Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Slow down, I'm getting dizzy!

It’s a very exciting time for me, on a number of fronts. As I mentioned in a previous post, Samhain Publishing graciously offered me a second contract and a tentatively early release date. I won’t say what that date is, because it can still change, but I really, really appreciate the faith they’re showing in my work, and the professional way they conduct business.

Knowing that they hope to slot me into the release line-up fairly quickly, they promptly sent me all the paperwork necessary to get the ball rolling. That included the first edits, which I just as promptly did and returned. Hey, if my editor, Laurie, is willing to make the effort, how much more willing should I be?

Working with Laurie has been great. Having never had more than magazine and trade articles published, I was dreading edits on my first novella. Magazine edits can be brutal. There is a finite amount of space magazine editors have to work with. Even when they give you a word count, and you stick to it, the piece can still be cut to accommodate photos or side bars. I like logic in my writing—point A leads to Point B, which leads to Point C, and so on. When my editor cut chunks out of my pieces, it also cut the thread of the story in places; and left me feeling it was no longer really my work.

Not so with Night of the Cereus. Laurie sent the manuscript to me with her comments and suggestions, and asked that I accept or reject them. If I wanted to reject them, she asked that I let her know why. That wasn’t the end of it. Instead, that was the beginning of the dialogue. There’s something so satisfying about being able to give an opinion and find out it’s been listened to and even if it isn’t taken on board, you’ve been told why.

I also appreciated Laurie not trying to put words in my mouth, so to speak. If she felt there was something missing, she would say so, perhaps even going so far as to explain what she wanted, but I was given the option as to how to fix it. I can’t speak to how other editors work, but to me this is ideal. I don’t know how I would like getting a manuscript back with new sentences stuck in, instead being asked to make the change. Everyone has a distinctive voice and even one sentence in someone else’s could conceivably stand out like a hooker in a monastery.

So, my second release is in the works, and I have a few more projects on the go. Life is one big rollercoaster at the moment, but at least this is a long weekend. Hopefully that will allow me a nice whack of writing time. So many stories, so little time! Happy Easter all, and Journey On!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

All love should be like this...

When I started this blog, I promised myself to stick to subjects more or less to do with writing. After all, I'm no movie star or international woman of mystery. My life is pretty prosaic in the grand scheme of things. I'm breaking that rule today, just because my heart is so full there is nothing else I could blog about this week.

I lost a very dear member of my family this week, my beloved dog, Skipper. To many people this might sound silly...after all, he was just a dog. Yet, he wasn't 'just a dog.' Skipper was a personality. He disliked most men, although he adored my husband and son. He was a great athlete, could run like the wind and jump higher than any other dog I've ever owned. He was a coward and was known to pee if frightened badly enough, but he was a loud coward, so he served his purpose in the watch-dog department. Skipper was an international traveller, having left Jamaica with us to settle in Canada, My husband forgot that many civil servants leave their sense of humour at home, and told the customs officer at the airport Skipper was a "Jamaican Bush Dog," and to date he has the distinction of being the only official member of the breed.

Yet, there was so much more. Skipper was a happy dog. He almost always had a smile on his face and his tail was always wagging, often in what we called 'helicoptor mode'; going around in circles and almost blinding the cats. He was the kind of dog who sensed when you weren't at your best and came to rest his head on your lap. He greeted us at the door, leaping straight up in the air so you could see almost his entire body through the glass at the top. You knew if anyone stirred in the house by the sound of his tail beating a tattoo on the floor or wall. He could charm food out of anyone except me...most of the time. Sometimes those liquid brown eyes were truly irresistible.

My daughter summed it up best. She was away when the decision was made that we could no longer be selfish and hold on to him, when he was obviously so ill and in such pain. When her father told her what had happened she said we made the right choice because, "he was so sad, and he was never sad, ever," before he got ill.

He was never sad, ever. What a wonderful epitaph. All love should be as happy, forgiving and selfless as that which he gave to us. We miss the love and the joy he brought to our lives and always will.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Uni-sex Erotic Romance

A friend suggested I do an article about why men should read erotic romances; or why men would or do read them. Really now—if men read erotic romances, I’m willing to wager it has more to do with the erotic and a lot less to do with the romance! To me, it was a no-brainer. There’s sex in them there books, and most men do so love sex. And if they’re not actively looking to have it, they’re probably quite happy to be reading about it.

It actually brought a very interesting fact to light though; one that bears some thinking about in my own life. When I wrote my first book, my loving Hubster read it from beginning to end. He made constructive and useful comments and suggestions concerning plot, characterizations and structure. Even now, with that book shelved, awaiting a possible (complete) overhaul, he still talks about it and asks when I plan to go back to trying to get it published. He honestly seems to love that book. That book was a historical romance, with no overt sex involved…

When I made the shift to writing erotic romances, my husband’s style of editing underwent a dramatic change. He no longer offered constructive criticism on anything, except the sex scenes. I would ask him if he thought a characterization in the story rang true, or if a plot twist was surprising enough, and his response would be a blank stare, accompanied by a bewildered, "Huh?" This was usually swiftly followed by a lewd and lascivious suggestion involving my need for additional research and his availability to be my guinea pig.

That’s when I realised he wasn’t actually reading the stories, he was simply skimming from one sex scene to the next…

So, to respond to my friend’s contention that men should read erotic romances, unfortunately in my house the opposite is happening. My Hubster hardly gets a chance to read my work anymore, because, damn it, I need constructive criticism, not a roll in the hay, which all I’ll get from him.

So, if he wants to read erotic romances, even mine, he’s gonna have to buy them like everybody else! Mind you, I may slip him one every now and then. After all, a writer really shouldn't neglect her research...