Dreams & Desires
Saturday, December 30, 2006
It hit me the other day that in just over a month, I will be able to hold in my hand (well, I could hold it sooner if I pre-ordered...where was I? oh yeah) an actual BOOK that contains MY STORY. DREAMS & DESIRES
is a charity anthology from Freya's Bower. All the net proceeds will go to benefit a battered women's shelter in Florida. It's a collection of stories from nineteen different authors and we've gotten some really good advance buzz. On Feb 1, it'll be available as an e-book, as well as trade paper and hardback from Barnes & Noble and Borders.
Check out some of the reviews!
Anne from CK2S Kwips and Kritiques
(they seriously need an easier name) says:The Christmas Prize by Sela Carsen is the story of one woman’s triumph over her loss of self-esteem. Julie Corrigan is a powerful character and very much appropriate for this particular anthology. Sela Carsen’s story is extremely short, but its impact is huge.
I thought that review really hit the nail on the head. But at Sensual Reads and Reviews
, Zoe approached the story from a different viewpoint:A sweet endearing tale, Julie Corrigan gets up and sings before a large Christmas crowd. Thoughts of self doubts and bitter memories try to steal away her confidence. Julie is over-whelmed by the kindness that strangers show her.
Sela Carsen reminds us of overcoming our fears and reminds us of the kindness of strangers in this feel-good and enchanting story.
I admit I had a Blanche Dubois moment there. *gg*
There's another great review of the anthology as a whole from Rose at Romance at Heart Magazine
:From the Sweet to the Sizzling, from the new relationship taking steps to become more enmeshed, to a friendship evolving into something more, there is truly something here for everyone. For the most part, they are very fast reads, stories that fly by, and surprise you when they end. You are ready for them to go on, yet you realize there is not much else to say. They are simple and sweet, they are sexy and hot, and above and beyond all, they are entertaining. You can go on and on, and before you know it, you have been swept away on the wings of romance.
I think she liked it!
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Snaffled the link from Sandra
, who got it from Bill.
|What Kind of Reader Are You? |
Your Result: Dedicated Reader
You are always trying to find the time to get back to your book. You are convinced that the world would be a much better place if only everyone read more.
|Literate Good Citizen|
|What Kind of Reader Are You?|
Create Your Own Quiz
Perceptions of Romance
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
I'm writing an article for an e-zine called Spinetingler
. It caters primarily to crime fiction readers, but Sandra Ruttan
, one of the editors, asked me to write something for them about Perceptions of Romance.
I figured this would be a good place to have some discussion about it, seeing as how most of my visitors are not only writers, we're writers in the red-headed stepchild of genre fiction. Doesn't matter that romance pulls in the big bucks at the bookstores, many people -- readers and writers -- dismiss us and the books we love.
What I want the article to focus on, however, is how the people around us percieve us and our writing. What have your experiences been -- with strangers, with family and friends, with other writers? Positive, negative and everything in between.
What kind of reaction do you get when you tell people that you write romance? Do
you tell people? Are you in a position where you hide what you do because of other people's reactions? I know some of us work in places that, should it become known we write romance, it might deter our professional advancement. Do you think it would be the same if you wrote sci-fi/fantasy? Or military adventure? Or horror?
I know I also have plenty of visitors who don't write romance -- what's your opinion? Would you ever write a romance, if you had the right story in you? Do you read romance at all? If not, why not? I know most people read across genres and I've read most everything in my time.
And last, what can we do as writers, not publishers, to change people's minds about the "bodice ripper, bored housewife" stereotype of romance novels?
I also asked some of these questions at Romance Divas
, so check out those responses, if you like.
Monday, December 25, 2006
It's Grissmus Day and I haf a code.
I've just returned from a couple of days in the flatlands of America and I'm sure you'll be relieved to know that they are still flat. Very flat.
Exchanged Christmas gifts with the in-laws -- wonderful, fun people. Cooked myself to a standstill before going over there, so thankfully, the DNPH is taking his turn in the kitchen today.
Wrapped presents for the kids until midnight, but it was all worth it to watch them this morning. I was so pleased to see that they were gracious and enthusiastic about everything they recieved -- even the pajamas that Lita sent.
