Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Horse Passages

I have taken off my author hat, now that I turned in my last book to my editor, and I have put on my promotion hat!
Promotion is hard. When you're little, you are sternly told 'Not to Show Off', and 'Don't blow your own Horn!' so it's hard to wave your book around, jump up and down, and do a happy dance while blowing in a brass trumpet and yelling, "My Book is Out, come and get it!" (It's the blowing the trumpet and yelling at the same time that's really tough.)
It's great when other people promote your books. That way you don't feel A) Pushy, B) Like you're bothering people C) Like an amateur - because face it, without a big promotional budget you can barely reach family and friends.
But I struggle on. I join groups, I blog, I take out ads in papers and in online sites, I send the books to reviewers, and I throw myself upon the mercy of my friends.
So, dear friends, please tell your friends and family, your dentist, your librarian, and your local bookstore owner about Horse Passages.
It's a science fiction book for teens and up. My husband who is Not a reader took it off my desk one day and started to read it. He stayed up all night to finish it.
Here is the book's site:
(I will get horsepassages.com up and running soon)
Please visit, and plug in your kids and horse-crazy friends!
Thank you So much


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanks giving

I just finished writing a poetic and touching post about Thanksgiving and giving thanks... and the blog program crashed and everything disappeared. So I am taking the part about thanking technology out, and starting over again.

I'm thankful for my friends and family, and for those who pop in to my blog to visit. I'm thankful for the small things in life - like the dog sleeping at my feet, the beautiful sunrise I see through the window, and the churchbells that ring at 8 a.m. and not 7 a.m. like in the next village over.
I'm thankful for my crit partners who help me out, for my neighbors who help me out, and for Scott who chats with my in the morning and doesn't mind that I'm still half asleep!
I'm thankful for the time I get to spend on this good earth...and in the evening I am thankful to be able to see the stars through the window and hear my hubby's snores - (a little less loud and I'd be really thankful)
I'm thankful for the chance I have family scattered across the globe so I can travel and visit.
Happy Thanksgiving to All! I hope you have big and small things to be thankful for -
Best wishes,

Friday, November 18, 2005

writing the dreaded S-Scene

Since this is a writer's blog and I write erotic romance, I thought I'd take some time and write something useful for new writers of erotic romance. (Or at least I'd try - you never know what can be useful as everyone has a different approach to writing.)
I was chatting on the msn yesterday with a really talented new writer and she made a confession - she has trouble writing sex scenes. And then today, while blog-hopping, I saw two other authors saying the same thing. One said she made them too jerky, and the other said she didn't know which words to choose without either offending readers or offending herself.
That got me thinking back to my beginnings at writing sex scenes. The thing that held me back was thinking "My mother is going to read this." That would be enough to paralyze anyone. And worse, "Maybe my father will read it!" (Well, extremely doubtful - men read books about World War One and car racing, not "The Argentine Lover". But if I wanted my books to sell, I had to get over that, so I did. And I did it by writing as sensually and quickly as possible to sketch out the scene, and then go back and add the details. I started to work like that, and because it worked so well for me, I have continued to use that technique.
It goes something like this - I'm writing the book, and I get to a place where there has to be a sex scene, so I'll write, (the names have been changed to protect the innocent)Zach shut the door behind him. Dora spun around at the sound. She hadn't expected him to follow her. She took a step back and hit the bed. Off-balance, she tripped and would have fallen but Zach caught her. (We'll skip the dialogue, although I usually go ahead and pen that in here too)
His touch sent waves of heat through her. (Now I'll speed things up and describe the physical things they have to do in order to get naked and get into bed - )
Her shirt had buttons and her fingers trembled as she undid them. (check to make sure your character is wearing the same clothes in the beginning, middle, and end of a scene - if that morning she pulls a sweater over her head, she better not unzip the sweater when she takes it off and then button it when she gets dressed again after the tryste! - and I've see male characters unzip their pants and then button them up after, which always intrigues me and makes me wonder if the characters haven't switched pants...)
Dora took off her clothes (I'll go back and fill that in later) Zach took off his clothes (idem - depending on what mood I want - did he tear them off? Slowly push his jeans off his hips? etc.) And then the physical act - Who's on top...etc.
She lay on the bed (alright, she's being a passive lover this time - Zach - get to work...) Zach looked at her (time for some visuals) and then knelt on the bed (you sort of have to do this as a movie scene, so you don't have her lying down, him kneeling over her, and then suddenly have her sitting up and running her hands over his chest - for one thing she'd smack him in the chin with her head, and if he's further down, with his head between her thighs, for example, her arms would have to be awfully long to touch his chest. (not to mention it would be awkward)
Anyhow - once the characters have moved in the way they have to, have pretty much finished what they are doing, then I move on to the next scene to keep the story moving forward.
Zach looked at his watch and swore (men always do that - it's not a cliché, honest, lol) Dora sat up and pulled her blouse back on, buttoning it up as quickly as she could. She didn't notice she'd buttoned it wrong...
Then, maybe a day or two later, I'll go back and polish the scene. I'll add the details that make the mood. You have to use the five senses, so there's touch, sight, smell, hearing, and taste. Don't forget any of them. The lighting, the feel of the sheets, Dora's perfume,the taste of Zach's lips...And then I'll go back a third time and see what I can add to make it even more sensual or sizzling.
And that is one way to make a sex scene less intimidating and more technical. If you can look at it as a director looks at a scene through a camera, and then come back to it like an artist touching up a painting, then I think it will be easier to write the scenes that give you trouble.
At any rate, I hope this helps!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Another gorgeous cover

