Slavic Mythology at BTV
Friday, August 31, 2007
I'm continuing my series on the pantheons of different cultures with a short piece about Slavic mythology. It was fun to research, but half of the real sources are in Lithuanian!
Check out Beyond the Veil
Did it again
Friday, August 24, 2007
I'm sorry. I dropped off the face of the earth for a few days there, didn't I? I apologize. And I'd been doing so well, too, with blogging regularly.
I got overwhelmed with a lot of internet stuff and living in Romanceland became more stressful than it was worth, so I went on holiday. Not literally, I'm afraid, but mentally. Very restful.
I've been enjoying the Steampunk Forum over at Brass Goggles. It's good to get out of Romanceland and Writingville every once in a while. It's a different mindset and very valuable, not just for research, but also for widening personal paradigms.
Anyway, I'm back. What's going on, you ask? I'll tell you. I've turned in my ARC for LOVE & LORE. I'm arranging interviews for us at various locations. And I've been working with my local library to see if they'll carry it. Once they carry it, they'll put me on their local author list for doing programs, too.
We're supposed to head to the drive-in tonight, provided the weather holds. They're showing Stardust
and I'm very excited to see it! Apparently the airship is awesomely Steampunk!
You know it's a good seminar when...
Sunday, August 19, 2007
The teacher tells you how to kill a man with a pair of kitchen tongs!
It was awesome. Jim Henke and his wife, Shirl, absolutely rock. I don't think I'll be that cool. Ever. They tell the best stories and have the neatest friends. Plus, Jim has lethally nifty ideas.
See, the class was about choreographing fight scenes. It started with Jim and Shirl each reading a fight scene out of books they'd written. After that the real fun started. Essentially, it was Escaping Heroines 101. There were tons of little tidbits. Any weapon will do. And anything can be a weapon.
A very tightly rolled up newspaper can, if applied with enough force, fracture a man's wrist. Keep your keys out when you walk to your car with the point sticking out between your fingers, then use the point on an attacker's throat or eyes or whatever you can reach. It hurts. If you're going to use a gun, use the right one, appropriate to the time.
And remember. Once the bad guy is down, run away, screaming like hell.
Well, maybe not the kick-ass heroines, but for the ordinary life ones.
After that was a great Q&A with several of the multi-published authors in our chapter. We got some really useful information out of that, especially about the business side of the deal. They've all been through ups and downs, but I think the key is that they keep writing books they can sell.
The last session was with Eileen Dryer, who is a trauma nurse IRL with all kinds of nifty certifications, and has taken to writing more romantic suspense lately. It was about Writing Villains Worthy of Your Heroes. There was a ton of info on criminal psychology and serial killers, but I thought the most useful stuff was about writing really powerful villains, not just cardboard characters. She reminded us of one of my favorite pieces of advice: The villain is the hero of his own story.
Now, his story may be a twisted freakshow with him as the gory ringmaster, but in his mind, he's doing what needs to be done.
I also met new people, in particular a couple of ladies who write mostly mysteries/crime fiction, and it was interesting to hear their take on the organizations that specialize in their genre, MWA, etc. I guess our particular type of insular, inbred blindness isn't that uncommon on the higher-up organizational level. Strangely, that made me feel better. *gg*
Overall, it was a great day. I guess they usually do this outdoors at a park, but with the heatwave, one of our wonderful members opened her home to us for which we're grateful. It was steeenkin' hot outside. The tabbouleh went over well -- it's nice to find adventurous eaters.
I think the upshot of this is that if I have to deal with the national organization to stay in my local chapter, then I'll deal. MORWA is golden.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Missed blogging yesterday.
Have hideous feeling also missed group blogging at Beyond the Veil. Naughty author. Shame on me. Very embarrassing. So sorry.
Going to MORWA Camp Write-A-Lot today to learn how to write fight scenes. Very excited. Made tabbouleh. Again. Very tasty.
Not reading much lately
Thursday, August 16, 2007
I've got a stack of books on my night table and I'm not reading them. Does anyone else go through these phases? It's not like the books aren't interesting, they're ones I've been dying to get to! But I can't quite seem to work up the enthusiasm for reading I usually have.
