Join me on the writing journey and get inspired to try writing a little romance into your own life!
Monday, December 24, 2007
I've never much liked royalty or the folks who act like they ARE royalty. So we decided to move. Bought property, are building a home on it. The bil and sil were outraged (because, who would simply pay them rent and have to answer to them for the rest of their lives but us)? Anyhow...
I cleaned like a mad woman before bil and his buddy showed (expecting them to cancel last minute, which is also part of the charm of hosting them). I butchered a wether, a goose, a duck, and tried to improve the health of my pregnant milking goat, Helen. I tried to kill a fisher that was attacking my animals at night. I wound up spending a night in the hospital due to a freaky EKG, numbness in my left arm, dizziness, chest pain and pressure in my back and chest.
My goat miscarried twins. I had several pieces of art that were requested (and needed by the holidays). I had to make something for a Yule dinner and buy gifts for a gift exchange game.
The bil and buddy were late showing up. My goat (who had rallied) took a turn for the worse on the 22nd. My father turned off the oven, not the stove, while I rushed to help the goat. My torte suffered a bit, so I made a fudge wreath and took kirchwasser and rum balls (and sausage balls and two legs of lamb) to the Yule dinner. The dinner was wonderful--conversation was great, the people tremendous. I came home and yesterday my goat died. I was devastated.
But I am assured we are selling my Lighthouse/gallery, my art sales are up and I have a new writing job online (that pays decently).
Life has really been dramatically up and down this year. I hope yours has been more balanced, and in ways, less eventful.
I look forward to next year for many reasons: new house, new property, new neighbors. It'll be the Year of the Rat. I happen to be a Rat. I'm looking forward to next year being my year.
Monday, December 03, 2007
This week's Manic Monday prompt is about kainomania. Kainomania is an obsession with new trends and possessing the very newest things. Think of "keeping up with the Joneses" to the extreme.
Think about your characters--any like that?
I'll be back with my example...
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Today's Romance Writer's Word of the Day is...
Raiment [ray-mehnt] is a noun meaning, "clothing; outfits; garments."
Here's a sentence:
The simple lines and dull colors of her raiment diametrically opposed her brilliant and complex personality.
Have a great day!
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Ok, here we go...
A large man stood guard outside the single doorway, about halfway down the muddy alley. She itched to hear the sounds of jazz and dance the night away with members of the flaming youth. She had saved up for three weeks to blow it all here and now. Finally she could afford to have some fun.
"Hey, babe," the heavy man grunted from his spot, partly cloaked in shadow and evidently holding up the building.
"You the Bruno of this scatter?"
He grinned. A few spaces interrupted a nearly perfect smile. "I'm the Bruno if you can prove you're a hoofer."
"Yeah, I can dance. What do I look like, some bindle punk?"
"No way, doll. And you don't look like no bluenose to me neither."
She snorted, though considering the way he was eying her, she did feel a bit prudish. The fringe of her skirt's hem tickled across her knees.
"So, you got some cabbage for me?" He chuckled.
She was already swaying to the faint strains of jazz music pushing through the door. She shifted anxiously from foot to foot. "I've got cabbage if they've got corn inside." She pulled out a few bills and handed them over.
"Corn aplenty inside," he assured, tucking the money into his coat and knocking five brief raps on the door. The door opened and he gestured for her to move along.
Ginger stepped inside, the music racing over her like the chills. She pulled off her coat and headed straight for the bar. "Bourbon neat," she ordered.
A young man at the bar turned and looked her up and down. "Nice gams," he complemented.
She twisted one ankle around the other and forced a smile. The bourbon would surely help her loosen up, she thought.
"Corn for the dame," the bartender exclaimed, exchanging the glass for more of Ginger's hard-won money.
The man beside her was trying for her attention again. "Like a gasper?" he asked, pulling out his cigarettes.
Ginger pounded back the bourbon and looked at him with wary eyes. She shrugged, letting the alcohol warm her all the way down. "Sure, mac." She tapped it against the back of her hand and rested it between her made-up lips.
He pulled out a lighter and lit the cigarette for her and one for himself.
Ginger thought her night would go just swell now that she was here and making friends, but there was still something odd about the young man paying her so much attention. She had never been to a place like this before. She knew no one at the bar or on the dance floor. She couldn't help but think maybe she was in over her head.
Ok, I didn't know many of the terms (slang) from this era, so I found this cool site and probably got a little heavy-handed with them, but hey! It got me writing... :-)
Hope you enjoyed it!
PS--Please fill out the poll on interesting cities (pretty far down the page).
Indomitable [in-dohm-i-tah-buhl] is an adjective meaning "unconquerable; unable to be subdued or broken."
Here's a sentence:
Small and slight of feature, she was a mouse before him, but he knew too well the indomitable nature of her will.
Who or what is indomitable in your story?
PS--Don't forget to try the poll near the page's bottom! Thanks a bunch!
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Provocative [proh-vahk-uh-tiv] is either an adjective meaning, "provoking, stimulating, encouraging" or a noun meaning, "a person, place or thing having a provocative nature."
Here's a sentence:
What does your character do to provoke interest or action?
PS--One of the neatest people-watching things I ever did was when a group of friends (male and female) went to a Hooters restaurant. I munched on wings, listened to the conversation adding the occasional "Yep," "Uh-huh," and "You're kidding," but the whole time I was watching the provocative interplay of the waitresses and male patrons. They flipped their hair, they winked, they touched, their lips pouted and pursed... All those things you know from Psychology 101 that are meant to attract a mate, all beautifully portrayed like I was a game photographer for Wild Kingdom watching an exotic bird's mating ritual. How much fun!
Monday, November 26, 2007
It's Manic Monday and I nearly forgot (the last few days have blurred together)!
This week's mania is...
Metrophobia-- the fear of poetry.
Here's my thought on it...
He was humming in that signature sing-song way of his. The same rhythm, the same tone, the same... Dammit. The most she knew about song and poetry was what she didn't like. And after hearing twenty-three of his inspired (insipid) poems written expressly for her, she knew she didn't like a bit of them.
