Reading and Buying Habits. And Kittens.

You can tell me it’s perspective, but Jackson really *does* have huge paws.

So, first off – well, second, since cute kittens ALWAYS come first – Rogue’s Pawn is up for a Reader’s Choice Award here. If you feel like voting, you can up until 8pm Pacific Time on September 29, 2012.  (I added the year because, you know, blog posts live forever on the interwebz. Wouldn’t want some poor soul in 2015 trying to vote!)

I really this really good book recently, by a new-to-me author. Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder. The description, etc, didn’t really compel me and I doubt I would have picked it up on my own. But fabulous Agent Pam used it as a comparable for the book she’s shopping for me, so I thought I should check it out. And I loved it – not just because I got to read the kind of story I write, though that was a big piece of it. When I finished, I eagerly looked for the sequel and was disappointed to find it’s not out yet, and won’t be until December, even though Touch of Power came out nearly a year ago.

What is UP with that, Maria??

Yeah, yeah, I know. I’m one to talk.

At any rate, sad that the book was over and not ready to move on, I looked at her other books, wondering which I’d like. But – I think you all know this feeling – I didn’t *want* another world or set of characters. I wanted more of THOSE characters. Right now!

~stamps tiny foot~

Undecided, I ultimately bought none of the others. (I’ve since been reliably informed that the Poison Study series is a good bet, so I might do that, but now I’m off on a different reading jag.) Observing my own reading and buying habits gave me food for thought, however.

See, I get frustrated sometimes when readers who love one of my books, don’t then go read one of the others. I should say right off that I know a lot of you are fabulously loyal readers who read everything I’ve put out there. And I love you all! I’m coming to learn, though, that this is not always the case. Some people read only the Blood Currency books. Others are fans of Petals and Thorns and the Facets of Passion series, but would never pick up Rogue’s Pawn. I’ve seen some reviews of RP where readers say they hesitated to pick it up, because they knew I wrote sexier books, too.

So, sometimes, there’s this urge to reach out through the interwebz and grab a reader and say, “wait! you loved this book of mine, why won’t you read that one, too???”

As a general note? Feeling this kind of urge is a sign that you need to step away from the keyboard. Just saying.

When I realized I did this with Maria, it made sense to me. Though I’ll sometimes get on a kick and read *everything* an author has written, I do this less and less. It’s particular worlds and characters I attach to. Of course my readers do the same thing.
More. It’s all good.
Happy weekend everyone!

The Hallowed (and Frisky) Ones

So today is the much-anticipated and exciting event! THE HALLOWED ONES, by my good friend and CP, Laura Bickle, is out in the world! Here’s her official summary, plus some enticing blurbs:

The Hallowed Ones

If your home was the last safe place on earth, would you let a stranger in?

Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers are free to experience non-Amish culture before officially joining the church. But before Rumspringa arrives, Katie’s safe world starts to crumble. It begins with a fiery helicopter crash in the cornfields, followed by rumors of massive unrest and the disappearance of huge numbers of people all over the world. Something is out there…and it is making a killing.

Unsure why they haven’t yet been attacked, the Amish Elders make a decree: no one goes outside their community, and no one is allowed in. But when Katie finds a gravely injured young man lying just outside the boundary of their land, she can’t leave him to die. She refuses to submit to the Elders’ rule and secretly brings the stranger into her community—but what else is she bringing in with him?

“This is a book to make you fear the shadows–a horrifying and gruesome tale of faith, and things that blink red eyes in the night. I began reading in the daylight, and read on into the late hours, leaning close, biting my lip. I could not look away; I was obsessed. Katie is an unbreakable soul.” –Lauren DeStefano, New York Times Bestselling author of the Chemical Garden Trilogy

“What an eerily believable, unique story! I can’t stop thinking about it—or shivering.” —Melissa Marr, New York Times best-selling author of the Wicked Lovely series

“Readers will find it hard to put down this suspenseful, scary, compulsively readable adventure…” –Kirkus Reviews


It bums me out that poor Katie never got to go on her Rumspringa. So I thought maybe my own dirty girls could show her a bit of a good time!