All in all, it's been wonderful.
Until I downloaded Bertie.
I got busy while we were on the road and did a lot of writing. 17 pages of writing, in fact, with four different beginnings.
About 12 pages of it is complete garbage. My last beginning is the one that's working because I can actually find conflict in it, rather than just some bimbo with an anger problem tossing her hair around.
So, 2 new pages so far this morning and I learned the Italian word for pig.
Friday, December 22, 2006
I hope all my friends in blogland have a Merry Christmas!
Y'all be safe, be happy, be loved, be loving. And may all your dreams come true!
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Is there a 12-Step program for that? Can I get a handicapped sticker?
Hi, my name is Sela and I'm a short writer. No, I'm not short, I just write that way.
I'm not sure why.
Maybe it's the journalism background. If you're lucky and you've got a good story, you can get up to 18 inches on a front page article in a paper.
Maybe it's the advertising background. You've got one sentence to sell this product. Make it punch.
Maybe it's because I have the attention span of a mentally deficient gnat.
You know, short stories and novellas used to be THE thing. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the genre of the short story was defined by the medium. Kate Chopin, Edgar Allan Poe and O. Henry were continually published in magazines and newspapers. As Romanticism took over, however, the novel gained pre-eminence.
During the early and mid-20th century, magazines again became popular -- specializing in the nooks and crannies of life. Lots of genre specificity. Isaac Asimov *made*
science fiction in the 1940s and 50s by his contributions to magazines. Shirley Jackson wrote consistently on the twists of small-town life as well as humor during the same time. William Faulkner wrote 20 novels and over 120 short stories during his career, most of the shorts published in the 1930s. James Thurber wrote short stories and essays for The New Yorker, in addition to being a cartoonist. There were outlets for short fiction
Katherine Mansfield never even wrote a novel. Her official website states, "She said herself that she could never write 'a whole novel about anything.'"
The novella is a different creature, however. The oldest novella collection is The Decameron by Boccaccio. The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer are also novellas, as are the works of Marguerite de Navarre (The Heptameron -- 72 tales) and a group of stories by Miguel de Cervantes called Novelas ejemplares. All Renaissance writers.
Germans laid claim to fashioning the novella as a literary genre in the 19th century. Goethe wrote a collection of tales called Conversations of German Emigrants. A point of connection between Goethe and Boccaccio is that each novella is presented within a larger narrative framework. Each book is about a group of travelers telling stories to pass the time.
Man, even then you couldn't sell a novella on its own!
The cost of printing a single novella far outstrips the potential profit for publishers these days. Anthology sales are lower than single title sales, so they don't often take chances on new authors. Brava, an imprint of Kensington, is the exception to this rule in the romance world. Newspapers no longer publish fiction (please hold your raspberries) and with the demise of the literary magazine, where is the new frontier for short genre fiction?
Many romance e-pubs accept short stories and novellas. Samhain's
minimum length is 12K, Ellora's Cave
wants at least 10K for some of their lines. The Wild Rose Press
even has a line called "Rosettes" for stories that are under 5,000 words.Wild Child Publishing
accepts shorts and novellas of any genre, including poetry, for their magazine. Their e-books,
however, have a minimum length of 50K. Freya's Bower
is their sister site and they'll accept anything 6,000 words and up. Changeling Press
only wants short stories and novellas. They won't even accept anything over 25K words.
And those are just the romance publishers! Ok, to be fair, most of them cross genres, but receive most of their revenue from romance sales. I looked around for spec fic publishers and found Double Dragon Publishing.
They have a lot of sff and accept any length at all. I spotted one of their Dollar Downloads that was only 7 pages long.
So there are still places for us, the short writers. We just have to be clever about where we go now. We have to lure the readers to us with more craft. If we write short, we'd better damn well write tight, too.
She Writes Short Shorts
Saturday, December 16, 2006
I used to joke that if someone had handed me a red pen, I could have turned War and Peace
into flash fiction.
It's not funny anymore.
