Bobby Cooking Love and Getting Sucked In to Going Under

ruby-scallops-three-ways-labelI mentioned the other day that the delightful Elisabeth Lane planned to recreate Bobby Prejean’s seared scallops from Ruby on her Cooking Up Romance blog. It’s up today. It’s just so amazing to see these recipes. Yes, I totally want to make them.

I also love that she gets Bobby – everything about him, from his controlling ways, to his need to feed people to his marshmallow heart. Yes, yes, yes.

 Over at the Contemporary Romance Cafe today, I’m talking about my upcoming NEW erotic romance release, Going Under. There may be an excerpt for you all there. 🙂

If you’re in the U.S., Happy Independence Day and long weekend! (If you’re in Canada, we know you people just took the entire week off – you can’t fool us.)

Why I’m Proud to Say I Write Erotic Romance

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Many things going on today. Why today, I don’t know. Beware the Ides of October?

I’ve got a guest post over at What’s Beyond Forks today. She also gave Rogue’s Possession a lovely review.

I also am up over at Paranormal Romantics, talking about the map I drew for my Twelve Kingdoms trilogy and why maps of imaginary worlds are so compelling.

Finally, the BDSM Goodreads group is featuring Ruby on the group homepage. You can listen to a clip of it, which is really quite fun, I think. There’s also an interview with me, in case you don’t know everything already. :-p

Whew!

That’s stuff for Covenant of Thorns, Twelve Kingdoms and Facets of Passion, all on one day. What I get for simultaneously writing erotic romance, fantasy romance and fantasy.

It’s funny because I was at a conference this last weekend sponsored by a non-RWA writers’ organization. So the attendees wrote in a wide mix of genres. I gave a workshop called “More than Wham, Bam, Thank-you Ma’am: Wooing the Female Reader.” I wanted to make the case for adding love and sex to a story in ways that appeal to women. A number of the writers present came from a more hard-core epic fantasy lens. In fact, one guy handed me his book to peruse and, though the jacket copy mentioned probably five or six characters, not one was female. I nearly said I’d never read a book that doesn’t even mention a female character in the jacket copy, but I figured he wouldn’t care. I wasn’t his reader.

But I think I did take people aback a bit – even though I dedicated a slide at the start to a Fair Warning! that I write erotic romance and talk frankly about sex. A few people did leave, but more stayed. We had a great discussion. One question that comes up over and over is if I admit publicly to being a writer of erotic romance.

I find it funny that people ask that question. As if it’s something to hide, possibly to be ashamed of.

The gal who gave the opening luncheon address tossed off a remark that she wouldn’t want E.L. James’ paycheck (the writer of Fifty Shades of Grey) because she wouldn’t be able to face her grandchildren.

It struck me as a very odd thing to say.

After all, I have grandchildren. They’re obviously too young to understand now, but when they grow up, I’d be honest about what I write. I’d hope that they’d be proud to have me for a grandmother.

At a neighborhood party recently, the mother of three kids down the road said something interesting to me. She told me that she grew up in a farming community, filled with corn and conservative people. I wasn’t sure why she was telling me about it, but she finally said, “I am just so happy that my kids are growing up in a neighborhood where an erotic romance writer lives up the street. Even if they can’t read your books, it’s so good for them to know amazing people like you.”

It was one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me.

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!

Snippet Saturday with the Mean Kitty!

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From Jody Wallace:

Snippet Saturday is the brainchild of author Lauren Dane, wherein a group of authors select thematic excerpts from their work and share them on Saturday mornings. This Saturday’s snippet is author’s choice. I thought I’d share a “cat-themed” snippet from an author friend, Jeffe Kennedy!

Go here for the rest…

 

Carina Press (Mostly) Uncensored!

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I’ll be participating in this very fun panel discussion at RWA next week for those of you going. We’re to be frank and answer what you REALLY want to know about publishing with Carina. See you there!

I’ll also be signing Ruby at the literacy event Wednesday night. You don’t have to be attending the conference to stop by – so if you’re in the Atlanta area, please come and say hi! I love to chat with people!

On Juggling Projects, Starting New Novels and Title Angst

HEA USA TodayWhat’s that? Oh, just Ruby as a recommended read at USA Today. 😀

Okay, I might be a little THRILLED AND GIDDY!

*ahem*

This has been a bit of a transition week for me. On Saturday I finished making the additions to Oro that Carina asked for and sent that off.  That one will be in the Erotic Holiday Anthology (which I’ve been referring to as the Ero Ho Ho Antho), scheduled to release November 21. With that production deadline looming, the Carina team has been busy with getting cover ideas and, sadly, retitling the story. Apparently a surprising number of people out there don’t know that Oro means gold in Spanish.

~drums nails on desk, looking mean~

I haven’t ever dug in my heels on a title before – and, now that the ever-patient Carolyn Crane talked me out of my tree – I won’t now. But that story will always be Oro in my heart.

So, I’m also aware that, after ORO, I don’t have anything contemporary or erotic romancey lined up for next year. Thus I spent a few days this week working up new project ideas. With the brainstorming and insightful feedback of my lurvly CPs, Carolyn and Marcella, I’ve now got concepts for six novels. One would be a contemporary romance trilogy and the other three would be new installments in the Facets of Passion series – but longer stories. And now all six are sketched out.

