On Being a Writer of Genre Fiction – & Cover Reveal!

001bI’m over at Here Be Magic this morning, talking about internal conflicts over writing “genre” fiction vs. “literary” stuff.

Also, the lovely Amy Remus at the So Many Reads blog is doing a cover reveal of Five Golden Rings, the newest Facets of Passion installment! Hie on over and take a look – full of sexy fun!

Reflections on Losing Friends

tumblr_mc5vf0jUMH1qzozjoo1_500This is a photo from Amanda Palmer’s Tumblr, with the caption “books are home.”

When I saw it go by in my Tumblr feed last night, I thought that I glimpsed the distinctive spine of a book a friend wrote. To the point that I downloaded the photo and magnified to see. I had this idea that it would be Karol’s book and I would write the story about what it meant to see her book on that shelf.

And how I mourn her still.

Even though it wasn’t her book, I had a happy feeling, knowing that her book is out there still and people read it. I know this because they search the Internet for her and sometimes find that blog post and send me messages. I hadn’t intended that, when I wrote it, but now I kind of love that I have that lasting connection to her through that.

I’ve been reading this book, The Friend Who Got Away: Twenty Women’s True Life Tales of Friendships that Blew Up, Burned Out or Faded Away, and it’s put me in a reflective mood. The essays are so varied, with different friendships and reasons that they didn’t last. One is about a friend who died, but also a friendship that formed around that death – and then faded away again. One “rule” that I’m extracting from all the stories is one I thought I knew already – it isn’t always about you.

In fact, it rarely is.

I think it’s human nature to believe the world revolves around us. Even though we learn as kids (ideally) that people lead lives when we’re not present, that revelation can be hard one. I remember when my stepkids were little. They would spend every-other weekend and one weekday night for dinner with us. Once they excitedly told us about a new restaurant in town (small town, so big news) and we said, yes, we’d eaten there. They insisted we hadn’t, because they hadn’t yet been. They couldn’t quite grasp that we did things when they weren’t around – as if we retired like companion androids to the closet, when not needed.

Eventually, we grow up and realize that other people have complex external and internal lives that have nothing to do with us. And yet, when a friend turns away, we automatically think it must be something we did. Or didn’t do. Most of the time, though, it’s really about them and what they need.

At any rate, it’s a very interesting book and has given me a lot of food for thought. It’s been lovely, too, to return to reading some nonfiction.

I hope everyone has a lovely weekend!

On Becoming a Sociopathic Writer

002In the mornings, we get up at six o’clock, get dressed for the gym and leave the house via the garage. This means that, blearily stumbling about as I’ve been – not a chipper morning person – the moment we hit the button to raise the garage door is my first real sight of the day.

This time of year, it’s right at the onset of sunrise and what a spectacular sight it is.

There’s something about the dimness of the garage, the way the heavy door lifts, with its cranking motor, that reminds me of a theater curtain – that unveils the large screen of this.

The outside comes in and steals my breath away.

It’s an amazing way to start my day and I treasure that.

I value so much about my daily life and am truly blessed to have it. Our daily routine is dull by most standards. Most days I don’t leave our property except to go to the gym. I love each phase of my day, from the kitties walking across my pillow when the alarm goes off to ensconcing myself in my reading chair at night with a glass of wine. The sun shines, flowers bloom, rains fall, the sun sets and rises again. It’s a good rhythm. A long-term cycle.

All through this, my steps seem to be set by the words I lay down in whatever I’m writing. I mark the passage of time by the change of seasons and the accumulation of word count. Writing a novel is an exercise in this kind of patience, I’ve found. For long periods of time – days and weeks and months – the the project continues. Every day I add a little more and track my progress. But it’s incremental and I can’t worry about it feeling like it’s taking forever because it takes as long as it takes.

That’s one of the keys to understanding novel-writing. Patience, persistence and endurance.

Until, suddenly, I’m near the end.

That’s where I am now. On Tears of the Rose, Book 2 of The Twelve Kingdoms, I’m at 84, 502 words. I’d originally thought it would end up around 85K, but once I dug in, once I judged the pace and length of Act I, in fact, it became clear that the first draft would top out around 98K. Writing about 2,000 words per day, as I am now, that means I’ll be done in a week.

And I’m filled with all kinds of odd, restless energy.

It’s as if, now that I can see the city on the horizon, I’m no longer satisfied with traveling 65 mph. I want to go faster and to hell with a speeding ticket. I want to drive all night, just to get there already.

I’m filled with impatience for everything else.

News articles – from frivolous to searingly serious – irritate me. People post jokes that I find facile, ridiculous or even infuriating. Every Facebook and Twitter post I see seems to elicit a snarky response from me and I have to stop looking, because I’m afraid I’ll lapse and actually type one of these comments. Even pics of cute baby animals annoy me.

It’s like I become a total sociopath.

I sometimes think that if I were a full time writer, I would take myself and my last 15-20K and just lock myself in a remote cabin or beach house somewhere. Which I find bewildering, because I love my beautiful, peaceful home and the life we have in it, with our lovely daily rhythms.

Somehow, though, this process of completing the book – which means the ending, because I write my stories from beginning to end, no jumping about – absorbs so much of my thoughts and mental energy, that I snarl at anything else impinging on it.

Also, I’m pretty sure I write a post like this every time.

You all are lovely to put up with me, really.

Launching PEARL and Another Winner!

pearlFirst off, I have a short story out in the world! Pearl marked the beginning of my attempts at speculative fiction. It was published in Aeon magazine, back in Spring 2008. My editor at Aeon, Bridget McKenna, is starting her own business doing ebook covers, formatting and design. She contacted me and offered to produce Pearl, to build her portfolio. I think she did a great job! So here it is, one of my early efforts, for just 99 cents at Amazon and B&N. It’s a sci fi story, with a lot of sexual tension, but not really a romance. Fair warning!

A bit of an addendum, Bridget wrote up her side of the story, too, which is really interesting.

Then, since today is the second Monday in the Rogue’s Pawn giveaway

the winner is….

Amy Remus!

Yay Amy! I will sign and send a PAPER COPY of Rogue’s Pawn for you! If anyone else wants to try for one of the remaining three copies, the rules are here. Join in the fun and obtain a RARE hard copy of this book!

Cover Reveal and Winner Number One!

Rogues_Possession_finalAt last! The cover for Rogue’s Possession!

Release day is October 7, but you can preorder it at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

And today is the first drawing for the entries for a print copy of Rogue’s Pawn! Two entries are here. And here are two more:




And the winner, via Random.org is…


(Who totally stacked the deck with three entries.) Amy, yours moves on to the drawing next week! For anyone else who wants to play, there are four hard copies of Rogue’s Pawn left! Rules are here.