And if the rumors were true, tonight he would regale a room full of society's finest with a twelve-page ballad illuminating her many virtues. In couplet after miserably rhyming couplet. The footsteps drew nearer and she held her breath and closed her eyes--wishing she was anywhere but here.
There was a rustle and she knew he was shuffling papers. A pause--he was wiping the perspiration from his wide and furrowed brow and running a now-damp hand through his thinning hair. She shivered and dug her fingernails into the wood boards behind her, summoning silence.
"The beauty of your countenance glimmers in your eyes
The color of your irises as blue as cloudless skies.
The sun shines brightly on your hair's soft curls so golden,
To you my heart and soul shall ever feel beholden..."
The sound grew mercifully softer as the noise of his footfalls faded and he traveled away down the hall, still hunting for his muse.
She gasped and fanned herself. Her heart raced and she felt as if she might swoon, dropping straight to the polished oak floor. How much longer could she avoid him and his horrible poems on their sweat-stained, crinkling papers? She grabbed her broad skirts and, lifting them to expose her dainty shoes and trim ankles, dashed down the hall, feeling as if rhyming words chased her, singing out the most trivial aspects of her life in a most annoying way. As much as she adored high society, literature and the arts, she felt she was quickly becoming metrophobic.
Have a great week!
I am accustomed to drama and flight, not the slow swaying pace of grunting oxen and mumbling men brandishing switches like swords. How I miss the ships, which for too few years carried me on bright and dangerous adventures in the sparkling waters far to the south of this mosquito infested trail. The charms of the Caribbean Sea are never more beautiful than they are in the memory of the so-called landed gentry. The thick and loamy scent of flanking forests and the stink of fresh manure make me long for the surf and salty spray of the sea and the warm floral scents of island breezes.
And yet, even as I suffer my way forward in this new and secretive life, I know that if this is hard on me, it must be nearly unfathomable for my husband, a sailor long before I joined him.
I had often considered keeping a diary of sorts while at sea. But the thought my descendants might someday stumble upon my writings and believe me to be arrogant because I felt my story important enough to tell... It is said “Pride goeth before the fall.” I have never wished to fall, only to soar. So I stayed my hand and kept my quill quiet. Even when most tempted to reflect upon a day’s adventures, I kept still, knowing the danger if the true reasons for my actions were ever found out. I have long danced along a double edged blade, barely keeping from slicing myself apart at the hands of my enemies as I am one thing and act the part of another.
Ironically it is only now that I might be my true self, and yet, society has again bound my hands. Only one other soul knows the truth of my adventuring, and I keep him closer than my shadow. Even now, as I write, he dozes with his head in my lap.
Through these simple words I write, I will endeavor to shine the light of truth upon the misguided assumptions and multitude of speculations people have already made about my previous lifestyle and my own self. I will most readily admit that I did make some unfortunate choices. My youth may be best described as misspent. Nearly wasted if you ask those in authority. But every moment shaped into what I am today. An indomitable woman.
There were tragic mistakes and unforeseen consequences because of my impulsive nature. The plantation fire, my marriage to James... My self-centeredness and youthful naivete caused me to burn more bridges than I suffered to build. I was, if not misguided and somewhat troubled, certainly guilty of being young.
History will not remember me fondly, and that is the right granted those who debate the usefulness of their fellow human beings and attempt to find meaning and order amidst past circumstance. Historians and those who write policy, remembering with their own taint and color and speculating on the rest the past we few lived may well vilify me. But there are issues and circumstances few know of that shaped me, making me into an arsonist, rebel, pirate and simple thief—and something far greater than the parts of the whole simply combined. Even with all of those labels, I find the one that fits the best is that of “American.”
I was very nearly born here. Just a child when I made the ocean crossing, my most formative years were lived in the strange realm somehow between the ruling crown, the society I was expected to be a contributing member of, the American natives, the Africans and the pirates. So, I have always walked the edge. I have been a woman—lover, wife and mother-- and yet dressed and lived as a man to be more independent until my daring set me free from the last of my societal conventions.
In a world dominated by men, it is we women who must work behind the scenes whenever necessary to improve our own lot and the lives of those who depend on us. Working in the shadows must only make us hungrier for the light. We must strive to demonstrate our competence and capabilities. Can we be weapon-wielding women capable of defending ourselves and all we have worked for? Yes! Can we set down the sword and still pick up our stitching, being the gentle and wise matron of a household? Yes! As women we may be whatever we aspire to be. We are only constrained by the limits of our own imagination and the company we keep. For myself and my family, I seek the western frontier where there is greater freedom for bright and daring women with the courage to be all that they can imagine being.
For I am, irregardless of name and association, at my heart, and always shall be, Anne Bonny, adventurer. If you must question anything about me, question not my intent, but rather my basest and beggaring beginnings. Let all who read this know that no matter your start in life, the rest is up to you. You are the only one capable of placing limits on yourself and your future.
Sincerely,Ann C. Bonny, 1722
Hope it was enjoyable--Yes, I'll be twisting history to meet my odd vision of what it could have been...
PS- poll on interesting cities near the page's bottom...Please mark your opinion. :-)
Thursday, November 22, 2007
It's Dream Keyper (run by Suzy and Polly) and, considering the success of such things as The Secret and exercises like "focus boards" (thank you Oprah and Deb ;-), I think it's got a great thought and feeling behind it. These two gals are asking for you to send your dream to them and they'll paint a key for you and send it to you as a reminder or focus token so you face your dream every day, eventually allowing you to unlock the door to your dream.
I think it's cool. If you've studied visualization at the Olympic level you'll understand the power of such seemingly small things. And the fact they want to be involved in helping dreamers focus--Well that's cool, too. That's giving back in a potentially tremendous way. Anyhow, I feel like I've pretty much used up my allotment of intelligible words, so I know I'm not really doing their site justice. Guess you'll have to see it for yourself... :-)
Me, I have to send an email about my dream...
