Monday, August 31, 2009

50 and Counting

I've just finished the audio version of Todd McCaffrey's Dragonsblood, bringing my year-to-date books-read total to 50, with 4 months left to go in the year! Getting these audio books in during working hours definitely helped increase my numbers. Last year, I was able to read only 49 books in the whole year.

Apparently my priorities are coming into alignment.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Blog Milestone

As of today, my NON blog officially topped 100 followers! It took almost nine months, or 34 weeks. Of course, the contests were the tipping point. In April, when I ran my first contest, the blog still had a mere 17 followers (which at the time I was happy with and thought was a lot, especially considering that the number of unique visits per week was then predicably around 60-90). Six weeks after the first contest, NON broke the 50-follower mark. It took almost twice as long to get another 50 followers (though weekly hits rose to anywhere from 120-200 visits). Next goal: 200!

Thank you to all who follow and to all who spread the word about NON! I really appreciate it, and so will future interviewed debut authors!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Reminder of Good Things Past

I've always gone after what I want with the innate belief that I can achieve whatever I set my mind to. My parents encouraged it. They never hampered my dreams, never denied a desire because they might have seemed impossible. And I've been very blessed to have every single one of my deepest desires come true.

When I was a little girl, no older than six or seven, I wanted a horse. By the time I was ten, I had one of my very own. When I was a teenager, I won another in a contest—and my parents let me keep her! When I was in high school, I wanted to graduate valedictorian. I did, a co-valedictorian shared with seven or so other overachievers in the largest highest-achieving class to every graduate from my school.

When I met Cody, I knew I wanted to date him. It didn't matter that he was currently seeing another woman, one who had bought him a gold promise/engagement ring. Two years later, long after that other woman had moved on, we started dating. We've been dating for nine and a half years.

I've gotten every job that I passionately wanted. I've gotten great apartments, a wonderful car that's going strong 13 years after I drove it off the car lot, and once I realized I could get free books, have added a few shelves worth of them to my collection.

Over and over again, my belief that I can do and have anything I want has been reaffirmed by the universe. I have asked, I have hoped, I have dreamed and sung made-up songs and written fantastical stories of perfect futures and drawn things I've desired, and again and again I've received. I am abundantly grateful and thank the universe every day for all that I have, and it is this reaffirmed faith, this trust that the universe provides me with what I want, that makes me positive that my novel will sell, it will be fabulously well received, and it will launch my career as one of the top fantasy authors of all time.

Now I just need to start sending out my query letter.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Patience in Prose

I've switched from a Janet Evanovich 3-book stretch to reading (listening to) Todd McCaffrey's novels. McCaffrey began cowriting new novels of Pern with his mother, Anne McCaffrey in 2003 with Dragon's Kin and has since written a few on his own and cowritten several others.

I've been avoiding these new Pern novels, partially because I thought I'd outgrown them and partially because they've not had the dragon-centric focus I loved of the earlier novels. Anne McCaffrey was one of the first female fantasy writers I ever read, possibly the first. I discovered her the same day I stumbled across the thirty-odd YA fantasy novels my small library held, and I instantly fell in love with Anne's human characters, but much more so with her dragons and fire lizards. Like every other child that read her works, I longed to be a dragonrider and impress my own dragon. I raced through all the Pern novels I could find, immensely disappointed with the few that didn't focus on the dragonriders (like Dragon's Kin, which is a tale about a watch-wyer and handler, and in a larger sense, about mining).

It was fitting that I should find new Pern novels during my recent library trip. For the first time in six years since seeing the books on the shelves of my local Borders, I didn't turn away. Instead, I found myself grabbing the only two audio Todd McCaffrey books I could find. I've been addicted to them this week, just as I was Anne's novels when I first found them. (And I still would love to be a dragonrider!) I've been listening to the books while I work, and I've been frustrated that I can't just pick up the book and continue it from the comfort of my front room chair or my bed. Had I purchased these novels six years ago, though, I can guarantee you that I wouldn't have read them until now. Even knowing I was going to listen to both Dragon's Kin and Dragonsblood, I had to convince myself it made more sense to read the novel about the watch-wyer first when I much preferred diving into the novel that had more dragons in it.

