Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Ding, dong, the draft is done. The draft is done. The draft is done. Ding, dong, the dreaded draft is done.

That's right friends and neighbors. I got through it. I sent it. It is in Cathy's hands awaiting changes.

During the last pass I caught one big boo-boo. On one page Kate is ahem, exhausted and weak-kneed from having too good of a time, so that she sends Tom into the shower first. Two pages later she's fully-showered, dressed and wanting him to hurry up with his shower.

Little things like that usually happen when you're working on a book in too small of chunks of time, too far apart. You can re-read up to a point, BUT if you don't have much time, you only go back a page or so to get the flavor, and you wind up having missed something. Frustrating. But there you go. At least we caught it.

But be kind to your authors---and not just us. I mean it. Despite the best efforts of the writer, the editors, the proofreaders, the galley folks, things slip through. They just do. ESPECIALLY if it's a really good story and you get caught up in it. You're reading, not proofing. You don't mean to, but you see what is supposed to be there, not what is. The only cure is to let the blasted thing sit for months and look at it with completely fresh eyes. Which would be lovely, but isn't possible when you're on a tight schedule.

I swear I don't know how other folks do it. I mean some of these people are MACHINES, pumping out almost a book a month CONSISTENTLY over the course of years. I can do a book in a month. Hell, I can do one in two weeks if I have to. But CONSISTENTLY? Without rest. And without losing quality? Um, no. Not so much.

ANYWAY, I have a challenge for you. I found a typo in the back end of Touch of Madness while I was looking up something to make sure I didn't contradict myself in Touch of Darkness. Somewhere toward the end there Bryan becomes (ever so briefly--as in I HOPE just once,) BRIAN. FIND THAT TYPO.

Who knows, if you do and quote the line and page # in the comments I may dig through the shelves of goodies and reward y'all with something small. IF you hurry. As in, contest ends at midnight on August 8, 2007 (which is the deadline for us to submit Touch of Darkness to the publisher, so I know I'll remember the date. :) )

Have fun folks.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


Editing Mode:

I am editing Touch of Darkness (the Finale in the Kate Reilly/Thrall series) prior to sending it to Cathy. Editing my own stuff is best performed when I am in a really bad mood. Editing Cathy’s stuff is better when I’m not quite as angry much more logical. When I’m feeling mean and brutal I can be too hard on anybody else, but it’s the only time I don’t like my own writing at all and can make really harsh changes that may be needed. Now there are times that I hate my writing and wonder if I’m any good and get all depressed, but that is SOOOOOO not editing time either. Because THEN I would just give up and delete the WHOLE FLIPPING STORY. No, on depressed days we back very carefully away from the keyboard.

Today I’m not in as brutal a mood as I could be, but I’m okay, and I’m on deadline, so I can’t wait anyway.

Gotta go.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

After these messages. . .

Cie here -- I'm pooped. I'm in the middle of the finale and I'm pooped enough that I had to take a few minutes and take a breather. Then back to the action.

In the meantime, I stopped on a couple of forums I visit and did a little browsing around.

I discovered that RWA had stirred up a hornet's nest (again). Okay, first, let me say that I am not currently a member. I lapsed, and while I miss my local chapter (RWA Online) I was not happy with some of what went on in a previous administration and didn't renew. I've been meaning to sign up again, but honestly, I've been procrastinating, and also looking at it critically to see if it was a membership that was going to really do something for me.

That said, I've noticed something and I want to blog about it. I am especially willing to do so since there doesn't seem to be much traffic going through here right now and I can clear my thoughts without inviting open warfare (I think).

There seem to be two sore points that keep coming up (over and over and over again).

First -- sexuality, sexual content, erotica.

Second -- E-publishing.

There are people who firmly (VERY firmly) believe that explicit sexuality has no place in romance. There are other people who (JUST AS) firmly believe that explicit sexuality is a valid part of romance. Never the twain shall meet. So you have those pesky issues come up like visual standards for ads and covers being displayed where some folks are going "We have to keep it G to PG-13" (To use movie labels everyone is familiar with.) and others are going R is appropriate, maybe even X.

My personal stance: People have sex. If people didn't have sex there wouldn't be people. It's how we breed. It is also a wonderful way to express love, intimacy, affection, and a whole lot of other really positive things in an ongoing relationship. Romances are relationship books with people. Now, I admit. I don't personally read erotica. Not my thing. Nor do I want to write it. (I'm sorry, FOR ME it just feels too much like "Insert tab A into slot B repeatedly. Add moaning as needed.") But it is a valid art form that has been around since people started writing. Heck, there are probably some explicit cave paintings somewhere. You're not going to stomp it out, even if you try. I'm not exactly a prude, (as you can probably guess from our books), but our sexual content is about the top end for me. More than that and I get embarrassed. There are times when I really wish I could just write the old "fade to black" where they go into the bedroom and you KNOW that they're gonna, but you don't have to go into a detailed description. Just insert a chapter break and start the story again in the morning with them smiling and satisfied. But there are other people who not only write it, they love it, are good at it, and they have a huge fan base.

