Wednesday, December 31, 2008

More 2009 Goals

These aren't necessarily writing related but since they're pretty good goals for everyone, I thought I'd share them. I'm of the you never know what might happen mind-set and should therefore be ready for anything.

  • See a lawyer about a will.
  • Get that life insurance. My broker (and no he wasn't in that ridiculously high bailout that did nothing but line the pockets of the already ridiculously rich CEOs) recently suggested this savings-like life insurance. It's not term life where you lose that money if you don't die. You put the money into the policy like normal but if you happen not to die in 30 years (and I don't plan to) you get it back. With interest.
  • Purge my closets of the old but not necessarily buy the new. I have enough clothes, shoes, purses, and yet more shoes without buying more.
  • With that saved money I'll pay off my Macy's card and hopefully my Amex, too. With lots of luck and some restraint...
  • Meditate. Yes there are stupid people in the world bound and determined to annoy but my 2009 goal is to breathe deeply and let it go without a snarky comment. Which will be the hardest.

And of course - TO WRITE!

Dark Desire of the Druids: Tryst
Dark Desire of the Druids I: Murder & Magick

Christmas:
Four Calling Birds
Merry Sexmas Anthology: with the short stories, Memorable & Red Bow

Sunday, December 28, 2008

2009 Resolutions

Resolved:


  • To keep all deadlines already contracted for. (Coming up January 1...)
  • To market my stories far and wide.
  • To break two further wolfie stories (Shadow State), set in pre-WWII/early days of WWII.
  • To widdle down my 100,000+ word romantic suspense with romance and suspense and somehow merge them into a true romantic suspense.

Let's see how far I get in 6 months. I have high hopes (come on now, sing.) that I can do this. It's merely a matter of time. And no distraction by Richard Sharpe.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I hope your Christmas is safe, warm, and very, very merry!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dark Desire of the Druids I: Murder & Magick

My first full-length novel is now available from Ravenous Romance! Dark Desire of the Druids I: Murder & Magick where we follow Raven Drake and Malcolm Preston from their initial meeting in Dark Desire of the Druids: Tryst through discovery and betrayal.

Losing her virginity can mean ruin for a Victorian lady. For Raven Drake, it means freedom to explore her sexuality. As a magicker in hiding, Raven subscribes to her culture’s less prudish philosophy. She wants to experience every erotic sensation imaginable.

Malcolm, Lord Preston, desires her from the moment he sees her, and doesn’t allow society’s rules to stand in his way. More than happy to introduce Raven to the pleasures of sex, he doesn’t expect to fall in love with her.

Their tryst is a welcome distraction from witch hunters and political maneuverings. But can it overcome the weight of another man’s ring on her finger?

Full of mystery, murder, and magick, The Dark Desires of the Druids series will leave you breathless!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Research

For some reason, all this wrapping and Christmas cheer got me thinking about research. OK, that and Sharpe's Eagle which I watched while wrapping. Sharpe's Eagle is the 2nd in the Richard Sharpe movie series based on the series of books by Bernard Cornwell. Sean Bean...yum. And I just discovered as I was checking Mr. Cornwell's website (and loving every link on his page!), that there are 2 more Sharpe movies with Sean Bean! Oooh, I can't wait to check them out.

On to research!

Googling something is all well and good but make sure you verify the source. Is it a government or educational source? Or some random .com. As you all know, anyone can have a website. Don't let Hollywood fool you with their version of history. Wikipedia is a great start for almost any search, but always, always, follow their references link to verify stuff and search any facts you intend to use.

Off line, the World Book Encyclopedia is a excellent source for beginning research. Libraries, while many aren't the repository of historic texts you may need, often have access to an Interlibrary Loan system that can get what you need. Be careful in what you request - if anything happens to that 100 year old book, you're responsible!

Do use other historic authors. Mr. Cornwell is a excellent example of a man who knows the Napoleonic Wars. Patrick O'Brien is his counterpart for the Napoleonic Naval War. Kathy Reichs of Bones fame is a forensic anthropologist. Jane Austen lived in the Regency.

Or documentaries...Ken Burns is known for his (really long) but excellently researched series involving letters ad interviews with the 'common man'.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Keeping up

Christmas is Thursday! I'm so not prepared. For days I've said I wanted to start wrapping. Haven't. Still need to buy 3 more presents...nope. Christmas Cards? Eventually. A second to myself? This morning when I slept in and it was wonderful.

In the meantime, I'm nearly finished my Valentine's Day story with my 4 couples, and I've managed another few chapters of Morgana's story (Dark Desire of the Druids II: Sex & Subterfuge). I've also read some great books.

Over at Wild Rose Press, Susan Macatee has a free Christmas short story out, and I'm reading Denise Eagan's Wicked Woman is out now, and the sequel The Wild One is out in January - I can't wait!

And don't forget to check out Four Calling Birds, and Memorable and Red Bow in the Merry Sexmas Anthology. Or Dark Desire of the Druids: Tryst, the prequel to Dark Desire of the Druids I: Murder & Magick coming out December 24.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Presents

I'll be Christmas shopping today, and if you're one of those who suddenly realized Christmas tricked you and IS NEXT WEEK! stop by Ravenous Romance for some last minute presents. Love Christmas stories? Check out Four Calling Birds and Memorable and Red Bow in the Merry Sexmas Anthology.

Magick more your style? Try Dark Desire of the Druids: Tryst, the prequel to Dark Desire of the Druids I: Murder & Magick coming out December 24.

Happy Shopping! And Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tis the Season to be

BUSY! Why is it that just when you're supposed to be jolly you're busy instead? I've spent the last week racing around the east coast working, driving, listening to a cool book (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo which I highly recommend!), Christmas shopping, and crashing early every night.

The good news: I met with my super nice, energetic, and knowledgeable agent, Emily Keyes of the Lori Perkins Agency, and Lori Perkins, of said agency, who is also a wonderful and funny person. AND I'm halfway finished my Valentine's Day story with my 4 songbirds, Lark, Nightingale, Cardinal, and Robin. Their Christmas story, Four Calling Birds is available from Ravenous Romance now. Just as well, that story's deadline is January 1...I'm working on it!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmastime

I love the season. The music especially but the lights and the cheer. It's strange but people (some) actually are friendlier this time of year. Not so fond of the crowds, but then I NEVER am. There are few things more Christmas-y than finding love. This year, I'm blessed with being published with Ravenous Romance, and having 2 contracts with The Wild Rose Press.

With Ravenous, I have 3 Christmas stories out, 2 of which are in an anthology I blogged about yesterday. A third is part of the 12 Days of Christmas series, Four Calling Birds. Sure, there's lots of sex in it, but there's also romance. That's the whole point, after all, of a romance!

I'm revisiting these 4 friends throughout the upcoming year on various holidays, so stay tuned for more romance (and sex) from them!

Lark Summers, Paige Nightingale, Megan Cardinal-Walsh, and Eva Robin are four best friends with a mission. This Christmas they’re going to seduce the men in their lives no matter what.

Lark’s had the hots for her hunky professor since day one. Now that her Ph.D. program is over, there’s nothing standing in her way.

Paige finally admits that her gorgeous neighbor has potential. Though he’s spent months pursuing her, she’s resisted. With the encouragement of her friends, she’s going to see if his chivalry is all a fa├žade or if he really is a knight in shinning armor.

Megan has barely seen her husband in months. Between both their high-powered jobs, time together consists of a brief morning kiss goodbye and text messages that they’ll be late. Tonight, however, she’s going to show him who’s boss.

Eva is swamped with work and school and hasn’t had time to breathe let alone see her longtime boyfriend. When he arrives home tonight, the scene is set but who’ll be more surprised at the end of the night?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Anthologies

Today from Ravenous 2 of my Christmas stories are out in the Merry Sexmas Anthology edited by Lori Perkins.

In Memorable, Jozette Bellrose doesn’t remember how she ended up in the hospital. When a handsome stranger claiming to be her husband promises answers to her past, she willingly follows. Drawn to this familiar stranger, Jozette is caught in the secrets of her past, and his.

Nicholas has spent years trying to return to his beloved wife. The only thing he’s wanted, now that he has the chance to win her back, he doesn’t waste any time. But what will happen when she remembers the truth of their marriage?

Caught in a winter wonderland days before Christmas, can Nicholas overcome the hurt of the past? Or will he be the only one to remember their lives together?