Which is all beside the point that I originally sat down to write. What I meant for this post to focus on is this: having switched directly from fast-paced, short-timeline Evanovich stories to world-building, life-spanning McCaffrey novels, I've been acutely aware of patience in writing.

Evanovich is all about speed: her characters make snap decisions, events fall on top of each other, danger is constantly escalating, and everything happens within a week's time, maybe two tops. It makes the pace of her novels faster, and it means there's not much explanatory text. McCaffrey is the opposite. The Pern novels build layers of characters and their lives, show them learning how to do things, even explain how such things are done in a step-by-step elucidation that explores how people solve life problems and even how people would go about changing a planet's lifeforms and landscape in an in-depth terraforming explanation.

I love both novels, but it is McCaffrey's slower, patient pacing that appeals to me right now. There's a depth to it that likens to real life without losing the fantasy/science fiction elements, a smoother, less frantic gait that soothes when the rest of my life has been a little hectic of late.

Evanovich's pacing is more what I strived for with Madison, but it's novels like McCaffrey's that remind me why I wrote a 1,300+ page epic fantasy novel as my first. There's something indescribably fulfilling about world-building on that level.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Beginnings and Endings

This weekend I went through a bunch of old school papers from high school and college. A lot of it was set aside to be discarded—useless notes from math classes, unwanted papers from classes I'd half-forgotten I'd even taken, lots of handouts that I'll never want to look at again. However, I did come across a lot of my essays from my English classes, and it was rather painful to note a similarity among many of them, specifically critiques of my beginnings and endings.

One professor in particular wrote on nearly every essay I turned in that my ending and beginning needed "tweaking." A better word would probably be "strengthening." Aside from reminding me that my grades, while great, weren't perfect, this trip down memory lane got me thinking about Madison.

When I got home, I went over the beginning of Madison. Yes. It needs strengthening. Not story-altering, scene-changing type edits, but definite enhancement. I imagine I'll find the same at the end.

Sigh. Yes, I knew I wasn't completely done and that I had two more edits to run—one to check for passive verbs and one for typos—but I'd hoped that no other changes would be needed. I'll continue apace with the query-readying and sending, but there's several more hours to put into editing before it's a polished manuscript. Unfortunately, I suppose that no matter how many times I look at it, there will always be something else to change. I guess the time when I'll stop tweaking it will be when the editor says it's ready to publish. I'm really looking forward to that day!

Monday, August 24, 2009


I have been planning to finish reading S.J. Day's Eve of Darkness for about a month now. I started it, got about 20-odd pages into it, and just couldn't get a feel for it. However, I was reluctant to put it aside. It has all the right elements (urban fantasy, strong female lead, interesting plot) that normally appeal to me, plus Day has two more novels in the series out already, so potentially there could be several great books just waiting to be read. But I simply could not get into it.

I know from past experience that if I don't finish a book the first time I start it, it's very rare that I'll ever come back to it. Which is why I'm a bit picky when I select a book to read. There have been many times a book has sat on my shelf, not looking the least bit appealing for months, and then when I'm in the right mood, I discover a new favorite novel. The hope was that given time and a change in mood, Day's novel would fall into this category by default, and I'd want to pick up where I'd left off.

The wise words of a friend snapped me out of my holding pattern this weekend: she reminded me that there are simply too many good books to try to slog through those that don't appeal to me. I was trying to force Day's novel to work, to appeal to me, and it wasn't working. I'm ready to throw in the towel and send this novel off to its reincarnation (aka used book store).

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Robot Doctor Is In

My poor little Roomba, Contessa, had a problem today. Actually, it's been a developing problem with her spinning parts that a quick fix was no longer going to cut it. She needed an operation. She needed to be cut open, guts examine, contaminations removed. I was just the woman for the job.

