A Concatenation of (Mostly Unfortunate) Events

day jobYou ever had one of those mornings?

You know, where one mishap leads to the next until it begins to feel like everything is happening at once?

Yeah. So, this was my morning.

1. Get up at 5 am for important day job conference call with East Coast people. Discover Jackson has brought in a mouse. It’s under the treadmill part of my treadmill desk and cannot be gotten. I decide a shower and coffee-acquisition should take higher priority.

2. Have call, hoping mouse isn’t grinding up in treadmill motor

3. Post call, and post post-call, get more coffee, feed cats, who are no longer interested in mouse

4. New daybed is arriving between 8:15 and 9:15. Assist previously procrastinating man with moving futon couch bed out of guest room/office to make room for day bed delivery

5. Man decides we should take pics for Craigslist ad. Easier to just agree.

6. Movement of furniture gets cats excited, renewed interest in mouse. Suspect it’s in treadmill motor compartment (has happened before)

7. Get screwdrivers and vacuum to open compartment and clean-out while open, which has to be done every few months anyway.

8. Plug vacuum into APC power supply, which blows, taking monitor and day job VOIP phone offline.

9. No mouse in motor compartment!

10. But is now clean.

11. APC is dead.

12. Rearranged cords and outlets, back online.

13. Daybed guys arrive.

14. Jackson pretends mouse never existed and investigates new day bed (above).

All of this before 8:30 in the morning.

Send chocolate.

Why You Should Be Glad that Being Apoplectic Isn’t as Bad as It Used to Be

Erotic Romance revision notesI laughed this morning to see the results of my late-night phone call with the brilliant and insightful Carolyn Crane. She’s been swamped with work lately, so when she pinged me, said she’d finished my new erotic romance novel and had crit for me, I paused the movie we’d been watching and hopped on the phone. Amusingly enough, we were both walking on our treadmill desks as we talked and I wrote comments on both on my laptop and on these sticky notes.

The laugh was an especially happy one, because I can incorporate her comments today and send this off to my editor! Best feeling ever.

The opposite of apoplectic, regardless of which definition you use.

Yes, Bordello-followers – the word of the week over at Word Whores is “apoplectic,” which is one of those words that has migrated so far in common usage from its original meaning, that it’s fair to say that it doesn’t mean what we think it means. Head on over to find out why.

Does the Publishing Thing Get Easier?

005For those who don’t know, that’s the Lyman Whitaker sculpture I bought with my first advance money last summer. Looks so awesome, particularly at sunrise.

And every time I see it, I feel a dual thrill of pleasure – in the beauty of the piece and in my own accomplishment.

At the time, I wrestled with whether to spend some of that money on a fun thing. Then, when I decided I should, it came down to one of these Wind Sculptures or a hot tub. I’m glad I chose the sculpture for this very reason, one that I didn’t consider. Seeing it every day reminds me of the work I put in to reach my goals and is a tangible, beautiful icon of that success.

So important, for all of us.

Because the publishing industry is a difficult one. There’s no doubt of this.

Yesterday I saw this article and tweeted a link to it, joking that the title should be “Authors Not Satisfied by Anything, Ever.” It’s one of those not-so-funny jokes, because the results show that, even after reaching some publishing goals, things aren’t all wine and roses for authors.

 Lately I’ve been in the position of giving advice to aspiring authors. Just my karma? Perhaps. I participated in a panel (which I set up for my local chapter, but didn’t intend to be as advice-giving as it turned out), a couple of writers have emailed me for advice and I had dinner with a couple of my pre-pubbed local chapter gals.

One of the gals who emailed me asked about following up with an editor. She finished her email with: Gah!  I hate waiting.  Please tell me it gets easier?

I wish I could have. Of course, not to pull a Bill Clinton, it depends on what “it” refers to.

Does the waiting get easier? Yes, in many ways it does. Because, as I told this gal, experience helps your expectations align with reality. So when my New York editor says “I’ll send that next week,” I know full well it might not arrive for three weeks. That’s just par for the course. Also, I count on waiting times in ways I didn’t before, because I have so much more going on. For example, I sent book 2 of a trilogy to my New York editor by the 11/1 deadline and he recently confessed he hasn’t read it yet. Do I care?


Because I can’t possibly do developmental edits right now! In fact, I’m kind of banking on him not getting an edit letter back to me before mid-March. (Hear that, Peter? :D)

But, if I were, like the gal who emailed me, really waiting on those edits so I could get that going, I wouldn’t feel the same way. So, yes, Rhenna, in that way it does get easier.

Other things get easier, too. Once of the gals I had dinner with complained about how established and big ticket authors send in manuscripts that are riddled with errors (LKH – we’re looking at you), or that need extensive editing, while aspiring authors have to have every damn thing absolutely perfect, just to get in the door. She called it unfair.

I explained that it’s a test.

