Thursday, August 31, 2006

Say It With A Flair

Visit Bernita's An Innocent A-blog for part 2 of her mini-series on... well, the vernacular. It's an interesting perspective just from the view point that words describing various erotic body parts have been around for centuries, as has been the need to 'put it politely', or as we in the writer's world might say, in 'purple prose'. These words aren't purple though, they're simply ultra-violet.

Whether it's for mainstream, or erotica, for writer's seeking to broaden their expression of female genetalia this list is a must read.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

What's Your Style?

Style is a funny thing. It's something you can't really shake even if you try. It is the voice that comes from inside you no matter what story, genre, or type of character you're writing.

For instance, me, I tend to be 'sweet'. My stories, no matter how horrific, or thrilling (and some are) still have a general overtone of sweetness mixed with a slight humor. Some, if not bent toward the horror, or thriller genres are downright sugary, and some are heavier on the humor depending, but regardless, they all have a certain happiness underneath. Maybe it comes from my general happiness in real life. Perhaps those authors with extreme pain in their writing have that general outlook on life due to circumstances. Or, maybe I should just lay off the sugar I put in my coffee.

Another author I know, TC Allen, has a style that can probably best be described as 'Dawgpatch meets the x-files'. His brand of blatant tongue-in-cheek humor is evident no matter if he's writing about vampires, street vixens, or ghosts from the past. He's the perfect fodder for comedian Jeff Foxworthy who would probably say... 'You might be a redneck if...you love TC Allen's novels.' Of course, he lives in Oklahoma, so maybe that's where it comes from.

What's your style? Do you see an underlying theme, or emotional feeling in your work regardless of genre? Do you like it, or do you try to fight it to mold your writing into something different from what comes naturally to you?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Yahoo-My Big Announcement--FINALLY

It's on now!


Finally, after a year-long hiatus from publication, and another roughly year-long wait through acceptance, and then editing, and finally publication, COMPUTER GAMES is on-line now! Just released a few minutes ago in fact.


The fingers were burning in anticipation of announcing this.


So here we go:

LADY AIBELL PRESS--COMPUTER GAMES

Daria has a secret lover with dark secret of his own that she cannever reveal, except to a fanatical few on-line who would love tobelieve the fun-loving chat room joker was telling the truth.

Excerpt:

"Ha ha, very funny. Tell them you'll be back later." He smiled, andpinched through the cotton. He watched as she wiggled, laughing,squirming, trying to ignore the impossible-to ignore fingers thatworked their way around her breasts. "Tell them, or I'll have tothrow you over the desktop and do you while you type." He pushed herforward until she was on her feet and he threw back her chair, whichglided on its casters halfway across the room.

Standing behind her, he caressed her back as she continued to type; now it was a competition to see if it would be possible for her tocontinue her on-screen conversation while he worked his magic behindher. His hands slid up under her shirt and ran back down her sides,thrusting her jogging pants to the floor in one swift motion. Hesqueezed her bottom and she moaned, but kept on typing andcontinuing the conversation as if nothing out of the ordinary washappening. Of course, to be completely correct, this wasn't exactlyan unusual situation.

Just another one of their games.

Thanks for checking it out!

The Lady Is Calling

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

Lady Aibell Press, a division of Chippewa Publishing LLC is conducting an open call for submissions.

What we are looking for:

Shifters (were-whatever)
Sci-Fi/Futuristic
May-December romance
Cowboys

Be sure to check our website for all of the different categories --

Oh, and don’t forget HOT. Turn up the heat on these puppies and get them cookin’.
Lady Aibell is an erotic little nymph, and she wants to see things steamy.

All orientations acceptable, the Lady bears no prejudice.

Check out our submissions page at: http://ladyaibell.com/bookstore/information.php?info_id=4

The Lady is calling you!

While you’re at it, mark your calendars and come chat with the editors of Lady Aibell on September 03, 2006 from 7 pm to 9 pm (central time) at the Lady Aibell Press website here: http://ladyaibell.com/bookstore/information.php?info_id=22&osCsid=df0a4e7b44e598ba052e901852fb3196 in our live chat room.