I sincerely enjoy hands-on projects. I think it might be because so much of what I do is intangible (writing a story, aside from seeing a stack of pages, doesn't give you a lot of physical evidence of your hard work—especially not once you're editing and doing query letters). I'm also not one for hard labor, nor am I exceptionally mechanically gifted, so a truly large hands-on project, like, say, fixing parts of my car, doesn't appeal to me. Maybe taking the car apart would be fun, but having to put it back together...not so much.

Contessa happens to be the perfect size for my tinkering. She's held together almost exclusively by screws, so with two different size screwdrivers and a pair of tweezers (for removing caught objects), I was set.

Piece by piece, I disassembled (don't you think "desembled" sounds like it should be a word) Contessa, cleaning caught cat hair out of her gears and dust out of her motors. I got grease under my fingernails, I got my finger pinched in plastic, I got dust all over the front of my shirt. I had a lot of fun.

The best part: when I put her back together, there were no leftover parts (very important!) and she works! I'm a master Roomba technician! Cody even said we should film my work and put it on YouTube, which simultaneously amused me and went straight to my head. Rebecca, aka Roomba Repair Woman, at your service.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Editor Wisdom

Katie MacAlister convinced her editor to answer some fan questions on her blog. Check out the two-part answer. It's a bit of an insight into the publishing world. Bonus: see if you can guess which questions were mine.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Fiction into Fact

I just started my fourth audio Janet Evanovich book. I'm helplessly addicted! I tried to throw in an Anne McCaffery book, but I've never been a huge fan of her non-Pern books, and in less than five minutes, I was back to Evanovich.

By far, Metro Girl and it's sequel, Motor Mouth were the most entertaining. Evanovich packs in a ridiculous amount of action. I'm in awe. And I'm getting ideas for my next novel. Not specific ideas yet, but whenever I think of something, I think, how can I make it even worse? Which is perfect for an author. There's been an unexpected side effect, though, where the things I've imagined for my character have started coming true for me...and this isn't the first time.

Okay, I just realized this requires further explanation, or else I seem crazy. (Or maybe I still will: you be the judge.) When I wrote Madison, I included a scene where her cat has to go to the vet's office. I picked a location of a vet near me, and really pictured the place to give the story verisimilitude. Later in the story, there's a point where she finds a few starved kittens, and she takes them to the same vet office. Within the year after I finished writing Madison, my own cat (the one I modeled Madison's cat after) had to be rushed to that particular vet...and I found some starved kittens and took them in to be cared for, too.

So my next novel might include a character whose very touch destroys electronic stuff. Only...since I've started imagining this story, my car battery died, I touched Cody's computer once, and it's been on the fritz, I short-circuited my microwave with a touch of my pointer finger, and my Roomba's battery and charger have been misbehaving.

I'm actually toying with the idea of writing two stories at once: one that will never sell about the perfect life of the character where she wins every contest she enters and every good thing possible is constantly happening to her, and the real one where lots of terrible, fun, adventurous stuff happens, just to balance out the fates of the universe.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

G.I. Joe Flashbacks

Cody and I finally saw the G.I. Joe movie. It had all the predictable elements: lots of amazing action, women who remain perfectly makeuped throughout 36 straight hours of fighting and who maintain hair a model would kill for, over-the-top obvious villains and good guys who are each other's match only because they are both so extremely gifted, and lots of CG goodness. Basically, it was everything I was looking for (except for a more real portrayal of women, but I knew that wasn't to be expected going into the film, so I consciously made myself set aside my gripes so I could enjoy the story).

What I didn't expect was nightmares.

There's nothing more scary about this action movie than any movie about semiplausible horrific military weapons that could potentially be let loose on the world. The evil guys weren't exceptionally terrifying, and even at their grossest, they weren't featured in my dreams. Bizarrely, the part that kept waking me up was the fly-by graphics, the ones where the object in motion (car, plane, submarine, guy in a fancy suit—all of which were metallic and eye-catching) zooms past too fast to follow. All night long, I kept seeing this—this blur of light and color and metal. And it left me restless and unhappy.