In Red Bow, Jessica Oberon is a working mother of two. She and her husband, Kenneth, barely see each other any more between their high powered jobs and family. Twelve days before Christmas she receives her annual note from her lover. They only partake in these games during Christmas, and this one is no different. Thrilled, she plans to meet him wherever he instructs.

First is a hotel room, then the fitting room in Saks, then to Vermont for a night in a chalet. Jessica loves these adventures, and tries to hide it from her children. Christmas Eve is spent with her lover and Christmas Day with her family.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Scandalous Victorians

Today I'm blogging over at Slip into Something Victorian on The Great Depression. Oh, you think it happened in the 1930s? I'm not talking about the SECOND Great Depression, but the original Great Depression, also known as The Long Depression from 1873-1896.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Edits

I've just finished the first round of edits for my Wild Rose Press short story, In the Shadows. This is part of the Civil War Anthology my fellow Victorians and I came up with and submitted. The changes were minimal, a comma here, a clarification of a sentence there. All in all nothing I couldn't live with.

Set in Charleston during the beginning of the war, with spies and blockade runners, it's got murder, love, dragon-like aunts, and an Englishman. Had to throw that in there, since England truly was instrumental in the war, and for both sides.

I'm thinking of doing a sequel with one of my heroine's sisters set around Christmastime. But other than that one sentence, have nothing more on it.

And don't forget, my first book, Dark Desire of the Druids: Tryst is available from Ravenous Romance. It's the prequel to Dark Desire of the Druids: Murder & Magicks available December 24.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Taking a break

I love writing. I love the start of it when I have a new idea, the tweaking it all out part to make it work, the writing it all, and eve reading it over again. I can never get over that I wrote this, and hey, it's not half bad!

But sometimes I need a break. Not a long one, a day works. Just to recharge and not write drivel. What's the point in writing when I'm going to delete it all later because it sucks? It's a waste of time ad I only get frustrated.

I have 2 deadlines coming up in January, and fully intend to make them but today I need to step back and breathe. It's a hectic time of year and with shopping, cleaning, baking, decorating, and general running to do in addition to working, writing which is a wholly creative process and doesn't do well under stress, must take a break.

Tomorrow I'll work on Morgana's story, I'll finish the middle third this week and go over the outline for the final 1/3. I'll also flesh out y Valentine's Day short story and hopefully that'll take better shape than it has been.

OK, OK, and I'll watch Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles tonight and House tomorrow night. What? Smart TV is so hard to come by...

Friday, December 5, 2008

Critique Partners

Dark Desire of the Druids: Tryst is now available from Ravenous Romance!

I belong to a wonderful critique group. I haven't used them in almost a year but it's a wonderful group nonetheless. They know what I write and understand my time period, the Victorian Era so I don't have to explain the neat inventions that came about then. And they always nitpick those punctuations and grammar issues. Overall plot is harder, since we do a chapter at a time over 2 weeks. By the time they read chapter 10, months have passed.

That's what self-editing is for before they even see the story. Plot points are tricky little buggers, but they're what drives the story. You can't rely on others to pick up those things from your story.

Now that I have deadlines (not as cool as I thought it'd be and that's a shame) and more stories to work on that I even conceived of 4 months ago, I've started keeping a file of plot ideas. Basically, I have a story, say book 2 in the Dark Desire of the Druids series, Sex and Subterfuge. I have an overall synopsis for the major points, then a chapter-by-chapter breakdown.

Each chapter has some sort of cliff at the end. It wasn't hard to come up with the cliffs, but it was difficult to fill in the blanks between chapters. In the long run, it made the story tighter and more interesting. Easier to write, too.

And now that I know where I'm going, and with my Victorian critique group set to start up again after the holidays, I think they'll enjoy the story. And not find so many problems with it. *G*

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Editing

Sure, I knew my story wasn't entirely perfect, but the first time I got edits, it was a real blow to know that I had to change things. OK, a comma here, un-capitalize something there. But additions? I wasn't prepared. Then I read the story with the editor's comments in mind. Sometimes it takes a couple reads, but with that outside perspective, those comments really make sense.

When writing a story, you're in the moment - you get your characters, you understand where they're going and what they're talking about. Shouldn't everyone? Isn't that why you wrote the book?

Well of course, but only if you explain it and don't assume. You know what they say about assuming...

So now I read through everything one extra time with my editor's imaginary comments in my head. There's no harm adding a word or extra sentence so that readers who don't have access to the voices in your head can see where you're going. Makes for a better story and for less stress when editing yourself later on.

Tomorrow: Critique Groups!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Tryst

I'm away for the next couple days for a funeral, but wanted to share the link to purchase Dark Desire of the Druids: Tryst. It's my short story prequel to Dark Desire of the Druids: Murder & Magick out December 24. And be sure to check out Ravenous Romance's site, it's easy to use, and lots of great books there to download!

Ravenous is live!

It's a gorgeous site! I love it. It's so easy to navigate, and the graphics are just that good. Definitely check it out! And don't forget, my short story, Dark Desire of the Druids: Tryst comes out Saturday December 6.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Deadlines

I've just completed and set out my sex & politics story, Whispers. It's set in D.C. in a senate building with a senator and a DOJ lawyer. I sent it off to Jamaica Layne the editor for Ravenous for this anthology. (It's due December 1) I'll wait to see if they accept it or not.

Olivia Adair is a junior senator having an affair with the Department of Justice liaison, Ryan Granger. Neither want to give up their careers, but aren't willing to give up each other, either. Leaving her senate office late one night, Ryan overhears an aide talking about the death of a senior senator. He investigates, but when Olivia is hurt in a car accident, he wonders if the aide is now after her. Will he give up his position to save her life or is already it too late?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Saturday

Semi-traditionally known as Black Saturday but not as popular as Black Friday. There are still deals and deals to be had out there. And with deals, story ideas! Didn't think so, did ya? I'm here to tell ya that yup...standing in line, wanting to smash your head against the wall, it all goes to keeping your sanity and thinking of something other than "Why the hell did I get up this morning to brave these crazy hoards? Even the barbarians were saner than these people!"

Thanksgiving is a family holiday but it can also be a romantic holiday. So what's a writer to do but think of romantic ways to use this crowded time of the year?


No, I couldn't think of a romantic ANYTHING for Black Friday. But I did think of a romantic getaway for Thanksgiving. What can I say, that line was long!

So this weekend I'll be working on some holiday stories because Tis the Season!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

The history of Thanksgiving is an interesting one. And I'm not just talking about the Pilgrims coming over. I'm talking Lincoln and reminding a nation at war the meaning of that nation.

Sarah Josepha Hale, a prominent magazine editor, wrote a letter to Lincoln on 28, 1863, urging him to have the "day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival." She wrote, "You may have observed that, for some years past, there has been an increasing interest felt in our land to have the Thanksgiving held on the same day, in all the States; it now needs National recognition and authoritive fixation, only, to become permanently, an American custom and institution." The document below sets apart the last Thursday of November "as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise."

The original proclamation, written by William Seward (also know for the purchase of Alaska), was sold to benefit Union Troops:

According to an April 1, 1864, letter from John Nicolay, one of President
Lincoln's secretaries, this document was written by Secretary of State William
Seward, and the original was in his handwriting. On October 3, 1863, fellow
Cabinet member Gideon Welles recorded in his diary that he complimented Seward
on his work. A year later the manuscript was sold to benefit Union troops.

So tomorrow, as we gorge ourselves on turkey and football, remember our past, our troops, and our hope for the future of our great nation.

http://showcase.netins.net/web/creative/lincoln/speeches/thanks.htm

http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/source/sb2/sb2w.htm

http://www.infoplease.com/spot/tgproclamation.html

Don't forget to download your free short story, and enter a chance to win a iPod Touch at Ravenous Romance.

December 6, 2008: Dark Desire of the Druids: Tryst is available from Ravenous!

(I've had problems with blogger ad adding a site, so if MY link doesn't work, it's: http://www.ravenousromance.com/)


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving

I'm thankful for a lot of things, every day I'm glad for friends and family. This year I'm thankful for my health. Some of you know I had a 15 day hospital stay and a further 6 week no real food and (horrors!) no caffeine or alcohol. So I'm doubly thankful for a healthy return to life now.

I'd like to include family and friends, my fellow Victorians, and supportive writers. And finally for a free morning on Thanksgiving to catch up on sleep and some editing.

