I’m still working on my edits for TD&F, but I thought I’d drop in to say hi.
Also, I have an appearance coming up that I wanted to mention. If you’re anywhere near the St. Thomas, Ontario area, please come by the St. Thomas Library on Thursday, October 30 at 7:30 for “Ghouls Night Out.” Me, Kelley Armstrong, and Eve Silver are going to be there answering questions about the glory that is paranormal romance and doing some reading from our books. I’m pretty sure I’m going to choose something from Stakes & Stilettos. And apparently there’s going to be a costume contest. Which will rock. Check out more information on the night here.
When I was painting my apartment a couple weeks ago, I had a very “that’s good enough” mentality about the whole thing. I wanted it to be really good, but I wasn’t going to sweat it if it wasn’t perfect. My father, who helped me, asked if I had the same outlook on my writing. Do I write something and say “that’s good enough” when I perhaps could take it to the next level?
If there’s one thing in my life that I take ridiculously seriously (sometimes too much) it’s my writing. It’s one area where I’m not lazy. Looking back on some of my books, I’d probably write them a bit differently now if I had the chance. But at the time I wrote them, I devoted myself 100% to making them as good as I possibly could at that moment. I’ve been happy with everything I’ve produced so far. I know I’m far from being the greatest writer to ever walk the face of the planet, but I think I do what I can with the skills I have.
I’m revising TALL, DARK & FANGSOME right now. According to my editorial revisions, I have some work to do on some foundation stuff, such as adding more humor (with a title like “Tall, Dark & Fangsome,” I can’t very well have an all-out dramatic tragedy going on here — even though that’s what the story wants to be) and adding some levels to the story. Such a small word — levels — for something so big in fiction writing, isn’t it?? I took a week to think about how to approach these and other tweaks. The first way would be to add in some stuff to make it good enough. Pretty easy fix, really. A line here or there. Wedge in a quip or a joke where necessary.
That would be “good enough.”
But I’m not going to do that. I’ve decided to go the extra step and really rework big chunks of the manuscript by rewriting them from scratch. I’ve gained some distance from the manuscript over the past six weeks since I handed it in to see that while I like it, I don’t love it. I want to love it. Whatever happens to it when it’s published, whatever the reader reaction will be, whatever reviews I end up getting — that’s far in the future. All I have right now and all I can control is what I put on the page. And I want to make sure what’s on the page fits as closely to what’s in my head. I know how to do it. I’ve made my revision notes. I’ve plunged into deeper character motivation.
Now I have 12 days to make it work. And at the end of those 12 days, I’m going to be exhausted, but I’ll be happy with the book. It won’t just be good enough. It will be good. At least, hopefully I (and my editor!!) will think so.
Therefore, I probably won’t be posting any new blog content until November. Must focus!! The fate of my vampires is at stake. No pun intended.
I think I’ll be mentioning SYTYCD Canada a lot this season…BECAUSE IT’S SO GOOD. Especially Nico. He’s perfection and will win if my votes have any say. And this routine is probably the best I’ve ever seen on the show, US or Canadian edition. It could be the paranormal romance overtones. The sexy, shirtless dark angel. I could die. BRING IT.
I’m going to blog Supernatural as I watch it. Just because. Last week’s ep was good but had that filler feel which made it a bit unsatisfying. I don’t know anything about this episode. The channel I watch it on doesn’t show next week’s preview so I am unspoiled.
>>SPOILERS, such as they are, to follow for the Supernatural 4.5: “Monster Movie.”
Opening credits are old-style, old movie looking. Reminds me a bit of the musical episode of Buffy. This leads me to believe this ep will either rock or suck. I hated the ghost hunter ep last season, so we will see…
The show’s produced by a guy named Vladamir? For real?
The Metallicar zooms down a rown toward Pennsylvania. Ha. Vampire episode. Okay.
Sam’s feeling pouty. What else is new?
Black and white episode. “Time we got back to tackling a black and white case,” says Dean. Subtle humor is not the show’s strength.
Dean and Sam both look great in B&W. Raowrrrrrr.
Victim with fang marks on neck. Blonde chick unimpressed by Dean’s charm. Nice.
