Sunday, October 30, 2011


I'm not big into Halloween. I don't mind giving out candy or seeing kids (I don't even mind the teenagers) come to my door. I don't mind the people who actually celebrate it as a holiday, and I sort of laugh at the ones who fear it, but it's not big on  my list of days I look forward to. I really am sick of the way it's been built up into a merchandise bonanza; and I always laughed at my students when they thought they should have a day off for it (Yes, I was that kind of teacher--I laughed at my students). I don't like "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" (I know, blasphemy) and I don't like to dress up.

I should retract that. I would love to dress up if I could get the kind of costume I would love to get. Probably something Steampunk, or Victorian, made of velvet and lace, with a corset and the right boots. Or something medieval with a wimple and chemise, overgown and laced up bodice. Or perhaps something fantasy--wings, something flowy. The reason I don't: I can't see myself spending the money. I'm frightfully cheap, especially when it comes to myself. The idea of spending the kind of moneyit would take to acquire the kind of costume I would love gives me hives.

I wish I was the kind of person who could just let loose and celebrate. I wish I could dress in the styles that truly appeal to me (Gothic, anyone?--you'd never guess that about me, would you?). Unfortunately, I'm too repressed.

So I'll sit back on Halloween in my non-costume and just say, "Bah,humbug." But have a good time anyway.

Books I'm reading now:
Honey Moon by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (really, Kindle people, have someone proof read it)
Hot Shot by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
My Man Pendleton by Elizabeth Bevarly

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Reason I’m Sticking with Traditional Publishing

Don’t get me wrong. I think this is a brave new world in publishing with so many new opportunities. I love that authors are re-releasing their backlists. Heck, I’m even dipping a toe into the waters of self-publishing by releasing one of my historicals written under my previous name . But for the most part, I’m sticking with the non-indie books (hypocritical much?).

Before you start throwing things at me, let me explain. I think it’s great that authors have a choice right now. Really I do. You’ve written a book and you want to see it published. I can understand that feeling. More than you know. But as an author (and let me just come out and tell you that I am traditionally published by a traditional house), I don’t have a lot of time to read. When I read, I want the book to take me away, and for it to do that, it has to be clean, well constructed, and sing (metaphorically speaking).

Again, before you throw things at me, let me continue. I’m not saying that indie authors don’t know what they’re doing. I’m sure many of them do. And yes, I have read traditionally published books that are terrible—and I don’t mean “just not my taste.” I’ve seen error-laden, lazy ass writing from traditionally published authors. But—and many of us do suffer from big buts—I have also read many, many unpublished manuscripts over the years. Not complete ones, but the opening chapters. Hundreds is not an exaggeration (I can’t imagine going through the number of manuscripts an editor or an agent has to). Of the hundreds of chapters I’ve read, I’ve seen maybe two or three, at most five, that were ready to be published. Of the couple dozen that I thought were really good, interesting concepts, great voice, etc, they still needed a lot of work to be publishable—whether the grammar needed work, the pacing, the POV, etc. A good editor could really help those manuscripts. And yes, I’ve also heard that good editors are hard to find. Probably true, but they are out there. My concern is that most authors can’t view their own work with detachment, and I don’t want to read someone’s book that only the author's mother/best friend/husband thinks great. I want someone who has no emotional stake in the author to like the writing.

Keep those rotten tomatoes in your hands for a while longer, please. Recently I’ve heard too many authors say that New York doesn’t know what it’s doing, that so-and-so made it big without traditional publishing, that this big name author is now going indie, that publishing is dead, etc. Maybe that’s so. New York publishers are struggling, really struggling, to figure out what’s happening in publishing. The fact that so-and-so made it big is the exception, not the rule (that’s why we hear about her). The big name author who is going indie knows her craft and has already proven herself a writing entity and has fans who will follow her wherever she will go (“she” used as the default gender pronoun—I’m not thinking of anyone in particular). Publishing is not dead; it’s changing—some of the dinosaurs are gasping, some are blind, some have their heads in the tar pits, but do you really think publishing is dead? They said the same thing when Gutenberg invented the printing press. They said the same thing about movies when television came around. Do you really think publishing will disappear just because we’ve entered a new phase? All authors should be educating themselves and not trusting one side or the other blindly.

But (so many buts in this blog, as if too many of us didn’t already have big buts in our lives), I want someone to have vetted the work I read. I honestly believe I have a better chance at finding a good book that way. I’m not saying that some self-published works aren’t great. I also know that I’ll never find them with this attitude, but I don’t have the time to search or the money, or the patience to wade through the muck. I’m just stating my parameters.

And, yes, I know many people don’t like my books and that’s okay too.

Let the throwing commence.

Books I’m reading now:
Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones
Dragonbound by Jade Lee

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Critics of Romance complain that the stories are all the same, that they're all formula. Well, sure, if you consider having an HEA (happily ever after) formula, but as a recent study  (from UCSD, my alma mater) showed, people actually get more from reading if they know the ending. Spoilers don't spoil anything. In Romance the "how" the hero and heroine get to the HEA drives the reader, not  the "if". Besides, within the formula you'll find an almost endless variety of styles, tones, themes, settings, conflicts, etc.

If you're a person who loves Romance, I don't have to convince you that I'm right. If you're no fan of Romance, then, besides wondering what the hell you're doing on this page, I feel I should inform you that all genres, including literary (yes, it is a genre) have their formulae.

Still not convinced? Well, I don't have time or energy to deal with you. I'm busy writing. But as a final thought watch this three minute short film. According to the restrictions placed on the film makers, the films were allowed to have six lines of dialog:
  • What is that?
  • It’s a unicorn.
  • Never seen one up close before.
  • Beautiful.
  • Get away, Get away!
  • I’m sorry.
Just watch:

Don't tell me formulae are limiting.

Books I'm reading now:
Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones
When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I Guess it's Fall

Today I was cold for the first time in months. I don't like cold. Mind you, I think I'm becoming really whiny, because I'm not liking the extreme heat either (Yes, I did complain in Rome and other parts of Europe while I was there because of the heat. Never going in summer again). To me Hell isn't fire, but ice. I was chilled on Friday and I actually took my first (of usually many) hot bath of the season (with a book--in this case a Kindle in a Ziploc--something to drink and a couple of cookies. TMI?) My favorite season used to be summer (before I became whiny about the heat), spring brings allergies like crazy, and winter is just too cold. So by default, fall has become my favorite season--especially since I don't have to go back to school.

But by far the coolest (no pun intended) thing about fall in Albuquerque is this:

The Balloon Fiesta. While five of the ten days were rained out this year, and one cannot depend on the weather, the Fiesta is worth a trip, the early rise (although they also hold evening balloon glows, but you MUST see the early morning mass ascension), and the crowds. Food is fun--Breakfast burritos (on the way home, my husband was wondering if the Fiesta serves the most breakfast burritos in addition to hosting the biggest number of balloons--really, what other event boasts as many breakfast burritos?), doughnuts and mini-doughnuts, funnel cakes, hot chocolate, coffee--even the pinon variety--and today we even spotted breakfast pizza. And the odd offering of things to buy--today's winner: flu shots.

But the big draw is the balloons. You can walk on the field as they lift off. Wave after wave launch right beside you.

My favorite:

Yeah. I'm a nerd.


Books I'm reading now:
Shadowman by Erin Kellison
A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James