Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Like a dog with a bone.

Yes, I'm still on about this hot vs. not hot thing in romance currently. I'm serious about trying to figure out how to even up what's happening out here. I don't know that my little efforts will make a difference, but I'm trying anyway.

I blogged about it (again) over on Novelty Girls.

And the review site will be up as soon as I have something to put there. Hopefully this week.

I had adjusted, more or less, to my schedule with school. Now it's just a matter of making it through the semester. I'm very grateful to everyone who's cheered me on thus far.

So thanks!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Observations from this side of the screen.

So, now that I've been doing this whole writing and selling (!) thing, I've made a couple of observations. Possibly more than that, but one that I can put into coherent thought at the moment.

With the current focus on writing hot, it seems to me that books that are not "hot" have a hard time getting noticed, at least in the ebook world. I understand that this was the medium where the more erotic books got their start, and as such, it's where people go to look for quick, hot reads first. There are entire review sites that are dedicated to erotic romance.

But what about those of us who are writing "standard" heat level books? Or sweet, closed door books? We want to sell our books as much as anyone else. We want reviews and buzz and compliments on our writing too. But in trying to do promotion for my books, I've noticed that, unless there's something explicit in an excerpt, posting to mailing lists gets very little, if any, response. I've noticed that books without the higher heat ratings tend to get fewer reviews. I don't know if this happens with print books as well, seeing as I don't have any yet. Maybe it's just the climate at the moment.

But I'd like my fair shot, you know? I'm sure my fellow non-erotic authors would as well. To that end, I'm going to try to start doing reviews of these books. If you know of, or are, an author that writes at this heat level and you'd like to have your book reviewed, feel free to contact me (sara @

There are a few caveats:

1. I have a busy writing schedule and I have a busy school schedule. I am only one person and I have deadlines. :) I must also So I'll be doing one book a week AT MOST. It may be every two weeks.

2. No inspirational fiction. I don't have anything against inspirational romance, but I don't read it, so I'm not the right person to give you a critique. Anything else is fair game.

3. There will be a seperate journal for this. I will post a link when I get it set up.

4. Any reviews will be purely my opinion. I will not attack authors. My critiques will be of the writing, plot, characters, etc. only.

So that's the plan. I may be insane, but at least I admit it.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

How do they do it?

Holy cow. Those of you who have kids, work a full time job, have a marginally clean house and *still* manage to have a writing career, I salute you, I swear.

I had a mini panic attack today as the penalty for trying to be nice when my teacher asked people to switch to the earlier class. No problem, I thought. I'll go to the earlier class, I'll come home, kick back, I'll go to the later class.

Except it's 35 minutes, more or less, one way to school. Not counting traffic. And then home again. And then back again? And. I needed to get groceries and clean the bathroom (my favorite chore ever!) and replace a toilet seat and get The Engineer's laundry done *and* I was doing promo today and well, let's just not talk about how much writing I didn't do, shall we?

How do you all do it? This is what comes of being out of the workforce for five years, I think. Or from having actually kicked off the career I want. I didn't have this problem when I was doing school before because I had no deadlines. The dread D word.

So now I have to decide whether I can keep up with school, not drive myself or the Engineer nuts, and still make deadlines. That whirring sound you hear? May be my brain. If you smell smoke, don't worry. I have an extinguisher.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Too cool for school.

Or not, since school started up again for me yesterday.

Is that an awkward sentence or what? Ahem.

Yes, here I am, back in school again. Still. Whatever. I'm trying to get through a sign language interpreting program so I can get certified and do medical interpreting. I'm not sure why this fascinates me so much, but I got an EMT and did medical assistant training so I'd know something about the field. I may be crazy, but I love sign, when I get into it. Getting back into the scene is tough, though. Have to work on that. I also have to videotape myself a lot this semester. Eek!

Writing proceeds apace. A real pace. I'm making my quota, which suddenly feels like not enough, but man, sometimes it's a struggle to get there. Which makes me think I'm writing in the wrong direction, but I want to get this stuff down on paper. I can fix later. And I don't really have the time to start over, so, onward!

Speaking of which, I'm moving onward to do some promotion for Gena Showalter's next book. She's got the best covers! Check this out:


Playing With Fire by Gena Showalter

Earth, Wind and Fire aren’t just a band anymore…

Used to be my greatest achievement was holding a job more than three days. Now suddenly I can shoot fireballs, chill your drink, or blow-dry your hair at fifty paces with a blink of my eye!

It all started when this crazy scientist dropped something in my grande mocha latte. Of course I got wicked sick. Next morning I’m waking up with this total hottie bending over me. He tells me 1) his name’s Rome Masters, 2) he’s a government agent and 3) I can control the four elements with a thought.