Dracula is loose in Pennsylvania. Waitress named Lucy. Cute in-joke. Coincidence?
LOL… Dean figures he’s a born again virgin since escaping from Hell. Sammy’s such a drag. Good thing he’s hot.
Horny teenager killed by wolfman. Commercial break.
Damn. Jensen Ackles is ridiculously good looking, isn’t he?
Cute ep so far but nothing special. I WANT CASTIEL!!! It’s kind of like when you’re into the plot of a book and there’s a unrelated scene in there that throws off the pacing.
Uh oh. Mummy coming up to join Dracula and the wolfman. “Holy mother of crap” indeed.
Blonde waitress confronted by Dracula. Cornered. Mace in Dracula’s eyes. Did Dean just rip off his ear? Because that’s gross.
Dean’s discovered, thanks the the severed ear, that the monster is a shapeshifter. Obviously one who enjoys old movies.
“The X-Files is a TV show. This is real,” says Dean. Oh, ha ha. The humor is sidesplittingly funny. Not.
Nice little “I save people” speech from Dean. Character growth? Good stuff. Obviously the blonde is evil. I can see it coming from a mile away.
Or “Lucy” is. Could it be that obvious? The shapeshifter is one of the girls. Or both of them. Since the shapeshifter attacked Jamie, it’s got to be Lucy, thus the Dracula-esque name. Right?
Sam w/ gun goes to confront projectionist whom they’ve surmised is the shifter. Now in the guise of the Phantom of the Opera. Psyche. It’s not the shifter, just a guy playing his organ. So to speak.
Sheepish Sam. Cute.
Lucy keeps blotting her lipstick. Not so subtle foreshadowing of something.
Dean is drugged. Oopsie. Dean hits the generic brunette. What a surprise.
Yep, the generic brunette is the bad guy. And Dean is unconscious and at the shifter’s mercy.
Of course, instead of being killed outright like the other shifter’s victims, Dean is taken elsewhere and strapped to a Frankenstein-like table. He really shouldn’t taunt the shifter when he can’t defend himself. Doorbell rings just before electrocution. Of course. Unimpressed Pizza Guy. $15.50 for pizza? Good deal.
Dracula has a coupon for the pizza. NICE. Love humor like that.
Sam puts two and two together back at the bar. He is a college boy, after all.
Blonde kind of looks like the old Ruby. But she’s a weak victim who does what she’s told. Yawn.
“Real is having your dad call you monster…and he tries to beat you to death with a shovel.” My favorite monsters on this show have been the shifters. I like their complexity. Not so much their gooeyness. Love monsters with some depth. But the monsters aren’t the heroes in this show, alas. Got more chance to explore that in Buffy.
Sam saves Dean. Dean is wearing lederhosen.
Blonde shoots shifter! Nice. “Twas beauty that killed the beast.” Riiiight.
Dean and blonde kissing before leaving. Sam waits patiently. If Dean had to be in a movie, he wouldn’t pick a monster movie. He’d pick Porky’s 2. Meh ending.
Okay… that was… not bad. Not the worst ep ever, but far from the best. I’ll give it a B. For B-Movie.
Check out the interview I did for FutuRéale magazine’s October issue, “Vampires in Love.”
I’ve reached it. The point of saturation. Which means, in my dimension, that my glass is full. I can no longer keep up with all the blogs I read, online communities I belong to, Facebook stuff, MySpace, even Twitter (although that’s my favorite online venue at the moment).
When I first had a book out I had all the time in the world to google myself till the cows came home. Happily, I can now say I google rarely. My google addiction has reached an all time low. Which is good, since no good can come from the google. Unless a review site emails me that a review has been posted, I no longer seek them out. THIS IS GOOD FOR MY SANITY LEVEL.
I have three books to write between now and next August. I keep thinking that I have loads of time to fit in other projects, but I think I need to just focus on what’s currently on my plate. New ideas are great, but possibly just a bit distracting from my main goals. Could be.
