That thing where…

You realize that you’ve actually written quite a lot of sex type stuff in your work and it suddenly hits you that when you publish those stories, people will actually (hopefully) READ them and then you might at some point have to look some of those people in the eye from time to time.

Yeah…

It’s a funny thing, really, because I have never stopped to think about this before. I am pretty sure that none of my published stories have tapped into the ‘romance’ side of my writing, though I have written a lot of sexual elements, relationships, and whatnot. I’ve handed them out to beta readers without a second thought. Yet for some reason today when a friend text me a comment about something I’d totally forgotten I’d written (and giggled with endlessly about on gchat with her at the time), it struck me that this will all be out in the open at some point.

O.M.G. I have this vision of me choreographing sex acts on stage while an audience watches…I think I’m more nervous than those performing the act.

And to think I’ve been advising others who write romance to just ignore the people who raise eyebrows at them* – now it’s me having a mini panic over it! It really is funny how things can hit you all of a sudden, and I guess, as I make the long walk towards publishing, I’ll have many more of these moments and realizations.

For now I will try not to think about the general public reading sex scenes that I’ve written. I guess it can’t be any worse than them reading murder, torture, or other expressions of violence… right?

*though I do stand by that – write what you love and if you enjoy writing the racy stuff then good for you! I shall get over my nerves soon enough.

Skin Deep

SD Tour BannerEarlier this year I got the opportunity to branch out from short story/anthology editing to work on a full length novel, and I’m so pleased it was for the lovely T.G. Ayer. 

I’ve known Tee for a while now, have copy-edited/proof-read some of her work in the past and watched her grow as a writer. So when the opportunity to work with her on the first novel she wrote came up, I had to say yes.

Kailin has always been my favourite of Tee’s leading ladies. Kailin has an awesome attitude and she isn’t about to take life sitting down – whatever challenge is thrown at her she faces head on. She kicks ass, literally. I love her independent nature and her fiery side, and I love the vulnerability that she (tries) to hide from most of the world, preferring that everyone thinks she’s invincible. There is virtually nothing you can do to this girl that will break her, because she will always get back on her feet and fight for what she believes in. You gotta respect that.

But thank heavens she’s a skin walker, and a feline at that – she needs all those nine lives!

If you enjoy your fantasy paranormal/urban with a slice of romance, if you like Skin-Walkers and kick butt heroines who are definitely not damsels in distress, then I think you’ll really enjoy this book. Personally, I think it’s her best yet, though of course I am bound to be biased ;-)

Blurb:

SKINDEEPFINALFRONT

Panther Shape-shifter Kailin Odel just wants to be normal. Leaving her clan, and her Alpha responsibilities, to live with her grandmother in Chicago had been the best thing for her.
Only then did she discover her ability to track and kill the soul sucking undead creatures called Wraiths. Now she protected the humans, and had something to be proud of.
But, when she discovers the body of a murdered shape-shifter, Kailin has to come to terms with the reality that her own kind are just as vulnerable as the humans.
The closer Kailin gets to the killer the more she has to face the intricacies of her people.
When the time comes can she accept who and what her real purpose is?

You can grab your copy at Amazon in both digital and print format, and you can check out Tee on Facebook, Goodreads, and her website.

Raring to…

Revise!

Yes, you heard me right. I am gearing up for the great novella revision, and I couldn’t be more excited!

I know. What on earth has gotten into me? I can’t really explain it. Don’t get me wrong, I do love a good bit of editing – I love cutting words, and finding ways to make things better, and cutting words, and adding more tension and all that (and cutting words – did I mention that?).

But right now, I am knee deep in the part of the process I loathe the most, and I’m more excited about it than I have ever been before. Go figure! Today I went through the novella and made scene notes, and then noted conflicts and changes, and then wrote comments on what needs improving, what needs removing, what needs moving… And came up with a pretty decent length list of things I need to do.