Every once in a while, I scribble up something to send to Woman's World
magazine. They kept my first story for six months and even sent it up to the senior editor before I recieved a rejection. Not bad. That one is a free read up at Coffee Time Romance
, if you're interested. Almost two years on, I see where I could have made it better, but that's life.
My second one turned around in six weeks. Intrusive third character and wrong season. Lesson learned: Don't send out Christmas stories in November.
Their guidelines are pretty simple. 1100 words, sweet romance your grandmother would read. Realistic contemporary (no para, no shiekhs/spies/billionaires), but something that might actually happen to ordinary Jane. They're also very picky and very much in tune with their market. When the editor said "intrusive third character," I knew she was absolutely right -- for her market.
Last spring I sat down to write something completely different. Phaze
was doing one of their Heatsheet competitions on a Samba theme and I thought I'd give it a shot, being "between stories" at the time. So I rattled up this little beginning and realized that was really all there was to the story. It was sweet and cute and I figured I had another WW entry.
Fast Forward to now. I've been meaning to get this thing off my hard drive for months and I finally pulled it out last night. It sat at 1032 words. I edited it down to 1010 in about three minutes. Crap. Edited more. Cut it down to 1002. Crap again! It's supposed to be growing, not shrinking!
So, naturally, I went over to Romance Divas to fuss about it there. I got some good advice. Advice I would have given myself, had my head not been so far up my rear. Layer in some setting details, use senses. Hell, I even threw a couple of "he said/she said"s in there to beef up the word count.
Got all the way up to 1045 and stalled. It's currently in a fellow Diva's inbox, so I'll let it stew there for a while.
Yesterday and Today
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Three new pages!
1. Learned a lot more about Russian topography, steppes and both the Caucassus and Ural mountain ranges.
2. Re-learned how to say Thank you (spasibo
) and You're welcome (p'zhalsta
) in Russian.
3. Learned about the Godolphin Arabian (dd's book report on "King of the Wind").
4. Learned a little about swords, swordfighting and fencing.
5. Learned that some people take Wikipedia awfully seriously.
6. Wondered worriedly if there's more promo I could for Not Quite Dead.
Duh! Of course there is! I just can't narrow it down. A surfeit of options and I'm frozen in the midst of them.
Today I'm going to:
1. Chat in her class today about figurative language. I have the horrid feeling that they're learning to use adjectives and adverbs as frequently and liberally as possible. Must be diplomatic about that.
2. Wrap presents and send boxes.
3. Finish addressing Christmas cards, mail out the international ones and get cute stamps for the rest.
4. Keep banging my head against my website. It neither feels good nor does it accomplish anything. It's just something I have to do.
Yep. That's it.
Also, I just discovered that Not Quite Dead
is on sale
at My Bookstore and More
for only $2.98! Hurry, Bargain Shoppers!
The Cursed One
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
I'm not usually one for blogging every book that asks for it, but this one has such a great blurb, I don't think I can pass it up. Going to the bookstore today, so I might even come home with it! If I do, I'll post my impressions here when I'm done.Wed and widowed in one day, stunning socialite Amelia Sinclair's honeymoon is anything but typical. Then again, neither is Amelia--rebellious and impulsive, marrying Robert Collingsworth was the one sensible thing she ever did. Now he's dead and she must escape the vicious creatures stalking her--even if it means relying on a stranger. Well, maybe not a complete stranger. Amelia first glimpsed Gabriel Wulf years ago on the busy streets of London; since then he has haunted her dreams. But in the flesh, Gabriel is much more tantalizing than she ever dreamt, and much more complicated…Gabriel Wulf, the strong one, the sensible one--the, and the curse that plagued them, were his only priorities; there was little time for women and none for love. Now, he must protect an enticing beauty--and not just from the dangers that prowl the woods around them. Gabriel has secrets, dark ones he's sure Amelia must never know and could never understand. But she has already awakened his heart...and the beast within. Will Amelia be the key to his salvation, or the architect of her own demise?
What reviewers are saying..."Newest Wild Wulf of London book is intense, sexy and poignant."
Lory Martin, Fresh Fiction on The Cursed One“Vivid description, wonderful characters, and a story line that holds you tight destine The Cursed One for the keeper shelf. Bravo, Ms. Thompson, bravo.”