MORE POWER TO THEM. I don't believe in censorship. I do believe in the rating system, and in parental responsibility to watch out for what your kids are getting into, but I'm much more worried about graphic violence (again, our books are at the high end for me) and GRATUITIOUS violence and sex (and sexual violence) than I am about one, two (or more) committed people having a good time with each other in the bedroom.

Now, I'm not too worried about contests. First off, we tend to write stuff that is borderline to the point where people have a hard time categorizing us. So we're not likely to qualify for the big RWA awards (just my opinion. And if I don't re-join we definitely won't. We would both have to be members). But I do think that it is probably going to be difficult for an erotic romance to compete against its more conservative and mainstream brothers. I think a separate category would be in order. BUT that's my personal opinion. I know people who believe mainstreaming is the way to go. I just know that if I was judging the erotica wouldn't stand much of a chance because it makes me uncomfortable and I don't generally read it. Is that fair? Maybe not. Heck, even probably not. But judging is subjective, based on if you like the book.


On to E-publishing.

I said in a panel (taking liberally from something my co-author had mentioned) that IN MY OPINION (Note the all caps. My blog, my opinion. You don't have to agree. Hell, you are free to disagree) Comparing E-Publishing to Traditional Publishing isn't just comparing apples and oranges. It's comparing apples and CATS.

Because of the low (not nonexistent, but comparatively low) overhead, E-publishing can take risks that are simply not feasible for print publishers. They can experiment with shorter (or longer) lengths, unusual content, etc. Print publishers can't do that as well for a number of reasons. Two that spring to mind are (1) COST. Yo, they're in it for the money. It's a business. They have to have enough sales to pay for all that paper, shipping, advertising, etc. They're not going to take a huge risk on something that they're not SURE has the potential to pay them back. (2) TIME. E-publishing can go through the process a bit quicker. It usually takes 1-2 YEARS for a book to get through the print publishing mill (note the usually. It CAN take less -- or, God help us, MORE, but we're going with an approximate average). Trends that are HOT right now could be cold, dead, and long buried by the time a print book sees the shelf. It means that they will likely be more conservative in their choices so as not to wind up with a complete DUD that drags down their profit margin.

There are GREAT e-publishers and e-authors. There are CRAPPY e-publishers and e-authors.


There are GREAT print publishers and print authors. There are also CRAPPY print publishers and print authors.


Stuff I think is crappy you might love. And stuff that you love, I might think is crappy.


Because it takes all kinds to make a world. And there is something out there for everybody if they're willing to look. This is a GOOD thing. So, if you're into inspirational--WHOO HOO--GO FOR IT. If you're into erotica YIPEE KI YI AY--Again, go for it. I will continue to read my middle-of-the road with suspense, some romance, a little mystery.

Now, back to the big fight scene with its (non-gratuitous and hopefully realistic but not TOO graphic) violence.

Y'all have a good day.


Saturday, July 21, 2007

Almost time for Goodbye to Katie.

Okay, last week’s post got lost in transit for Divas of the Dark. I'm going to try to cross-post again, but we'll see if it works.

This week’s post will, hopefully, reach you all finding you happy, healthy, and ready to read all kinds of schtoof.

Cathy is back from the conference. She learned so much, so fast, that we’ve spend the past week having detailed meetings to go over it. WHEW! Good stuff, but heavy on the volume.

I am about to go into the big finale of the Thrall series. I have written everything leading up to the last build up of the battle scene. It’s funny I feel. . . odd about it. I’m happy, I’m nervous (Can I really pull this off? I want it to be really, really good. Yes, I know Cathy’s edits will make it better, but I want to make it spectacular before it even gets edited.) I’m also kind of sad. When this book is done these characters will have had their story finished. Yes, there will be others, maybe even others I like as much as I do these. But I’m really, seriously fond of this group. Probably because, in many ways, they’re a lot like me.

No, not the werewolf/vampire thing (I do NOT vant to suck your blud sank you veddy much). But having a hard time expressing your emotions, worrying about your family, having control issues, being Catholic. All of these things I can relate to.

No, Kate is not me. Not even close. But of all my characters thus far, she’s probably the person I relate to best. I’ll miss her. I’ll miss Tom, and Mike, and (heaven help us) Carlton. I’ll miss Kate’s brothers (though they drive me almost as crazy as they do her), and a bunch of the minor characters.

I know, it sounds weird. It sounds like I’m almost talking about real people. Sometimes, I swear, it feels that way. There are people who the characters are putty, to be shaped, reshaped, and ordered around. That’s not how it works for me. My characters are people, with minds, wills, and behaviors (frequently frustrating behaviors) of their own that sometimes drag my well-planned plots into new, unexpected, (and sometimes unwelcome) directions. For me, writing the story is like running into an old friend and having them tell you everything that’s been going on in their lives. It feels as if the story will keep going on, even if I’m not watching it any more.