Strangely, this is not that different from how I normally do things. I don’t edit in order, I make lists of things to do, then usually I start with something easy (to prove that I CAN do it, and LOOK IT’S REALLY NOT SO BAD), and then I tackle something major so that I can sigh with relief and pat myself on the back for a job well done, before going back to something quick, so that I can tick something else off the list and see PROGRESS, and so on until I am sick of the sight of the thing and can’t wait to send it off to my poor crit buddies.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately, about other peoples editing processes, and it’s encouraged me no end to see that HEAPS of people do it this way. I thought, for awhile, that I was basically just flailing around blindly, but it turns out that folks like Chuck Wendig and Rachel Aaron have a similar process. I’ve taken some notes from both of those articles, and incorporated them into my own process to give a try this time, as always I’m ever hopeful of finding a way to make it all run a bit smoother.

I still have to write a timeline for the novella (groan…. but I know how important this is. I mean, I’m pretty sure that at one part of my novel it’s summer and then a few days later its the middle of winter), as well as get some character info solidly on the page. A few people get a bit wobbly here and there. Gotta straighten them out.

But this story is GOOD, I really believe that. Now I can’t wait to make it BETTER.

And I think, for the first time in a long time, maybe ever (definitely ever, for a story longer than a short), I’m doing all of this before I send it to so much as a single reader. I’m super pleased with myself for that. I’m going to call that growth, and a step towards not being such a lazy writer.

Go me :-)

Hope you’ve been having a good week!

Testing the Theory

Months ago, I trunked Mocha Nihilism. I had very valid reasons for doing so, half of which was because I simply don’t want a career writing romance, and half because there are some flaws with the story – flaws which I wasn’t sure how to fix, and frankly didn’t think it was worth expending the time and energy to make it right (being that I don’t want to be a romance writer).

Still, when one makes a decision like this, there is always that niggle in the back of your head about whether it was the right choice. So when a publisher I follow put out a call for contemporary romance novellas (what are the chances!) I figured that I had nothing to lose by sending Mocha out into the fray.

I put together my submission package and sent it off – this was a huge rush and got me really excited about the idea of having a novel to send out one day – and then waited patiently. Just two weeks later they requested the full.

At which point I started to freak out.

THAT WASN’T PART OF THE PLAN. The plan was that they would politely reject it, and confirm for me that it was the right choice I had made to trunk it. Yes, well…

Anyway, I got my ass into gear and made the changes I had planned and sent it back quick smart. Yesterday I got a reply.

What do you think it said?? lol

I got a rejection. A lovely rejection which said really positive things about my writing and which completely confirmed my personal thoughts about why I should trunk Mocha.

And I felt relieved. I let out the breath I felt like I had been holding for two weeks and I smiled. I didn’t have to worry about getting pegged as a romance writer, after all. I could get back to work on the kinds of things I really wanted to be writing. And more importantly, most wonderfully – I was right all along, and they had just confirmed that for me.

I know for sure now that I can trust my gut instincts about what is wrong or right with a story. I am not too hard on myself, or too soft. There was far more value, for me, in getting that rejection than in getting an acceptance. I feel really empowered and like I have a new confidence in myself as a writer. It was such a fabulous experience, and I can’t wait to have something that is truly ready to be sent out. Hopefully within the next year I’ll have this novel in shape and be on my merry way. I know that I can do this :-) And I love knowing that.

Looking for love

I’m making small progress with my novel. Very small, slow progress. I’m still okay with that – I actually finished the first scene up, finally, and am looking forward to plunging into the next. But it struck me that I have been avoiding thinking about a love interest for Madea. I mean, there is one, and he has some influence and is tied into her story line, but I already know that’s not a lasting match. It’s not passionate or balanced, or anything good, really.

I’ve got to admit that in my writing I’ve been avoiding romance a bit. I overdosed on reading it, so wanted to steer clear of it in my writing. Until I read a few books where it was more subtle. Definitely there, but not the main plot line, not all consuming. It made me think back to my own stories, to the ones that stuck with me the most, made me realize that I really love writing about relationships and that I need to bring that back into my writing – keeping it in an ‘out of bounds’ area isn’t doing me any favours at all. So I’m going to think ahead, find someone unconventional for Madea to get involved with. He’s going to have to be someone pretty special to take her on. She’s not really looking for love, not in any conventional manner, but she definitely has a longing inside her.