Take care, all!
I still have animals to feed and lots of farm-type stuff to do. That was my mistake. I didn't outline my expectations for a farmer's Thanksgiving. Hubby did milk the goat, but (in retrospect) that was the least of the things to do. Ugh. Must remember men can't read my mind....
Anyhow--Take care! Happy Thanksgiving!
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Our word of the day is...
Beholden [bee-hohl-duhn] is an adjective meaning "thankful; indebted; appreciative; obligated; under a moral obligation to another."
Here's a quick sentence:
Though he had been freed of his debt to the Lord and Lady, he felt beholden to the beautiful lady who roamed the halls of the manor, a prisoner in her own home.
Have a great time with family and turkeys (even when they are sometimes interchangeable)!
Furlough [fuhr-low] is a noun meaning "a military leave of absence; temporary layoff from work."
Here's a sentence:
Although he wanted nothing more than to linger in her loving arms, his furlough was over and duty called.
I hope many of our soldiers have a peaceful and fulfilling furlough during the holiday season!
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
The location of a property can change its value dramatically. Good neighborhood, higher value, more power in the marketplace. Bad neighborhood, lower value, passed by, passed over. So what do the rules of location have to do with your writing property?
Location as Setting
There are some places and time periods that just capture the imagination. That imagination and perception is a powerful thing to use in your writing.
The Medieval period and Renaissance are locations in time that attract a following all their own. Our country is dotted with Renaissance Fairs and Medieval Festivals and there are even educational and social societies that have cropped up to help people relive the history. There are other time periods that also attract people's imaginations, consider the strength Regency romances had (and still have) in the marketplace. If you can write to one of those time periods, you are also likely to attract people who regularly read similar things. Just be wary--they will know details about the period and place--you will need to do your research!
Am I telling you to write a story set in a place or time that is already popular in people's minds? Not necessarily (although you probably will because one's already snared your attention, curiosity, or loyalty). Just know your landscape intimately and use whatever things you can to create a strong foundation on which your intellectual property is built.
Location as Publishing House
Think carefully about what authors and works you want as your neighbors, because they speak volumes about you as well (if only because people will compare you to them first).
This, of course, raises the question of self-publishing. Do you want to be compared to other self-published authors, or could it be detrimental to your sales? It will depend on the mindset of your audience. If a potential reader has a bad taste in their mouth from the last self-published book they got roped into reading, you'll have to really work to sell your far superior book to them. Either way, you'll want to investigate your marketing approaches. Consider "guerilla marketing" strategies as ways to reach your target audience.
Think about the location you're seeking for your book... Is it the neighborhood you want to grow old in or is it just a slightly nicer place on your way to a prime location?
Black Bart/Bartholomew Roberts.................0
"Calico Jack" John Rackham..........................3
Sir Francis Drake.............................................0
Sir Walter Raleigh............................................0
A new poll will be posted shortly--please participate and let your opinions be known! :-)
Ascetic [uh-set-ik] is a noun meaning, "a person who follows a lifestyle of contemplation and extreme self-denial " and it's an adjective (asceticism) meaning, "extremely strict regarding religious practices; austere; following extreme beliefs on abstinence."
Here's a sentence:
He could smell her sweet breath mingling with her heady lavender perfume as she spoke to him of joyous moments in her garden, and the hunger coursing through his body made him curse the moment he'd turned to a life of asceticism and denied himself such pleasures as her.
Do you have a character with ascetic leanings?
Tell us about them! :-)
Monday, November 19, 2007
Gamomania. It's the nearly uncontrollable desire to make outrageous, over-the-top or simply odd marriage proposals. I also found it listed as gamonomania and an interpretation of this can also be the overwhelming desire to get married, sometimes resulting in polygamy.
Consider the difficulties for a person suffering from this mania (I'm thinking especially of the variety leading to polygamy--I remember hearing tales of men who occasionally kept several wives and families, totally separate from each other and were essentially living multiple lives at the same time--sounds exhausting to me!). Try writing a snippet that shows a case of gamomania in action. I'll post mine here...
Stefan fingered the flocked box nestled in his coat pocket. 3 carats, pink, emerald cut. Size 7. It was surely no Darya-i-Nur, but it was the most he could afford for his Indian princess. He smiled as she entered the room and allowed herself to be led to his table in the bustling restaurant's center. Thick black hair shimmered and flowed down around her face and shoulders like a waterfall on a moonless midnight. She smiled at him, all elegance and lithe grace.
The host pulled out her chair and with a soft rustle of silk, she sat. Her eyes glittered with golden flecks as her gaze skimmed the room. Stefan's breath caught in his throat as he waited for her approval.
She looked at him again, lips twisting in a grin, gently slanted eyes crinkling at their edges. She reached across the table and took his hand. "It is beautiful, Stefan--extravagant," Alanni whispered.
Stefan exhaled. He was certain he was grinning foolishly now. There was nothing and no one else in the restaurant but his Alanni. The mood lighting, the waitstaff, the exotic dishes and other restaurant guests all evanesced. The room seemed to shimmer and he was suddenly seeing her before the altar with him, dressed like a goddess, surrounded by flowers and candles, a final ring winking on her finger.
His heart raced. He slipped out of his seat and onto one knee, never letting go of her hand. Around him was a flutter of activity he barely noticed, so fixed was he on her and their inevitable future.
A waiter stepped in, ready with champagne and glasses. A violinist struck up a sweet tune and approached on nimble feet. And in the restaurant, all eyes turned to Stefan on his knee.
He cleared his throat. "Alanni, every moment we are together fills me with such joy that I know I cannot live any longer without you forever at my side. Your eyes, your laugh and your generous nature--all these strengths of yours have brought us to this one moment."
She was tearing up. He pulled the box from his pocket and snapped open the lid, one-handed. She gasped.
"Will you, Alanni Arasaratnam, marry this most unworthy man?"
"The Hell she will."