It’s nice for a good Amish girl to flirt with a bit of vanity and get the first pedicure of her life.

And a manicure. She might even have gotten some sparkly jewels on her nails!

Out to lunch in Santa Fe, with wine and some other wild girls.

Plus a special trip to Minneapolis to visit some shirtless mens!

Katie really wanted to see a movie, so we took her to see The Avengers. Plenty of man-candy plus inspiration for her own super-hero exploits to come!

You know what they’re saying, don’t you?

Yes! You will *love* this book!

Being an Author – Two Things that Surprised Me and One that Didn’t

A big shout-out today to former, much-missed Word Whore, Laura Bickle on her Tuesday release of THE HALLOWED ONES! This one is YA, which is why she left the slutty boudoir. It’s also totally and completely awesome. So excited to see this hit the world.

I’m over at the Word Whores blog today, talking about what has surprised me about being an author.

Meeting Real Writers and Readers

I had to be in Minneapolis/St. Paul for the #dayjob this last week. One of the best parts of traveling for the job is getting to meet the people I usually only talk to online. On this trip, I got to meet two people, one who was already a good friend.

In the last six months, Carolyn Crane has become first a favorite author, then an online friend and then a critique partner. We were hooked up through a bit of savvy writer-matchmaking by Sullivan McPig. This was our first time, after increasingly copious online conversation, to meet in person.

We had dinner twice and, yes, talked a whole bunch. She even introduced me to her husband, who was a little dubious about who the hell I was, anyway. Carolyn got to meet my boss, Laurie, who joined us for some wine. We ruminated on how much the internet has added to our friendship connections this way. Without the internet, it’s highly unlikely that an enthusiastic reader in The Netherlands would have connected me to a writer who lives in another city and with whom I share so much.

The other person I met up with is Susan Doerr, who works at a book publisher (U. Minn Press). We had drinks after work and chatted about books we both love. She’s been lovely to me about my own books and asked lots of questions. When I told her about plans for stories I’m working on (*cough*Rogue’s Pawn 2*cough*), she actually jumped up and down with excitement about getting the “inside scoop.”

We may also have gossipped a little about various industry folks. Shhh….

But the whole conversation made me think about what readers like to know about the authors they read. I fill out the blog interviews and it’s hard to answer some of the questions because I often feel like so much of it is old hat. What can I possibly say about myself that everyone doesn’t already know? It’s easy to forget the enthusiastic readers on the other side of that equation – even though I am one, too.

So, I’m back home again at my house in the country, and savoring the wonderful in-person conversations I was privileged to share with these two very sharp, totally fabulous women. And I’m going to try to remember that, despite the physical distance and the lack of cocktails, real people are on the other side of these conversations.

Here’s to internet friends!

On Reanimating Old Outtakes – a Cautionary Tale

Now that the weather is turning cool, I’m getting more frequent cuddly desk companions again. I’m sure it’s me they love, not my warm lamp.

I used to have this writing teacher who did not believe in revising via word processor. Yes – she was old school. But she was firmly convinced that the advent of word-processing software had created lazy revisers, because writers could cut, paste, rearrange and massage the existing words. Before the software, revising meant retyping or rewriting by hand from beginning to end. She thought that recasting the story from the beginning led to greater insights and a more cohesive product. She exhorted us to resist the urge to revise the existing document and instead, type it again from the beginning, the old-fashioned way.

Of course, we all rolled our eyes at her and totally ignored this advice. I mean, who has the freaking time? When you have this great technology that lets you tweak an existing document, why on earth would anyone spend all that time and effort to type it all out again?? So none of us followed her advice.

More and more, though, I’m starting to think she’s right.

Not that I do it.

Those of you keeping track at home know that I’m deep into writing the sequel to Rogue’s Pawn, fondly known as RP2, because I haven’t decided what title I want to propose. I’m kind of waiting to see how the story turns out.

(I love to say things like that, just to imagine all the plotters clutching their heads with anxiety.)