I know, I know. Can this really be me? Is the non-plotter actually pre-plotting?

Noooo… Don’t be silly. These are just overall road maps. But I am getting better at preconceiving how a story will go. It takes a different kind of writer muscle, but I think I’m developing it. Fabulous Agent Pam will take those out on the road, so I’ll keep you posted!

Then yesterday, I started in on Book 2 of The Twelve Kingdoms. This is the sequel to The Middle Princess, which I’ve been calling The Flower Princess. Those names will change, but that’s what they are to me until then. I set up my storyboard for Flower Princess – which meant retiring all the notes for Master of the Opera, which is pretty much done now, except for line edits, etc. – and dug into the opening scene.

It feels less huge now, but it’s always interesting to start a project I know I’ll be working on for the next three months or so. I expect developmental edits for Middle Princess during that time, but those two should dovetail nicely. In fact, I’m delighted by that timing as it will let me really submerge in that world.

It also occurred to me yesterday that, with turning in Flower Princess by November 1 and with the Book 3, The Sword Princess, due May 1, that I’ll have the whole trilogy written before most readers ever see the first book (out in June). In some ways I think that’s a really good thing for me. I’ll have less of a sense of anyone looking over my shoulder. I felt a lot of that in the Covenant of Thorns cycle, when I wrote Rogue’s Possession, with Rogue’s Pawn being out for so long. Twelve Kingdoms will be in more of a bubble. I’ll be interested in the difference.

What I am noticing is that I’m also getting much better at compartmentalizing projects. A very useful skill to have, the way I’m wanting to get these different stories out there.

So, that’s a rambly recap of where I’m at right now. Apropos of nothing, really.

You all have a fab weekend!

Is the Market Swinging Back to Longer Books?

007Last weekend we went up to Madrid (pronounced MAD-rid), which is an old gold-mining town on the back road between Santa Fe and Albuquerque. It reminded me more of a place I’d see in Colorado, instead of New Mexico. Lots of fun art, too.

I had an interesting Twitter discussion this morning with E and Has from TheBookpushers.com, along with author Jody Wallace. E and Has like to read a lot of the same things I do. (They also did a very fun joint review of Rogue’s Pawn, which I figure means I did something right!)  We all grew up reading much of the science fiction and fantasy canon, ferreting out those books with sex and romance. We didn’t have to have those elements, but finding them was the cherry topping on the sundae of our readerly joy.

When I was a girl, none of my friends read what I did. A lot of them didn’t read much at all. The ones who did read, mostly liked other books. Of course, genre books like that weren’t considered appropriate for book reports. The upshot it, I rarely had anyone to discuss these stories with. There are few things more frustrating than LOVING a book and having no one else to share it with. As I grew older, I found more kindred spirits. In fact, a big part of my first relationship was getting my guy, Kev, to read so many of the books I loved.

(This is what you get when you fall in love with a nerd girl.)

Now, however, we have the internet and it’s as if we’ve managed to take our reader girl selves and connect them across the country and the ocean. (Has lives in the UK.) We were talking about how we’d browse the library or bookstore shelves and pick out the Very Thickest books, to maximize the reading experience. Longer books were always better. E says it stretched her poor-girl dollar farther. Has said she was less likely to run out of books between library visits. We all wanted the same thing – to be immersed in that world as long as possible.

It’s notable to me because that changed for me over time. Once I hit college, then grad school, then working life and doing All The Things, I hesitated to pick up the big books. They began to look like daunting obstacles, representing weeks of my life and effort that I couldn’t afford.

I’m not really sure why this changed for me, but I know the whole industry went this way. Many publishers don’t want a first time novel longer than 80-110K words. Depending on the print book style, this is in the neighborhood of 350-400 pages. This is as compared to, say, a George R.R. Martin book, which likely clocks in around 225K. Novellas, like my Facets of Passion books, are 26-40K. People like me were preferring shorter books and were more likely to buy them.

(Even Martin’s books, prior to the HBO phenom, were read by a pretty finite crowd for a very long time.)

I think the pendulum is swinging back the other way now and it could be due to books like Martin’s – but it’s also due to eBooks.

See, on an eReader, it’s hard to know how “thick” a book is. Because the fonts are adjustable (FABULOUS feature!), there are no page numbers, just a percentage complete. In some ways it’s frustrating, because you don’t always know what you’re getting into, in other ways it liberates a reader like me, because I don’t have the opportunity to be intimidated by the length. It is what it is.

The other thing that’s happening is that I think eBook buyers are beginning to associate value with length. That’s how the conversation on Twitter started – they recommended a book to me, I grumbled about Macmillan’s high eBook prices and they both assured me that the book is worth it because it’s a “long, solid and satisfying read.”

See? We’re still picking out those books that promise the most by the width of their spines on the library shelf, extending our dollars to maximize our readerly pleasure.

Carina recently asked me to consider writing longer erotic stories – novel length instead of novellas. Readers want longer books, they tell me.

Lately, so do I.