5 Kisses, Romance Divas, Kristen Painter“Though I know I sound like a broken record, I make no excuse for it because the Wild Wulfs Of London are Hot! Hot! Hot!”
Shannon Johnson, Romance Reader At Heart on The Cursed One“Chills will run up your spine as danger and passion rise, and Thompson works her magic. Succumb to the lure of the Wulf.”
Kathe Robin, Romantic Times Book Reviews4 ½ stars Top Pick and K.I.S.S. award recipient from Romantic Times“Ronda Thompson has written a story that will stay with me for a long time. She has put feelings and love into it and came out with a winner.”
Fallen Angels Reviews, Recommended Read“The latest Wild Wulfs of London (see THE UNTAMED ONE and THE DARK ONE) is a superb werewolf Regency romantic suspense thriller that starts off as a five star howl and never slows down until the final confrontation between beauty and the beast.”
Five stars from Harriet Klausner on The Cursed One"Author Ronda Thompson has given us a fantastic series about The Wild Wulfs of London and their legendary curse."
A Romance Review (The Cursed One)
Monday Meandering: Start With A Bang
Monday, December 11, 2006
Over at Romance Divas
, Lani Diane Rich
has been giving a workshop on Openings: Start With A Bang.
It seems we live or die by our openings, doesn’t it? Like, if you haven’t caught an editor’s or agent’s attention in the first two lines, you’re done for.
Writers bemoan the fact that there’s no room for art anymore. The slow build is dead.
Sad to say, I think it’s mostly true. Anyone who has attended the Romance Idol sessions at RWA knows what I’m talking about. The idea is that everyone submits their first, what?, 3 pages? Something like that. Then the moderator begins to read until one of the judges on the panel says “stop.”
They proceed to shred it. It doesn’t say anything. Why should they care about the weather? They don’t like this character already. Or they’re bored. They’re frequently bored.
People were shocked. “They didn’t give it a fair chance!” Well, no. They didn’t. But it’s indicative of how they think. They’re not going to wade through an entire manuscript if they can tell in the first two pages that the story isn’t moving.
Also, it’s my understanding that a lot of people buy books by looking at the opening. If they’re not caught by the first couple of paragraphs, they’re not putting down their hard-earned cash for it. Can’t say as I blame them, either.
It’s possible, of course, for the first chapter, or first three chapters to be the most beautiful, polished prose this side of Charles Dickens, and then have the rest of the story be a crumbling mess. That’s not where I’m going with this.
I’m saying that it pays HUGELY to get those first few words right. Sometimes all it takes is a little tweak. When I first wrote Not Quite Dead
, I had the first two sentences switched around until someone said that the killer sentence was the second one. She was right. I fiddled with it and came up with a creditable opening: Sabine Harper stood in front of a crumbling crypt with her younger cousin, Lily, waiting for the original airhead to try to raise the dead. After years of questionable decisions, she could now categorically state that this was the stupidest thing she had ever, ever done in her life.
Ta-dah! Sold! Ok, maybe it wasn’t the first couple of lines that sold it, but it didn’t hurt, either.
One of the first things Lani asked us to do in this workshop was to grab whatever book was handy and tell the opening lines. Some were fantastic. Some were “meh.” "Be kind to dragons, for thou art crunchy when roasted and taste good with ketchup."
-- Sherilyn Kenyon, Dragonswan (This one’s my favorite)It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
--Jane Austen, Pride and PrejudicePhoebe Sommerville outraged everyone by bringing a French poodle and a Hungarian lover to her father's funeral.
--Susan Elizabeth Philips, It Had To Be You At the tender age of nine, Tara Evans was one of the youngest bank robbers in history.
--Troy Cook, 47 Rules of Highly Effective Bank RobbersScarlett O'Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.
--Margaret Mitchell, Gone With the Wind
I haven’t read all of these, but the openers grab me!
What are your favorite opening lines?
What’s the opening line of your current wip?
And go check out Lani's workshop.
I learned as much from the critiques she gave other Divas as I did from my own.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
tagged me for this one. Tomorrow, we're back to Monday Meandering. As soon as I can think of something to meander about.
