconceptions in the romance genre, it seems to really be doing damage in real life with real societies. My next rants (not scheduled in any order or time frame) will be on other aspects of female sexuality: the clitoris, the g-spot, and female ejaculation.   

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Best books I Read in 2011


Not all of these were written in 2011, but whatever.

The Mercy Thompson Series by Patricia Briggs. I devoured em all.

A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James: 2nd best rendition of Cinderella EVER! Sorry, nothing can top the movie, EVER AFTER.

When Beauty Tamed The Beast by Eloisa James. The cool thing about that one is that I get a post card of the cover when she has a new release so for Valentine's day I give it to my husband and he takes it to the bookstore and says, "My wife wants this."

FATED and CLAIMED by Rebecca Zanetti: The first two in the Dark Protector's Series, Zanetti's vampires are HOT, Hot, Hot!

MUSTAINE by Dave Mustaine: Autobiography of the lead singer and guitarist of my favorite band, Megadeth. I usually don't care for autobiographies, but this one kept me turning the pages and had me alternating between laughter and tears.

THE HUNGER GAMES TRILOGY by Suzanne Collins: Yeah, I know I was late to the bus on this one, and damn, all the hype was well-deserved!

The WARRIORS series: by Erin Hunter: I usually don't read middle grade, but it was about cats, man! My son got me hooked on 'em!

STONE KISSED by Keri Stevens: Probably the most unique paranormal romance I read this year.

BREATHE AGAIN by Bonnie R. Paulson: A heart-wrenching tale of a woman's journey to love after suffering a tragic loss.

ONCE BITTEN and THE WICKED KISS by Trina M. Lee: The 1st two in the Alexa O'Brien Huntress series, Ms. Lee put the monster back in monsters.

HUNTED BY THE OTHERS by Jess Haines: The most fun urban fantasy that I've read in awhile.

MARKED and ENTWINED by Elisabeth Naughton: These were so engrossing I read MARKED while I was getting my 1st tattoo.

LORD AND LADY SPY by Shana Galen: It's like MR. AND MRS. SMITH set in the Regency...only waaaaay better!

SOUL REBORN by Jean Murray: I've now decided that Egyptian gods are hella-sexy!

11-22-63 by Stephen King: A high-school English teacher goes back in time to try to stop the Kennedy assassination. I can't believe how good this book was. I wanted to read it again as soon as I finished it.


Monday, January 2, 2012

My 2012 Goals

Besides petting kitties and ogling topless guys, of course.

Since my career as an author has reached a new level, most of my goals will be focused on writing. And... this year I'm not even going to bother anything about keeping the house clean. I'm just going to have to accept my limits.

1.) Make all my writing/editing deadlines in time for my editor: This is the most important one. I need to prove I've got what it takes to be a professional author. Since I'm crazy obsessed with punctuality, I feel optimistic about this one.

2.) Finish book 2 of my regency paranormal romance series: With my awesome crit group on my butt about getting pages to them in time, I KNOW I'm going to make this one. Hell, I even have hope I can...

3.) Finish at least the rough draft of book 3. I already have the hero fleshed out in my mind and I can't wait to tell his story.

4.) Finish revisions on WRENCHING FATE: I'm already getting good critiques back on it. The good thing is that everyone loves the story and characters so I just have some technical issues to sort out.


5.) Find a home for WRENCHING FATE/ the UF series. I already have a few ideas, but my regencies need to come first for now.

6.) Keep track of all writing expenses so I survive tax season next year. My husband says I have the organizational skills of a cement mixer...I better do something about that.

7.) Maintain a strong online presence and continue to build my platform. I love my online community!  

8.) Form and follow a plan of preparations for the release of my debut novel (Spring of 2013) Besides the edits, I know there's a ton of other stuff involved. And I still haven't figured out where I'm going to hold my release party...which is fine now, but as that date comes closer....EEK!

9.) Not go insane as my release date creeps closer. OMG OMG, I'm already on my way. I need to keep remembering to do that thing....what's it called again? Oh yeah, breathing.

10.) Maintain good relationships with my friends and family. I would not have succeeded if it weren't for their love and support.

11.) Quit Smoking on August 13. Yeah, you heard me.

12.) Lose twenty pounds. But I'd be happy with fifteen.