Wasn't it nice when all you had to worry about was writing the book?
I wish it was that easy.
First Day of School!
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
It's done. They're gone. Lunches made, shoes tied, everyone spiffy in new clothes.
It's so quiet here. Just me and the dog. Even dh is out today.
Of course, there's plenty to keep me occupied. I didn't write a word yesterday. So much for the Fast Draft. I had a mini-meltdown instead. I'm better now.
But now there are all these ... possibilities. What should I do first?
GO BETWEEN by Dayna Hart
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Go Between” by Dayna Hart
Coming August 14th from Samhain Publications
Between two races that hate each other, at the doorway between two worlds, can Claire find the strength to be the emissary they all need?
Book One of The Curtain Torn series.
Halfway through her twenties, her divorce, and a bottle of rye, Claire opens her birthday present—a “pressed fairy” book.
One of the fairies is neither pressed, nor a picture. He’s the sinfully sexy Dell, who’s been trapped inside the book for twenty years. The moment Claire frees him, goblins attack her house. Dell and Claire’s only option is to use a “Between”—a rift between their worlds—to escape into the land of Fae.
There, Claire discovers the elven queen, Eliane, has a mission for her—one that has her keeping secrets from Dell. And ousting the goblins from her home is only the start.
Day 2 of Fast Draft
*sigh* I got 6 pages done. On any other day, I'd be ecstatic, but when I commit to 10 and don't get there? That's a yucky feeling.
But hey, I got 6 pages done!
The kids had their Meet the Teacher night and I just kept signing up for stuff. Looks like I'm now the Library Slave once a week around lunchtime. Need to find another mom to sucker into this so we can switch off.
And then there's the occasional teacher assistant thing. Like helping the 1st graders learn to write. And helping the 5th graders learn to write
. I thought I was going to have a lot more time once the kids were gone all day! Instead, it looks like I'll be with them anyway. *gg* Whether they like it or not. MWAAHAHAhahahahaaaaaa!!!
Then there are the various after school activities that will sprout up. I cleaned out their folders that had last year's left over projects and I've already started filling them up again!
Paper, paper everywhere. How do you guys keep up with all of it?
ETA: I forgot to tell you! I got my very first ARC of LOVE & LORE for the print version last night!! I really, really want to show you guys the cover for this.
Good Monday Morning!
Monday, August 13, 2007
I'm a morning person, generally. I roll out of bed and hit the floor running, it seems. I am even capable of functioning without coffee, as unlikely as that sounds.
I even like Monday mornings. They always feel so fresh to me. Like January 1 every week. Today seems like a day full of possibilities and I'm excited!
First, the Blogging Challenge begins today. Hence, I blog. Hello, world!
Second, Candace Haven's two week Fast Draft starts today, too. Eeek! I committed to 10 pages a day. These first few days will be tough, especially as I'm not doing the "fend for yourself, family" thing. I've done that before when I'm on deadline, but I try to make sure I only do it when I have no other choice. I figure if I keep the natives happy while I can, then I can impose when I have to.
Speaking of keeping the natives happy, there are plenty of chores to be done today. Haircuts, cleaning bathrooms, grocery shopping.
Remember that Camp Write-A-Lot thing I mentioned in my last post? I, umm, got the date wrong. Yeah. That's embarrassing. At least I caught it before I left the house with my bucket of tabbouleh. It's this coming weekend.
Anyway, that's my Monday. Y'all have a great day now, y'hear?
Friday, August 10, 2007
Being controversial is exhausting, which is why I don't do it very often. Still, I was glad to see people step in and tell us how they felt about RWAs latest backhand. See, it's difficult to separate Jill Limber from RWA. Not least because I can't find anyone else from the board disagreeing with her in public. And I've looked!
In any case, it's time for me to get back to being me, the writer mom, instead of me, the rabble-rouser writer mom. Rousing the rabble is fun, but time consuming. *gg*
Next week, I'm starting two...no, three challenges.