Maybe that's not exactly a nightmare, but it was an unexpected side effect. I'm betting most people don't react the same way, but I gained a little bit of insight into how those bewildered children must have felt when they started having seizures in front of early video games. Fortunately, it was only in my dreams. I'm sure tonight will be peaceful and restful.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The End of the World Doesn't Look Like That

I recently watched two and a half episodes of the first season of Jeremiah. The premise is an intriguing one (based of Hermann Huppen's comic written in the '70s): a virus kills everyone over the age of puberty, leaving children to grow up, form values and societies, and basically just survive, without adult guidance. The story takes place fifteen years after "the big death." Electricity is a thing of the past. Canned food is running out. And, apparently, everyone but our hero, Jeremiah, sucks.

I may have mentioned here a time or two that this mass-death, few-survivor idea is one that fascinates my muse. There's so many possibilities to a society that collapses due to an outside/out-of-personal-control element, where a limited number of people are left to cope with what's left...and with whatever few skills they have. Finding Jeremiah was exciting. Two episodes into it, I was beyond frustrated. The third episode I did my own "good-parts" version of and determined it's not a show for me.

The main reason: the blatant, annoying, male-centric thinking of the writer. The series premier features the one "strong" woman, who has made herself into a tyrannical dictator, happy with beating and killing whoever's necessary to get what she wants (and everyone wants to get things back to the way they were before the big death), who has employed all the old nerds to work toward getting electricity working (yes, all the nerds are boys—what, the big death also killed off all the smart women), and she freely and unthinkingly uses women as commodities and "rewards" for good work. All other females in the episodes I watched were dependent upon the men in their lives to protect them, whores, rape victims, or extras to add to the crowd. On top of this, in the 2.5 episodes I watched, multiple characters refer to things their dads taught them, saying from their fathers, and remembered bits of wisdom. Not one mentions a mother, her words of advice, her skills passed on.

The (very close) second reason I stopped watching: the world view was simply too bleak. Much like the reason I had to stop watching True Blood though I love Charlaine Harris's novels, Jeremiah made the world seem too awful. I've imagined what I would do in the event of a massive human-death catastrophe many, many times. It usually involves freeing a lot of the animals stuck in houses, finding a nice herd of horses, hording a bit of food (Costco, anyone?), and heading for farmable land. If gas looked like it was going to stick around, I'd get myself some large vehicles to carry everything in. I'd horde informational books, learn all I could. Put together a team of people with a variety of skills, and basically start a small community as quickly as possible so that we'd have something to survive on while we rebuilt our living conditions.

One of the things I've never counted on, never even thought about, are the people who would be happy to come through and take by force the things that I had built by hard labor and planning. Yes, a bit naive of me, but I had more of a helpful community idea rather than an all-for-one mentality. Jeremiah is populated almost solely by people looking out for number one, people who are dictators, and a surprising number of happy, thoughtless followers who never question their leaders. There wasn't a single whisper or rumor of a community that was making things work without violence. There weren't any women who had banded together to protect themselves and thrive. Even worse, there was no one reading the textbooks and hunting down libraries to find information. There was one old army bunker that had working solar panels and a hydro garden, and they didn't make any attempts to share the knowledge.

When I realized I was more frustrated by the show than intrigued, I stopped watching. The one good thing I can say of it: it made me think. That, and I got to see Malcom Jamal-Warner all grown up and playing a questionable-morals sidekick to the singular man who came through the big death with a sense of what's right and wrong.

