Friday, August 31, 2007

I'll be a guest on Darker Side of the Moon this Thursday

I will be interviewed on an internet radio program this Thursday, September 6. Check it out here:
You can either listen live (there's a link to click on Darker Side's website), or you can find my interview in the archives.
I love radio interviews!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Genres, Rating Systems, and Rules

I've been noticing lots of talk on the loops lately about these three things.

Rules change depending upon the kind of writers involved. Romance rules are very different from literary writing rules, which are different from chick lit, etc. Nobody's wrong. Nobody's right.

Do I think there is one standard for good writing? Of course not.

But then, I might be the weird one out. I love a good story, and if I can get caught up in the tale -- and the writing is good enough to seduce me into the vibe of the words -- I probably won't have any opinions about whether or not the author followed any "rules." (Harry Potter's J.K. Rowling is a good example of an excellent storyteller who often got accused of "doing it wrong.")

I know about all those rules, but I don't pay much attention to them. I tend to write intuitively, and so far (having sold a few things), so good. It isn't that I don't give any credibility to those rules. It's that labeling anything doesn't work for me. For example, I would never use the words "info dump" when doing a critique of a writer's pages. First, info dump is definitely in the eye of the beholder. Lots of the books I enjoy have LONG passages of "info dump," which I adore. The book "The Historian" comes to mind. There were frequent posts on various loops about how that huge book was "filled with info dumps." Hmmm. Not necessarily. Just another style -- another type of writing.

I'd never say "show don't tell." I'd be more inclined to give the writer examples of what I'd love to know more about. And, the level of "telling" varies from style to style.

Someone recently told me that newer writers tend to be more critical than more seasoned writers. I wonder if that's true?

Maybe we cling to rules more in the beginning, before we acquire our own confidence, styles and voices?

I sat in on a writing group a while back where the 10 people in the group (who get together regularly) picked apart one member's pages, each trying to sound more sophisticated, knowledgeable and hip than the one before. They all had the "rules" down cold. Nobody mentioned what an excellent underlying theme the pages had. Nor did they mention the writer's amusing voice. They took their colored markers to all the adverbs, used a different color on the adjectives, indicated with yet another color all the contemporary references -- in general gutted and disemboweled the story. It was painful to watch. And what a waste of time. I hope the writer in question will totally ignore everything they said and will merrily return to her computer and keep writing.

Following the rules doesn't make someone a good writer.

Rules, in the wrong hands, can be toxic.

The idea of "rating systems" is floating about on the loops, as well.

I think most of the discussion is about "heat level," and I don't have a lot of opinions about that. Before I buy ANY book, I read a lot of information about that book on the author's website, the publisher's website, and I look at various reviews. Mostly, I can get a good idea of whether something is to my liking before I purchase. And, honestly, with some publishers you can pretty much count on things being hot.

What has come up as an interesting thing for me with my upcoming book, is that I've had several people (reviewers and prospective readers) measure my book (which is definitely sensual with adult situations -- adult, meaning the characters behave as mature adults in every way, emotionally, sexually, etc.) against much more erotic vampire stories and then give me a lower score because it lacked "heat." I never claimed mine had "heat." I'm not sure measuring all books against that particular standard is very helpful.

All of the reviews I've gotten so far for THE VAMPIRE SHRINK have been very favorable (hey, it's early yet, but my fingers are crossed). In one case, the reviewer said wonderful, positive things. Then she gave me a very low "score" because the story wasn't sizzling enough. What? Where did it say anywhere that my book was erotic or romantica? My book is a paranormal/urban fantasy w/some romance, some sex, some mystery, and some humor. Huh?

Which leads me to the issue of genres. A couple of years ago, all I heard from agents/publishers was that I needed to clarify the genre of my book. I needed a clear niche -- an easily understood bookstore-shelf placement. So, I kept changing my description.