Stefan blinked and the splendor of the setting was shattered by a dour-looking middle-aged woman standing before him, fists balled on her ample hips.
"Stefan? Stand up, Steven, you dumbass. You aren't getting married to her."
"Or anyone else. My god, Stevie. Don't you have enough wives?" Another one of them had stepped forward. "Thank god we found each other on the internet."
Now clearly out of his happy haze, Steven was confronted by Nancy, Susan, Debbie and Marie. Not a one of them looked pleased.
"So this is your business conference?" Marie snapped, crossing her arms. Sweet little Marie's eyes glowed like the bowels of hell when she got angry. Steven fell into his chair, Alanni quickly forgotten as the desire for self-preservation took prominence.
"Business conference?" Susan chortled. "I was told he was scouting out a new investment property." Susan's normally joking demeanor was cold as ice. "So is she what you're trying to stake out? Crap, you could have at least used a different proposal!"
Debbie just snorted through her perfectly dainty nose.
Nancy opened and closed her fists. "What shall I tell the children, Steven?"
"How many do you have?" Marie asked, widening her stance. "I have two."
"Three," Nancy growled, pulling her hair back in a knot.
"One," Susan quipped, stepping out of her heels.
"Guess I was the favorite of this clumsy-handed sloppy kisser," Debbie added between snorts and angry puffs. She picked up one of Susan's shoes. "I have 4 kids at home. What do you say to a hit per kid?"
Nancy rolled up her sleeves in response.
And Steven just sat there, thinking they had all been so much prettier wearing white...
Do you remember that song? "Just another manic Monday, wish it was Sunday..." I know, I know, I'm totally dating myself when I quote the Bangles.
Anyhow, I was thinking about writing prompts and my desire to know more about human nature and psychology. So I thought a regular prompt Monday mornings about manias, phobias, et cetera might help us all add even more depth to our characters and different dimensions to our plots.
Please note that although I'll try to be sensitive (yet lighthearted) about my treatment of these things, I'll be learning along with you and I might flub up occasionally. So, don't be too sensitive about these topics, my handling of them may sometimes be clumsy. Please also leave a permalink to your post if you use the mania/phobia or whatnot of the day to write to.
So here we go... Look for the sign and start thinking (ok, I'm sure you've started thinking before now, but you know what I mean...;-)
Evanesce [ehv-uh-ness] is an verb meaning: "to dissipate, to become almost imperceivable, to be ephemeral, to vanish/disappear like vapor dispersing."
Here's a quick sentence using it:
*As a note, this term shows up after 1810, so you'll want to make sure it doesn't pop up in dialogue if your story's setting is before that.
What sentence might you construct using evanesce or one of it's forms? (evanescence, evanescible... ;-)
PS--If you're not writing romance, it's still okay to participate and leave a sentence here--we only grow stronger through sharing and learning from each other, right? :-)
Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful for lots of things-- my husband (a man quite tolerant of artistic personalities), my son (quite a character), my father (even when life becomes far more complex because of his involvement), my mother's love and influence although she can't be with us physically anymore, my brother (although I don't get to see him nearly enough now), my in-laws (urgh--generally ;-), the smattering of friends and acquaintances I have even here in the bowels of New York ;-), anyone reading my blog (Sara, especially :-)... I'm also thankful that we're closer than ever to being pretty much off the standard Walmart, etc. foodchain. We're cutting chemicals and striving for healthier living in doable ways.
And there's more, but back to being a writer...
I'm thankful that I have the opportunity to express myself and live out my strangest dreams, fantasies and fears through characters that I create (and seem to grow on their own). I'm thankful that even on my worst days, writing is there like a mental cushion to fall back on. I'm thankful I was able to get enough of an education that I have a keen appreciation of language (and languages) and the crafting of characters and building of worlds. I'm thankful that writing is a craft that is usually done in a warm, sheltered setting with coffee nearby. I'm thankful I am blessed with enough creativity that it never seems there's enough time to write all the stories in my head.
There's more that I'm thankful for, and I try to be mindful of the small things daily, but it's good to "count your blessings" sometimes and realize there are lots of things still right in the world, despite what's obviously wrong (like the number of parents gypping in line to exit the parking garage at Playhouse Disney Live on Stage last night--nice modeling of behavior for your kids! I'm sure those behaviors won't bite you in the butt later! ;-). Ahem... Anyhow... I'm thankful for LOTS of things. I hope you're feeling thankful, too.
Thanks for stopping by!
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Their list included:
Working through the session with them, I realized the same things they were trying to utilize are things I should consider more often when drafting query letters to would-be publishers.
Metaphor/analogy: consider using active language and powerful words to show how your work connects to their company and target audience.
Imagery: try being visual--show your storytelling ability when constructing the query.
Allusion: think about referring to one of their popular authors/illustrators or books that have influenced you.
Logic: be orderly, logical and sensible in your delivery.
Rhetorical questions: Eh, this one could be utilized, but you want to be careful to not get "cheesy" by saying something like: "Who wouldn't want to buy my book?"
So, how might you use that list to strengthen your own query letters?
Saturday, November 17, 2007
She felt it every day. It was the weight she carried. It spread along her shoulders, digging into her neck, pressing her spine against itself and bending her back if she wasn't mindful. She never had been so aware of her posture as she was now at nearly twenty. Now that she knew the true weight of her obligation to the Crown.
She took another sip of the thin ale, her eyes sliding the length of the tilted bar. Damn the man, he was smiling at her again. She blinked at him, trying to convince him that she couldn't care less about his attentions or intentions. She turned her back to him, but her spine seemed to wobble beneath the heat of his continued stare. She tried to find something more interesting in the tavern. Pirates to her left and pirates to her right... Suddenly they all blended and became drab parts of the everyday when compared even to the memory of him.
