Saturday, December 18, 2010

Upcoming Reading

Just want to let you know that I'll be reading from my novel But I Never Said I Didn't Love You at Corner Coffee, 514 N. 3rd St., Minneapolis, on January 4 at 7:00. Corner Coffee is near Target Field. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

NaNo 2010

Well, it's now officially over. 61,989 for the final score.

About halfway through, I decided to write around a subplot and concentrate on the main story. Unfortunately, about a week after that, I just lost focus on the whole story entirely, around Thanksgiving weekend. My travel home was interrupted and I wasn't able to really work on it. I barely crapped out about 500 words on the 29th and just gave up.

I wrote a rather lengthy flashback scene (it wound being 12 single-spaced pages!) that I found myself thinking about more, so I printed it out (see? That's how I know it's 12 single-spaced pages!) and I'm going to see about fleshing out the story more. It might surprise me, it might fizzle. Either way, I have to see what I can do with it.

First off: I might change some of the names.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

But I Never Said I Didn't Love You!

My first novel, But I Never Said I Didn't Love You!, is now available for sale through Aspen Mountain Press!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Amazon...Up the river without a paddle?

If I hadn't already canceled my Amazon account a little while ago over the GLBT literature getting delisted from the rankings because it had been tagged as "adult" material (yet you could still order histories of Penthouse or Playboy magazines) that was blamed on an overzealous programmer (yet books on "curing" homosexuality in children through prayer were still available in the rankings), this just might be the final PR nightmare that sends a good portion of their customer base elsewhere:

The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure.

Let them know they can't hide behind "freedom of speech" or "censorship", as they have been.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hope everybody voted today. I remember the first presidential election I was able to participate in, Gary Hart didn't make the candidacy for the Dems. Disappointed, I didn't vote for Mondale and I had to keep my trap shut for the next four years.

Then came 1988 and I just let fly.

NaNo Check-In, Day 1

Hey, all. The first day of NaNoWriMo has seen 3340 words, with 1673 banked over the goal of 1667. I keep reminding myself it's quantity, not quality, but the phrase "major suckitude" keeps playing through my mind as I read what I'm writing.

But I still get a gold star for meeting the day's goal.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

NaNo? WriMo!

We're coming, we're coming, a strange little band. NaNoWriMo 2010 is fast approaching and like many, I have a vague idea of what I want to write about and a few characters I'll probably include, but no cohesive plot to speak of. That's never really stopped me before.

But I Never Said I Didn't Love You began as my 2004 entry. I'd heard about NaNo in 2002 and 2003 but always within the last week or so of November. I finally put it at the top my browser's bookmarks so I'd be ready for 2004 and registered when the boards opened in October.

Along the way, I'd gotten Writer's Dreamkit, a rather helpful plotting application. It uses the Dramatica engine on a smaller scale to help identify the protagonist, antagonist, goals, and conflicts in a story. I hadn't used it beyond playing with it to see how it worked so I thought NaNo would be a perfect time to use it full scale. It took a good five or six hours to get through all of the questions and outlining and plot points but in the end, I had a working outline that I used when NaNo kicked off on November 1.

Three chapters in, I completely abandoned the outline.

First off, But I Never Said I Didn't Love You was a much more serious effort in its outline form. Not much room for the snarking and jokes. Sure, it happened in chapter 1 but after that, it was going to settle into a more dramatic story. Callum (originally named Jesse) was supposed to be much more clingy and emotionally dependent, Brian a bit more emotionally distant, and Simon, originally Shane (I knew it was a placeholder name for the longest time and renamed him probably about the third or fourth draft), didn't have much more than three lines of dialogue in the final chapter.

After about three chapters, I knew I couldn't follow the outline any longer. I just liked the interplay between Brian and Callum so much, I couldn't have them not speaking to each other at the end of the book. Simon's role was expanded to help provide better conflict, as well. And extra funny was added. Lots of extra funny.