First I described it as a paranormal romance. Then I got feedback that, since there's more than one man in my heroine's life, my story couldn't possibly be paranormal romance. Hmmm. Okay. Well, what about chick lit? My story is about the journey of the heroine, so maybe that's the best category for it. Well, wait. My heroine doesn't seem to care about the things other chick lit heroines care about. Scratch that. What about women's fiction? Yeah, that could work. But what about the paranormal aspect? Er, paranormal women's fiction? Maybe. Well, hey! What about urban fantasy? My story takes place in contemporary Denver, it involves vampires and other unusual creatures. Yes! Urban fantasy. But it does have a lot of romance. And sex. Hmmm. Okay: Paranormal urban fantasy w/romance elements, sex, mystery, and humor. But one bookstore I found online has my book listed as occult/horror. ARGH!

I wonder if there's a section for all that in the bookstore.

It's a good thing that crossing genres is all the rage.

(I want to note that my book fits perfectly with my publisher, Medallion Press's, paranormal line. My editor has been nothing but supportive about all the varied aspects I've blended into the mix. We 're happy for bookstores to stock me on whatever shelf they wish! Check out Medallion's submission page. They're acquiring.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

BBC America's "Jekyll"

Even though I was annoyed at BBC America for cancelling "Afterlife," I'm too drawn to British programs to stay away indefinitely. So, I was happily surprised to find another well-made (let's hope that doesn't mean the kiss of death), intelligent Brit program: Jekyll. As you might imagine, it's another retelling of the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde tale. But, thanks to the incredible skills of lead actor James Nesbitt, the show is terrifyingly, edge-of-your-seat good. Actually, the entire cast is good. The high-tech take on the story reminds me of other Brit programs, like "The Prisoner," and "The Avengers."

This TV show is definitely worth staying home on Saturday night for.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Dog Days Project: Find an Interviewer and Gather Q&A Questions

Well, here we are. The last two weeks of August are dragging themselves through the pages of my calendar, leaving that slimy trail on the sidewalk.

I figured I could keep sitting around, eating bon-bons, or I could take care of a couple of things on my "to do" list.

But I need some help.

I've been asked to create an "interview" to send out with some upcoming promo. So I'd love to find someone who'd interview me. You could just send me questions via email, then maybe read my answers and ask more questions. Any takers?

Also: I need to create a Q&A page for my website. So if anyone would like to suggest a question I could answer there, I'd be very appreciative.

I wish I could do a countdown for the release date of my book, but my publisher says it's October 1, and everywhere else says October 28, so I can truthfully say that it'll launch sometime in the near future! Yikes! You wouldn't believe how nervous that makes me!

(P.S. I don't know who the two people are in the interview picture. I just thought it was strangely cool.)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Geez. Hose me down. Another You Tube Video for Johnny Depp fans

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A couple of nice things: My trailer won a contest and I blogged at RRAH

I got an email today from Lisa Logan at, telling me the trailer for "The Vampire Shrink" won their judge's choice category in her recent contest. Yay! I thought I'd use that as an excuse to post it here again.

And, I blogged today at if you'd like to pop over and leave a comment.

Only 38 more days until the Autumn Equinox. Yay!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Giveaway Winner and Writerly Ramblings

First -- ta da!! -- drum roll, please. I just put all the names of the participants of my One Year Anniversary Giveaway into my favorite floppy hat, closed my eyes, and selected one.

The winner of the signed copy of THE VAMPIRE SHRINK (as soon as my author copies arrive) is:

Debbie Rhoades

Congratulations, Debbie. Thanks so very much to everyone who entered. I'm sure I'll have other contests/giveaways, so check in here regularly.

I'm probably in the minority here (and you've likely heard me talk about this before) but I'm counting the days until cooler weather arrives. Along with the rest of the world, the climate has been changing in Colorado. My brother, who still lives in Michigan (where I was raised), says summers are very different there, too. We've had a long string of 90+ degree days here and, since I really don't like being out in the hot/sun, I stay barricaded in my writing room, where the air conditioner is. I'm going stir crazy. So, as of today, there are officially 41 days until the Autumn Equinox (Sept. 23), the first day of Fall. But I also celebrate the first day of September, a month I associate with new beginnings.