Ann glared into her mug suspiciously. Her stomach fluttered. She sniffed the ale. Ale was ale. Safer than the water, less interesting than rum. She was fairly certain she wasn't getting ill, but she didn't feel herself, either. She closed her eyes. Thought. She only felt this way once, and then so briefly. She straightened on the stool in recognition. She felt this way the day she met James. She had even convinced herself that she felt the same all the way through their rushed wedding. But now she knew better. She felt infatuation only once before. Love? Never.
She tossed back the last swish of ale. If she could continue to ignore him, she might yet keep him safe. It was the tragedy of involvement with her that sentenced a man to swing. The Crown watched her too closely for anything but obedience. Those who were friends before were nothing but tally marks now. It was only luck that kept her from being found out. She tapped the bar and got a refill.
She spun to face him, the heat of his body nearly searing her own he was so close.
"I'll get this one," he offered with a wink, sliding his payment to Tina.
Tina glared at him. "Just like Jack," she muttered. "Buy a lass a drink."
Ann tilted her head. "So?" She watched them both. Sparks seemed to fly between them.
"Expects more than conversation," Tina growled.
Ann chortled. "Don't all men?" She turned to face him and leaned against the bar. Letting herself go lithe and inviting. But she knew he read danger in her eyes. "But what one expects and what one gets are often quite different, aren't they Calico?"
He leaned closer and her heart raced realizing the danger thrilled him as much as it did her. "So surprise me."
She knew then she must betray him. Must bring him down and hand him over to the Crown. The weight of that knowledge was enough to crush her remaining spirit. And yet, she felt light enough beneath the intensity of his gaze to take wing and fly...
Yep. Anyhow, my eyes are tired, so that means bedtime. Hope you enjoyed this snippet. It was fun to try and pound out here. :-)
I give the definition of them I understand, something to the effect that ebooks are still not as popular as print media due to readability issues and the tactile and possessive nature of humanity. I also mentioned that royalties tend to be greater for ebooks because sales numbers tend to be lower. I try to avoid generalizations, but that's what I've personally found. I also noted that ebooks tend to be an easier market to break into because there are so many ebook publishers.
My pal chuckled and said, "Yes, I always thought they were just one small step above self-publishing."
We talked a while longer, but her comment made me think about self-publishing or "vanity" presses. My background in social studies reared its head and I thought, "What's more American than self-publishing?"
I mean, think about it for a moment. Ben Franklin was self-published and he was certainly no slouch. Thomas Paine (I believe) and Paul Revere's prints...also self-published. Wait--I know what you'll argue: "Back in the day you had to publish that way. There weren't many other real options. But today..."
Actually, there were publishing houses "back in the day" (man, I hate that phrase). But, if you were a free-thinker, bucking the trends and with a real vision in mind, you still needed (or quite possibly wanted) to self-publish (or be a landowner powerful enough to get a house to publish for you because of your name--ah, celebrity). We stress "freedom of expression" in this country as well as freedom of choice. Therefore I think America should be proud of its self-publishing tradition. Sure, there's plenty of things that are awful and still get published (thanks to self-publishing) but there are also things that are awful and get published by "traditional publishing houses" (ah, celebrity).
So here's what I'm thinking: Publish with the traditional houses IF they meet your needs. Will they treat you fairly and respect you and your work or will they ask for so many changes you won't even recognize it as your own? Will they do more than the "traditional" $200 worth of "marketing" for your book (thank you Robert Gould for some numbers that publishers use as standard :-)?
If they can't meet your needs or understand your vision, do some soul searching. Publish when and how you want. Let the public choose who to read and support. Let's face it--freedom of choice still probably ensures OJ's book "If I Did It" will outsell most of us lumped together--but ah, celebrity! ;-)
Do what's right for YOU and your vision. You are your greatest advocate, traditional publishing house or not.
Take care and step out boldly!
Friday, November 16, 2007
Tonight we took a few hours off to have a decent dinner (salmon alfredo pasta--good for the brain), milk the goat (yes, there's a goat now--2 actually) and play hide and go seek with our son (who will be 4 next March). I had forgotten how much fun playing hide and go seek is.
My hubby was supposed to hide first. He did great, confounding our son to the point that hubby gave up and came out. I mentioned that he's a good hider, so my son stated wryly, "Ok, DaDa, you hide in my room." Ah yes, place restrictions on your opponent's movements--didn't Machiavelli suggest that, too? ;-) My hubby hid (not in our son's room--treachery! ;-) and not too well once he started cracking up as I narrated our search for him. Finding him, our son decided he would hide.
The foldout bed is still open from my father's recent visit, and my son crawled under the sleeping bag while my hubby counted. "Ready or not, here I come !" was answered with giggles. My hubby raised an eyebrow. "Where's Jaiden?" he asked. "I'm here!" came the chuckled reply.
I cracked up. But it's very similar to Jai's take on traditional knock-knock jokes.... "Knock-knock," our son says. "Who's there?" one of us asks. "You!" replies our existentialist boy. Yes, amidst the heartache, the loss and depression, there's still joy. We just have to hunt for it a bit more actively some times.
Eh, I'm sure my punctuation is lacking in that thought--that's what you get scribbling thoughts on bank envelopes.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not just apologizing to you (any readers that stumble by) but, in a way, I'm apologizing to myself, too.
I'm sorry I haven't been blogging recently. Blogging does make me feel better--more connected, more open. I know I've had a few of you that have stopped by relatively often. I appreciate that.
I'm sorry I haven't been writing my stories recently. I signed up for NaNoWriMo and was earnestly excited about it, but then I think (in retrospect) that it freaked me out a bit. I mean, I've written (completing) many short stories and children's stories, and poems a-plenty in my youth, but knowing I have to FINISH a novel-length piece--It's like beginning and ending something you love. I guess I'm not so good at ending something that I love so much. But, I feel like I've abandoned my characters. They're always there, standing along the borders of my brain, tapping their toes and huffing and puffing like actors waiting for the director to give new blocking directions.