A couple of days ago I realized I’d forgotten to weave in a thread that I needed and that a scene I’d cut from Rogue’s Pawn was exactly what should go there. For all of you readers who bitched noticed that there were some questions left unanswered in the first book, this is part of why. There were chunks that had to be cut out, just to find some kind of reasonable conclusion. I always knew they’d work into the later stories somehow (or hoped), but I wasn’t sure where or how.

So, on Wednesday I pasted in this 5K chunk and yesterday I set to massaging it into place. A task I thought would go quickly.

Um, no.

In fact, having cut half of it and writing a whole bunch of new stuff, I’m still nowhere done with that section.

Worse, I’m starting to realize that if I’d just rewritten the scene, I’d likely be done already.

It’s difficult to explain why, but it’s somehow more challenging to wrestle old work into a new mold that to just write something fresh in the new vein. A lot has changed in the story. This is a scene between Rogue and Gwynn and their dynamic has come a long way. So the way they talk to each other, touch each other, where they’re at in their heads, their goals and desires – all of these things have changed. And that all requires subtle reworking of what they say, how they say it and when, the tone, pacing, word choice.

Yeah, I’m clutching my own head. I totally deserve that.

So, will I just rewrite the damn scene from the beginning? Probably not. It’s reworked now. I did end up just cutting the rest of the scene and I’ll write the second half of it fresh, because a lot of that part no longer applied.

I did a post about six months back on Letting the Babies Stay Dead. It elicited some lively debate on whether outtakes (those babies that need to be “killed” or cut out) should be kept or ditched entirely. In that I said I wondered if I should give all of mine a decent burial, instead of keeping them around in case I could reanimate them.

Clearly I didn’t do it and now I’m looking at the monster I brought back to life by patching new flesh onto old and I’m thinking that if I hadn’t saved that scene, I would have had to retype it from the beginning. Just like my teacher advised us to do.

One of these days I’ll learn my lesson.

Ruby Will Be Coming Your Way!

I’m thrilled to announce that last night I received a contract offer for Ruby from the fabulous folks at Carina Press! Ruby will be the third book in the Facets of Passion series, following Sapphire (10/24/11) and Platinum (2/25/13). Ruby should be out sometime in the fall of 2013. 

So exciting!

This is a milestone for me, because it’s the first time I’ve sold a book I haven’t written yet. Fabulous Editor Deb asked me for a partial and synopsis on a book 3 after we finished work on Platinum. And they liked it!

I feel so grown up now.

Plus? I have a deadline. At least I got to pick it myself. (Yes – I totally used my spreadsheets to plan. Shut up.)

Happy Thursday, everyone!

How the Wrong Focus Can Lead One Astray

This morning I was typing an email to an old friend and told her I’d been following her exploits. Only I typed “explotits” instead. Which, you know, isn’t really the same thing at all.

But surely it should be a thing.

Thus: your Arbitrary Word Challenge for the day: use “explotits” in conversation or writing.

Fortunately, the helpful pointer out of wrong words flagged it for me. You know what I mean – that squiggly line that pops up under words the almighty computer doesn’t have in its databanks. I rarely use Spellcheck, because I’m a spelling snob that way. (Amusingly, I have an existing label for “Spellcheck, but can’t recall why. Clearly I have a fraught relationship.) But if the squiggly line shows up, I know I misspelled the word somehow. Or I made it up. It’s kind of a 50/50 proposition that way.

The other day I tried to typed “unparalleled” and got the warning squiggly line. Not terribly surprising since that’s a hard word and I sometimes forget how many r’s and l’s should be in it and in which places. So I tried adding an l, but the squiggly line persisted. I subtracted a couple of l’s to no avail. I frowned at the r, pretty sure there should be only one. Determined to figure it out, I played with the l combinations some more.

Finally, exasperated with myself and that I’d spent so much time on it, I resorted to Spellcheck.


I’d left out the n.

Yeah. I’d typed “uparalleled.”

Because I’d been so focused on those l’s and r’s, I’d never bothered to go back and check the whole word for stupid misses. This is what people mean when they say you “can’t see the forest for the trees.” You get so intent on particular pieces that you fail to expand your view and see what else is there. What you might have missed.

It’s a good thing for me to keep in mind.