Four jobs I've had:
1. Retail sales girl in the accessories dept
2. Wrote classified ads and obituaries
3. Worked in the Language Lab at university
4. Girl Friday in small ad agency
Four places I've lived:
1. Houston, TX
2. Oslo, Norway
3. Thurston, Suffolk, England
4. Columbia, SC
Four favorite foods:
1. Pasta Carbonara
2. Roast chicken
3. Mashed potatoes
4. Anything requiring heavy cream
Four movies I could watch over and over:
1. El Dorado
2. Love Actually
3. Steel Magnolias
4. The Princess Bride
Four TV shows I enjoy:
2. Las Vegas
Four places I've traveled:
2. Oberammergau, Germany
3. Venice, Italy
Four places I'd like to visit:
Four websites I go to daily:
3. Romance Divas
Four people I'm tagging to do this too:
1. Anna Lucia
2. Michelle Styles
3. Diane Carver
4. Jaye Wells
Thursday, December 07, 2006
tagged me! Here are my answers ...
Highlight everything that you have done:
01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive05. Been inside the Great Pyramid06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said "I love you" and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg (Does a glacier count?)
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby's diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving 62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an "expert"83. Gotten flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone's heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad135. Selected one "important" author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you (does writing count as artwork?)
145. Had a booth at a street fair146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone's life
OH MY GOD!!!!!
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
gave Not Quite Dead
a 90! A 90!!!!!
According to her scoresheet, that's "Smashing Good!"
I sent this out months ago, knowing it would probably get savaged, and then more or less forgot about it. She states that it often takes her months to get to e-books and I took her at her word.
HOLY CRAP!!!!!!Beth Williamson
, who is now and forever a woman I will adore (Well, I did already since I met her in Atlanta. She's a laugh riot!) e-mailed me to tell me about it.
I'm still shaking. And bouncing. I had to take a break to make a breathless to call to dh and tell him. Naturally, he was unsurprised since he says he already knows it's "universally acknowledged that it's a good book." Ok, that sentence kind of sucked, but I'm too excited to edit it.
What did she say?The pacing is well-done - the story moves fast like a rollercoaster ride to Hip-hip Hurray land or something - while the romance is actually very convincing despite the fast pace and short duration over which the story takes place.
These two are really fun to read and their chemistry is pretty good.
This book has action, romance and comedy and packs a pretty hard punch as well. I really have a wonderful time reading it. Sure, it's short, but it's also very enjoyable. A quick bite-sized read that feels so good is exactly what I find Not Quite Dead to be.
Monday Meander: Blog Links
Monday, December 04, 2006
I haven't done a Monday Meandering in a while and, since I'm procrastinating on the writing, this is as good an excuse as any. And it's not so much a Meander as it is some serious blog sluttage.
First, Julie Cohen
hasn't had her baby yet. But she did trim her toenails. Those of us with children remember what a feat that was.Michelle Styles
got an "A" review from Smart Bitches
about her book, Gladiator's Honor
. I agree with them because it rocked! Michelle also recently had a series of posts
about using Enneagrams in your writing. Great stuff. She's extremely thorough.Michelle Willingham
finally got an Amazon link -- she's ecstatic!Anna Lucia
is always a joy to read. Gorgeous photo up right now. And did I mention that she recently signed a deal
? Yay Anna!!
Speaking of Medallion, Babe King
also has a full out with them. A publisher to watch!Sandra Ruttan
has a new post on writers, promotion and blogging. Interesting as always. She also has a new blog called In For Questioning
that reports on small press happenings.Ivan Prokopchuk's
novel, The Black Icon
is going back into print. Yay Ivan!!
There's plenty of other stuff going on -- tell me about it!
A new direction
Friday, December 01, 2006
Finally! No more bunny-boinking!
Now they're fixing to have a big old fight!
I was actually becoming concerned that these two never fussed at each other. But now we're finally getting to the good stuff.
I'm still not sure if I'm going to keep the last sex scene I wrote or not. It doesn't seem to go anywhere. Ah well. That's an issue for edits.