But still, my fingers won't cooperate on the keyboard when their files are open. I'm not suffering from "writer's block." I don't give the notion of "block" any weight or power. But fear--honest to goodness, bloodchilling fear of weaker words and piss-poor prose--that stops me in my tracks. The ideas are still circling in my head. The plot is strong, the characters are ready for adventure and growth. But I'm holding them back because I don't want to end things.
I think it comes back to my mother's death in June and the fact the holiday's have just pounced on me. I just realized this morning that I'm hosting my father and my brother for Thanksgiving, but my mother will never join us again. My eldest bil asked if we were all coming to "second Christmas" (their family's rather hobbit-minded when it comes to celebrations). My heart stopped and I stuttered about responsibilities here---I just dread the idea that "second Christmas" might make me cry openly--and what a bummer for the other attendees! It would be very selfish of me to attend and then "rain on their parade."
So I'm feeling sorry about not attending because I'm still feeling sorry for myself. I haven't been meeting my obligations in other ways recently, too. I am supposed to be writing regularly as part of my writing group trio. Instead of getting me to write (as I also supposed it would), I've stubbornly thrown on the brakes. I'm even supposed to schedule the next meeting. But I can't bring myself to open my e-mail and respond or write anything. Ugh.
So, I apologize. To myself, to my readers, to my characters and my kick-ass writers' trio. I'm still getting my head together. I thought I was "over the hump." I didn't expect the holidays to wallop me like they have.
I'm fighting to return...
Friday, October 05, 2007
Who were the three women? Deb Blake (I've mentioned her here once or twice--she has two books contracted through Llewellyn--Circle, Coven & Grove is already available and her next book comes out next September) initiated the meeting (so it's all her fault ;-). Deb's current works are nonfiction and she really wants to try a paranormal romance novel. She's got something started already and, frankly, it sounds pretty darn good. I was present, too (no kidding, right?) and, like the super nerd I am, I brought a handful of different things and put them into folders for the others to keep. Did I bring "Hollow Hearts and Hollow Hills?" Oddly enough, I didn't. I'm not totally sure why I didn't, but, as Deb and Robin both knew I was working on a "trashy romance," talk turned to "Hollow Hearts and Hollow Hills" anyhow. Now I'm expected to produce 10 pages a month. Yes, yes--it's a good thing. Robin rounded out our trio, she's the youngest of us by about a half-dozen years, and has a hard drive that looks like mine. Lots of things started. Lots of ideas and worlds in creation--nothing totally done to the point she wants. She's going to work on a paranormal YA novel. She has some neat characters and a nice plot line that should twist well at key points.
All in all, a good group with good intentions--uh oh--we all know what path good intentions puts us on... ;-) But really, I greatly enjoyed the discussion and brief reading (even when things were interrupted by potty breaks and snack time--both mainly the kids, not us ;-).
Today I ran to Hallstead (maybe that's one "l") to meet with my father and brother. My minivan began to overheat (and why not--it is a record-setting day for heat in the area and the van only recently cost me $500+ to get this same issue fixed). So, as I'm watching the temperature gage ratchet its way higher and higher, I've got the windows rolled down and the heat pumping through to cool the engine. That was when a song I can only presume is called "Hot Mama" began to play on the radio. Yeah. Funny.
After seeing "the fam," I headed back towards Binghamton (and the nearest Barnes and Noble--yes, sad that I drive an hour from my home to find the nearest respectably-sized bookstore). My son recently proved he's truly potty-trained and had picked out a "big boy toy" (an interactive book about drawing--in the B & N bargain section) that we needed to get. I picked up "Girl with a Pearl Earring" and "I am Rembrandt's Daughter" for a number of reasons (long trip on Thursday and Monday for one). The van rebelled a couple more times (my father had checked the coolant level and filled it up again), but I believe the issue is indeed the fan (another thought of my father's). So, continuous movement--forward momentum = good. Hey--that's just like writing, isn't it. Ain't life funny that way?
Thursday, October 04, 2007
unable to fly
useless angel...ugh. Let's see where this goes...
The midwife stood and made her way to the quivering door. The only baby that was due--wasn't. She wrinkled her nose and reached for the door.
The man was still shouting--pounding on the rough hewn wood that stood between them.
Serina slid the bolt back and he nearly fell through the open doorway and onto the wizened woman. "Back, Petros!" she snapped, faintly wondering how much of what dripped from the man was rain and what was perspiration. Men. They were always like this with their firstborn. Always simpering, useless idiots. And yet women kept having sex with them. She shrugged into the cloak that always hung by her door. Eh, such were the true mysteries of life. Birth--death--they were not mysterious. Both were merely cycles to be ridden out. Love--that was the greatest mystery.
He was babbling. "--Mother Serina, it is too early--"
Pfah, she hated the title the townspeople had assigned her. Mother? A term of respect or a bitter pill to swallow as Serina had born no children of her own. She had been present at hundreds of births in her lifetime but had never once carried a child back to her own home. She wrestled a moment with the shabby barn door and finally yanked it open, spraying water. Thank the gods the rain had stopped. But Petros had not...
"--her water has broken and she is crying--"
Serina nodded, a curt movement. She saddled the swayback mare as Petros paced and cursed. She shook her head. Utterly useless. "Up, Petros!" she demanded and he lifted her onto the horse with a swiftness she feared would toss her over the other side. "Take the reins, Petros. As fast as you can lead us is as fast as we may ride."
Petros was out the door and racing into the darkness with them faster than Serina had imagined a man of his size could move. She thanked the gods she had the forethought to make him hold the reins--without the physical connection she might have easily misplaced him in the gathering blackness. She clucked to the mare. "Follow, Tilda. Follow."
The graying mare obeyed, a ghost in the soggy night spattering mud up as the rain began to fall down once more.
Timairin stood by the roadside, just one more tall shadow nestled between the slender trunks of the trees. Cloaked, wings tucked against her back, she watched the hurried progress of the man leading the horse that now struggled to keep up in the sticky mud. She blinked. Something tugged at the back of her mind, warning her. She knew she should not be here. Should not be preparing to do this thing she had impulsively planned. Should not contemplate going against the God.