 Is this a real phenomenon? Sure it is. But the reason is not to conspire against newbie authors. It’s because those established authors have a reputation and a loyal readership. The publisher knows what the author is capable of. Nobody asks me to do a revise and resubmit any more, because my editors have worked with me on several books and *know* how I’ll treat edits. They trust me. In fact, I can sell on ideas now, because they are familiar with my style and how I’ll go from idea to finished book.

Is this easier for me? Yes yes yes! It’s a great luxury for me and, believe me, I relish it. SO MUCH EASIER.

But it’s because I did the work to get there. With a brand new author, nobody knows how he or she will accept edits. Nobody knows if she can write that sequel by a deadline or if he can handle copy edits without pitching a creative tantrum. So, of course, they want it As Perfect As Possible. Just in case that’s as good as it gets.

That makes it much more difficult for aspiring authors, yes. The good news is, that’s part of doing the work. That’s learning important skills that will make it much easier down the road.

So, with a nod to Dan Savage and not to downplay the very important message of the It Gets Better campaign, yes.

It gets easier.

How Can I Be What I Ain’t?

005David asked me for some “blue-sky” panorama shots for his Catalina Acupuncture website, so I thought I’d share one here. Such amazing skies we have here. (That’s from our front porch, with the corner of our house to the right.)

This week you all get treated to one of my oldest earworms, the song that starts playing in my brain when I encounter the Word-Whore Word of the Week: Ain’t.

Closing the Circuit with Readers – Plus Voltage!

the dance 2 croppedLovely shot (IMO) of my stepson and his bride dancing at their New Year’s Eve wedding. There’s something so classic about this moment, the “first” dance. Two people full of hope and love.

We come together over these things, don’t we?

So, an unusual thing happened along those lines.

It started when my longtime friend and CP, Allison Pang, discovered the easter egg I hid for her in Rogue’s Possession, and wrote a blog post about it. I wondered if anyone would notice it, but Allison and I think it’s hysterically funny, which is always good enough for us. 

 Well, turned out one of Allison’s readers saw the blog post and went out and read Rogue’s Pawn and Rogue’s Possession. I know this because she emailed me to say so. Now, let me say right now that getting messages from readers is a kick that never loses its impact. It’s something not easy to explain – and maybe something that I would never have predicted would mean so much – but hearing from someone who just loved loved loved your story completes a kind of circuit. It’s like in physics, where the electrical current doesn’t flow until the circle is complete. When someone writes or talks to me about one of my books, it’s like they bring all that energy back around and it lights me up.

And this was even better.

The lovely and enthused Heather wrote this to me:

So I’m still basking in the afterglow of Rogue’s Possession. When stories affect me like this I usually create a music playlist for the book/series. I put my IPod on shuffle and see what comes up and fits the mood the book evokes in me and fits the story or characters. The first song that came up was one of my all time favorites from nineties industrial rock, Waking Up Beside You by Stabbing Westward. It was never released on the radio but it is my favorite on their album Darkest Days. I don’t know what your music tastes are but this song is so passionate about something so simple with an intense rock sound becoming so complex. It reminded me of Rogue and Gwynn immediately, a couple who is passionate, intense, and complex but crave simplicity in their lives. I see the song from both of their points of view. I hope you give it a listen, but if not no biggie. I just wanted to share it with you.

 Of course I listened to the song! I mean, right?? And I shelled out my 99cents and bought it. It moves me deeply, both how perfect the song is for Rogue & Gwynn, and that Heather shared it with me. This was like completing the circuit and amping the voltage. I love that I wrote about this feeling and she reflected it back. A shared moment.

I’m still high from it.

She’s right on, so I’m sharing it here.

Mark of the Tala Sneak Peeks!

Bd4X6wZCcAAuFYBYesterday I received my page proofs for The Mark of the Tala. Aren’t they pretty?

I’m tremendous004ly blessed that the production editor at my publisher has turned out to be a major fan of the story and she went to lengths to make the book beautiful. She wanted special fonts, black-feather icons in the line breaks and special swirlies under the chapter numbers. (I would have looked up the term for that, but that’s the exact word she used in her email to me, so…)006

Don’t they look great??

And yeah, you get tiny little teasers along with those. I would say I’m sorry, but I’m not.


(On Twitter there’s a newish meme to apologize for stuff like this and add the #notsorry hashtag to the end. Adds the perfect bit of smirk to every tease.)

The other terrific thing about her liking this book and this series is that she’s a serious fantasy geek, the kind that rereads Lord of the Rings every year, so I love, love, love that this book is speaking to someone like that. 007I also have cover flats that I’ll take to Adventures in Fiction next month. And soon there will be ARCs! It’s all very exciting.

Finally, the second installment of Master of the Opera, Act 2: Ghost Aria releases this Thursday! Master of the Opera, Act 2 Ghost Aria (ebook)This release-every-two-weeks thing makes me feel a bit breathless. Especially while receiving page proofs on Mark and finishing drafting Emerald, the new full-length novel, which will be renamed.

One day I’ll write interesting blog posts again!

(Presuming they were EVER interesting. *snort*)