I got this cover from Cerridwen Press for my time travel novel, Angels on Crusade.
It's very evocative and I think it captures the mood of the story perfectly.
When you get the publishing contract, the publisher usually sends you a cover request that you fill out. I'm terrible at covers. I usually just tell the artist, "Do whatever you want - this is the story, here is an excerpt - have fun."
When you do ask for something specific, like in my Secret of Shabaz - they usually do the opposite. For Shabaz I wanted a cover that was wintery - (the whole book takes place during one winter) and I thought blues and grays or silver would look cool and fit the book. I got tropical green and orange.
For Horse Passages I specified that it was a space-cowboy sort of feel - reds, oranges, dusty, desert, cowboys, horses...I got something totally science fiction with horses with huge sparkling horns on their heads (I have no idea where that came from - not in the book - I had to Add them in edits.) All you can do is believe that the publishing company knows best, grin, and bear it. But Book Covers Sell Books.
That is SO true. My Argentine Lover had a terrible cover and I asked (begged) them to change it and they did - and sales shot up.
So you can imagine how happy and excited I was when I got this cover. It is truly beautiful.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Teaching kids the value of Money

I grew up poor. That's nothing big - 90% of everyone in the world grows up poor, and when you're a kid, you don't even notice you're poor.
So it was a surprise when I left school, became a model, and started making money. I got married young and my husband the polo pro earned enough moneyh for us to pay rent and pay our travel expenses (would you believe the polo patrons make the pros pay their travel expenses and rent)
SO...I wanted to raise my kids knowing the value of money. I was very careful about that.
One day we went to a supermarket to shop. My twins wanted some chewing gum so I gave them a five franc piece to put in the gum machine. (about 1$ - it would have bought two balls of gum - outrageouly expensive, no?) Well, the machine ate the money and refused to give the gum.
I went to the machine and jiggled it a bit, reached up under the flap to see if I could get the money or the gum. Nothing. So I went to the checkout and said, "The machine ate 5 francs, I want it back."
The check out girl said, "That's not our machine. It belongs to a private company. We let them put the machines there. But we don't have anything to do with them."
I said, "Just give me the money back and tell the company they owe you five francs."
The checkout girl refused. "Well, it's only five francs," snapped the checkout girl.
I was 8 months pregnat here, wearing my sister-in-laws old dress and my husband's sneakers because my feet were so swollen, and this lady was telling me that it was Only five francs.
I went to the gum machine (and it had wheels), so I started to push it out the door.
The checkout girl stood up and said, "Where are you taking that!"
"Home," I said. "It has My feive franks in it. I'm not leaving it here. I'll give you my name and phone number so the company representative can call me and come get his machine."
"You can't do that!" she shrieked.
"What do you care? You said this had nothing to do with your store." I kept pushing.
The checkout girl knew when she was defeated. She pulled open her cash register and ran after me. "Here! Here is your five francs!"
I took the money and thanked her.
My twins have never forgotten the value of money.
The checkout girl now knows when an 8-month-pregnant woman comes in and asks for something, she better do it or else.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Today I'm a Grape!