And now I have some ideas <grin> see, blogging about stuff, even when it’s not fun for YOU to read, or really very interesting, is an important way for ME to make little breakthroughs that help my writing.

Off to start that scene now.

Thanks for being there while I sorted that out ;-)

LOST: ability to disturb

I’ll reward you well for it, if you can find it. I’ve lost my creepy, my dark and disturbing. I don’t know where, or when, but it’s gone and I miss it!

I first noticed it was absent last month when I tried to write a creepy flash fiction piece. I had nothing.

I tried to delve into Delaney, but came up empty.

I thought that I was lacking in all ideas, but it’s simply those involving squick factor. It’s gone…

I can write nice. I can tug heart strings and play a full range of emotions, but I just can’t seem to find a disturbing idea anywhere. I’m reading ROMANCE people, and not finding it repulsive. I’m coming up with ideas which are lovely, and on some levels it sickens me. It’s just so wrong. *shudders*

What is going on with me? I’m pleased I have any ideas at all, to be honest, but I’m deeply disturbed by my…inability to disturb. I thought that was one of my things. I thought that was a part of who I am. Will it come back?

Not saying I don’t have odd things inside any more. I do. Just… well, the horror is gone, the twisted and sick. And I do miss it. It’s been there for so long now, it’s like a piece of me is missing. I have a bunch of old story ideas which require some of that squick factor, and I just don’t know if I can pull them off anymore.

I’ll keep writing, keep working, enjoy what I have – and maybe one day some of that horror will rise to the top again. Oh well, if I can’t disturb you, I’ll damn well make you feel something else instead. Just you watch.

Kicking down walls.

When I was a teenager I was firmly dedicated to one type of music. I flooded my room with Nirvana, Offspring, Korn, Disturbed, Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth, Hole and other bands like that. I wore the oldest cardigan in the world (it had been my fathers I think) with a million tatty holes in it.  I had bracelets made of paper clips, my nose was pierced and most of my clothes were purchased from op shops. Complete with t-shirt with foreign phrase that I never bothered interpreting. That was a cool T shirt. It had a camel and a palm tree on it.

Anyways….

I flat out refused to listen to anything else. It was part of my identity, and there was no way I would allow my ears to be tainted with other stuff. Not the mainstream. No. Nothing popular. Nothing with mass appeal. I confess there were times I enjoyed something and then got rid of it when it caught on with the in crowd.

Oh boy. It’s kind of embarrassing to admit to really. I was SUCH a music snob. What’s worse is that I was limiting myself by placing that definition on me. I was grunge, baby, I was rock.

These days I listen to a huge variety of music. I’ve finally cast off my self made shackles and enjoy anything that takes my fancy. It spans the range, and may change at any point in time.

Which brings me to my writing.

For so long now I’ve said I’m a writer of speculative fiction. Well, I am. Predominantly. That said, about 20% of what I write, is not.

I know as writers we tend to put ourselves in boxes. We write this genre, or that. But Gods, we’d never consider writing that. I’ve said it before. It’s an easy thing to say: I’ll never write romance. I couldn’t do mystery. Writing about normal people in the real world is boring.

Those are my words. I’ll own them. But I’ll also say that like my music tastes, my writing follows what captures my interest.

We use sentences like the ones above to help us define ourselves, to figure out where we fit into the world and how we relate to those around us. Attaching a genre to our writing is an easy way to identify people who might be like minded, who might make good writing buddies, who might become part of our writers inner circle.

We need to surround ourselves with people who *get* our writing. Who appreciate what we’re working on and what we’re aiming for.

And yet, I find myself currently writing non spec-fic. General fiction, probably. And loving it.

Like my music tastes, my tastes in what I write and read are widening. I’ll give anything a go these days. It doesn’t have to be horror, or science fiction, or some type of fantasy. Whatever takes my fancy.

It’s liberating, kicking down the walls I’ve imposed on myself.

Yes, I’m a writer of speculative fiction. But I also write other stuff ;-)

Yes I love to read spec-fic, but if the story is good, if it captures me, then I couldn’t care less what genre it is!