Archive for August, 2008

Aug 29 2008

Five Things a Writer Should Never Do

Published by under Random Musings

Writing’s not really an exact science. Everyone does it differently. There’s not really a one, right way to accomplish a good, finished book, and that’s not only for different authors, but for the same author in different stories.

Still, there are things that no writer should ever do, at least, in my opinion.

1. Say, “Oh, what a great idea! I’ll make sure to remember that!” – No, you won’t. You’ll forget it. No matter how stupendous or Earth-shattering the idea is, it’ll be gone sometime in the next fifteen minutes. Trust me.

Keep a notebook and pen beside your bed. Keep a little notepad and pen in your purse. And in your car. Write that amazing idea down rightnowthisminute. You’ll thank yourself for it later.

2. Be satisfied with your good idea’s first iteration. – Yeah, it’s a great idea. It’s an amazing idea. Push it further.

Make notes on it. Clarify it. Mull it over. Ask, “And then what?” or “And what else?” See if you can’t take it to the next level. No idea should ever get to rest on its laurels.

3. Get so attached to an idea that you can’t scrap it. – Ideas have to be reworked. So do stories. So does prose. Never etch these things into cement.

Plots, characters, and ideas, these things are your clay. They need to stay malleable until you can be satisfied with the final work. And sometimes, that means having the whole piece done, seeing that it’s not what it should be, and mashing it right back down into a lump so that you can build it up again. Edits happen. So do complete reworks of first drafts.

Never set yourself up for heartbreak. Love your ideas. Cherish them. Nurture them. Hold them in your heart. But remember that they’re going to take a beating before they’re ready to go.

4. Settle for less than the best you can do. – Yes, it may be good enough for your friends. Might be good enough for your agent, or your publisher. Is it good enough for you?

I think every writer’s come to a point with a manuscript where they were totally disgusted with it. Or where they had to make a hard decision: cut the plot a little short and get it out the door, or go through another 100 pages of torture? It happens.

The written word is a legacy, even if you aren’t Hemingway. And if you make a sacrifice you are not comfortable with, you’ll be mad at yourself for it. When that thing releases, you’ll want to crawl under your desk. Everyone in the world may love it to death, but you don’t, and you’ve got to stand behind it. So make sure you’re comfortable with what you’ve done.

5. Lose your wonder for storytelling. – Writing’s work. It’s a business. It’s filled with paperwork, unpleasant edits, waiting, anxiety, pain, torment, people who don’t perform to your expectations, and fickle trends. And it’s easy to get mired in that.

Never, ever lose your sense of wonder in the art of storytelling. Never forget that with your words, you’re taking your readers to a new and amazing place. Someone may read that thing next to a loved one’s hospital bed, looking for the comfort of an escape at a bad time. Someone may sit on their porch with a glass of iced tea and make an already good day better.

Words and stories are power. They are magic that only a wordsmith can make. Never forget that.

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Aug 27 2008

Be Vewy Quiet – I’m Hunting Agents

Published by under Random Musings,Writing Things

So, I’m at that point. Time to put an eye toward the future. Time to think about finding an agent.

I haven’t actually looked at agents. I think I’m an odd bird in this regard. I mean, by now, haven’t most authors made up a list, scoured all over for their favorite authors’ representation, swooned and said, “Yes, this one! This is my dream agent!”

It’s like a sports fan’s dream team, maybe. “If I could play football worth a lick, I’d so totally sign with the Raiders.” Or maybe a music fan. “If I could carry a tune in a bushel basket, I’d so totally sing with The Cruxshadows.” Most people dream about being onstage with that favorite band, or on the field with that team, or maybe at the top of that Fortune 500 company. Writers dream about agents and publishing houses.

Except me. I couldn’t give you the name of Neil Gaiman’s agent. Or Jim Butcher’s. Or Patricia Briggs’. Or Sherrilyn Kenyon. My dream agent is one that says, “Yes, I’d love to represent you!” and saves me a bunch of money in Valium by doing so. Sad, isn’t it?

But I’m starting to pay attention.

This is a piece of the writing world that most people don’t think about. I think every job has particulars that the world at large doesn’t think about. It’s one of those things that makes writing work, which I’ve talked about in the past. Rock stars must do this, too. Practice. Promotion. Booking. Dealing with agents and whatnot.

I came across a blog post from Caitlin Kittredge today about agents. This has some great information. If you’re interested in learning more about the process, you might take a look.

And don’t forget my new release! If you don’t want to read about agents, how about werewolves?

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Aug 22 2008

Release Day – Taint of Shadow!

Today’s the release day for Taint of Shadow! Everyone run, don’t walk, over to Cobblestone for your copy of my exciting werewolf epic!

Want to help spread the word? Just copy and paste the code down in the box onto your blog!

On the night of the blue moon, werewolves Kayla and Noah will find their lives changed forever.

Kayla is captured on the way to her wedding, the final piece of a ritual meant to create twisted werewolves loyal to a rogue vampiric coterie. A year later, she wants revenge, and she won’t let anyone get in her way. Not even her mate.

Noah’s search for Kayla has nearly destroyed the truce that keeps war from erupting between the vampires and werewolves. Can he confront the taint of shadow in his lover, and save both their love and the supernatural community?

Read an Excerpt Online for Free

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Aug 16 2008

What Makes an Alpha – at the Cobblestone Blog

Check out my post today on what makes an alpha, over at the Cobblestone Press Blog! And make sure you catch Taint of Shadow on August 22! (You’re going to get tired of hearing me say that.)