And, as they say in Poughkeepsie, viola.

I still have the original outline in my files. Maybe some day, I'll use it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Good grief, it's been that long!

Yeah, it has, and I've been up to my eyeballs in edits. I'm down to the last chapter and then I'll be able to mark up the manuscript with my changes to get it back to Mme. Editrix before the weekend.

Dang, this has been a process and a half.

Coming up: the launch of my website. Domain name and everything.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Edits, edits, edits...

*runs upstairs crying*

Man. They accepted my novel after I'd submitted WHAT?!

Man. Pride has been quickly replaced with humility and sheer embarrassment.

But in other news, the second season of Being Human is now available in the US on Blu-ray!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Conflict Vs. Reacting To Events

When I set out to write my first novel, I hadn't realized just yet I was missing the one key factor required by a good story. Sure, I had interesting characters and great settings and lots of really good (sorry...inner thesaurus has crashed...[A]bort, [R]etry, [I]gnore?...) situations, but I lost interest because I was lacking conflict.

My characters would react to the situations around them and the dilemmas I'd thrown at them, but they would just move on to the next situation. And...that's it. They'd react to the situation, everybody'd cheer and celebrate their success and...move on. Whee. I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong that made me abandon several novels-to-be mid stride (well, there is that superstition where I never show anybody my work until I've finished Draft 0 that's done me in a few times) (there was this sale on parentheses at K-Mart...)

After I'd completed my first NaNoWriMo in 2004, I finally figured out what had happened: I was missing conflict in my previous attempts.

Oh, sure, I knew what was going to happen in the futuristic urban fantasy I'd started and quit on several occasions ([I]gnore), but the conclusion was foregone; if I'd continued the tangent, I simply would have had everybody reacting to these nifty-keeno situations (a lot of them I'd love to use because I enjoyed how they turned out) and have everything neatly wrapped up in a pretty blue ribbon in the final chapter, roll the credits, fade to black, the end. Not much motivation for the protagonists to move forward but to meet this unnamed force, defeat it, and win.

Sounded incredibly bland and generic to me.

Then after I'd finished But I Never Said I Didn't Love You, I tried to analyze what worked for that when I'd failed in previous attempts.

It's your standard romantic comedy triangle and inherent wackiness therein.

Temple Of The Seventh Blessing, the futuristic urban fantasy, is pretty linear and flat in its storyline. The four characters meet up, have to defeat the unnamed force that conspires against them and the rest of the world, and they win. *Yawn.* Not much room for deviation. In But I Never Said I Didn't Love You, I actually had three possible outcomes: Callum chooses Brian, Callum chooses Simon, Callum wanders off alone.

Conflict is the primary force that works on the protagonist and pushes him forward to the end of the story. True, I had that in Temple Of The Seventh Blessing, but there was no real growth, no real personal struggle, no real reason the four main characters got together, other than to defeat the foe. It was a series of "oh, look, it's a trap. Oh, look, we've escaped the trap. Oh, look, we're on the road again. Oh, look, it's another trap, etc." events and the true villain wasn't revealed until the final chapter (trite? cliche? You bet!) Yeah, saving the world from destruction is an admirable goal but again, I couldn't see how the characters were moving forward and growing. It's all external (physical) when good conflict also involves internal (emotional).

In But I Never Said I Didn't Love You, the conflict is emotional but it's there. The story isn't quite so linear, the characters encountering more bumps along the way, but in the end, they do progress and grow as the story reaches its conclusion. Not in the "you know, I've learned a very important lesson today" sense, thankfully. A better mix of the external/physical and internal/emotional forces helped bring about better reactions of the characters to these forces, and helped me craft a better story where I actually cared about who these people are and what they were doing. Yeah, none of them are rilly kewl elemental magic users who ride motorcycles in a futuristic society (at least not until I write the self-fanfic self-parody!) (Yes, I am KIDDING!), but I'd found that third dimension I'd been missing in previous novel attempts.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Currently reading...