Over the next two weeks I’m editing TALL, DARK & FANGSOME. Some groundwork stuff to change so it’s not as easy as simple surface changes. It’s okay since I know it’ll make the book stronger. I’m rereading the previous books in the series even though I don’t really want to. After you’ve read something a billion times it ceases to be fresh anymore and all you see are the flaws. But it’s not for pleasure, it’s for work, so I’m forcing myself and I must admit it is a bit fun to revisit the characters. I’m also world-building my new demon book to help make things feel bigger in it.
At this moment I have three completed proposals and one first draft of a novel I’ve done since the beginning of the year that may not ever see the light of day. I’ve learned this year that just because an idea seems fun, doesn’t mean you should spent time on it. Not if you’re trying to be marketable and build your reader base — which I am. I have this really fun sci-fi proposal inspired by Barbarella, that I know I’d have a blast to write, but the market doesn’t seem all that open to something like that right now. So I’ve put it on hold. Ditto my post-apocalyptic cyborg idea. Ditto my kick-ass virtual reality idea (Yeah, I know that VR was popular more than ten years ago. I am a bit behind the times. Sigh.)
I’m currently focused on light paranormal and trying to build my brand and voice there. I sometimes wonder what I’ll do if paranormal tanks. And it will, eventually. There will be a few front list winners who will always be able to write the subgenre with great success, but since I constantly live about five years in the future (without the necessity of a clunky time machine) I have given this a great deal of thought. My voice will remain consistent. I have a breezy, conversational tone to my writing (as much as I’d love to write dark, I need to embrace the fact that I am better at light and get way more usable ideas there). I can do humor and snappy dialogue (at least, I think I can). So that all stays. I’d probably shift to mysteries or light thrillers.
Any idea can be adapted to a different genre, I think. I tried to explain this to a friend recently. ie: your evil master vampire villain could become an evil, rich lawyer. If vampires aren’t selling (an example only since vampires, obviously, rock) then change them to something else. Being too rigid and single-minded about your writing will not help you get published. Then again, if you are completely and totally committed to one questionably marketable project, even knowing the potential risks, then more power to you. I just look at things a bit differently, I guess.
I do really, really love having fantasy elements in my writing. If it all works out, I will always write in some form of this genre. But I am very flexible. My agent might disagree with me about that, though.
I feel like whenever I go to a writing convention in the States, I suddenly become a Canadian ambassador. I listen to myself sometimes and am amazed (not necessarily in a good way) of what comes out of my mouth.
“In Canada we don’t have The Cheesecake Factory or IHOP. Weird!”
“I don’t know why you make fun of the way I say ‘about.’ It sounds exactly like how you say it. No, it does. Stop making fun of me!!!”
“Canada has different colored money. How can you tell the difference when it’s all green? It’s crazy!!”
“In Canada we spell theatre the way it’s supposed to be spelled.”
“In Canada our official animal is the beaver. Why do you laugh?”
“Pamela Anderson is Canadian, too. Did you know that? No? And so is Jim Carrey. And Ryan Reynolds. SHALL I GO ON??”
“Why do you not know what the CN Tower is? It’s a world wonder for Pete’s sake. A WORLD WONDER!!”
And so on.
Now, I’m happy to say that we have something that you all don’t have. Unless it’s available on cable for you. Or something. I love So You Think You Can Dance. And when I learned that there would be a SYTYCD Canada I was a bit worried. I find Canadian Idol a pale comparison to American Idol (mostly because the host and judges don’t work for me — to put it nicely), but SYTYCD?
It’s so good! It must use the same sets as the US version because, other than a plethora of French accents (debunked myth about Canada: we don’t all speak French here), it’s exactly the same. And the host has obviously studied Cat Deeley very closely. For better or worse, alas.
My edits are in for Tall, Dark & Fangsome. That’ll be my writing priority through to the end of the month. The muse has been told to stay away until then.
Since I’ve been painting my apartment this week (a task that was not completed in the 3 or 4 hours I naively believed it would originally take) I came to a conclusion I’ve made before.
I have too much stuff.
For thirty-cough cough-seven years I’ve been a collector. A shopaholic. Somebody who likes to spend her money on things that tend to clutter my space. I’ve since broken myself of this expensive and ultimately unfulfilling pursuit. I’m going to simplify things. Better late than ever. I have decreased my massive magazine collection to nearly nothing, so that’s a start.