She closed her eyes and sighed. There were few choices for an angel when their God had gone mad. She reached a hand out towards the horse on the road below.
The mare slowed to a stop, nearly pulling Petros off his feet and into the ankle-deep mud. She whickered. Petros cursed. In the saddle, the old woman pulled the cloak tighter, trying to keep out the strange chill she suddenly felt raising the hairs on her arms.
Unseen, Timairin shed the cloak and her mortal form, slipped down the slope like dappled moonlight and slid into the old woman's skin. She shuddered as she seeped into Serina and sought the midwife's soul, tucking it away so there'd be less problem later. With a touch she set the horse into motion again, filling it with a line of light that flowed into its veins like a rush of youth.
Petros now lagged behind as the horse launched forward, seeming to know instinctively when to turn and when to stay straight on the rutted and torn track connecting the villages. The house glowed in Timairin's eyes and she felt the woman's labor long before she heard her cries of distress. The door stood open and Timairin wore the midwife like a fleshy costume, dismounting and racing inside to stand beside the woman now stretched on the home's only bed.
The bystanders gasped to see old Serina move so fast and Timairin tried to temper her reactions to the expectations of the crowd. Finding the old woman's voice, she said, "Out, you!" With a shake of a gnarled fist she cleared the room of all but the frantic husband. This type was always the worst. Timairin tried to ignore him and focus on the writhing woman. She took Betka's hand in her left, passing her right hand gently along the woman's bulging midsection. She shook her head. The energy was too tangled, too thick and angry to glimpse the real story without going deeper...
"I must consider the safest action to take," she made the midwife say to Petros. He nodded.
Good, she would need his belief to buy her time for what came next.
She sucked in a breath and tugged slightly out of the midwife so that her spirit was free to reach what even spirited hands might not. Sinking glimmering fingers into the swirling mess of energy, she slowly teased them apart like a spinner with new fiber. Ah--the baby showed himself--angry, red and gloriously wrinkled. But positioned wrong. Not breech, no, that would be simple. Wrapped in his own cord, strangling, fighting and his back up against his only true exit.
Timairin heard the words as if cotton filled her ears. She stepped fully out of the midwife and opened the box where the soul was stored with haste. The woman might be disoriented, but she might prove more useful yet on her own.
The midwife stuttered, blinked and rushed to staunch the flow of blood. Timairin saw something had torn loose inside the woman, something she had no name for, yet knew would probably end her life before the woman knew the true meaning of motherhood. And still, the baby fought as the mother faded. She had to make a choice. The baby or the mother. Both--an impossibility even the most optimistic of angels could recognize. Life in the mortal world was about balance... Equilibrium.
Something crept out of the shadows at the room's corner, unseen by the man, the woman or the midwife. But Timairin knew it well. The spectre sat up straight, a mix of wolf, wyvern and something far less holy. Two horns sprouted from its head and it fixed its hungry gaze on the weakening woman and the child she had yet to bear.
Timairin's wings swept in protectively. Not both. She struggled to pierce the veil of the future, knowing those hunting her might track her more easily once she did. Still, Timairin sought the knowledge deemed forbidden to all but the God himself.
She hissed at what she saw, sending a cool breeze across Betka. The woman shivered in the draft. Petros was beside her now, wiping the sweat from her brow, whispering reassurances.
But no words could fix something so broken. If the mother survived she would live a few years in a weakened state. There would be no child for her, only sadness at what might have been. But if the child lived... There was hope like this world hadn't seen in lifetimes. And this child would be that hope's companion and nemesis--and so much more.
"Stay with her Petros," Serina whispered. "I cannot stop the bleeding."
"What?" he gasped. But he nestled closer to his wife, held her hand tighter and whispered still more tenderly. And he prayed. He prayed harder than he had ever prayed before.
Timairin sank her fingers into the whirling energy, wings tucked close around her like a shield. And as she reached the strangling babe, she became material enough within the woman's womb to grab the child and unwrap the cord and reposition him.
"I might yet save the child..."
Petros wiped at his face.
Timairin pulled back, wingtips trailing. As the child faded from her sight, she saw a small fist reach up determinedly--like even he sensed victory--and he snatched a feather from her disappearing wings. She gasped in surprise, but the shock of being recognized by anyone was quickly replaced with a tenderness for this child who fought for life and stole feathers from twice-fallen angels.
The beast in the corner snarled and Timairin reached across and snapped off one of the two horns on its misshapen head. Not both, her eyes glowed. Then she leaned over the woman and kissed her forehead, drawing back to watch as Betka rallied for a final push and then fell into a fevered sleep.
Timairin heard the sound of trumpets and knew she must speed away to evade the hunters now. Readying to blend back in to the cramped and dirty mortal world she had come to prefer, she heard Serina say: "A healthy boy--how odd--he's holding a perfectly white feather..."
And the little one shrieked his triumph as his angel fled the scene.
Ok, what you don't know is that this scene came to me years ago when I was listening to a Celine Dion song. I wrote an original version that (if read at a normal pace) could coincide with the song lyrics. I was working on comics and animation then and had a strong desire to blend a few things together. But I don't know where that original version got to. That was an entire hard drive ago. This scene is actually the genesis of one of my main characters from a YA-styled thing I was writing some years ago. Some day I'd like to return to it, but for now it sort of reminded myself of its existence as I was brainstorming.
Hope you found it interesting,
Friday, September 28, 2007
Happy birthday to the bra--the piece of clothing closest to our hearts! Men struggle regularly to overcome their confounding closures and many of us are just thrilled to feel like we have support without issue! They define us as women and change the way we're perceived as we transition from girls to young women. 100 years ago Vogue first coined the term "brassiere." So, strapless, sport, training, push-up, underwire or other, let's all salute the valuable (and generally burnable, if you feel the need) undergarment that's helped hold us together all these years! ;-)
LOL (or giggle madly),
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Tomorrow. I'll be back after I sleep and coffee up!