He seems even less pleased by my (apparently irreversible) transformation that I am. . . because now he’s supposed to kill me. The only good news: I didn’t make this bed of trouble, but Rome sure seems to want me to lie in it. With him.

Read an excerpt

Order your copy from Barnes and Noble or Amazon or Books A Million

And if you’d like a chance to win signed copies of *all* Gena Showalter’s books, all you have to do is post this entry, too. Post the cover, the blurb, the links, and this contest announcement, then head over to Gena’s blog ( ) and let her know you posted the material. A name will be randomly selected on September 3rd from those who do!!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Status check

Time for another "I'm not dead" post. Apologies for not updating for eek, nearly a week. It's been a busy one. Long story short, I'm here, I'm fine and grinding away on stories as usual.

Thank you for the kind words of support. I'm over my stress fit. I realized I was being much harder on myself and more critical of the situation than I needed to be. And the resolution was so simple. Oish.

Last weekend, I ended up going down to Santa Cruz with the Engineer. Yesterday, down to San Jose to see a friend. No more traveling for a while. Don't these people realize that I have work to do? ;)

Actually, it was good to get out of the house for more than the errands of daily life. We keep hearing that writing is a solitary business and hey, some of us like our solitude, but it is nice to go and do things that have nothing to do with the business or computers or works in progress every once in a while.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Fear of success

Someone, somewhere recently mentioned fear of success and how sometimes we sabotage ourselves in taking the next big step.

I'm living in more than a little fear that I'm doing that to myself at the moment. I am in the process of giving myself an ulcer and probably driving everyone else around me nuts. The sad part is that I can't help it. I've got feelers out all over the place and I'm waiting for answers, but so far I haven't gotten any. So I stress this out alone.

And yes, realistically, I'm sure it'll all be fine and everything will work out for the best and one day I'll come back to my little stress fit and laugh about it. But for now, it's really not funny.

In brighter news, Cobblestone Press is chatting over at Evolution Writers this weekend. Come check us out.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

On Deadlines

I have just pushed yet another story to the backburner.

Was it going horribly wrong? Was I stuck at a dead end? Was I sure that it would never see the light of publication?

Nope. I ran out of time. Technically, with both of these, I could have finished them and kicked them out the door, but I knew they would read like what they are. Rushed. Hurried. And they'd reflect badly on me as representations of what I can do.

Besides, it's not like I don't have plenty of other stuff to write. I'm not giving up on these pieces. I'm just waiting a while. I'll come back to them I'm sure. I like them quite a bit.

Mostly, I need to be more realistic with myself about deadlines. If something is due by the middle of the month, starting it on the first is just silly.

In other exciting news, I have the cover for my October book! And I'm in love. Sable outdid herself and I'm so thrilled.

Stacking the Deck cover

Isn't she gorgeous?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Sometimes, Monday really is a Monday

I know, I haven't done Monday Motivation in a while. I will, eventually. Today, I'm catching up.

Found an odd lump on the cat today so he went back to the vet. We shall see if it turns out to be long term bad news. I prefer to think no.

Got a rejection (though a good one!) from an agent. I always wonder, when they say 'if you have anything new, please contact me' whether I really should. Or rather, no, because I know they don't ask unless they mean it, but how soon after, you know? I mean, I could just turn around and fire something back out to her, but that seems tacky somehow.

Over at Romance Divas, they asked us to pass this on. I'm slow, but I'm passing:

Romance Divas
Author of the Month : Gemma Halliday

Contests workshop from the Golden Heart winner Aug 5-7: Paranormal Event with Carrie Vaughn, LA Banks, CT Adams/Cathy Clamp, Gena Showalter, and Kelley Armstrong.

Aug 11 Jessica Faust: Bookends-inc agent in the Chatroom. 9 Eastern

August 8-18

Getting To Know The Voices in Your Head Workshop with Jo Ann Ferguson/Jocelyn Kelley

Aug 18 :: Theresa Meyers: PR/Promo in the Chatroom.

August 25 :: Ann Christopher, Patricia Sargeant, Maureen Smith and Sophia Shaw Multi-cultural Authors Chat

And Tawny Taylor asked people to spread the word that her book, Sex and the Single Ghost, is typical Tawny fare and contains hot hot hot sex. It's not a "typical" ghostly romance, in other words. It sounds like a great premise though, so don't let the cute cover and back cover copy fool you.

There. Now I can try to catch up with the day.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Eye of the Beholder gets a five.