Books are next.
I used to take great pride in my book collection. Now I just see it as a whole lot of money I’ve spend on a lot of titles I’m never ever going to read. I’m going to donate half my collection to an upcoming bookselling charity in the area. I just need to sit down and go through everything to see what’s going to get the ax.
I had to take all of my books off their designated shelves so I could move the book case. I took this picture of the books on my bed.
It’s not pretty.
So I’m going to keep the books I love. Keep the ones I know I’m definitely going to read.
The rest are history.
And I really have to curb my buying of books in the future. They just take up way too much space.
All the more reason to invest in a lovely little Sony ebook reader, I think. Digital space is not a chore to move from room to room.
I’ve updated the questions on my FAQ page. Is there something I’ve forgotten? A burning question you’d love to have answered? Please ask it and I’ll add it to the list.
Here’s a writer’s meme for lack of a better blog topic today. I googled “writer’s meme” and this is what I got.
What’s the last thing you wrote?
The last major thing I wrote was my Harlequin Blaze novel which I finished last month. Since then I’ve just been doing edits and brainstorming.
Was it any good?
I think so. In fact, I think it’s very good and was one hell of a fun write. I have yet to hear from my editor on whether or not that is delusional thinking or not.
What’s the first thing you ever wrote that you still have? I know it’s in a box somewhere. But when I was in grade 8, for some reason I was put in the “smarter” class since I was in French immersion. The fools. And we were required to actually write a novel which was probably about 15K long. I wrote about a girl who got shot in the back and became a paraplegic and then wanted to kill herself. Really uplifting stuff.
Write poetry? I did in high school.
Is there any other kind?
Favourite genre of writing? I enjoy writing light fantasy with romantic elements. I wish I could write dark urban fantasy but feel that my voice is too breezy for it.
Most fun character you ever wrote?
The first one that comes to mind is Reggie the rat from Angel with Attitude. He was so much fun to write. Second would be George from my Immortality Bites books. Oddly enough, both sidekick characters who bring in teh funny.
Most annoying character you ever wrote? While I do adore her, the most annoying character is probably Sarah Dearly. She is so stubborn and has a tendency to do questionable things. I’ve written her so long that she’s taken on a life of her own and rarely sticks to the outlines I give her.
How often do you get writer’s block? I get writers block whenever I feel down about writing. Feeling depressed shuts down my creativity well, and I need to find the joy in writing rather than focusing entirely on the business side of things. I get writers block at least twice a year. Luckily it doesn’t last too long.
How do you fix it? I take it as a sign I’m writing something I shouldn’t be writing, or focusing on the wrong thing. I remember what it is I like about writing, what I would write if I just had myself to please, and then that helps me open up again to the words.
Write fan fiction? I used to write some Buffy fan fiction that I would never lay claim to now.
Do you type or write by hand? Type. In the beginning I’d write longhand for some scenes, but now I just type. I find that I can flow my imagination through the keyboard easier than through the pen.
Do you save everything you write? Everything. I save different drafts as I go and put all the old stuff into a folder called “Old stuff.” Just in case.
Do you ever go back to an old idea long after you abandoned it? I get a steady stream of new ideas regularly so it would have to be a really good idea for me to come back to it. So, I’ll have to say no. The old ideas can morph into new ideas though.
What’s your favourite thing that you’ve written? The last scene in Bitten & Smitten on the bridge.
What’s everyone else’s favourite thing that you’ve written? A good portion of my reader mail is about Angel with Attitude, so I guess that book worked for a lot of people — or at least, a lot of people who want to tell me that they liked it. Vampire readers are less vocal, perhaps.
What’s your favourite setting for your characters? I seem to write a lot of stuff in bars and nightclubs, which is weird since I rarely go to those places.
What’s one genre you have never written, and probably never will? I’d say historical romance, but I just uncovered the first chapter of a western I was working on a few years ago which is pretty fun. I’m open to any and all genres if the muse leads me that way.
How many writing projects are you working on right now? One novel about to start. Three novels in editorial revisions. Two ideas percolating.
