Saturday, March 29, 2008

Soccer Boy is back!

Forget Cricket Boy, now he's assumed his true mantle once again. First match was on Saturday, which I missed because Princess was sick. It was a friendly, a very different kind of match, against a team of kids with disabilities, most of whom played with their parents alongside them.

Unfortunately we hadn't been able to prepare our kids properly for this, because we had been told the team was 'mildly disabled with some visual or slight physical problems'. Sadly this was way too gentle a description and the kids were quite startled by some of the disabilities. I'm angry with the club about the lack of information, because if they had told us the truth, and we had been able to explain it properly to the children, what to expect and how to behave and play, it could have been a much better experience on both sides. However, our kids did manage to play with some gentleness, but I think it was mostly because if the manager/coach saw any 'big boots', they'd whip the kid off and replace them with a tamer one. Our most timid boy had a whale of a time; I don't think he's ever been on for a whole match before!

Interestingly Soccer Boy said the kids were fine, but the parents were a pain, because they kept blocking them and they put a Dad in goal so he couldn't score. I don't think he grasped that the parents were there to prevent their kids being knocked over like skittles. After six months without his beloved round ball, all he wanted to do was score, score, score! I liked that he wasn't perturbed by the kids, though. He's quite an accepting boy, thankfully.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Remember Elektra's crapometer?

It's looking kind of abandoned over there. My fault as much as anyone else's, I haven't visited since Christmas and I'm feeling guilty.

I sent in a story - the one I wrote for Chris' writing exercise. Why not sent yours? Or anything else! And comment, comment, comment. Because that's what it's all about.

Here's the lonely crapometer.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

December talking...

It’s Fun to Write Dirty

I remember writing my first real romance, back in seventh grade. The amount of actual experience with sex I had at that point equated to seeing a couple of copies of Playboy and a clandestine viewing of Last Tango in Paris (I didn’t get it), but I was determined to write a sex scene.

I do wish I still had it. I don’t remember it well, but I do recall one line, which I in the wisdom of my twelve years on Earth thought was fantastic: “They moaned and kissed and moved.”

Now that’s HOT.

My writing got better (at least I hope so), but I still have to admit, when I’m planning a new book in my head, the sex scene is one of the things I’m most excited about. That’s what got me into erotic romance to begin with. I was writing “regular” romance, and one day I discovered Ellora’s Cave. I still remember that, reading excerpts (the excerpts were more explicit then), studying everything on the website, with my heart pounding. I could write those! And it would be fun—really, really fun!

And it was. And it still is. But…it feels so strange to admit this…

It started not being enough. It wasn’t an issue with the genre itself, or anything of that nature. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to write it anymore, because that was not the case at all. It wasn’t that I didn’t think (or don’t think) writing good erotic romance isn’t a challenge—believe me, it is. It was quite simply that I wanted to try other things, too. I wanted something new.

Not to move away from either romance as a genre or erotic romance in particular. But to spread my wings a little and see if I could do it. I’m far from a master of erotic romance. I get pretty good reviews. I have decent sales. It’s not like I reached the pinnacle of a genre and decided there was nothing else for me there. I just wanted to try something else.

So I wrote my first urban fantasy, Personal Demons, which will be released in a few weeks by Juno Books. My first mass-market paperback; that’s pretty exciting! And it’s funny, because when I was writing it I considered it to be straight urban fantasy with a dash of romance (and of course a sex scene). Now, looking back, I think it actually straddles the line between urban fantasy and paranormal romance pretty neatly.

And it was fun. It was exciting not to be plotting out the arc of a romance so the end and the “I love you” came at the same point. (I of course have the entire romance planned, and know everything that will happen, but I didn’t have to put that in the book and that was pretty cool.) It was exciting to focus on one character and write the entire story from her POV (a little constricting, I admit, it took some getting used to). I really enjoyed myself.

Even more exciting is the idea that I can actually let my parents and family read Personal Demons—I don’t allow them to read any of the December Quinn stuff. Well, really, would you want your parents to read it? Romantic as it is—and I hope it’s pretty damn romantic—it’s still graphic and explicit. I really don’t want my Dad reading that and wondering if I write from experience.

So will I ever stop writing the erotic stuff? I don’t think so. It’s too much fun for me. But writing urban fantasy is just as much fun, and now I have an agent (my heart still stops when I type that) who wants more urban fantasy, and it looks like my experimenting might have taken my career in a whole different direction.

Which is fine with me. I love it all.

Stacia Kane’s debut urban fantasy, Personal Demons will be available in bookstores nationwide in the first week of April. To learn more or read a sample chapter, visit her website.

For erotic romance, check out the December Quinn website or her Books page at Ellora’s Cave.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Guest blogger tomorrow!