Get to know us, our company, and what we’re looking for first hand.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Black and Blue Berry

No, I didn't copy the link. In fact, I didn't even go read the article, but the headline on Yahoo this morning stunned me silly. Workers contemplating sueing their bosses because they've become addicted to their Blackberries. It seems that because they are 'forced' to carry these little contraptions around 24/7 in order to be 'connected' at all times to their jobs, these poor slobs are now addicted to their computer aides.

Ahem... well, I don't need a Blackberry. I don't even need my job which does keep me glued to this electronic contraption pretty darned close to 24/7 in order to consider myself completely addicted to the technology that allows us such constant access to each other.

I do find it quite funny (in a very sad way) that our society is so 'sue-happy' that we can come up with something like this to sue over.

I doubt that any person capable of becoming addicted to that little pocketbook connection really needed their bosses goading to do it in the first place. Just look at all the folks with cell-phones permanently pasted to the sides of their heads...

People, we don't need an excuse, and quit trying to tie up the legal system in order to pocket some spare change just because the Internet is fun!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Perfect Character

In a perfect world, perfect people would skip about merrily. This isn’t a perfect world, however, and there are no perfect people. One pitfall to avoid in developing characters is the trap of making the ‘good guys’ always GOOD, and the bad guys always BAD.

The fact is, even good guys have bad habits, do the wrong thing at times, and make stupid decisions. And even a bad guy can have a soft spot, do things nice, etc. Human beings are way to complex to make it such a clear definition. In fact, in order to build a really great ‘bad guy’ giving his motives, and actions reason that would seem understandable to others if they were to look at it from ‘his point of view’ makes them even stronger as characters.

Another pitfall is to play out the story line the way the hero, or heroine would like it to be played. Being humans, we’d all like things to go our way… they rarely do however, and that’s what makes life (and stories) interesting.

Put the screws to your good guys. Make them work for the things they want. This is true, but even harder, in novellas, and I see too many examples of the ‘easy way’ taken in those. Treat them the same as any novel. The best way to bring out the character of your characters is to give them more to do than smile all the time.

Ah… the next point. Those little smiley tags.

“I just love what you did with that window.” She smiled.
“This is just a wreck!” he said smiling.

Give me a break, no one smiles as much as we have a tendency to make them do in print. Okay, I do, she said as her lips twisted into a wry smile.

Make those little emotion tags work for you. Wry smiles, twisted smiles, forehead-furrowing frowns, give all the emotions more impact than, she smiled, he frowned. Work your characters to their fullest. If he smiles, it better be a reasonable response. If his world is crashing down upon him, and he’s smiling, I’m not going to read the book any further, I’m going to call the psyche ward and have him committed.

What are some of the ways you make your characters come through in your stories? What little tricks do you use to make them come to life? How hard are you on those you love the most (your darlings)? Turn up the heat, and make them sweat… and don’t let them smile while you do it!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Don't Give Up On Me, Baby

Sorry, it was the only song title I could think of, that fit.

Don't loose faith, I'm not deserting the ship here. Don't leave me now. I have not quite gone missing, or reverted to my old abandoned blog days. It is just taking me a day or so to rein in the new job. There was a bit more of a learning curve than I'd imagined (hey, this actually IS work!) Plus a few quick deadlines that jumped up to smack me the moment I took the desk. I haven't forgotten you guys here though.

Plus, I am kind of waiting with baited breath to be able to make a new little announcement. Heehee. So keep checking in. I'm still around, and I'm sure if you look about you'll find some coffee still brewing here or there.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Pause For Station Identification

CHECK IT OUT!

Tami Parrington
Executive Managing Editor, Lady Aibell Division


Yep, that's right. Yours truly was offered the position of Executive Managing Editor of Chippewa Publishing's erotic division Lady Aibell Press a few days ago. I've been sitting on my hands to keep from announcing it prematurely, but the contracts were signed yesterday after a long discussion with the President of Chippewa--and it was posted on the Lady Aibell website staff page this morning!

Many of you know I've been an editor at Chippewa/Lady Aibell for some time now, but this is such a great honor, and I'm so thrilled.