The countdown is on! 11 days until the release of Dark Desire of the Druids: Tryst. Be sure to check out Ravenous Romance for a free short story download and a chance to win an iPod Touch.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sex & Politics

Ravenous put out the call for sex & politics stories, deadline December 1. I have so many other things to write, though my 2008 deadlined stories are finished. What's an author to do but write one?

The forbidden romance, the thrill of discovery. I love it! So now I'm off to write, between carpet people coming, and getting ready for Thanksgiving, and work.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Holidays and short stories

They're coming. Thanksgiving is this Thursday, next you know Christmas'll be here in like a week, and bam! New Years. Do people actually breathe during the season? I'm not sure I do, but that's not the point.

Holidays=holiday stories. Holiday stories=writing holiday stories. Writing holiday stories=what holiday can I write about? All, the squeaky cogs of the brain.

I already have 2 (possibly 3) Christmas stories coming out this year. But there are other holidays. New Years aside, there's Valentine's day, St. Patrick's day, Easter, Flag day...you get the picture.

In one of the Christmas stories I submitted, there are 4 women and the men in their lives. No, this isn't Sex in the City by Isabel Roman. Nothing near that. More like Four Calling Birds. Which is what I named it, but Ravenous might change it, and they're more than welcomed to. So, my Four Calling Birds are only beginning their romantic holiday journey.

What's an author in the midst of holiday anxiety to do but propose further stories for her 4 couples? Propose 6 more holiday for her 4 couples, that's what.

We'll see if Ravenous accepts these proposals. In the mean time, I have other stories to write. Like the female pharmacist in 1918 London and her scared war hero home from Flanders. When he isolates himself from the world, only she can bring him back to the world. But what happens the morning after?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Deadlines approaching

December 1 is the deadline for the first in my Wicked Seduction short story series. Complicated Courtship, about a woman in 1774 Boston who wants to remind her Sons of Liberty fiance all they can share, is finished. I just edited it again, and will go through it once more before sending it out to Ravenous next week.

My only problem is street names in Boston while Massachusetts was still a colony. After we won the Revolution, they changed all the names. All of them. So now I'm stuck with no street names. A friend, Dee, actually mailed me a couple books on old Boston, but even they conflict with the street names. It's enough to make a writer want to scream.

Now you wouldn't think a street name was that important in a 5800 word story. It is. Makes it authentic and all. Plus it sounds better than Kirsten walked down one street to the next, and never bothered to remember what their names were. Right. Admit it, you wouldn't buy that, either.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

In The Shadows

Thought I'd post a short blurb for my Civil War anthology story, In the Shadows. Have contract in hand ad am mailing it out tomorrow. That's all I know...no release date, no potential release date, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for July 4th with all the implied connotations therein.

Jack Harrison is an Englishman running the Northern Blockades. He's in it for the money...that and the hand of the fair Marion Shelton. With nothing but his name, which counts for nothing in the American South, he needs hard currency - gold - to prove he's worthy of her hand.

Marion doesn't care about the money, but about her country. As a spy, she's tasked with learning what she can about troop movements and local gossip.

When she overhears a plan to kidnap high ranking politicians, she's forced to reveal the truth to Jack, and ask for his help. Will he turn her in as a spy, or will love win out?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Civil War Anthology

Some of my fellow Scandalous Victorians and I recently decided that a Civil War Anthology would be a great idea. We all wrote stories revolving around it, and just yesterday we received our contracts from The Wild Rose Press!

This anthology will be available in downloadable form and in print, but I don't have a date for that. As soon as I do, I'll post it.

I'll post a summary of In the Shadows later this week.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

What to do

It's all going so fast! Friday I managed 5,883 words, pretty damn close to my 6K mark! Yesterday-nada. But I needed the break. Today is Wanton Woman. Going to finish that one up now that I know where it's headed. There was something I couldn't figure out with that story, the plot, but now it's all good. So finishing that, relaxing because it's finally sunny though it's going to be cold! Yesterday it rained all day but was 63...today it's sunny and 46. Go figure.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mark the date: December 6, 2008

Dark Desire of the Druids: Tryst (prequel to Dark Desire of the Druids I: Murder & Magick) will be released Saturday December 6!

Check out Ravenous Romance!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Another Day...

...Another 6000 words. Don't think I can do it? It's a goal...I did 5000 Tuesday. What's another thousand words in a day? Plus, in doing that, not only will I have a total of 12K words (my math isn't off, I had 1100 already) but the first act (10 chapters) finished.

Not a bad way to end a day...of course I have to get to it, blogging and facebook-ing is fun but ultimately not writing productive.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Onward

Got my copy edits for my 'Green Love' environmental short story Hot Water. Going through them now and continuing to work on Morgana's story. Tuesday I got 4 chapters (about 6000 words) finished, and plan on doing that and more Friday.

I admit, I was distracted Tuesday...weather, research (names lead to another site, leads to some other damn thing and before you know it you're into something that has NOTHING to do with the story.)

But tomorrow, other than lamenting I can't see Quantum of Solace on opening day, I'm going to ignore all interruptions and write!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Date!

Dark Desire of the Druids I: Murder & Magick will be available on Wednesday December 24!

I think that says it all. *G* When I have updates on my other stories, I'll be sure to pass them along.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Morgana's story

Morganna/Morgana (I decided to change it to one 'n'). I'm working on her story today. All day.

I have pages of research on Philadelphia 1882, reams of what my magickers can and can't do, and 2 separate outlines. One comprehensive and one chapter breakdown. I'm so set.

No, I won't get it finished, possibly the first Act which would be great. With the deadline January 15, I want to make significant headway on it.

Yes, I'm just that anal. I know it, I embrace it, and I have long since learned to deal with it. Besides, you know how fast the holiday season goes! Better to have it done that miss that deadline. Or stressing over it between January 2 and 15. Something's bound to creep up.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Organization

My office needs organizing. Desperately. I can no longer take it! Out with the old - 10 year old files, papers, things I saved because I'm sure at the time they were important. Not so much now.

In with the clutter-free lifestyle! I'm a changed woman. Or will be once I get rid of all this crap. And in my new neatness, I'll be inspired ad creative.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Facebook

I added (someplace) my blog to Facebook. It wasn't as hard as I thought, but then I don't know where it ended up. Weird, huh. What're you gonna do. Plus I spent a good portion of yesterday on Facebook...sending Star Trek ships, sending Disney characters, farming...it's so easy to procrastinate on there, so many new things to...ah...learn. Yup. Learn.

Back to writing this evening. Trying to finish up a short story so I can concentrate on DDoD 2, Morganna's story. I have that all outlined and have broken down all the chapters. I'm really excited to start her story, but want to get a couple contracted short stories finished so I don't have to worry about them.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Countdown

Three weeks until Ravenous goes live. I'm pretty psyched about it, even if it's NOT my company. It IS my publisher! *G* I'm planning my marketing already: facebook, website, blog, business cards and postcards, and most definitely word of mouth.

So don't forget to enter for an iPod Touch, and don't forget to check out my books when Ravenous goes live!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

AHHHHHHHHHHH!!

My computer is dead. Crashed. Melted. Died. Luckily, I did not lose everything. In fact, other than old versions of most things, all I lost was just one teeny scene from the second story in my Wicked Seduction Series, Wanton Woman. I can live with that. But the frustration! Damn computer guy. I totally blame him.

On a MUCH brighter note, don't forget to enter the chance to win a iPod Touch from Ravenous! They go live December 1!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Green Love

I'm currently doing a story for Ravenous' Green Love line. It needs to have an environmental issue at the heart of the story, as well as a romance. And sex.

A lot of ideas work, but I'm doing geothermal. Why? Because it's fascinating. Here's a wikipedia page on it to give you an idea. Alternate energy is a hot (no pun intended) topic, but Iceland has used geothermal for years. The researching is great, but I also really love the story between Aidan and Elizabeth. I hope you will, too.

Don't forget to enter Ravenous' iPod Touch giveaway!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Got Wolf?

Ages and ages ago I entered The Wild Rose Press's Black Rose Got Wolf? contest. Like June ages ago. Completely forgot about it until last week when I remembered they were announcing the winners on Halloween. TODAY I googled the results and after an intense search found the results.

I WON FIRST PLACE!

I'm desperately trying to breathe, but frankly I'm way too excited to bother.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Research

Even for a short story, research is imperative. Can't just write everything as if it takes place today, especially when it's an historical. Even if it's not, places, characters, plots have different aspects that require a different approach.