So, I’m feeling a little elated, a little worried, and a little bit sad. Because, while the Sazi is an ongoing series, where old characters can pop up at the oddest time, the Thrall series is a limited one. It always has been. Three, maybe four books were planned from the beginning. (It’s 3 now). I like limited series. It gives the whole story arc a beginning, a middle, and an end. But I’ll be sad to see them go.


Saturday, July 14, 2007


Okay, last week I posted here and at Divas of the Dark. I sounded. . . jaded and cranky. I really didn't mean to. I was trying to actually give decent advice about getting ahead of the game to new authors. I think the fact that I am just pooped and in pain affected the tone more than it should have. My apologies.

Cathy is at the conference. She is busy, working her butt off, but it sounds like she is also having a very good time. I'm glad.

I'm writing. The book is coming along. I'm finally getting closer to the end of the first draft. It felt like I was never going to get here. I've discovered that the middle of a book is sometimes very hard for me. I just feel like I'm slogging through a quagmire with no end in sight.

I'll finish the first draft, then I'm going to beef it up. THEN it goes to Cathy and to the editor. Time is becoming critical, but I'm keepign a positive attitude.

Gotta get back to it.

Take care.


Saturday, July 07, 2007


Ah, sweet mystery of life. One day/week, my technology is working fine. The next I can't get the @#$(&@#( computer to do what I want to to save my life. Le sigh. Le great, big, heaving, highly irritated SIGH.

ANYWAY, I'm posting this simultaneously here and (by sending it to Cathy with a pretty-please) on the Midnight Divas' blog.


I'm working on Kate3 a/k/a Touch of Darkness. I'm not as far as I'd have like to have been. I'm running out of time (bumping up against the deadline. Still looks OK, but it will be closer than I'd like. I'm a "get it in early" kind of gal not a last minute, stress me to hell and back type.) I'm not going to RWA in big part because I need to get this baby DONE.

See, that's one of the things aspiring writers don't think about.

Their first book, their baby, the one that hooks the agent (crossing fingers), publisher ("Please, dear God, please"), and (hopefully) the readers can take them YEARS to write. They polish, critique, re-polish, fuss and suffer over practically every word until it's perfect. They desperately hope it will "break" them into the business.

But what if it does?

YEAH! YIPPEEE!!! WOOT!!!! Joy ensues.

UNTIL they find out they have to write a sequel, or another one. In a year, OR LESS. And that the baby they "finished" isn't. Not really:

(1) There will be edits. ("Dear Author. The secondary character John sucks. Flat as a pancake. Either beef him up or get rid of him. Love Editor. PS you need another subplot and to up the romance.");

(2) There will be copy-edits;

(3) and galleys.

All of which will be due in short order after you receive them, which will inevitably be when you are trying desperately to write like a lunatic on book 2 and are hitting the point of desperation because you don't write nearly as fast as you thought you did.

AND there is marketing and publicity, the conferences they will need to speak at, deliver goodies to, and meet (hopefully) their newly rabid fans (or soon to be rabid fans), booksellers, distributors, and reviewers at. Oh, and there's sending out those review copies, and doing signings and on, and on.

I'm not complaining. I LOVE THIS BUSINESS. I extra-special-especially love this business because I have a co-author who takes care of a lot of those things, and graciously splits the rest of the duties with me. Because I swear to you on a stack of bibles, koran's, torahs, talmuds, and any other holy books you want to drag out from the library that I would likely completely collapse under the workload without her. (Come to think on it, I owe that woman chocolates, a bottle of rum, or both.)

But it is very easy to get a little bogged down in the workload.

Which leads to yet another reality check.

It takes a while for you to make "real money" in the publishing business. Yeah, I know, Rowling has more money than the Queen. But for those of us toiling in the trenches, it takes a while. Because there are expenses (which, fortunately, can mostly be written off of taxes), and taxes (self-employment taxes are vicious). So the day job is a necessity for a long time and panic is the norm as the deadlines loom.


Life, the universe, and everything.

Yup, you heard me. Because as soon as there is a deadline life will (almost inevitably) intervene. Whether it is a brown recluse bite (Cathy), a house fire (Cathy again), a black widow bite (me), or a death in the family (a mutual friend who is also an author), life isn't going to conveniently come to a halt because something is due.


Am I saying a person shouldn't pursue the dream? HELL NO! Besides, it wouldn't do a bit of good. For an awful lot of us, writing is a compulsion. We couldn't stop if we wanted to and WE DON'T WANT TO. But unless a person wants to be a "one hit wonder" I would strongly suggest that they think about putting down the first mss long enough to write the SECOND one, and maybe even a THIRD before they send it out. It'll save them a load of stress and headaches. Because publishers have no sense of humor about missed deadlines. To them it's a business, and they expect the writers to act like professionals.

Okay, off of my soapbox and back to the mss.