(A side note on Mr. Jamal-Warner: he's one of the few actors I feel I can tell what he's really thinking even as he's acting. There are several scenes where he has to pause so the camera can pan away, and I'm aware that he's aware he's supposed to look tough for the fade out. Which led me to guess why this might be and I came up with this scenario: Just before J-M walks onto set, he's completely in character, got his lines so memorized they feel natural again, is taken in by the set, and the cameramen have become invisible to him. And then, right as he's about to shoot his scene, the makeup artist rushes up and cleans a fleck of bird poop off his shoulder. It throws him. He's now wondering, Is there still a little bird poo on me? Can you see it in the shot? but the director is already rolling. His head's no longer in the game, so rather than thinking like the character, he's now thinking, Look tough. Worry about the poo later. Pretend it never happened. Focus on the treeline. You're a tough guy, remember? Anyway, I figure if I have to add in my own humor, that makes a good third reason to quit the show.)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

In Need of Refresh

I've been wracking my brain off an on again over the past two hours for something even remotely interesting to blog about. I've finally come to the conclusion that after a long, excitement-free day, I could seriously use a refresh button (you know, like the type that your browser has) to perk me back up. Instead, I think I'm going to collapse in my favorite chair and watch some TV. Fortunately, we have two of my favorite shows through Netflix: Psych and Dollhouse.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Audio Insight

I've recently been doing a lot of work that doesn't require a great deal of thought, which isn't really a plus, but I figured it would be a perfect time to squeeze in an audio book. Off to the library I went, and I picked a known author, wanting someone I knew would be entertaining and fast-paced. Hence, I've just finished Janet Evanovich's Metro Girl.

I loved the novel. I love how much action Evanovich can fit into a novel. Listening to it gave me a new perspective on her work. Where my eyes would be flying over the text, this time I was kept at a steady pace by the narrator, C.J. Critt, who did a fabulous job (even if her website is horrid).

I was acutely aware of the pacing, the way Evanovich places introspection in the middle of action, where she inserts descriptive passages, how clean every sentence is. I'm grateful that I had this opportunity to listen to a book—I don't know if it's the fact that a different part of my brain was processing the story or if it was just the change between my reading speed and Critt's, but listening vs. reading gave me a lot to think about and inspired a few notes about what the new ending of my own novel needs. If there's an author out there that you, as a writer, would like to emulate or learn from, try an audio book. You might gain a new insight.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I've been uncharacteristically absentminded lately, doing silly things like getting lost in my own home (forgetting where I was going), getting halfway through a task then undoing it before I finish (like getting the toothbrush and toothpaste out, then putting them back before brushing my teeth), darting away from the middle of a task to jot down a note or two in the office.

The culprit: a new story.

In actuality, it's not completely new. If you remember me commenting earlier in the year about a completely new story that wanted to be written, right then, inconveniently in the middle of my Madison edits, that's the one I'm talking about. The reason for it's resurface: I've decided to write it for this year's NaNo!

I originally planned to complete Madison #3, but then I realized that unless I sell Madison 1 with a three-book deal between now and November, it makes a lot more sense to be able to shop another series or just another book. So this one finally gets to be written.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Weekend of Fun

We did two of my favorite things this weekend: we went wine tasting and we saw some local artists.

For an exotic change, we actually drove to the wineries rather than pop on down the street to our local BevMo and Total Wine shops. Sierra Vista Wineries was having a barrel tasting event, and with the weather so perfect, we couldn't resist. They were tasting a lot more than just their three to-be-released wines; I think they poured me at least seven different glasses, and by the end (when I started getting more picky about what I was going to have and actually said no to a few samples) I was ready for lunch. Fortunately, there's a great little market nearby, in which I saw last week's NON author Tessa Dare's novel for sale on the racks! That was exciting for me (made more so, perhaps, by my pleasant intoxication). Though to be honest, it's a cheap thrill for me anytime I see any interviewed author's novels on the shelves anywhere.

Lunch was a car picnic with the breeze blowing through the windows and super-tasty sandwiches. Then we got lost, found the right road, and eventually happened upon Shenondoah's Winery. I've been wanting to go to their tasting room for about a year and a half now, ever since we discovered Sobon Vineyards, which is their parent company and produces all organic and very delicious wines. Unfortunately, while they tasted about twenty (I'm not kidding) different wines, I could only handle about five, but we did find a scrumptious black muscat. It's a very sweet dessert wine and the first black muscat I've ever tried. Since we bought two bottles of grenache at Sierra Vista, it seemed appropriate to get something completely different.