So I'm spending today resting, recharging, and reading up on different places I plan to set my upcoming stories. Starting with Philadelphia 1882. But I might get distracted by the World Series parade...I make no promises. :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Facebook

I've joined Facebook - complete with myFarm, (Lil) Green Patch, and friends! It's fun in a time-sucking way, but I like the simplicity of use. Everything's right there, I don't have to search for it. Plus it's super easy to update.

So join me on Facebook! Isabel@isabelroman.com

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rewrites

Got back Memorable today for a couple rewrites to make it tighter. It's my own fault, I hate it when I see things so clearly in my head but don't translate it enough onto paper. So I'll spend my writing time doing that and finishing Red Bow.

It's cold, rainy, and miserable outside today, and I plan to curl up and not think about summer. I guess fall is truly here.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Red Bow

Going to finish this Christmas story today. I want to also edit DDoD: The Tryst and send it and Memorable out. Going to work on my website a little more, which isn't as easy as it sounds. You'd think I was finished it by now but no...you change something and something else needs fixing. Or rearranging. Or you don't like it any more. Always something.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Promo Groups

My introverted self has joined promo groups. Three of 'em. Time to get the word out I suppose. But they have a lot of rules, these groups. Which is fine, if I read them all. Which I didn't. Because how hard was it to remember which day to post my promo? Yeah...I'll be reading about them thare rules this week. Don't want to get kicked off my first attempt to promote myself! Sheesh, how embarrassing would that be.

Ravenous Romance - enter to win a free iPod Touch!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Accomplished!

I was a very good girl yesterday and managed to do a LOT of writing.

  1. Finished DDoD prequel entitled Tryst. Sure, it's only 6000 words but I wrote 400+ of them yesterday!
  2. Started new Christmas story entitled Red Bow. Didn't get as far with that, 2 pages but I love where it's going and will finish it up Monday when I have time again.
  3. And hey, back in the groove of blogging!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Today's Goals

I have all day to write. I plan on doing just that. Maybe plotting, maybe breaking a new story, but definitely devoting an entire day to my stories.

  1. Finish prequel to Raven's story
  2. Flesh out Archaeology story broke last night
  3. Continue Colonial Boston story
  4. If time & inclination start Act I of Morganna's story

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Website

Working on the website today. Not as easy as it sounds. I can't decide on anything: picture, font, format, anything. What a pain. Then I decided I wanted a page for each different universe: DDoD, short stories, miscellaneous, etc. Oy.

Also wanted to put Ravenous Romance on the homepage. Gotta link to my publisher!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

COVER!

I got my cover for Dark Desire of the Druids I: Murder & Magicks. (Formerly known as Birthrite: Raven) Oh, I love it! It's exactly what I envisioned. No release date yet but I'll post that as soon as I know it.


Now back to Colonial Boston and my lusty maiden vying for attention of her intended with the beginning of the American Revolution. Who do you think will win?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Between Posts

I didn't mean to go so long between posts, but things have been busy! Writing of course :)

My Christmas story is finished and The Dark Desires of the Druids Raven's story (formerly Birthrite now abbreviated to DDoD) prequel is moving right along. I also managed to break down each chapter for Morganna's story. In addition to enjoying the gorgeous October weather! How great is this!!

I hope you're enjoying the weather, and don't forget to register for an iPod Touch at Ravenous Romance!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

NJRW Conference

I'm bummed I won't be going this year. It's a great conference with lots of wonderful workshops, authors, a ton of agents and editors to meet and greet, but this year didn't work out. I was going to go. Signed up and everything. But it's a week after my surgery and there's no way I want to jeopardize my recovery with the drive and energy it takes to actually do the conference. So, I had to cancel.

It'll leave me with more time to write, though! And since I have several stories contracted with Ravenous Romance, I better get to getting!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Christmas story

I've finished that story, Memorable, Possessions, not sure which yet. Both work. One sounds darker than the other. Yeah, still can't decide.

Am now working on a short prequel to Raven's story. Had a little trouble starting it, despite the synopsis, but think I have it now. It's barely 5000 words but I still have to write them, so starting is always a plus.

Have you registered for your free iPod yet?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Mara Triangle

Still plugging away at my stories and am just about finished the Christmas paranormal one. Am thinking Memorable for the title but might go with Possessions. It's darker and sexier. *G* Don't forget to check out Ravenous Romance for a free short story download and the chance to win an iPod Touch!

Now, onto the real point of this blog.

This is my new pet project. I'll start in the beginning: January of this year, after I'd just bought a pair of boots costing about $100, I read about this conservancy. For $105 I could buy a medical kit, uniform, and boots for one ranger. Feeling incredibly guilty, I did. I don't regret it.

Last week I received their e-newsletter pleading for even $25 to help with their monthly budget shortfalls. I strongly believe in what they're doing and donated. (Yes, it's legit and yes it's tax deductible!)

Times are tough, we're all tightening our belts and cutting things out. What could a Reserve in Kenya have to do with us here in America? Everything. With the collapse of the Kenyan government earlier this year, funding for the Mara Triangle has also collapsed. No tourists = no money. The animals are in danger as is the economy of the region. The Reserve does so much more than protect animals, the environmet, and their home. They create jobs and offer food and economic alternatives to poaching.

Read about the Reserve, it's worth the few moments it'll take. If you don't want to visit the site, here's a little bit about them from their About section:


The Masai Mara is a National Reserve, not a National Park, which means that
it is held in trust for the people and managed by the local county councils, as
opposed to the Kenya Wildlife Service.

The Mara Triangle, an area of 510 sq kms (197 sq miles), was gazetted
as a Game Reserve in the late 1940s and in 1968 the local authority, Narok
County Council trebled the size of the Reserve by adding 1,000 sq kms (386 sq
miles) on the eastern side of the Mara River; thus creating the Masai Mara
National Reserve.

From that time until 1994 the whole area was managed by the Narok County
Council. In 1994 Narok District was divided into two and a new District, Trans
Mara, was created. Trans Mara County Council then became responsible for the
management of the section of the Masai Mara National Reserve falling within
their jurisdiction – known as the Mara Triangle.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Christmas

No, it's not too early for Christmas! Ravenous Romance offered me a contract for a Christmas short story! It's paranormal contemporary, but very much Christmas-y. I'm thrilled. And yes, doing the happy dance. How can I not?

Also check out their website for a free short story download.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Birthrite

Birthrite as a title has changed. My publisher, Ravenous Romance, changed it to The Dark Desires of the Druids. I like it, very dark and sexy. Each book in the series will have its own name. For instance, Raven's story is Murder & Magick.

December 1 is a Ravenous Romance's launch date, but don't forget to go there beforehand to register for an iPod Touch!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Ravenous Romance

The countdown is on! In less than a month, Raven's story will be available! If you haven't already, check out Ravenous Romance, my new publisher. They're new and the site isn't 'live' yet but it's still a pretty cool place to visit.

And hey, you can register to win an iPod Touch!

Next week I'll talk more about Raven's story and the complicated but fascinating world she lives in.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Copy Edits

Wow, my first copy edits. Pretty exciting! OK, kinda tedious even though I'm accepting 99.9% of the changes. Still gotta go through each one - accept deletion, accept insertion. That aside, it's great to finally say, "Oh yes I'm working on my edits today!" Got them yesterday, and am 1/3 finished, plan to finishing them today and sending them back.

It's been a long road, an interesting one where I learned tons of stuff but a long one. I'm so excited to be able to promote myself now! So yes, go to Ravenous Romance and check out their site. You can even register to win an iPod Touch!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Scene Breakdown

Am re-plotting book 2 in Birthrite. I'm trying to condense the overall arc of the trilogy and realized Morganna's story lacked something. Spent yesterday vacillating between Philadelphia 1882 and today's stock market. I much prefer the past.

Back to Morganna. She's a much more organized character now. Sure, she always knew what she wanted, but now she's got a plan. Lucian isn't the background character in his own romance, either. Stronger and more forceful, he's a true hero.

Told ya my plot needed help!

And now back to the real world in all its depressing incarnations...oy.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Nor'easter

So the North East is anticipating a nor'easter. I'm battening down the hatches, charging my laptop, digging out pen and paper, candles, flashlights, and well, anything else I can think of that I even might possibly need. Sure, power outages are rare but they always happen when you're least prepared.

And since I plan on doing a lot of writing this weekend...ok more planning than writing. My Birthrite Trilogy seems to have sparked the interest in Ravenous Romance, and I need to do the synopsis for book 4. I know, I know trilogy and book 4? What?