Eye of the Beholder is my short (very short!) book with Freya's Bower. I was googling myself, without going blind thank you, and stumbled over this review last night.

Imagine my surprise to see that Annie over at Euro-Reviews said: "These two stories, based on a similar theme, are most thought-provoking and disturbing. I’d like to see more from this author. I think these stories will remain with me for quite a while. They are erotic but not graphic, and examine some serious issues. I recommend them."

Fair warning, the rest of the review is extremely spoilerific. It's basically a summary of the stories in the book, which, if you want to read them and haven't yet, you probably don't want to read. That said, the rest of the review is here.

In other news, I got the contract for that book that was giving me grief, so phew, I can breathe again. It's titled Stacking the Deck and it will be out in October as part of the Vegas Magic series with my fellow Musketeers.

Annnnd, as we suspected we might, we're in the process of doing another series, this time with our new d'Artagnan, Crystal. It's going to be cooool. Keep your eyes peeled for more news.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Communication issues

There have been any number of communication issues of late, and they all make me shake my head and want to stay in hiding until things straighten out.

If you're a fan/believer/follower of the metaphysical, you might know that Mercury has been in retrograde. Mercury, known to the Greeks as Hermes, was the messenger of the god. His planet, therefore, is believed to control communications of all sorts. Been having more fights than usual with friends and family? Cellphone on the fritz? Emails bouncing or being misunderstood? Blame Mercury.

When it's in retrograde, meaning traveling backward in its orbit, communications tend to break down. While that isn't an excuse not to try to be clear, it is something to look out for. It happens three times I year, I think. Once nowish, once in November, maybe once in March.

Fortunately for us, Mercury's scheduled to start moving forward again tomorrow. It's about time.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Still dancing!

Thanks to everyone for their thanks. I promise I'll at least post a link here when the webpage and new journal are up and running.

I mentioned a few days ago that I had a discussion with Elizabeth Bear that I thought was interesting. And it touched on the subject of alpha males in romance.

She was trying to understand the appeal and have them explained. She's not a romance writer, and had heard about them and didn't get why they were used in the genre. I'm paraphrasing, and I'm not sure I gave her the best answer. What I said was that I thought it fell into the realm of reader fantasy. That romance readers like to read alpha males because they like to see strong, unbending, dominating and maybe even sexist males being shown that his new partner/interest does not belong only in the kitchen or delivery room, but that she has a brain and deserves respect and to be an equal partner.

She thought that perhaps that translated to the heroine being content to be the special one while other women still suffered the brunt of the Alpha's bad behavior and chauvenism and didn't feel all that comfortable with the idea, herself.

There was a comment in that discussion made that perhaps the concept of "changing" the alpha male fed into dangerous illusions about romance that might be translated to the real world, too.

So how do you feel? Do you like alpha males? Do you feel they do a disservice to the genre or to our readers?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

News news and more news.

You fret about something and it something changes. That seems to be the law of internet blogging.

For those of you who didn't get hit by the squee heard around the world: My alterego is being offered a contract with Ellora's Cave. I'm still doing backflips!
It's in a spicier subgenre than I currently write, so I don't know how much, if any, overlap there'll be between the two blogs, but I'm happy enough to celebrate publically here.

*happy dancing* :)

The waiting game.

Let's discuss patience.

I suck at it. I freely admit this.

Okay, I take it back. I don't suck at it. I'm pretty good about following guidelines and listening to what I'm told. If you give me a six month deadline, I will write that down and wait to hear something back in six months. If you get back to me before then, with good news or bad, I am happily surprised and I move on.

If, however, you go beyond the deadline or extend it over and over, I get nervous and anxious and fidgety. I obsess. I think that's part and parcel of being a writer. I also think it has something to do with the difference in mindsets on both sides of this business.

As writers, we focus only on our own work. We only really pay attention to what impacts us or what opportunities might come open for our work. We want to know that we're headed in the right direction, taking full advantage of good things and that we're moving forward.

Editors have a *ton* of things to keep track of all at once. They have many authors, all of whom want their time and attention and want to be the special ones. It must be maddening to try to keep up with everything and make sure all the pieces of the job get done, that no one person gets skimped on or brushed aside.

But I think there's something of an unfair expectation from that side of the publishing desk. It seems, to me, that editors want deadlines met and adhered to and if they aren't, there's a penalty to the author. It doesn't work in reverse. If an author gets frustrated or fed up, there's no real recourse. There's someone else who will gladly take her space, fill her slot, and not think twice about doing it.

So what are some tricks that you all use to slay the beast of doubt while you're waiting? Because I could use the help.