We were both done after just those two wineries. There was a time earlier in my twenties when I could handle at least four vineyards before my stomach warned me I was pushing my limits. I'm still wondering if it was just an off day and the heat. But we both enjoyed the wineries and the drive, which was very windy foothill roads with rolling golden hills and oak trees.

The art was on a separate day, an afternoon event held at a local open-air mall, where artists of all types gathered with booths to sell their goods. (There were also a bunch of zippy cars, Corvettes, and old, refurbished cars and trucks. A very nice owner of a yellow gangster '20s truck let me attempt to sit in it—my knees hardly fit, and I had to turn my legs in very awkward ways just to get into the vehicle. I felt a bit like an Amazon.)

Suzanne Goodwin, one of my favorite artists, had a booth there with her friend. Suzanne was selling art and she and her friend have started up a new business called Geek Girls at Heart, and they were selling their new handmade products. Cody and I also found a new artist we both really like: Cathy Rowe. In fact, we bought one of her framed and matted prints after about thirty seconds of discussion. This is the one:

All in all, it was a great weekend. I hope yours was too!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Muse Appeasement

A few nights ago I saw ABC's preview for a new show airing this fall called Flash Forward. On the show, the entire world blacks out for two minutes and seventeen seconds, in that time seeing a snippet of their future six months from that day. (Why seventeen seconds?) The preview shows a lot of accidents—people who passed out while driving and crashed, that sort of thing. It also has a great shot of a bank video camera that shows the roomful of people collapsing simultaneously, like their bodies were vacated at the same time, leaving limp husks. I love the image, and I can't really say why, except it so attractive to my imagination. Maybe this is what authors mean when they talk about appeasing their muses. Mine likes to see a roomful of people pass out in harmony. (What does that say about me?)

So, aside from giggling over the things that appeal to my muse, I've found it humorous to contemplate what would happen to me were I to pass out at any point in my day. I think the worse that would happen is some bruises and a rug-burn-type scrap or two from the treadmill or perhaps some nicely squared-off bruises from face planting into the keyboard.

Since I work from home, I can go several days without getting in a car, so the odds of being in a car crash are few. I do walk up and down some concrete stairs to my apartment. That'd hurt a bit. Getting knocked out in the shower would be painful, too.

However, for the most part, I could collapse at any point in my day and be just fine. And for some reason, this makes me giggle. I can't explain it.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Farmer's Market

I rarely fall into the category of people who are "proud" to be reading a certain book (I'm talking to all you out there who read to impress other people, not for your own pleasure), but I found myself giving myself a lot of pats on the back while I read In Defense of Food (usually over a very healthy breakfast). It's an amazing book that I highly recommend to anyone who likes to eat. Yeah, I guess I could narrow that down to people who also would like to live a healthy life.

It opened my eyes about the food industry and made me think about nutrition, diet, and just plain eating in a new way. It made me more conscious of foods I purchase and what motivates my selections. It made me consider what "food" really is (and it's not a lot of the things sold in the grocery store as food!). It made me more aware of what the commercials and advertisements of the major food companies are really selling—mostly it's time and convenience, and not real food and ingredients and nutrients. It made me think about the concept of nutritionism, how we've made eating into a science, and a science that doesn't really know what it's doing, how we've isolated individual vitamins from their sources, encapsulated them, and now are practically required to ingest these pills just to get the nutrients we need due to poor eating habits, bad farming, and depleted soils.

It made me want to grow all my own food. It made me want to make all my own meals from scratch. It made me want to throw a dinner party.

I did none of those, though I did buy a tomato plant and my parents were generous enough to let me plant some seeds in their garden, though since they've been doing all the watering and weeding, I can't claim those plants as mine.