The plan was to have a trilogy but once book 1 was finished, I felt bad for Raven's best friend. She needed her own story, and so, book 4! It's that simple. So the weekend will be spent tweaking the trilogy outline and synopsising book 4.

I hope you stay warm & dry!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Motivation

On a writing group I'm on we're talking about depression and writing. Not that the 2 go hand-in-hand but it seems that one does affect the other. Without writing, we get depressed. So we write to make ourselves feel better even though we're not published yet. And for some of us, it's taken years to get even this far with no contract in sight. So we're depressed...see? One giant circle of grief.

Luckily, fate intervened and I now have a contract! It's what I've worked for over the years, and I'm thrilled, beyond thrilled. Check out the new e-publisher, Ravenous Romance. They're not live yet but will be December.

As for the wait...these 5 or so years have been worth it. I've learned a lot, met fantastic people, and wrote a story I'm proud of. Several, in fact!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Back in the saddle again

OK so it's from an Aerosmith song. But the statement holds true.

It's hard to get back into the swing once you've been out for so long. I honestly never thought it'd be true for me, I love writing too much to ever stop. But there you have it. I haven't stopped but it's been hard finding my groove again. I read and edit old stuff. I think up new stories and plot them in my head but no actual writing.

I miss writing! I want to get back to it! Maybe this week. I have a great new story in my head, plus an already plotted one, so something's gotta spark. It's a combination of tiredness and sickness. Which are directly related.

But it's no excuse! That's it, I'm getting back. I'm writing something tomorrow, and it will be good! :)

Just gotta be back in the saddle to make it work. Right?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Recovery

I've been sick, so have neglected my blogs. I'm feeling better though not 100%, but want to get back to my life, this included.

Today's tidbit is sick time. As in if you have it, save it! I'm serious about this, I'm lucky enough to be able to accrue sick time, so have 90 working days worth. I've now used 20 of those days. Lucky I saved them! Let my illness be a lesson.

On a brighter note, I've sent in my Civil War anthology story to The Wild Rose Press, and have signed a contract with Ravenous Romance for Birthrite-Raven! My time in the hospital hasn't been dull, I'll tell you that!

Busy month for me, and I hope many more of this kind to come. (Minus the hospital stay.)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Afghanista's medal

Still on an Olympic kick. What can I say, I love when we win, cause let's face it, I'm American. But it's so nice to see other countries less fortunate win, too. Take Afghanistan's Rohullah Nikpai. He won the Bronze Medal in the 58kg taekwondo...the first ever medal for Afghanistan!

One of only 4 athletes to attend the Olympics, he said he hopes this medal will be a symbol of peace to his country which has suffered through 30 years of war. Across Afghanistan, pretty much everyone watched him receive his medal. A symbol of unity at least.

Read the article here.

There's still some mystery over the only female athlete to attend the Olympics, last I heard she disappeared. Anyone have further news of her?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Olympics

I admit, I love the Olympics - Winter more than Summer but they're both great. And this year, we SO ROCK! Phelps aside, who was fantastic I agree but let's move on.

Did you see that 400M hurdle?

We swept the medals for the first time since 1960. The 3 who won, Angelo Taylor, Kerron Clement, and Bershawn Jackson knew what they wanted going to Beijing, knew they were going to do it, and even knew it hadn't been done since the 1960 Rome Olympics. They knew those runners names as well - Glenn Davis, Clifton Cushman, and Dick Howard. Is that not worthy of press coverage? I think so, and they should get all they deserve. Sure, what Phelps did was phenomenal, and rightly deserves the media attention, but there are hundreds of other athletes competing - and winning. Let's give them the attention they deserve as well.

NBC covers the games, as do their multiple affiliates - MSNBC, CNBC, USA, probably more. If you get the chance, check them out. Or go to the site, it's packed with everything you need to know about the games and more. http://www.nbcolympics.com/

Addition: Read more about Angelo Taylor's miraculous comeback from Sydney to Athens to Beijing. Congratulations, man, you deserve it all!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Working Hard

Seriously. Not hardly working, I swear. I'm working on editing Birthite down by a few thousand words, and tightening my Djinn story. I took way too much liberty with that last one, but it was fun. At the time. Now, not so much. Plus I had this idea about a trio of Victorian conspiracy hunters...what? I love a good conspiracy. :)

So here I am, nearly 9 on a Sunday night, working hard on Djinn...which now has a title! No Rhyme No Reason. So I'm diligently reworking the beginning chapters and gutted 3/4 of it. Sad but true. So gutting, reworking, fleshing out, etc., etc., etc.

sigh

Off to work I go, hi ho hi ho.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What an experience

RWA National was exhausting, exhilarating, and entertaining. I learned a bunch of stuff but the workshops also reiterated 2 things for me:

1. Listen to your gut. If you don't like the way something's going, stop. Take a look at it. Step back if you have to. And rewrite it the way you want it to read.

2. No one knows what they want until they read it. Good writing, a strong, solid plot, and real characters make the book. Don't jump on the bandwagon. Do you know how many vampire books are out there? And I like vampires (it was a Buffy thing...)

I'm currently looking through Birthrite and my Djinn story to cut them down and rework them with what I learned during the workshops.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

I'm back!

Had a wonderful time, met loads and loads of great people, most of whom I remember their names. Some of whom I actually got their cards and shall now buy their books. Man some of these authors are persuasive!

Exhausted, plane delay, driving, sleep deprived, starving, but am home and most importantly CLEAN!

After I settle myself, I'll write more about my trip, but it was great.

Monday, July 28, 2008

2 days and counting

I have a thousand things to do between now and my flight Wednesday morning (why is it that EVERYTHING crops up right before a vacation and HAS to be done immediately?), but I'm eagerly anticipating San Fran. Got the guide book, the walking tour plan, the meet up with friends plan, and most importantly the pitch plan. I'm so ready!

Among my sightseeing tours, I plan on visiting the Ten Ren Tea Co., Ltd. and The Great China Herb Co.

And in between walking, talking, and hobnobbing, I'll be practicing my pitch. Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

RWA National

I'm really excited about going to a National Conference. It'll be my first one - national that is, I've been to 2 (or 3 maybe?) NJRW conferences. I really like them, smaller scale, closer trip. But National is National. I have an appointment with Lori Perkins and plan to loiter around the editor tables in the hopes someone cancels and I can get a Tor appointment - those filled up faster than I could blink.

In addition to that, I've printed out (new thing this year to save them money but at least I used the 2nd side of some old paper, so I recycled!) a bunch of handouts for the workshops, and am looking forward to going to them. I'm also looking forward to meeting people I've only known online and seeing people I usually see only once a year.

Plus, it's in San Fran! So Chinatown here I come for some nice herbs and hopefully a meeting with a Chinese doctor about headaches and allergies. And I've got friends there I'm hoping to meet up with Thursday night (if I haven't completely crashed) for dinner. And, to top it off, if I have time, am not beat, can see straight, Mamma Mia! here I come, I really want to see the movie. Love the music, even if I haven't seen the play, so hopefully I can fit that in with some friends in addition to everything else.

I'll keep you posted on what's happening there.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Life of Pi

For a book club I'm in (and mostly stay with) we read Life of Pi by Yann Martel. The discussion is tomorrow, but frankly I don't care what anyone else thinks. I LOVED this book, right down to the ending I expected but ignored because I liked the story itself so much better.

If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it. It was fantastic.

They concept of a 'story' is explored here as well as Pi's life. What is a story, versus what is fact? What difference does it make in the grand scheme of survival? Is it the 'truth' or what gets us through?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Diligence

It's hard to write when so much else sucks up your time. I use this excuse a lot. It's not really an excuse when you fall into bed exhausted every night, but it's still an excuse when I don't write a damn thing any day of the week.

Embarrassing but true.

I'm heading to RWA National next week in San Fran, so I KNOW I won't have any time to write, but maybe I'll have a chance to doddle in the plot department for an eventuality of writing. That'd be something at least.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Molly & Birthrite - Raven

Birthrite - Raven advanced to Round 2!

It's very exciting, I've never made it beyond the initial weeding and rejections. I'm pretty psyched, actually - made my whole day.

The Virginia Fool For Love Contest yielded some great feedback but wildly different scores. Of a possible 150 I got 73, 118, 143. Uh...huh? *shrug* I'll take what I like and ignore the particularly vicious 73 score who clearly didn't like anything about the concept. It's all subjective anyway, but the other 2 scores had great ideas for a lot of things that I plan on incorporating.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Ideas

It's not hard for me to come up with new ideas for stories. It's hard fashioning the stories into something cohesive and workable. Sure I can say that I want Hero to meet Heroine in the Caribbean in 1670 on the run from a lunatic who wants her fortune but therein lies the problem.