On the nook, I'm reading Sinclair Lewis's Main Street. So much about what Carol's going through just resonates with me about myself and my skewed and failed efforts to be accepted.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Still here!

Yeah, I still remember I've got this blog thing and I haven't updated in a while.

I've sent off my full manuscript to Mme. Editrix today after some a few A LOT of updates. I tried to pay attention to the changes and comments she'd made on my excerpts and thought it'd be unfair if I hadn't. After the billionth time I changed a verb or adverb, oftentimes removing a dialogue tag in conjunction with the change, I got the sinking suspicion that I'll have to take extra care with my current WIP and possibly start it from the very beginning because of what she'd pointed out to me.

Part of it is this was my first NaNoWriMo manuscript. I had a ton of extra verbiage in the manuscript because I needed to make word count. During the rewrite, I'd deleted approximately 2500 words or so. Probably could've cut more but we'll see after I get it back.

Next was "incomplete pass" syndrome. When somebody first sat down and truly edited a short I'd written, he pointed out I had a lot of odd, missing, or incomplete actions. Somebody would stand in one sentence and in the next, they'd be magically dressed or out the door. So I felt I had to spell it out word for word for word what the characters where doing along with what they were saying.

Next came the "-ing" verbs. This is something I had no idea I was doing. At all. The guy mentioned above pointed out how many times I'd used the word "gently" in the story he'd edited but I didn't notice. In the excerpts I'd sent for Aspen Mountain's anniversary week and my cover art request, I was completely clueless on how often I'd used "-ing" verbs on a page; she highlighted at least 25 examples in an excerpt of less than 500 words. Not a good ratio, I'd say; I suck at math, but seeing the highlighted words told me she has a point.

So that was what I'd worked on for most of last week. I'd steal time here and there so I could get it cleaned up more and it can get released just that much sooner.

And so she won't make fun of me on Facebook.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Thanks go out to everybody who stopped in at Aspen Mountain's anniversary chats! Hope you enjoyed yourselves.

Friday, July 30, 2010


Don't forget that tomorrow is New Author Day at the Aspen Mountain Press Yahoo! group (Yahoo! ID required for membership). Stop on by and say "howdy", as I should be there on and off!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Aspen Mountain Press Anniversary Bash-O-Stravaganza

Today's the first day of the week-long Aspen Mountain Press anniversary. Get on board the groove train at the Yahoo! group (Yahoo account required) and join the festivities! Author appearances, prizes...everything you'd expect at a great party except the stale crackers and dried-out cheese! There's all sorts of online fun scheduled this week, so check it out.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Interesting Fact About My Upcoming Novel

It was the first time I used and spelled the word miasma correctly without consulting a dictionary.

No net, people!


Hey, all! My publisher Aspen Mountain Press (I can't get over saying that! *SQUEE!*) is celebrating their 4th anniversary beginning tomorrow, July 23. Take a look at their site and register for some nifty-kean prizes! And if you really insist on it, buy some books while you're there.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Fillign otu covr art requets froms iz hrd. Lets go shoping.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Well, this is distressing. Scratch that. This is Distressing. I'm trying to find out the GLBT publications in and around the area so I can possibly snag a review for But I Never Said I Didn't Love You, and about the only reviews I can find in most of them are for music, movies, and theater. *groan* Any suggestions out there?

ETA: Amazing what 10 minutes, "regional glbt publications", and Goodsearch will uncover.

Busy, busy, busy!

Looks like I've signed with Aspen Mountain Press at an incredibly exciting time: their 4th anniversary shindig is coming up soon, and I'd like to invite y'all to the online festivities.

From my Editrix Celina Summers:

From July 23-August 1, Aspen Mountain Press is conducting its big fourth anniversary bash and if you want the presents, here's what you have to do.