The one thing I did do was go to our local farmer's market last weekend. It was fun to buy from so many different vendors. It was great to know I was getting fresh-picked foods, supporting my local community, and voting with my dollar for organic and locally grown foods.

Yes, some of the vegetables went bad (almost immediately—I won't be buying corn that way again), and we ran out of fresh foods halfway through the week, so we've got to get some new shopping strategies, but it's a start.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Book Release Opinion Desired

I've noticed a trend in publishing that I believe is relatively new: having authors release three books in three consecutive months. It seems to happen to many debut authors (who I'm more in touch with due to NON than previously published authors)—Christy Reece and Tessa Dare are two examples of debut 3-book release authors. I'm currently reading another debut-to-urban-fantasy new-pseudonym author, S.J. Day, whose first three novels had a May, June, July release schedule.

The question is, is this trend desirable?

From a reader's standpoint, it seems like you can't go wrong. You find a new author you like, and almost immediately there are two more books out that you can read. You don't have to wait another year or half a year for the next novel.

From an author's standpoint, it also seems like a good deal. You've sold three books, not one. Your name is now on three side-by-side spines in the bookstore, giving you greater shelf presence. You're promoting three books at once, basically, so perhaps it means that you can give a little more focus to promoting rather than working on that next novel (unless you're due to release three more the following year, which most of these authors are).

Is there a downside? I can think of a few, but they would be downsides with only one book released (like if it doesn't sell enough to impress the publishing house, you're not getting a second chance; if the bookstore's out of the first book, your potential readers aren't going to buy the second/third; there's probably a greater possibility of getting low-balled on the advance, but I guess you'd make it up in royalties if your novels are that great). What do you think?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Return to Blogdom

I freely admit that for the last month or so, I haven't been reading many other blogs out there, though I've still been hoping people are reading mine. I've checked out my favorites (I can't miss Cute Overload, Laurell K. Hamilton—who could miss that kind of melodrama?—and, lately, Katie MacAlister, who's a great balance for the Hamilton drama), but for the most part, my online forays have been to post here, NON, and do research. (Oh, yeah, and Hulu, but I'll save my latest TV crush for another blog.)

However, today I found myself adding blogs again to my follow list and scanning through more blogs than my eyes really appreciate. Why? For a very, very good reason: I finished editing the new scenes I added to Madison today—and I liked them! They're keepers! That means that after I enter said edits, I'm in full-on sell mode. As in every day will be query and synopsis and research day. So the blogs I added are those of agents and editors with archives of sage advice.

Very soon now, all the marketing ideas that have been floating around in the back of my head wills start to become a priority. I'm really looking forward to it!

Best of all, this means I'll finally get around to reading that novel I finished writing back in January! I've got to get that sucker edited by November if I'm going to complete another NaNo book!

Monday, August 3, 2009

My First Romance

Of course, you know I mean my first romance author, right? NON is at it again, with an interview this week with debut author Tessa Dare and a contest for her historical romance, so I posed a question to the followers to comment which author was their first historical romance author...which, of course, made me think back to which was my first, too.

For me, my first historical romance and my first romance author in general were one and the same: Jude Deveraux. (Who shockingly doesn't have a web page that I could find!) I discovered romances rather late in life (if my friends are anything to go by)—my junior year of high school. Before then, I couldn't tear myself away from the fantasy novels I love. On the recommendation of my friends, I started with the cute romance The Duchess.

I was instantly in love with romances, and while I continued to read fantasy more often than not, in the next ten years, I read my way through the entire works of Julie Garwood, Judith McNaught, Julia Quinn, Jayne Ann Krentz (and her pseudonyms Jayne Castle and Amanda Quick), and Sandra Brown, just to name a few.

I no longer read most of those authors (and they're the ones who are now sitting in bags waiting to be taken to the used book store), but I loved them for a while. Now I've turned to more contemporary and paranormal romances of Katie MacAlister, Cherry Adair, and Lora Leigh.

Tessa Dare's The Goddess of the Hunt intrigues me, and I might have to make a little foray back into the world of historical romances again.