Do you want to write for a living?
Trying very hard to.
Have you ever written something for a magazine or newspaper? I wrote for my hometown newspaper on a high school co-op program.
Have you ever won an award for your writing?
I cherish my HOLT Medallion I received for Bitten & Smitten. It’s in a frame on my wall unit right above my TV.
Ever written something in script or play format? No, but I’m thinking about adapting Bitten & Smitten as a screenplay someday.
What are your five favourite words? Check is in the mail.
What character that you’ve written most resembles yourself? Sarah Dearly’s outlook on life closely matches my self-deprecating, sarcastic personality. The character herself isn’t, but we’re alike in a lot of ways. I guess that’s why I probably took issue when some reviewers called her TSTL.
Where do you get ideas for your other characters? They knock on my door of my imagination and I let them in. They’re not based on anybody in particular.
Do you ever write based on your dreams? I keep waiting for that really great dream that translates into a great book — like how Stephenie Meyer says that Twilight came to her. But my dreams are disjointed messes and rarely make any sense.
Do you favour happy endings, sad endings, or cliff-hangers? I hate sad endings unless I’m reading literary novels, which I try to avoid at all costs. A series can end in a cliff-hanger as long as the series itself ends in a happy ending. Stand alone novels must end happily for me. Even if I didn’t write romance, I’d end my books happily. There’s too much tragedy in the world as it is and books, to me, are an escape from that. Bad things happen in my books but it all turns out okay in the end.
Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write? No. Not in my first draft. If I start second guessing my spelling and grammar that would force me to slow down. I do try to polish it up as best I can before it goes to my editor of course. I’m well aware that my grammar is not the greatest in the world. This, unfortunately, is a recent realization.
Does music help you write? Not when I’m actually writing, since I need silence. There’s enough noise going on in my brain as it is. But I do make up a soundtrack for most of the books I write which helps me get into the story and characters.
Quote something you’ve written. The first thing to pop into your mind.
”Since I had a really hard time faking being nice—I wasn’t much of an actress, I guess—I just behaved like myself. Warts and all. I don’t actually have any warts. It’s just a saying.” - Demon Princess: Reign or Shine, chapter 1
If I haven’t already stated this, which I haven’t, last week’s Supernatural was one of the best episodes EVER. I’ve been asking for a Strong Female Character and I got it. Of course, she’s dead now, but I know the show is capable of SFCs if they put their minds to it. It was an origin episode that totally worked and answered a lot of questions. Good stuff, Supernatural! A+! Plus, more Dean and Castiel (Casstiel?) is a good thing. I figure we’ll catch up with what Sammy’s been doing with skanky demon chick in future episodes.
Please tell me it’s a new episode this week. I am a girl of simple pleasures.
I’ve given up on Fringe. Meh. And don’t even get me started on Sanctuary. I flipped after an hour. Obviously the creators have never read any good urban fantasy before because this show fell way below my expectations.
While I wait on my editorial revisions for my vamp book and my Blaze, I’ve been fiddling with a new project. Not sure if I want to commit to it or not. I have a tendency to get a bit scattered in between books. When I’m writing a book, it’s all I can work on. I’m not a multi-tasker, but in between is another thing altogether.
New ideas are Just. So. Darn. Shiny.
I have signed up for Nanowrimo ’08. I plan to write a good chunk of my contracted demon book during November. I want my plate to be cleared of my edits by then, I hope, so I can give it my full and obsessive attention.
I’m painting my apartment on Thursday. Not that you care, but I’m doing an accent wall a dark red color (it’s called “Blaze” so I took that as a sign) and a lighter sand color for the rest of the walls. I like a punch of color in my otherwise beige world. Life has been way too beige for me lately. I would like a bit more Blaze going on. I think I’ll have to do something about that. Eventually.
I’m all finished my YA revisions, they’ve been submitted to my editor at Walker Books, and I’m ready to move on to my new project. I think it might be painting my condo. I definitely need to recoop and refill the well before I write anything new.
Thought I’d share a short snippet from chapter 2 of my YA, which is probably going to be called DEMON PRINCESS: REIGN OR SHINE…