There will be a sudden leap in the quality of this blog when guest blogger, December Quinn/Stacia Kane, visits us tomorrow! Many of you already know Deecia from around and about the blogosphere (or scroll two posts down to find out more), but tomorrow is your chance to discover why she started writing erotica, why she moved on to urban fantasy and, most crucially, whether or not her elderly relatives know about their precious baby's success in erotica.

I'm hoping she will also answer questions, so get 'em ready, there's my loves.

Revisiting the web site

Will she never shut up about this? One last post, I beg you. This is an interesting tip, actually, for anyone working on their site with a deadline in mind.

Do it at least six weeks before you expect anyone to google it!

My site has been up since the end of January, and it's only today that it's finally appearing on Google. Yahoo picked up on it a bit sooner. Google's info says something waffly along the lines of it might take 'some time' for Google to crawl a new site. I thought that meant hours or days. Imagine my horror when He Who Knows About These Things, i.e. Conduit, explained that meant weeks or months. I had worked hard on the website knowing that my agent would soon be sending out the submission and I wanted my site to pop up when editors googled me. Bah. Guess I missed out on that, then! (Although I did give my agent the address and there have been some visits that I cannot link to friends and family).

Moral of the story, just one more time: if you're creating a website with a specific goal or deadline in mind, be sure to add a couple of months to your timeline if Google-ability is important to you.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

All about December: her novel and her news

Where do I start with the wonder that is December?

How about the fact that she has two names, and it's under her other beautiful name, Stacia Kane, that her first novel is about to be published by Juno Books? In 'Personal Demons', Megan Chase's life is turned upside down by her encounters with savage, saucy and sexy demons - some are savage, some are saucy, some are sexy, but only one is all three... Despite the power of demons, it turns out that Megan is the one who has the real power, and to find out why, you'll have to read the book. I was lucky enough to be a beta read for Personal Demons and it is a fantastic read. The characters are strong, the plot is unbelievable and the writing lifts you right along with the adventure. At times I found I was forgetting to comment, because I was enjoying the ride so much, and if you've ever critiqued a book you'll know how big a compliment that is. You can start reading now with Chapter One on December's website and you will find more excerpts on her blog.

You'll notice that I'm not steering you to a specific part of her blog. Grr, annoying, you're thinking, that lazy furry thing. Not really - I've done this, because you need to read the post at the top of her blog too. You really need to read that one. December aka Stacia has just landed a great agent! This is awesome news. I first met December on Miss Snark's blog a couple of years ago and have been in touch with her in blogland and occasionally by email ever since. She is a hardworking writer, blogger and mother. And she's good at all three. I'm hoping that her family appreciates the last one, because I'm not really able to do that myself, but I certainly appreciate the effort and skill she puts into the first two.

It's interesting to see that December found her agent the same way I did - the slush pile. It's slow, it's annoying, but apparently it does work.

Maybe we can talk about that some more...when December makes a guest appearance on this blog later this week! I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Free stories!

Ah, yes, the catch...I can't really think of one. What do I get out of it? A useful range of critiques hopefully, my darling readers.

Here's the background (pay attenion, now). Chris Eldin set an interesting writing exercise that ran over four weeks. Each week she gave us some elements to incorporate into a story. Seven of us made it through the four weeks, with some running wild with the elements, and some taking them more literally. The result is a fascinating range of stories, technically using the same ideas - but wow, are they different! There's action and horror, womens' and literary - and the other three!

About half way through, Evil Editor got wind of this (or Chris told him, who knows) and he's going to comment on the stories. If you know EE, then you'll know that this could be helpful or hilarious, or, more likely, both.

Check them out at I kiss you for doing writing exercises. And if you have time, please leave your comments!

Friday, March 07, 2008

The waiting game

Dear Husbad asks me almost daily: 'Have you heard from your agent? What's happening?'

The answers are usually: 'no' and 'lots'. Nathan Bransford explains why, far better than I ever could here.

I know my novel has been submitted. Via my agent I have answered one question from an editor (a procedural question that implied neither approval or disapproval). So I know it's out there. I know it's being read. Now I just have to wait and it could be for a long, long time... Pull up a chair!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Blurbs that make you go hmmm...

I had drafted a lengthy explanation of this post, but deleted it by mistake. Too late and too tired to do it again. In a nutshell, I'm railing against the book blurbs that I read time and time again; the ones that make me put a book back on the shelf. It's all personal, so these may be exactly the phrases that make you pick it up!

'...retiring LAPD detective...' Please, not another grouchy old guy who just wants to make it to tomorrow and his pension, but first he has to get the bad guy out of the way
'...race to save the world...' Sorry, but it's been saved so many times that the paint is peeling off.
'...coming of age...' Not averse to this as a topic, but if you offer me a hero or a heroine in a certain age range in a certain range of situations, I can figure this out for myself.
'...tall, dark, brooding stranger...' The world appears to be full of these.

More to come! Add yours!

Real life update

If a poodle puppy eats a green pencil, its poo will be green. I like to be informative.