I look forward to working with all the great editors on an even more intense basis than I do already, and helping to make Lady Aibell an even stronger force in the publishing community.

Okay, back to your regularly scheduled programing.

Exploring The Path

One of my author’s had an interesting topic on his blog the other day. So thanks J.H. Bogran for this idea. He spoke about the necessity of research in all forms of fiction if you don’t have intimate first hand knowledge of a situation.

He brought up the write what you know theory, and how you can make it seem like you are doing just that if you do the appropriate amount of research—and he’s right.

The Internet has provided many pitfalls to business, and artistic communities, but it has also provided some of the greatest benefits to artists since its inception. One of those many benefits is the ability to explore in a very wide scope, very quick, and very completely.

One of my favorite forms of research, although quite possible pre-Internet era, is so much easier now, it’s much cheaper now too, which makes it even better.

The Interview.

If I have a subject that I need to delve into with great detail, or have the background knowledge to write about it, details or no, without sounding like a complete fool, my favorite way to gain that knowledge is to talk to people who do know. People involved in that line of work, or that lifestyle.

Finding them can be a trick at times, but here again, the Internet pops up with the perfect solution. I google the topic. Find forums, or email groups that concern themselves with said lifestyle, or job skill, and dive head first in and announce my intentions.

“Hello, I’m a novelist working on such-and-such a story, and I need 1st hand information from those involved in the field of ‘whatever’. Anyone interested can contact me at myemailaddress@me.com . Please let me know what your qualifications are, and if you would be willing to set up private chats via yim or aim in addition to any email correspondence as that would be a great help."

This method has never failed me.

Oh sure, you get some crack-pots (depending on the fields, or lifestyles you’re interested in) but you get a pretty good idea of that from their initial responses, and weed them out thusly.

I’ve had interviews that took place solely via email, and were quick send a form with questions, receive the answers, and you’re done type affairs, and I’ve had long drawn out messenger conversations that lasted intermittently for weeks.

In the past this form of investigation could cost quite a bit of money if the subjects weren’t close at hand. Even if they were nearby, it took a lot more effort, and time, not to mention most likely some money. Thanks to the Internet, none of those factors are an issue any longer for those who wish to use one-on-one interviews as a form of research. If you haven’t tried this form of research before, I highly recommend it. It’s fun, and very successful for gaining insight into unknown areas.

What’s your favorite type of research? I’m always interested in learning how everyone does this very important task. Do you prefer the solitude of reading about the things you’re researching, or do you like one-on-one contact?

Friday, August 18, 2006

New Beginnings

I don't do this often, but I'm so excited about a new series I'm working on that I just had to share and see what comments you guys would have about it. This is the beginning page from the first in the series called SEX, DRUGS, AND ROCK N' ROLL--DOWN POISON (by Tammy Lee)

I hope you like it.

DOWN POISON

Cindy languished in bed with her hand running across the smooth, soft sack of her lover’s balls. She loved touching them, squeezing them, almost as much as he loved her doing it—a fact he assured her of often enough she knew it to be true. He moaned as she moved her fingers in a slow, tantalizing arch through the wiry hair that wound about her fingers in an effort to trap them in their lair. Waiting for her, begging for attention, the steel hard tower of muscle stood before the playing field of her grip.

Long nights took their toll too often lately, and Randy tossed in his sleep, leaving her hand empty. Cindy pushed a ragged shard of anger off, and made an attempt to smile at the sleeping form still huddled under a pile of blankets. “Fine then, later for sure,” she said as got up, and staggered to the bathroom.

There scrawled in her favorite shade of lipstick ‘Will you love me if I’m crazy?’ splashed a vibrant cherry message across the vanity mirror. She looked over her shoulder, down the hall, at the open door of the bedroom. “Stupid man.” What did he take her for, some one-night road bimbo?

With hair and teeth appropriately brushed, Cindy trudged across the narrow hallway to another open door and ignored the mess that awaited her as she slumped into a chair in front of her ancient wooden desk. She pulled out a pad and scribbled a note to herself—reminding her to scold the man-child sleeping in their bed. Then, just as quickly as she’d penned it, she crumpled the page and tossed it into the can.