Good night folks!
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Ok, the 3 words were: caught, eager, perfume. I'm new at this, so I'll start slowly...
Eh, it's something at least... Now I can bring in the dog, get a shower and sleep... Ah, yes. I remember sleep...Tomorrow I'll check out other 3 worders...
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
I thought I might sort of introduce my blog to you--take you on a bit of a tour. I'm a published writer working on hammering out a novel or three, the one that's furthest along is "Hollow Hearts and Hollow Hills" and draws inspiration from the ballads of Tam Lin, Burd Janet, Thomas the Rhymer and a bunch of research. You'll notice my word counters in the left margin.
Every weekday (barring madness and loose pig or cattle--which brings on madness) I post a "Romance Writer's Word of the Day." It's like a vocabulary word that I've either found several times when reading in this genre, or it's a word I think would add to your writing (in this genre or others). You are encouraged to respond with a comment including a sentence of your crafting (or a favorite quote) that includes the word. A master list of the words (links) is also in the left margin.
"Story Samples" are linked on the left. If you see an SS that means it was from a Sunday Scribblings prompt. See an HH, it's about "Hollow Hearts and Hollow Hills." See a BB, it deals with "Barrister's Bastard" (now "Dreams in Red: Seadog").
Opinion pieces are on also linked on the left. See Just My "Humble" Opinion? I try not to bring too much of my personal opinion here, but occasionally it's inevitable.
I'm also updating a list of Romance Publishers (also linked in the left margin) as time goes on (and I have time to do it).
I have Writing Prompts (left margin) that you may participate in at any point and I've also recently added Tips and Tricks (little "articles" about ways you might improve your writing).
Towards the page's bottom you'll find whatever survey or poll we're doing here--feel free to participate if it's still open. I'm very curious about people's thoughts.
Want to participate in Writing Challenges? I have links to some of them on the left, also. If you have one to suggest, let me know and I'll check it out.
I also include my Useful Research Links from "Hollow Hearts and Hollow Hills" (below), Publishers and Contests (left margin), Blogs I Breeze By and The Archives. I also occasionally post prompts here, too. I try to include viewable labels on all my posts so you can quickly and easily find similar things via links.
I hope you find something enjoyable and useful here!
Today's Romance Writer's Word of the Day is:
Facade [fuh-sahd] is a noun meaning "a false-front; an illusion of something; (in architecture) the front or public-facing side of a building."
Here's a sentence (eh, two):
She dabbed at her eyes and fumbled to repair her makeup. Regardless of how she truly felt she knew she must maintain the facade that he no longer meant a thing to her.
So what facades have your characters tried to maintain (or succeeded in maintaining)?
Have a great day!
Monday, September 24, 2007
Today's Romance Writer's Word of the Day is:
Languish [lang-gwish] is a verb meaning "to suffer or pine away with desire; to suffer being delayed, disregarded or neglected."
Here's a sentence:
As frequently as he turned his attention to other women at the ball, she feared she would languish as a wallflower because of his undeniably short attention span.
Have a good day!
I'd like to thank the brave souls who read the entry and left a comment: Paisley, Jo, Robin, Paris Parfait, MissMeliss, and Tumblewords. Thank you for participating! Kudos go to Robin for first identifying the character speaking in the prompt...
Drumroll, please... Yes, it is indeed Anne Bonny, the child (by the last name of Cormac) first dressed as a boy and taught to lie by her father (whom, by all accounts she adored).
Thanks to everyone who visited and left a comment or a guess!
Sunday, September 23, 2007
I assured them that they were normal and timed tests are laughable when viewed by real writers of any worth. I let them know that first drafts are usually pretty pitiful--that's why we edit and edit again and then submit manuscripts to editors... They seemed to feel better about their abilities, but I thought, "Why must I reassure a child about their rough drafts and performance on TIMED tests?" I mean, what are we thinking when we decide to trim all semblance of "art" out of writing and go for timed production writing? It's just obscene.
But that's MY opinion...
Anyway... I certainly came to the party late this week (need to stop by Sara's more often, I guess) but I'll try and get myself ready to participate next Wednesday.
Hope to see you there!
Friday, September 21, 2007
Barrister [bahr-uh-ster] is a noun meaning "a lawyer (usually in England) who may plead to higher courts."
Here's a sentence:
Holding her in his arms he felt he could make any case for their love, even as the beginning barrister that he was.
Useful Research Links
- A Tour of the Scottish Borders
- Access Romance
- All About Romance: History and Travel
- Anthology of Middle English Literature
- British Titles of Nobility
- Correct Forms of Address
- Courtesy Titles
- Ettrick & Yarrow Valleys
- Historic Scotland
- Knighthood, Chivalry and Tournaments
- Maps of Scotland (1560-1928)
- Medieval Gardens
- Medieval Society
- Medieval Studies Program
- Middle English Compendium
- Online Etymology Dictionary
- Scottish Women's Clothing
- Tam Lin Balladry
- The Costume Gallery
- The Middle Ages
Woo-hoo! Didn't You Know It!
Which ancient leader are you most akin to?
created with QuizFarm.com
|You scored as Ghengis Khan|
you scored ghengis khan! He was a Mongol political and military leader or Khan (posthumously Khagan) who united the Mongol tribes and founded the Mongol Empire (Ð�Ñ� Ð�Ð¾Ð½Ð³Ð¾Ð» Ð£Ð»Ñ�), (1206â��1368), the largest contiguous empire in world history.
Pride and Prejudice
created with QuizFarm.com
I am Elizabeth. I am headstrong and intelligent. I love to be myself, and am very loyal to my family. I can sometimes be prideful and "prejudiced," but I try to remain open minded and I usually regret past mistakes.
Which Superheroine are you?
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|You scored as Huntress|
You are the Huntress...
No matter how many times you try and prove yourself to be good, you always seem to be stuck in the same rut, with the reputation as a "bad girl". Guys love to hang around you because you're easy to talk too.