Research is only the 1st issue. Clothes, speech, travel time, accommodations, etc. It's a nightmare. Interesting, but it's so easy to get bogged down in details.

Word usage is the 2nd. Can't use lunatic, really; it was around but madman would be better. Can't use moron - wasn't invented until the early 20th century. Plus they were much more proper in their use, polite even (and especially) when they were being rude.

Plot aside, it's hard to wrap everything up in a neat and tidy package with no holes, loose ends, or dangling ribbons.

Monday, July 7, 2008

New week

I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend. I know I did, very relaxing and yet also productive. Just one of those weekends. :)

This week I'm again super busy and don't know when I'll get to any writing but I have a couple books for research to read, and am currently listening to Life of Pi for a book club. Or, I'm about to start it. Any day now. Really.

I also plan on getting ready for RWA National in San Francisco the end of the month, so lots of workshop planning for that and one day of sightseeing.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Holiday weekend

3-day weekend! It's a great feeling, even if you do nothing. I plan on eating, sleeping, sunning, and spending time with the family. The 4th holds special meaning to us Americans, and I hope everyone realizes it's not just a convenient summer holiday. Take a moment to remember the sacrifices our forefathers made to ensure we have all we do today. (Canada had their own Canada Day earlier this week on July 1.)

Of course writing. I'll immerse myself in Charleston during the Civil War. Or maybe England during the Great Exhibition. Or something. But I plan on writing, writing, writing. It's a great feeling just to know I have the time to do this!

What're your plans, writing or not, for our National Holiday?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

World Building

Recently (April) I took a workshop with bestseller L.A. Banks. She spoke on a great many topics (her energy is boundless) but one was on world building. Not just a paranormal or alternate history world, but building your fictional world.

Characters, neighborhoods, work environments, they're all part of your world and as sch part of what yo need to build. Is your Hero white from a rough poor neighborhood? Better get those slang words and accents right then. How about former gang member? Better brush up on that, too.

Now this doesn't mean you have to go to a neighborhood with a gang or spend time driving around with a camera. Research is available in so many ways to our networked writers. Take advantage of it! Ask around, someone always knows someone.

Use this to your advantage - the more authentic the setting the more 'real' the story will be to both you and your readers.

Monday, June 30, 2008

July update

It's been a while. Blogging takes commitment and for this past month I've had little time to commit to this. I miss blogging, and I miss reading the blogs I check daily. I'm going to do my best to recommit to both this month.

June has been busy with the usual (running, cleaning, family, friends, OTHER commitments) and with research. I've got very little writing done, but I have researched 2 stories and entered 3 contests.

To that effect, I didn't final in the Virginia Fool for Love one, but I did get some fantastic feedback. I'm not one for taking to heart other's opinions when it's clear they 'just didn't like the story', we all have our tastes. But I take extreme offense to them saying certain words aren't period or my grammar/spelling is wrong. They are and it's not - and that's all I have to say on that.

Otherwise, my scores rage pretty much over the spectrum. In a contest where a 3rd judge is brought in when scores are 35 poiunts or more apart, mine were - twice. 70, 118, and 143 all out of 150. Go figure.

Still, I got some great feedback from the 100+ scores, and plan on taking that all into consideration.

So until next time.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Website

I've decided to redo my site. I'm moving it from my current hosting site to a new (cheaper) one, and am revamping some of the things. I wanted certain spaces reserved for certain things, but those were mostly 'published' things, and as I'm not yet published...

So redoing the thing.

Not sure on color yet. I like the sleekness and classicism of black ad white but we'll see.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Contests & Madness

I've entered 4 writing contests in 2 weeks. I don't know what I'm doing here - entering I mean, not writing.



FOUR CONTESTS!



OK, so I wanted the feedback, and so I wanted to see where I needed help in a first chapter even I'm not 100% thrilled with. But FOUR?! I must be mad.



It's so difficult to get a great opening hook to coincide with the romance to meld with the plot. Sure, the romance is a plot but the plot itself is more than the sum of its romance. I haven't figured out how to get my hook and opening scene to meld enough not to confuse the reader. It's rather frustrating and a damn pain in the ass.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Crystal Palace

After the closing of the Fair, The Crystal Palace was dismantled and rebuilt in Sydenham where it stood until 1936 when it was destroyed by fire.

The original palace cost £150,000, but the relocation to Sydenham cost £1,300,000 – a debt the comp[any never repaid. They also could not open it on Sundays, the only day most people had off. “No amount of protest had any effect: the Lord's Day Observance Society held that people should not be encouraged to work at the Palace or drive transport on Sunday, and that if people wanted to visit, then their employers should give them time off during the working week.”

Which makes no sense, as then someone would still have to work on Sundays, Thereby having something open on Sundays, and ruining the Society’s point.

By May 1861, the palace opened on Sundays, and more than 40,000 visitors attended on Sundays alone.

In 1911, the Festival of Empire was held to mark the coronation of George V and Queen Mary. But it soon fell into disrepair and two years later, to save it from developers, the 1st Earl of Plymouth purchased it. A public subscription quickly re-purchased it for the nation.

During World War I it was used as a naval training establishment under the name of HMS Victory VI, informally known as HMS Crystal Palace. Te Admiralty used it as a recruiting and training centre for the Royal Naval Volunteers and other units, and over 125,000 men were trained. At the cessation of hostilities it was re-opened as the first Imperial War Museum. Sir Henry Buckland took over as General Manager, and former attractions resumed, including the Thursday evening displays of fireworks by Brocks.

On the night of December 1, 1936 a fire destroyed the Palace. It started about eight in the evening near the Egyptian Room and spread with such amazing rapidity that within half an hour the great building was ablaze from end to end. Only the two towers escaped destruction. Ninety engines and 500 firemen fought the fire, which rose 300 feet. The cause was never discovered.

The two towers were taken down in 1941 because they were so observable as a landmark to enemy planes. The site has long since been cleared of its ruins and the trustees of the Crystal Palace have lately sold the estate to the London County Council who will restore the ground & and eventually erect a new permanent building.

http://www.victorianstation.com/palace.html
http://www.arthurlloyd.co.uk/CrystalPalace.htm

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Great Exhibition

1851 was a great year - if you lived in England.

That was the year the Great Exhibition opened, specifically the famed Crystal Palace. Held in Hyde Park, from May 1 to October 15 1851, it was attended by 6 million people – between 1/5 and 1/3 of the entire population of Great Britain, and made a surplus of £186,000 which was then used to found the Victoria and Albert Museum, The Science Museum and The Natural History Museum.

The Koh-i-Noor Diamond was displayed, as were a precursor to the modern-day fax machine, and daguerreotypes - an early type of photograph.

For MUCH more on this, visit The Great Exhibition for a list of links on fun facts, trivia, stats, etc.

Monday, May 5, 2008

MIA

I've been more than a little busy the past few weeks and haven't had time to write let alone blog. I've plotted 2 stories, revised 1 more, thought about a finished one but haven't had time to go back to it, and really wish for more sleep.

Losing momentum: I know I have. I was on a great roll up until the end of April and then suddenly, nada. It had nothing to do with losing either mojo or muse, simply didn't care. I didn't want to write, didn't want to do much of anything writing-related. Strangely enough, after 8 hours physical labor outside yesterday, I've found my motivation.

Allergy attack, too, but I'm once more in the right frame of mind to work. And it feeeeellllssss good!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

WIP

Sordid is once again regulated to the shelf. I feel terrible for the characters who probably don't understand why they aren't fleshed out and written about, but I can't help the way my brain works. Really! It's not my fault!

Another Victorian-set story. I love and adore the era, so it's probably only natural. :) This one takes place in 1851 during The Great Exposition and the vaulted Crystal Palace. The research has sucked me in and I'm all excited about it. The first couple pages are flowing nicely, but I really can't wait to get to the meat of the story.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Focus

I didn't mean to, honest! I meant to focus on my contemporary, Sordid Little Games. Something happened. Not sure what, but I do believe I'm firmly entrenched in the Victorian era. It's a log era, but I've come to love and adore it. So much happened then! So many changes and progress.