What good would it do? He listened, he nodded in apparent understanding, then he sucked down a bottle of liquid lightening, inhaled a pound of powder, and basically did everything in his power to avoid life, and run with open arms into hell before sprawling in wild debauchery across his skins

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Joyfully Reviewed Has An Anniversary Gift For You

Melissa and I can’t believe that it has been a year since Joyfully Reviewed opened it’s doors.
We would like to share our success with all of our supporters. Welcome to our 1st Anniversary Blowout Bash!!!!!

WE HAVE PRIZES GALORE - THE AUTHOR RESPONSE HAS BEEN OVERWHELMING.

There are e-books, print books, promo items to be won and excerpts, oh my.

What does one have to do in order to become eligible and win any of these said prizes?

JOIN US at Chatting With Joyfully Reviewed, 8/14 - 8/31 and Look for my "Prize Posts"

Be a member of Joyfully Reviewed's Chat Group. Your name will be put into the hat ONCE. (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Chatting_with_Joyfully_Reviewed)


Click to join Chatting_with_Joyfully_Reviewed

Be a member of our Chat Group AND Joyfully Reviewed's Archive Group. Your name will be put into the hat TWICE. (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/JoyfullyReviewedArchives)

Be a member of our Chat Group AND Our Archive Group AND Post ANYTIME during our Anniversary celebration
(except for a Publisher chat day). Your name will be put into the hat THREE times.

Spread The Word!!!!!! It is going to be a Blast! Some of your favorite Authors will be dropping by, posting excerpts,
information about themselves, their books or just to say hi to their fans.

Note: If you are an author and would like to donate books (e-books or print) and/or promo items/ bookmarks, please email
Joy at Greeneyez2340@aol.com or Melissa (Melissa@JoyfullyReviewed.com)

Joy & Melissa
Owners - JoyfullyReviewed.com

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Reality BYTES

Living in a world full of mayhem, and murder, you’d think that as a public we’d want our entertainment to take us away from all that. In a not-to-distant past, we did, and movies, and television were wonderful respites (except for the nightly news that managed to restore grim reality for just a moment in time every day).

What happened? Somehow, somewhere, some crazy fellow decided that what we really needed to come home every day, after slaving away at the office, or in the fields, or cooking and cleaning, and taxing the kids around, was to sit down and watch OTHER PEOPLE DOING THE SAME THING.

I don’t know about you folks out there, but danged if I want to watch how bad someone else’s life sucks. I want to laugh. Sure, at the foibles, and pitfalls of life, but in a fun, and detached, ‘not real’ sort of way. I want things to work out good in the end. I want to be entertained, not depressed.

What’s really all that much fun about the average reality show shouting match, or backstabbing? Is it because as a people, we feel vindicated that someone else does such things TOO? Or do we just like to see others in pain, real pain?

The publishing industry, and the music, and television, and movie industry all moan about the same thing… sales are down, they are in a slump, they are dying… well they brought the damned shovel. Perhaps the Internet played a part. Its free sharing, its instant gratification, etc… but if you ask me, reality shows bite! They are the real drain on the imagination. They are what is killing people’s desire to escape into fantasy, and fiction.

Before you get ready to lynch me for my hatred of reality shows. I’m not totally immune to their powers. I’m completely hooked on Rockstar Supernova this year. I don’t miss an episode if possible. It’s a competition, true, even in some ways painful… not much backstabbing going on that I’ve been able to tell, but who knows what really goes on in that house during the week between shows. The trouble is, Rockstar is but a small speck in the massive offerings of reality. From Cops to Big Brother, nearly every station is littered with these shows on a full-scale basis. We’ve gone from wanting to escape, to diving right into the fire every night after work.

Have we lost the desire to believe in a better place?