1. I'm doing Candace Haven's Fast Draft
thingy. I haven't even read all the instructions yet, but I can't seem to turn down a dare. Must be my frame of mind this week.
2. I'm doing a blog challenge with Emma Petersen
and some other Divas. I have to blog every day (except weekends) for two weeks and visit five blogs a day. See above re: dares.
3. The kids start school this week. You know what's a pain in the butt? Trying to buy jeans for little boys who are skinny with long legs. Nothing. Fits. And I don't sew. Really don't sew. After several botched jobs, dh had to take over sewing his own rank and patches on flight suits, or hiring it out. I'm a miserable failure as a seamstress. Which is odd, considering that my mother and aunt are absolute geniuses at it. Ah well. Another one of life's little mysteries.
In addition, tomorrow is MORWA's Camp Write-A-Lot. I have to go make tabbouleh. Shirl Henke and her husband will be helping us write fight scenes -- YAY! I spend a lot of time choreographing mine, preferably when no one is home but the dog. And he still looks at me funny.
So unless someone else pisses me off (it's been happening a lot lately. Are people getting ruder or am I just getting more sensitive?) I'll be back to happy blogging for a while.
I'm So Angry Right Now!!!
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
I received my RWR two days ago and read it yesterday morning. You know what? Aside from the muscle spasm in my back that's been haunting me since Sunday, I've been in a pretty good mood.
It only took the “From the President” letter to piss me off again. In fact, I wrote the original version of this post yesterday, but had to take a day to cool off so I could approach this subject without a lot of swearing. Trust me. This is mild.
Jill Limber, as we know, is the president of RWA. And by all my far-removed interactions with her, I can't WAIT until she's gone. Really. Can't wait. If she quit tomorrow, it wouldn't be soon enough for her to leave. Because her attitude is atrocious!
Actually, I had to read the letter twice, just to make sure that I wasn't somehow mistaken in my interpretation.
Nope. She really does come off horribly.
Though I have to say, now I understand more of where she was coming from with her arrogant "you didn't really write a book" response during the AGM at the conference. She wrote this letter before the AGM even happened, so she was already annoyed that people didn't like her suggestions for change. Because Jill's the president, dammit, and we should all just shut up and fall in line.
RWA is not a democracy, she states. I'll give her this. If RWA was run as a pure democracy, it would probably shrivel up and die due to lack of participation. This was the first time I'd bothered to go to an AGM and I went because I knew there would be big things happening this year. Lots of issues that affected not only me, but many other authors who were at the conference. I doubt there were a hundred people in that room. Shame on you. If you made time to go to conference, you should have made time for this. You're right, it wouldn't have done any good, but at least I wouldn't be talking to a bunch of people right now going "What? What did I miss?" You missed a lot.
Anyway, RWA is an advocacy group, dontchaknow. The board made several suggestions and asked for input. Then she spent the entire letter moaning about how all she heard were how individuals would be affected by these changes. Should I be confused?
She even posits herself as some kind of JFK wannabe. Ask not what RWA can do for you, ask what you can do for RWA.
Well, Jill, at least as an American citizen, I can voice my opinion on anything I damn well please. Looks like I can't do that at RWA, without getting slapped down. Even though I PAY for the privilege of 'citizenship' there.
Jill appears to be trying for cutting wit in her rebuttal of member suggestions. Instead, she comes off as a frothing despot, screeching ineffectually, "Off with their heads!"
Read a little deeper. See the common thread? The one binding theme of the suggestions she picked out seems to be that RWA is NOT advocating for everyone. Sounds like someone didn't do too well in their literature classes if she can't be bothered with even a superficial analysis like that. Some of the comments highlighted in her letter sound like legitimate concerns to me, but all she can whine about is how they don’t fall in line with “what’s best for RWA.”
I don’t know how to make this any clearer. What’s best for RWA is what’s best for authors. No matter what they write, no matter if they publish online or on paper.
She's shutting out hundreds of authors For Our Own Good. Can't you people see that? It's "a trade association for networking, education, and advocacy."
Unless you write for a group that RWA has chosen to marginalize, however delicately they phrase it.