Birthrite - Raven is polished to a gleam. Seriously, it's cut and primped and pinned and shiny new.
Birthrite - Morganna has been outlined, scratched, re-outlined, scowled at, and once more. I'm pretty happen with it now, but am positive it'll revise sooner or later during the actual writing stage.
Sordid Little Games is outlined until it, too, gleams, those previous versions scratched in favor of this latest edition.
Untitled happened only last night. And then the research began. This takes place much earlier than Birthrite, probably the 1850s. It's only in the research stage, but it had to be done. Stinkin' thing wouldn't leave me alone! It made me write it!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Standards

I haven't read a lot of romances since writing them. Don't want to accidentally steal from them , yes, but that's is only one reason. The other is that I find myself unable to enjoy the story. I constantly edit sentence structure, rearrange how they're saying things, and adding or subtracting from the plot. It's annoying, I really want to enjoy the story!

However, this has had the advantage of allowing me to rediscover my love for historical fiction. Fiction not romance. And in doing so I've noticed a double standard. In so-called literary fiction the author gets away with a hell of a lot more that we mere romance writers. The dreaded head hopping, several plot holes never revised, and worst of all, lack of coherency.

Sure, the writing is decent, good, sometimes even great, but the story itself doesn't gel. It shifts POV, it grinds on with a plot that needs to be seriously shortened. Not always, of course, and not even with all books by a single author.

Generally speaking, though, fiction writers aren't held to such an exacting standard as romance writers. Why is that? Are our stories any less because we involve man/woman emotion and sex?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Print vs E

Publishers that is. I've bee focusing manly on E-publishers, but this morning, for no real reason, thought maybe I should expand into print. There's also no real reason why i hadn't thought of this before, either, except for a vague notion that they would take longer to get back to me. I've since realized that that's a foolish thought...all publishers take a while to get back to a author. It's the nature of the game.

My plan, therefore, is to spend tonight going through print publishers for query, tomorrow editing my synopsis (yikes!) and Sunday sending queries out. It's the start of a new week, no time like then for submitting, is there?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April?

So it's another month, eh. These things keep sneaking up on me no matter how I try to keep to a schedule and write, write, write, next thing I know another month has passed and I'm no closer to my goals than I was the beginning of the previous month.

I have 2 goals for April:
Write whenever I can
Submit at least once a week

And there it is. Simplicity at its best.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Hitting the pavement

So to speak.

Getting published is harder than it sounds. Unless you're also trying to get published. And you aren't one of those miracle people the rest of us want to toss into a lake, or an outsider who thinks it's such a breeze, you know what I mean.

Writing is the easy part.

It's the rest that takes effort, time, persistence, and a really thick skin. Seriously thick. Plus you then have to listen to all those people asking when you'll be published - asking every week like you wouldn't be screaming it from the hilltops the SECOND that acceptance came in. Honestly.

So I'm spending my free time today looking for publishers. I know who's out there, I've done the research, but now I need specifics. Like what to send where, how much, and to whom.

Where's the easy button when you need it?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Week 5

Happily enough, I've managed to complete some of my last week's goals. (There was a time problem, as in never enough.)
  • Germany story is edited and titled
  • Contests are researched
  • Birthrite-Raven is somewhat edited, but not the part I really wanted to do.
Which will go on this week's goals:
  • Edit Birthrite-Raven the beginning of which I really want to take another look at.
  • Enter contests previously researched
  • Start writing Birthrite-Morganna (plotted, looked at, ignored, replotted...)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I forget what week I'm in...4?

But I know my goals for the week! And isn't that all that counts?

  • Edit Germany story (and possibly title it)
  • Stare at synopsis file (currently blank) and create a wonderful synopsis to wow and amaze potential editors/agents
  • Stop fooling myself and hope for the best when it comes to the synopsis
  • Research contests and enter at least 2
  • Edit Birthrite - Raven as it's been ages since I last looked at it and think I could change and tweak things to better suit the overall story.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Complete!

I've finished my Germany-set story! OH, happy day, I love it when things are finished.

OK, it's finished as in done but not finished. I haven't gone over it again, not the whole thing. Gotta trim some words, and I think tighten a chapter towards the end - it's missing something and I suspect it's the H/H.

Last, I have to figure out the word count. I know how many words it is, but publishers have a variety of formulas that don't make much sense to be, but what do I know.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Steamy

As it turned out, steamy works. I didn't have to change much, an added sentiment here, an erotic touch there. And boom! They were having sex on the floor of the library. A room in the house, that is, not a building.

This is a short story, and the more I though about it, the more I realized the plot takes off running and doesn't stop until the end. Even then there's a sense of openness, a lack of closure. No, it's not a series, it's the time frame. 1934 does that to a story.

So hot monkey sex on the floor and a fast-paced plot that tears apart my couple. I think I'm set.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Self Editing

Is possibly the hardest thing to do in writing. Isn't everything you write wonderful and quote worthy? Um, no. Not for me. There are some days I write something and even as it's coming out and I can read it on my screen I think "What drivel! What horror! What the hell was I thinking?"

And hit the delete button, tute suite! (OK, am not even remotely sure that's spelled right.)

I have an adverb thing, as in I love and adore them, but apparently they're not 'in' just now. An editor friend did try to warn me, and I did somewhat listen but once all those -ly words (minus the obvious like belly and all) were ignored, it was damn hard to ignore the rest. Highlighted LY everywhere. It was bad.

So that's my project for the week. Go over my stuff - completed, WIPs, current, everything - and change, delete, and modify my adverbs. While I'm doing this, I might go over the opening hook of them, too, since I'll be in the story. Good a time as any to make sure the hook hooks, and doesn't drag along the bottom.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Order

As in the order of things. The writing of them, more specifically. I like to start at chapter 1 page 1 and move swiftly (or at least move) from there. So here I am, writing chapter 1. Then I rewrote it to have a little more umph to it. OK, Check.

Chapter 2. This is where I discovered I'm not as orderly as I thought. Yes, once in a while I have a flash of writer-brilliance and a scene several pages/chapters away magically materializes on my computer screen, needing very little editing once I get to that actual part. I love those moments, they make me all warm and fuzzy and think 'Hey, I am a writer!'

But I digress. Chapter 2 was going and going and going, and once I hit chapter 3, I realized nothing in chapter 2 needed to be there, or at least most of all 7 pages. What's a good writer to do? Naturally, I panicked. Why oh why? I'd spend days (hours at least) doing all that writing and dialog-ing and planning how to get my characters from A to B, and suddenly I realized no. It didn't work. It was all...junk.

Telling not showing. I mean literally telling. Like why the hero and his BFF were talking in front of the building they were supposed to be going into when they could've had this conversation any place/time from the moment they left their home, boarded the train, taken the taxi, arrived. Sure, it wasn't a conversation for other's ears, and people are so nosy no matter where or when, but come on! Go inside already! Why are you talking out here like a pair of idiots casing the joint, and badly at that?

Sigh

So chapter 2 now has less nothingness and more dialog. I wonder, upon umpteenth reading, how much of that dialog will be scrapped and how much will be merged with chapter 3.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Steaminess part 2

Once I find a problem, I have to gnaw on it until it's fixed to my satisfaction. Did I mention I'm a perfectionist? I hate sloppy work no matter the venue, and don't like my name associated with sloppiness. Not the reputation I want in any aspect of my life. (Except the cleanliness of my home office, but that's why there's a door. To close against any onlookers.)

So, steamy sex scenes. Steamy scenes and sexual tension. Coincidentally enough, the Manuscript Mavens have a blog on just that today, which frankly only added fuel to this particular issue and in no way helped resolve it.

I have to have at least one sex scene in this, (OK, I don't have to have, but I want to have to have...basically I want at least one in there, and that's that!) and the setup does allow for it early on. Which is still what bothers me. They know each other, though they haven't met (no, this isn't a 'they just know' each other plot, they really do - through letters.)

I think my problem is…me. I really don’t like it when an author has her characters jump into bed together and then tries to sell me that even in the beginning, they knew. At least work on the relationship after sex! Yup, it’s me.

I might have to stick with my original thought on this; write it and see where it goes. I can always edit in or out later. Right?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

March Goals

New month, so much to think about. What should I put to paper (type on my blog) for my goals? I know what my wishlist is:
  1. write 40 pages a day
  2. complete 3 books in 31 days
  3. catch up on sleep

Reality? I'll be lucky if I can hope for normal amounts of sleep and 40 pages total in 31 days. So, reality-based goals for March...
  1. Finish Germany-based story
  2. Plot the (pesky) details and begin Birthrite 2
  3. Update website

Hehe, yeah, that's a new one and something I can work on in an afternoon. Really, I put that on there to make me feel better about meeting these goals.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Steamy vs not so much

I love steamy scenes. A well written (and graphic) sex scene can move the story ahead as well as the black moment, the beginning hook, or even the moment they realize how they feel about each other. The level of graphic-ness in said scene describes the level of trust between your H/H more intimately than merely saying it ever could.