I want to thank EA Monroe for her comment on Bernita’s blog yesterday that went: Not only sex, but fear, especially considering the times in which we live these days. I get enough fearmongering on the nightly news (and politicians). I imagine there will be a whiplash/opposite effect soon, when people have had enough of fear governing their lives and crave something more imaginative and pleasant for entertainment--for inspiring this post today. I sure hope what she said comes to pass, and that we stop craving reality, and see the value in escaping the horrible realities of our existence for something more imaginative, and pleasant as entertainment.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

For Love, Or Money

Thanks to a hum-dinger of a one-liner I read this morning, I have that phrase (or its zinging derivative) stuck in my head ... thanks a lot Bernita! Still, it started up a little thought pattern all its own.

Why do we write?

Is it for love, or money?

Of course it can be for both, but usually there's a driving force behind each individual.

The easy answer is 'I write because I can't not write'. I think it is pretty safe to say that for most of us, that's true. After all, why put ourselves through such torture if it weren't a life's necessity. But ... but ... but ... what drives us to attempt gaining publication: surely a task much more arduous than mere writing. Heck, for the most part, it's a task that begets the mother of all headaches on a daily basis.

There must be a reason we put ourselves through such torture. It can't simply be for the audience. Can it? I mean, if audience is all we truly desire, then hey, the world's our stage--or at least in the ethereal sense of the word. Thanks to the vast reaches of the world wide web, we can reach out and touch just about anyone we want to. (Hum, icky connotation alert there.)

Why is it, that it seems most artists of any type, are afraid ... even ashamed to admit that money would be nice.

We have to eat. We have to pay the same bills as the teacher, lawyer, gardener, and pastry chef has to. We have to survive in a world based on currency. So, hey, money would be nice.

What would be your honest answer to the question: Why do you write?

For me, if you stretch beyond the 'because I have to' idiom, which is true, but I can do that on a piece of scrap paper that I shove in my drawer at night if that's all it was... I'd have to say that it's for the recognition, and fame that might accompany a popular hit ... and in the end, money would be nice.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A Rose Is A Rose

Shakespeare’s immortal quote A rose by any other name, would smell just as sweet, applies in so many areas of life, and probably to the issue of pen names as much as any other. Still, names have implications. They conjure up images, willingly, or grudgingly, and spark feelings of desire, or misgiving.


Pen name, pseudonym, nom de plum, what ever you choose to call it, the goal in the past was usually the same—the hidden identity of an author. That’s not nearly quite as true now as it was in times past. Now days with the advent of Internet, and the global business card called a web site, it’s not uncommon to know the variety of names each author goes by. The goal now is more a case of separation more than cloak. Of course, there are still the few that use the nom de plum as a device with which to hide their true selves. Much more often anymore, however, it’s a matter of an author with a proclivity to produce work in several different genres, and a way to keep them sorted for the readers.


One could only assume it would be a good idea to identify your erotic writing with a name all its own, especially if you have a following for young adult, and/or Christian fiction. It’s even stronger than that, though. If you have a loyal fan base in Sci-Fi, and you pen a sappy, sweet romance… using a different name is probably a good idea. It’s not that the Sci-Fi crowd doesn’t like love. More that they expect a certain thing from you as a writer in that genre, and are likely to buy another book with your name on it, perhaps without even realizing the difference in genre, and be… well, mad. Perhaps as if it were some planned trickery on your part.


Although I’ve known a great many authors with at least one pen name, often two or more, I myself have never carried one. Maybe it’s a matter of vanity. Beyond any issues of narcissism I often find myself wondering how those with more than one name keep things straight.


Well, I’m about to find out.


Having penned my first accepted erotic story, I decided upon the use of a pen name. The one I chose was brought to mind from a favored alcoholic beverage of my grandmother’s. It was kind of a frilly drink, yet in it’s hey day, a quite socially acceptable one—Brandy Alexander.


Now, I chose that name because, quite honestly, I didn’t plan on writing in that particular genre further. It was an attempt to stretch my horizons, and broaden my skills, and I was happy with the singular success. However, as time passes, and with the release of that particular story looming in the very near future, I’ve begun to think perhaps it might be fun to write a few more. Maybe a novella, or even a full-length novel. Then, suddenly my frivolous choice of names began to weigh on me. It was a fun little nod to my long passed Granny at first (whom by the way, just adored a good bodice ripper in her time), but now I wondered if that was the name I wanted to promote on a longer term.