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Aug 14 2008

Moira Rogers’ Kamikaze On Sale Today!

Published by under On Other Authors

Moira Rogers (and her two halves) are great friends of mine. Not only that, but they’re damn shibby authors who write really hot stories, and I’d say that even if I didn’t know them. So I’m really happy to tell you that they’ve got something new out today! Check it out!

Zoe Bennett is an inexperienced werewolf in the grip of her mating cycle. With no pack and no mate, Zoe must brave the supernatural crowds of Last Call, the bar where your drink order tells everyone what you need.

Kamikaze: Werewolf in heat, looking for a temporary mate.

The chase is on, and security specialist Connor O’Malley intends to win, if only because the sweet young woman at the bar looks unprepared for what the night might bring, in and out of the bedroom. Little does he know that, when he catches her, he may not be satisfied being just a temporary mate.

Read an Excerpt Online for Free

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Aug 12 2008

When Work is Work

I had this talk with my husband about a week ago, and another writer friend of mine today, so I figured I’d bring it up here, too. Seems like it’s going around.

When most people imagine a writer’s job, they imagine sitting down at a computer and pouring out the book of their heart. And sometimes, it really does happen that way. The plot and details just fall together, the words practically dump themselves onto the page from your fingers, and when you look over what you’ve done, it’s got that magic something. That’s when the work is the most satisfying and rewarding.

But sometimes, work is work.

When you take up writing for publication, there’s a lot to consider. You can’t just sit down and write any old story. Not and expect to sell it, anyway. There’s a lot to consider. That fun hobby that called to you so loudly at first suddenly takes on this new, tedious side.

Writing as a hobby is very, very different. It doesn’t matter what you put out there, even if you’re writing for a fandom or forum or collection of friends. All those fun stories with trite ideas and holey plots go away. Wild, quirky ideas turn into things you know you can’t sell. For the first time, you have to consider genre, market, promotion.

You aren’t just planning your next book. You’re planning your career. You’re making choices, accepting ideas that will make your next story less what you envisioned, and more saleable.

It’s easy to forget that writing is a job. To say, “I don’t feel like doing this today” or “I only got 500 words done, that’s good enough” or “I have this great idea, and nevermind the 40k I have in on what I’m writing now”. It takes dedication, commitment, and a thick skin. You will get frustrated, depressed, angsty, and upset. Your publisher will piss you off. Your agent will piss you off. Your editor will really piss you off. You will piss you off.

You’ll hate everything you write, at some point. Plots will refuse to come together. You’ll get halfway through something and realize it sucks. You will have to stick with and finish something that you never want to see again. You will run out of words when you’ve done 500 for the day, and grit your teeth and push to 2000.

And despite all that? Yeah, you’ll love it, and you won’t want to trade it for the world.

Sometimes work is work. And sometimes work is magic. Writing is work. Even if you do it for fun, if you’re publishing, it’s also a job. But the rewards make it absolutely worthwhile.

And in publishing information, here’s a terrific Alt Text post at Wired.com about how to keep yourself safe from predators while trying to get yourself published. These are things every aspiring writer should know!

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Aug 10 2008

The Path of the Alpha

Alpha males have a tremendous appeal. They’re strong, brave, even brash, and they don’t take crap from anyone. In urban fantasy and werewolf stories, you’ll almost always find one mentioned, if not featured center stage. The alpha has almost a magical appeal.

Just the word “alpha” can set your scalp tingling and your spine on fire. He’s the man who might not have it all together, but will find a way to pull it off and get what he wants, be it the defeat of the villain or the love of the girl.

But how does he get where he is? What makes an alpha male, and how does he go from the middle of the bunch to the leader of the pack?

This is the theme I explore in my upcoming release, Taint of Shadow. Noah has been happy to let another wolf lead until extraordinary events and unfortunate circumstances evolve him. Evolution’s not easy. The best leaders want nothing to do with being in charge, but know that they’re the best men for the job.

Noah is a fascinating hero. He is, in the words of the song, just a man whose circumstances have gone beyond his control. And his rise to the challenge, his mastery of the wolf within, and his quest to save the woman that he loves from both the forces of darkness and herself is a story that I greatly enjoyed writing.

He won’t give up. He won’t back down. No matter how bad it gets, Noah will be there to pull his pack through.

Taint of Shadow comes out from Cobblestone Press on August 22. The Books page on my site has the cover and a bit of a teaser, and will have an excerpt very soon. Also, the Series page gives you some information about Heart of Darkness, the series that Taint of Shadow belongs to. Check it out!

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Aug 02 2008

Between Now and Aug. 22…

Published by under On Other Authors

…why not try another werewolf story to whet your appetite?

I’ve had a busy weekend, and haven’t gotten a chance to write a post. The Muse whacked me with an idea, and I’ve been scribbling like mad on it, plus writing my futuristic story that keeps taking odd turns. But while you wait for Taint of Shadow, check out one of my fellow Cobblestone authors, Selena Blake!

Here’s some info:

The Cajun’s Captive by Selena Blake

Book 1 of the Stormy Weather series

Sebastian Deveraux is the Alpha of his pack and like all the Deveraux men, he’s sexy as pure sin. He’s waited for decades for just the right woman. For his mate. And ten years ago he’d been sure he’d found her in Amanda St. James. But she’d run from him.

Now she’s back. He’ll do anything to keep her. Even if it means chaining her to his bed.

Available June 13, 2008 from Cobblestone PressBuy It!

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