Let me take this moment to reiterate how stunned I was at the sheer ignorance of the board on the state of electronic publishing. Ellora's Cave has been around for several years. Samhain and LooseId became RWA "recognized" last year before that designation became obsolete. How effective can an advocacy organization be when they don't have the first clue about how hundreds of their authors do business? I don't want to think they were intentionally blind, but my God. They'd pretty much have to be to display such wanton disregard for commonly available knowledge.
Again, she closes her letter with: "RWA...supports career-focused romance writers through networking and advocacy. This is the best we can do for each individual member."
Unless you disagree with her.
In closing, don't you DARE mock me, Jill. Or try to spank me for disagreeing with you. You set yourself up as the leader of this organization, so you can take my opinion for the Truth As I See It. You're a public figure now, so suck it up. RWA isn't advocating for me in the slightest, so that high horse you're on? Get off. And stay off.
Yin and Yang
Monday, August 06, 2007
As I said yesterday, this idea of balance hit me out of the blue. I was thinking about heroines I like. My favorite heroine is the “fish out of water” type. An ordinary person in an extraordinary situation. I love those. But I also have on my bookshelf a number of titles featuring the “kick-ass” heroine. Those ladies rock. They take chances that I would never dream of, as an individual or an author. My brain doesn’t seem wired that way.
Then I started thinking about why I prefer some kick-ass chicks to others. Why some resonate with me and some make me cringe. And I realized that my favorite action stories have balance and it’s not all about the heroines giving up some vital aspect of themselves to be the “girl.”
Let’s take, for example, Eve Dallas. I’m a JD Robb fan, though fairly new to the stories. I’m sure I’ve skipped a few, but I’m pretty well caught up on her exploits.
Eve is not soft. Eve doesn’t know how to be soft. She never has been and she never will be. But JD/Nora was smart enough not to pair her with a man who is her equal in harshness. Roarke provides the balance to Eve. He is not, himself, soft in any way, but he provides the means for Eve to experience the yin to her yang. He understands the balance that’s necessary for her to be a whole person.
Another writer who gets it right is Marjorie Liu. Not all of her heroes are violently kick-ass, but she’s written her share. I love them because they’re often incredibly primal, but in that state, they instinctively understand that all of life is not about power and strength and beating the living shit out of the other guy. They find balance. My first experience with her writing was as part of the Crimson City series, A Taste of Crimson. Her heroine, Keeli Maddox, was a powerful player in the werewolf hierarchy that Liu built and she had several opportunities to kick ass in the story. Yet, for all her power, Keeli had things around her – not necessarily within her – to provide a balance to the harshness of her life.
So even if a heroine is completely focused on being tough, I think the best stories build in a set of circumstances that provide a cushion – some sense that this character can be a whole and balanced person, at ease with all sides of herself.
Labels: Random Questions, Reading, Writing
Sunday, August 05, 2007
I'm brewing a post for tomorrow. An opinion piece on balance. I'll get back to you later.
And just in case you were wondering -- I was in the shower when the idea hit. Maybe it's the scalp massage from washing my hair that stimulates these ideas.
Labels: Random Questions
Best Werewolf Movies
Friday, August 03, 2007
What are your favorite Werewolf movies? It's the topic of the day over at Beyond the Veil.
Labels: Blogging Elsewhere
Writing and Colds
Thursday, August 02, 2007
First the writing.
I don't juggle well. If I have edits to do, then I do edits. If I have writing to do, then I write. I should probably learn how to do both at once, but it hasn't been necessary, thus far. Now that my edits for Let's Dance
and Heart of the Sea
are done, what's left to do?
I really wasn't planning on starting WWWB in earnest until the kids were in school (2 weeks from today! Not that I'm counting or anything.) but there was nothing else to do. It's still a touch early to start promo on Heart, so I figured, why not write? I tried to get some work done during the day, but it was a no-go. I hauled Bertie to Tae Kwon Do and by the end of the hour, I had 484 words!!!
Now, I haven't looked it over this morning and I have no idea if it's suckalicious or not, but I wrote! Feels like the end of a drought.
And oh yeah. My cold is better. Just a little stuffiness left.