So I tossed, and turned, and made the decision to kill of good ole Brandy, and give the cover designer a heart attack in the process by asking her to please, pretty please change the name on the fantastic cover they’d already produced. Thankfully, the wonderful folks in our art department are both forgiving, and talented, and I’ve been assured it probably won’t be a problem.


So I’m keeping my fingers crossed.


My new name is actually not a far stretch from my actual name. I normally publish under my real moniker: Tami Parrington. However, on my birth certificate it boldly proclaims my name as: Tami LEE (now) Parrington… I’ve never really liked my middle name. However, while pondering the subject of names it seemed to me a perfect solution. My new name for this fun genre will be: Tammy Lee. Exchanging one familiar form of spelling of my first name for another, and using my middle name… mission accomplished (so long as the art department manages to complete the mission in time for final galleys).


Have you ever given thought to what names you would use if published (assuming you aren’t at the moment), or if you are now… how did you come up with the names you’ve chosen? Perhaps even more of a concern to me, how do you find handling multiple names if you write under more than one name?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Music Of Life

Music playing on MusicBox -- Get This Party Started, By: Pink.

Why am I mentioning that? Because it jogged my mind into thinking about why I can't seem to get a post started here.

Okay, I've been busy. I'm winding down to the last few chapters of edits on a cool thriller entitled: Treasure Hunt, by Jose Bogran, and I'm in the middle of an odyssey editing Terry Vinson's, American Oddities, but surely I could take a few minutes to type some words on here.

(Laugh, go ahead, because that's exactly what I'm doing... typing a few words on here.)

How many of you, though, not only use music to inspire you while you work, but gain inspiration directly from the music you've chosen?

Ideas pop in my head all the time while listening to songs--not from the actual story of the song, but a word, a line... I once wrote an entire novel from a single seed that a line of the song Kryptonite sprouted: "I took a walk around the dark side of the moon..." (Also the title of my novel. Most think of Pink Floyd--another of my favorite's--when they see the title, but it wasn't P.F.'s album that was the inspiration, rather the Three Doors Down song.)

Music plays such a huge part in my life. A song can trigger not only memories of past times, but the exact sights, smells, and sounds that accompanied the time when that song was huge in my life.

Although my musical taste is eclectic, most usually it will be 70's and 80's rock with some later work thrown in for good measure, or 80's to current country blasting away on my computer while I work.

What types of music inspire you ... and just how much of that inspiration turns into concrete themes in your work?

Monday, August 07, 2006

A Feast For The Mind

1 package active dry yeast
¼ cup warm water
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon shortening
2 teaspoons salt
5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour

Oh wait, wrong blog, those are the ingredients for bread. I love to bake—Anything from fresh bread to cakes from scratch to custards.

With every new baking project, there is a fresh set of ingredients to consider. I’ll admit I’m more of a pinch of this, and a touch of that, type of cook, but the amounts are pretty precise no matter how you measure them up. If a recipe calls for a teaspoon of sugar, I just pour a bit in my palm, and toss it in. two teaspoons of baking powder—toss it in. I’ve even been known to successfully scoop out cups of flour without the benefit of a measuring cup. Oh, I do use measuring cups; after all a ¼ cup of oil is not something you’d typically enjoy measuring by feel.

I bet by now you’re wondering what my point is. After all, you must know this has something to do with writing. You’re right.

Just like a good recipe involves particular ingredients, and careful application of amounts—so does a good story.

Things like: Structure, setting, character, conflict, and resolution.

Now each ingredient of a story, not only must be present in the appropriate amounts, they also must be handled with equal care.

When making bread, one of the most important ingredients is yeast. Yeast is a touchy animal. It’s a living thing. I won’t go into the particulars of exactly what yeast is, otherwise neither of us may ever eat another slice of bread…but suffice it to say—it lives. In keeping with its nature, it can be destroyed as well. Basically in the form you purchase it in, it’s asleep. You need to activate it using some form of warm liquid, usually either milk, or water. Now, if the liquid is too cool, the yeast will not activate. If it’s too hot, it will kill it.