I got a lot of work done yesterday on my WIP - a LOT of work. Was amazed at the end of the day when I hit statistics and checked my word count. Somedays just flow like that - and the story is coming along really well.
The only problem is...It's going to be hard to work in a HEA in this story!!!! I had the ending all planned out, but it looks trite, suddenly, and a new ending came to me as I was writing, so now I'm stuck at a fork in the road. Do I make a HEA, or do I make it a Sad but Hopeful ending?
My publishing house has a Happy Ending policy, so I imagine I'll be heading that way, lol. But maybe I'll write both endings and put them both in so that readers can choose. What do you think?

I was cruising the blogs and over on Smart Bitches they had a contest - "Guess Which Title is a FAKE" (all the other ones are real) Yes folks, Harlequin Presents have paid people to think of titles like these, so I copied some down and made up one and here is the contest - guess which title I made up:

Possessed by the Sheikh
The Italian's Stolen Bride
The Ramirez Bride
The Sheikh's Virgin
Innocent as the Night
The Italian Boss's Secret Child
The Greek's Innocent Virgin
Bought: One Bride
The Future King's Bride
The Sheikh's Captive Bride
The Purchased Wife
Expecting The Playboy's Heir

Can you guess which one I made up?

It's Innocent as the Night. There is no Harlequin Presents named that, as far as I could tell with Google. All the rest exist. Honest. If you don't believe me, go to Smart Bitches and see!

And on a lighter note, I was over on Karen's blog and I remembered a story about my son Sebi (there are Lots of stories about him, lol).
He stuck his little arm out one day and said, "Mom, am I always going to be this color?"
I wasn't sure what he meant, so I said, "Well, yes, give or take a bit of tan. Why?"
He looked at me and said, "I was hoping for something a bit brighter."

This is the same Sebi who one morning dressed in purple pants, purple shirt, and purple sweater, and then was looking frantically for his purple socks. I kept trying to give him blue or white ones, and finally he looked at me and yelled, "Those are no good! Today I'm a Grape!"

Monday, November 07, 2005

my husband the polo player

First of all, I know, I should be working. And I will get back to work. Today was rather a bust because my better half otherwise known as my Hubby, was home. If any of you has ever tried to write a novel while sharing a room with a spouse, you will understand when I say it's impossible. It's not because he doesn't understand I need to concentrate. It's just that he can't be in the same room as I am without asking me questions about every five minutes. Or turning on the television, getting up and leaving the room and leaving the TV on, or standing right behind me, looking over my shoulder, reading what I've written in a very serious voice.

He wants attention. And since he's not home that often, I gave up and gave him some attention. Anyhow, as most of you know he's a polo player and travels a lot and is gone a lot, so I am thrilled to have him underfoot. Most people don't know what a polo player implies, except they have visions of very wealthy people galloping around on shiny little steeds called Polo Ponies (they are horses, really. Polo Pony is just what they're called.) But that is only true for a small percentage of polo players. There are the rich and famous, but they are not the professionels, they are the patrons. In fact, professional polo players are horse people, and like most people in the riding and the horse business, it's mostly living on a tight budget but we've been priviledged to live in some gorgeous places, and it's nice to rub elbows with the rich and famous, lol. My husband was 8 goals and now he's 5 goals. Ten is the best you can be, and minus two means you're just starting. It's a lot of fun, can be dangerous, and is gorgeous to watch if you ever get a chance, do go and see a game.

And hardly anyone believes I'm married to a polo player. Once when I was in the supermarket a man came up to me with a clipboard and asked if I would answer a questionaire. I said "Of course!" He started by asking how old I was. I lied, of course, and said 30. He raised his eyebrows, looked at my three kids, and said, "Is that your real age?" I said no, and added two more years. He still didn't believe me so I said, "Well, put down 39, it's close enough." He did, sighed, and asked me if I had any children. I pointed to my three. He put that down on the paper. Then he looked at me and said, "What does your husband do?" Well, that was an easy one. I gave him a big smile and said, "He's a professional polo player."