1. Post a comment to the Aspen Mountain Press blog .

2. Post a comment to the twin blog post at the Aurora Regency blog .

3. Sign up for the AMP newsletter.

4. Participate in the AMP Anniversary bash party at the AMP Community Loop from 7 to 11 pm EST. We'll have a thread specifically for entries there where you'll have to shout out.

And that's all you have to do to win a Nook e-reader from Aspen Mountain Press. Other prizes like downloads and gift baskets will be given away at specific chat events.

Tomorrow, at Loves Romance and More E-cafe, the Aurora authors are chatting from 10 am to 5 pm. Your first chance to win is at the Aurora launch party–we'll be giving away a "Good Night With a Historical Romance" basket with downloads, a hot chocolate set and a FIRST EDITION Georgette Heyer! Gift basket is worth $100! So show up at the Love Romances and More E-Cafe for your chance to win.

Next week, you can chat with AMP authors including Cynnarra Trenarth, Maura Anderson, Lena Austin, Lizzie T. Leaf, Celina Summers, Marguerite Butler, Kimberly Nee, Arabella Sheration, Colleen Stormer, Dominique Eastwick, V. Mark Covington, Raine Delight, Kara Griffin, Viki Lyn, Cynthia Vespia, Jade Buchanan, Barbara Custer, Sloane Taylor and Chris Morrow. We're giving away downloads from most and many other prizes as well. You can find them at chats–Romance Reviews Today all day on July 28 and Love Romances and More on July 30.

So the first step is to post a comment to the blog posts. Then sign up for the newletter. Then the Aurora Regency/ Aurora Regency Historicals authors tomorrow at the Love Romances and More E-cafe! And good luck!

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

*checks email*
*opens cover art information form from Editrix*
*runs crying upstairs*

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Getting coffee this morning (okay: "getting coffee for the first time today"), I had another chance to plug my publisher with the coffee shop staff. I came this close to letting the guy behind the counter know that he's in the project I'm currently rewriting as the primary love interest. Maybe if/when it's actually published, but definitely only if he grows his beard back. (A guy's gotta have some standards.)
Since the beginning of this year, I've been shopping my 2004 National Novel Writing Month entry around to get an agent (to the uninitiated, NaNoWriMo is every November and the goal is to write a 50,000-word from beginning to end). It hasn't been encouraging -- 29 sent, 20 rejections, 1 returned for bad address, and the rest are stuck in No Answer Limbo. Somebody over on Absolute Write had been nudging me into looking at a couple smaller indie presses, one of which she works for as an editor as well as having published through them. Around the beginning of June, I screwed up the courage and put together the submission package and sent it off. Around the time of my last writing group meeting in mid June, I got a request for a full from the submissions editor. It wasn't easy waiting for the response, but she dropped me an email about two weeks later saying she'd forwarded the manuscript to the editor-in-chief, recommending I get a contract. The final decision was up to the EIC, so I put it out of my mind (best I could) and figured I was in for another wait.

The next morning, I received a contract from Aspen Mountain Press for them to publish But I Never Said I Didn't Love You.

The initial adrenaline rush wore off about two hours later, and I was ready to sleep for a week. I'll be needing it, since the hard work is about to begin.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

It can't be real!

I dropped the contract in the mail on the way to work this morning, but it still doesn't feel like it's happening. I did find myself choking up and fighting back tears of excitement later in the evening, however, so something MUST be going on! Now I'm just tired and about to jump into the shower before going to bed.

Recommended DVD viewing: Look Around You.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Welcome Abroad! Or Aboard!

Hey, everybody. Just joined the blogging train. I'll be swinging through here on occasion, mostly letting you know about my current writing exploits. I've just had a novel accepted by Aspen Mountain Press, so I'll start here for the self-exploitation express. Line forms to the right, please keep all hands, feet, and heads in the ride at all times, and please have your credit cards ready as we enter the gift shop!