However, I've been debating the placement of such a scene in my latest story set in Germany. Too soon, and I feel as if they've jumped into bed for no real reason. Too late and I'm deep into the middle of the story and there's no real place for them to have sex.

I think that them having sex before marriage is valid since the time is 1934, and even in Germany mores about such things were in flux. Though I'd love to read anything anyone had on that, even if it contradicts my aforementioned hypothesis. That isn't the problem. The plot hits the ground running and doesn't stop. Having the couple intimate early on shows certain things I want to include - their level of trust and a fairly major taboo that's broken by the hero. Two actually, now that I think about it. (Well that 2nd depends on the direction of a tidbit I haven't decided on yet.)

But I still have that placement problem. Early on works on several levels. But would it turn a reader off? Would it skew the plot in a direction I don't want to go in? I don't want to write the scene, finish the story or even 1/3 of the story and then discover I need to seriously rework things. That's why I plot ahead. To avoid just this kind of headache.

I guess I'll write it, see how it gels, and hope my weekend isn't so booked I can't rework anything I don't like.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

New resource

ABE Books. A librarian told me about it, and it's wonderful. OK, so I have yet to refine my search words to narrow it to Austria early 1800s, but I haven't played with it much this morning. Booksellers from across the world have listings here, with basically the same ratings as Ebay, but all books and nothing but books.

I intend to take my time with this site, you never know what's going to pop up!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Week 2

Week 1 consisted of about 5 pages, not too bad since I also spent part of last week refining the plot to better represent what I wanted the theme to be, and realizing a plot to another story needed...work.

So 5 pages of chapter 1. Pretty excited about that. I need a little more research into Germany, the landscape, the people, the feel of it but I finally think that it’s going the way I want it to.

And it’s so nice to have a story in the works! I’ve been hemming and hawing over a few different ones, but couldn’t really sink my teeth into them. This one is coming along (and ever so nicely) and I think will flow better now that I’ve got those issues (mostly) ironed out.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Back to work

I've been out of commission with the flu. Haven't managed to write much, but did plot a bit. I'm pretty sure it makes sense, but one never knows when one is delusional with illness, does one. OK, so there might be a niggling point or 2 I need to clarify.

That said, I plan on writing at least 5 pages a day. Considering I edit as I go, this might not work out, but I have a small obsession with editing as I go. I can't leave it until the end, mostly because I don't want to have to change everything after page 6 when I could've saved myself all that trouble at page 7.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Clarity

Would you looky there. It's the light at the end of the tunnel. It does exist! Coolness.

Brownies really do help, though it could've also been the fact that I let everything slide Saturday afternoon and only worked that night. Same goes for Sunday.

I’ve managed to remember to look at everything calmly and rationally and realize that yelling at one’s computer does little but aggravate you further. That said, it was kinda therapeutic.

So it’s back to both Vienna 1810 (or whatever, I can’t even remember this morning, so so sad) and Germany 1934 with a new, fresh outlook and determination.

On a side note, why isn’t my blogger spell checker working? Don’t they know how much I rely on that?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

That's it!

My characters have deserted me.
My new WIP is nowhere near finished researching let alone plotting
My Valentine's is shaping up to be as one-sided as last year.

I'm making myself some brownies and I dare you to stop me from eating all of them!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Confessions of...

I've come to the conclusion I'm a research junkie.

I'm not the only one out there, I know who you are! I read your blogs and your books; I know you jump from century to country to idea to plot with very little in between. And it's fun!

I'm the same way. I love coming up with new ideas, researching the locale, the people, the class and history. I love plotting and weaving angst with romance, sex with action. I love the thrill of the story, the adrenaline of the newness. Oh, sure, I love writing it, too, but it's this initial-ness that's so exciting.

What about you?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Writer's ADD

I don't mean to make light of people who do have ADD or ADHD, but I have to say, recently I've been all over with the concentration.

Between continued research for Austria during Napoleon and finishing that story, I've plotted out 2 more. I'm really into this newest one, set to take place during the early stages of Hitler's rise to power. (Research on that is easier than anything Austria related!) But it's just amazing what the average person did, felt, and experienced during that time. It was mass chaos. Wonderful to write about, terrible to experience.

So I flip between the two - Austria 1814 and Germany 1934 - and hope that some weekend I can sit and finish one.

Friday, February 1, 2008

What's in a name?

Everything. I'm terrible at naming characters. It always seems as if I should be able to use one set of names; change the appearance, location, plot, etc., but keep the names. There are a gazillion names out there, old, new, the old ones that are new again. How many different countries and nationalities are there in this world? How many different variations on a name?

I can't pick one. Or well several for all the characters but you get the gist. I suppose I could use Jane and Mark, Amy and Jeff all the time, but someone might catch on sooner or later.

I heard Victoria Alexander speak once (I think it was her) about how she always has a character named Charlie in her stories. One character isn’t bad…

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Winter not-so Blahs

Usually I hate and despise January and February. It's cold, dark, and miserable. Today's the perfect example. It's pouring on the east coast, and dark, dark, dark to boot.

Somehow, I'm not wishing I stayed in bed another hour. Ok, well maybe I am, but I'm also energized. I have no idea why and am certainly not questioning it. I have so much to do, so much I want to do, that this particular winter isn't getting to me. I wish every day was like that, but I'll take what I can deal with.

Today I'm organizing some writing files into actual files, not piles of paper on my desk. Not so efficient that way. I'm also looking over those articles for my site this morning, which I'll post tonight or tomorrow.

I'd also like to congratulate my good friend AJ Hampton on publishing her 3rd story, Hostile Devotion! I've read her first one, Holiday Nectar which was funny, sexy, and just plain fun to read. I haven't read this latest one, but am really looking forward to it. Congrats, AJ!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Marketing

Along with momentum comes new and brillant ideas. Or at least new ideas. This week I'm working on my website. I'm also going to continue to make a list of places to submit. First things first: the site. I love the design, but it needs more. More articles, more on me, more on the stories. Just more.

I have some articles I've written on the Victorian Era, and one on world-building I want to look over again and polish before posting. Possibly thinking of one or 2 on the Birthrite universe itself. There's a lot going on in that world that requires a background that I don't include in the story. Must rework all that into a postable bit.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Progress

Have written 7 yes 7 pages of new and worthy stuff. I love momentum, and really wish it'd stay with me throughout the, um, lifetime. I'm thinking 7 pages a day I'd have this story whipped in a month. Of course it took me 4 hours to write and edit and rewrite those pages, but I do so love progress.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A new week!

OK, so it's Wednesday, but it's a new week and I have a new plan. Yes, it's remarkably similar to my previous ones (writing, plotting, editing) but not every plan can be totally original. I'm not Patton, contrary to popular belief.

I'm finally feeling positive about Birthrite - Morganna, have figured out how to tie it into Raven's story without it being to closely related, and think this stand-alone/series is coming together. Tonight I'm going to work on that, see how far I can get before this positive thinking evaporates, and keep on keeping on.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Weekly goal

I didn't make it. Whatever it was I had in the back of my mind, I didn't make it. I wrote for maybe an hour yesterday with just about 2000 words, and it was the first time I'd put anything coherent down in over 2 weeks. But hey, 2000 words is something. And they're keepable words, so that counts, too.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

2008 goals

This year I'm going to divide my goals into months. 4 weeks to a month, hmm, maybe weekly goals? No, that never really works. I mean sure I can say I'll write so many words in a week, but then something happens and I start to stress over my lack of word count which leads to stress over goals, fear I'm not devoting enough time to writing...which all leads to me chucking it and thinking I shouldn't stress over this when there's so much else I can (and do) stress over.

Broad outlines of '08 goals:
  • Finish Birthrite 2 - Morganna's story. It's all outlined and maybe 1/3 started...maybe 1/4 but it's started and I really do like the beginning.
  • Continue to outline Birthrite 3 - Arabella's story. She might go through a name change, since she's already gone through a character change. But I really do like the name.
  • Work with the idea I had last night on the overall arc of the story and see if it'll work. Then try to see if it'll fit into Birthrite 4 - Isadore's story.

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