The man stared at me for a minute. Then he took the paper off the clipboard and tore it right down the middle. "If you're not going to tell the truth, you shouldn't have agree to the questionaire," he snarled, and stomped away, leaving my three kids howling with glee, and my face bright tomato red.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Argentine Lover

I just got news from my publisher that The Argentine Lover - a steamy story of love & polo is now available in paperback! You can get it from Amazon.com or major bookstores

Don't hesitate - it's a great, tender love story and it's got the famous rubber scene in it!
(You want to get it just for the rubber scene, lol)

Thursday, November 03, 2005

How not to work

First of all, I started out with the best intentions. The road to Hell, as you all know, is paved with these. I started work at 8 a.m. and at 10:30 I took a much needed break and took a long walk - it was a sunny, blustery day, the perfect walking day. So off I went - and I didn't get back until lunchtime. After lunch I got some e-mails asking me about a website and newsletter I'm helping with. So I started working on those - and websites are demanding critters. This one had me working all afternoon, but that was OK - I had to take my daughter to the dentist so my procrastinating time was limited.
Or so I thought.
On the way to the dentist office, I found a lost puppy in the middle of the road. The funny thing is - it is the second time I found this puppy - so I stopped and picked her up. But I had to go to the dentist before bringing her back to the vet (who would call her owner - her owner having an unlisted phone number). I would have taken the puppy to her home, but although I knew the person's name, I didn't know their number or address.
Anyhow. While at the dentist with my daughter I called the vet and told her I'd bring the dog right over.
And when I got back out to my car - the dog had eaten my stick shift.
(stop laughing. It's not funny yet.)
I drove to the vet's and she came and got the dog and said that the owner's insurance would pay for the stick shift, and that she would give the owner my telephone so she could call me and thank me.
All this was infringing on my writing time, you realize. My daughter and I get home, I make dinner, then decide to glue my stick shift back together somewhat so I can drive with it. So I get some superglue. (OK, now you can start laughing.) It was dark, the light in my car doesn't work, and I got superglue all over my fingers.
Now I have to unstick my fingers from the stick shift, find the top of the superglue (of course it's black) and make dinner.
And get the glue off my fingers.
It's still hard to type.
Anyhow. The dog's owner called me and thanks me - and talked to me for 45 minutes I am not kidding. I washed the dishes, cleaned the kitchen, redid my desk calendar for November, and redecorated the living room while this lady told me of her doggie woes. Seems this is not the second time the dog has run off. Seems dog runs off every day.
I somehow refrained from telling her the obvious, and listened for 45 minutes going 'hmmmm' and 'ohhhh?' when there was a pause. All this to be nice to make sure she gives me her phone number and agrees to pay for my stick shift. Patience paid off. I am invited for 'cocktails' with the runaway dog's owner - and I just have to bring the bill - I'll get a check. No need to do the insurance thing. Fine with me.
I somehow broke a nail in this whole story (not sure where - prying the dog off my stickshift maybe - or carrying the beast into the vet's office...) and 'whaaaa' it hurts *sniff* to type.
Well, I'm blogging so the pain is obviously bearable. But is it bearable enough for fiction? Will I be able to lose myself in the story and type type type without my heroine rubbing her hand or the hero blowing on his fingers all the time???
The Answer in the Next Blog Episode...

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

OK back to work

I have a novel to turn in for December so I have to get cracking.
I have the beginning. I know the end. But what the Heck is going to happen in the middle??
It's a mystery I can't wait to solve. For those who wonder how to write a book, I say, 'There are no rules - Just write.' (Well, rules of grammar, rules about syntax, & rules about spelling that I usually ignore. ) There are 'outliners' who write copious notes and outlines before they start, which I do sometimes, and there are 'seat of the pantsers' who write from a nebulous idea. There are scenists, who write scenes and stitch them together, and there are characterisers (notice all these words I just made up) who take a character and run with him/her and make up a story based on that character.
Well, I've done all of the above. I've started stories from scenes, from characters, from outlines, and from nebulous ideas that struck my fancy.
But I've never had to hand in a whole completed novel in one month.
I might not be as prolific a poster for a while but I will keep you informed of progress!
Today Nov. 1st
Goal: 3,000 words