I'm especially looking forward to September this year, because this will be the first time I'll attend the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers conference as a published author. Yay! I'm not sure if I'll be able to get any books from the distributor/publisher by then to actually sell, but it's just the idea of it. And I'll be giving a panel on psychic abilities, along with sharing a presentation with Jeanne C. Stein and Mario Acevedo. It all sounds great to me!

After I devoured the Harry Potter book, I read the second in Stephenie Meyer's wonderful series. The first is Twilight, the second New Moon and the third (on hold at the library), Eclipse. I'm a character writer/reader and Stephenie's characters are interesting, colorfully flawed and well done.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

A Farewell to Harry Potter

Today is my birthday, and my son bought me the last Harry Potter book as a gift. In the past, I usually ran out and bought all the HP books myself the minute they were available (I tried not to trample over any little kids, and I'm almost positive I was successful . . .), but this time I didn't. I couldn't make myself go and buy the last book. I knew I had some strong emotions about the series ending and I was delaying the inevitable.

Of course, when my son gave me the book yesterday, I immediately (in spite of having a deadline and several pieces I needed to read for crit partners) sat down and read it -- only stopping for a few hours sleep -- until I finished it.

And then burst into tears. Chest-heaving sobs, actually. Sobs that lasted for quite a while.

The crying had a similar feel to a grief experience I had a few years ago.

Okay. Maybe I'm sounding like a lunatic for admitting all this, but I never tried to pretend to be an unemotional person. I know I'm "sensitive and high-strung." I've learned to live with it.

The HP characters have been my friends for many years. I loved the first book/movie because -- among other things -- that beginning story represented the rebirth of the Magical Child into our culture. It reminded us that we humans have a need to explore what's beyond our 5 senses. In the midst of a very dark time (politically, environmentally, etc.), little Harry has been a symbol of hope, innocence and magic.

I will really miss that world. Strangely, I feel as if a mystical portal has closed, and that world continues, but I can no longer participate. And I feel left out. How weird, eh? I like thinking Harry's world continues. (Of course, I also believe that as I shuffle my Tarot cards to do a reading for someone, the pictures shift from card to card, lining up as they wish, regardless of my rituals! Yes, I know. I'm a little strange.)

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

One Year Anniversary Giveaway!

On August 13, it will be exactly one year since my first fiction story was released -- officially published -- by The Wild Rose Press.

"Diary of a Narcissistic Bloodsucker," was the first fiction story I sold. I really appreciate Black Rose's Robin for her enthusiasm about my quirky, weird little satire/humor story. That story had a rocky path to publication. It was originally written for possible inclusion in an anthology that never happened. Then it sold quickly to an epub which went out of business before "Diary" could see the light of day. After that it sold to another epub, whose publisher rescinded the offer when she discovered my story wasn't her idea of romance. (I made no bones about it NOT being HEA-type romance.) Then the Wild Rose Press opened its doors, and "Diary" found a home.

After selling"Diary," I sold 2 more shorts to Wild Rose Press (erotic paranormal under my pen name).

Then I sold an urban fantasy/paranormal with romance elements to Medallion Press and a novella to Loose Id.

It's been a great year.

So, to celebrate my fiction publishing anniversary, I'm having another giveaway.

To enter, just answer the 10 questions listed below (all answers can be found on my new website: in the excerpts section), and send your answers to this email address:

What's the prize?

On the evening of August 13, 2007, I'll randomly select one email entry (with the correct answers) and that person will receive (the moment my advance copies show up in my mailbox) a signed copy of my new trade paperback, "The Vampire Shrink."

One entry per person, please.

So, let's get down to the nitty gritty. Here are the 10 questions to answer:

1. What is the name of the teenager who wants to be a vampire?

2. Who did the teenager say Kismet the psychologist looks like?

3. What is the name of the smaller man who threatens Kismet in her office?

4. Where is Zara writing her memoirs from?

5. What is the name of the gorgeous human who tempts Zara?

6. What are Malveaux's needs?

7. What is the name of the bartender Tempest is watching?

8. How long had Alana been grieving?

9. Who did Alana expect to jump out and grab her?

10. Where did Natasha's blind date ask to meet her?

Okay! That's it. Send those answers to: by the evening of Monday, August 13!