Once you manage to wake it up, you have to feed it. After a long sleep, it’s a hungry beast. Yeast needs the appropriate amount of sweet feed—typically sugar, or honey to grow.

If you don’t handle the yeast with care… the bread won’t rise. Great if your Jewish, and it's Passover, but lousy if you desire a nice fluffy loaf of white bread.

It’s the same with the ingredients of a story. Care must be taken to exercise each aspect of a story so that it lives, and breathes, instead of laying flat on the page.

Structure
Each story must have a logical beginning, middle, and end.
Every piece has certain elements that make it work to the stories best advantage, and those elements can differ in styles and degrees based on the genres and author styles.

Characters
This ingredient isn’t often overlooked, but it is sometimes slighted, and not given the proper attention in creating well-rounded beings with suitable emotions, and thoughts for their part in the story. Too often, writers gloss over traits, and miss opportunities to heighten the tension of the story via the characters personalities, and inner conflicts.

Setting
This sets the mood for the story. Even with all the same characters, and general plot line, a story taking place in a dark, damp alley will have a different feel than one taking place in a sunny park on a Saturday morning.

Conflict
This is a key ingredient. Of course, most of us realize that we need a central conflict, but many writers tend to focus only on that, and forget that every circumstance will make each individual react differently, and quite possibly introduce completely different conflicts within them. One single conflict in a story may be enough to satisfy a plot line, especially in a novella, or short length novel, but exploring the offshoots of the main conflict can create wonderful subplots in longer, more complex novels.

Resolution
In a stand alone novel (one that is not part of a series), there must be a satisfying resolution. That doesn’t necessarily mean a happy ending. Depending on the genre, or individual author’s style, a happy ending may not even be desirable… but it must have closure. The problem needs to have been solved in some manner that is logical, and gives the reader a sense of finality.

As a writer develops and fine tunes his skill in using the listed ingredients, like a great chef, his creations will make mouths water.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Truth Behind The Advance

Do you ever want to whine about lousy advances from publishing houses? Are you often angry because they're so danged 'picky' about what they accept? Does it make you want to stomp your feet that big publishing corporations make gazillion dollars while you, the poor writer, survives on bread, water, and if you're lucky tuna fish?

I stumbled on a blog kept by an editor for Tor. Her blog Demystifying Publishing is wonderful, but this article that explains exactly what accounts for P&L (profit/loss) on a novel is just mind-boggling. For an enlightening read, click here for "P&L: or how books make, or don't make money". This is actually just part 1 of a 4 part series. The entire thing is fantastic, but if you even just read part one, I think you'll come away with a much better appreciation of that rejection letter, or itty bitty advance.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Who Loves Ya Baby?

As humans we all search for acceptance, even when we insist we don’t care what others think. It’s basic instinct. As writers, however, we need input—we crave acceptance of, not us, but our work. The stickler is, as we start out, finding those who can give us what we crave.

In Field of Dreams the voice said, “if you build it, they will come.” Cute, but it doesn’t work in publishing. You can write it, but that doesn’t mean the readers will come. They can’t read your writing, or buy your book, if they don’t know you exist. You can hope and pray for some heavenly intervention all you want, it just ain’t gonna happen.

So what’s a writer to do? How does he, or she, get people to come?

Okay, cover your ears if you are not prepared to hear the most profane word in the writer’s lexicon—Marketing.

Yep. Sorry folks, that’s the hard, cold truth. Publicity, marketing, and all of those things that the artist in us is adamantly against, are the only things that will bring the readers to your work.

Get Your Name Out.

Name recognition is a primary aspect of marketing. Called branding by most, it is a matter of getting your name out in front of as many folks as possible, as often as possible. It’s said that it takes a buyer seeing a name a minimum of three times before they’ll consider buying the product. (Yes, start now in thinking of your novel as a product, and your name as the identifier for that product. You are the ‘Hostess’ of the ‘Twinkie’ world in publishing.)

The Internet is a fantastic tool in the writer’s arsenal. Websites, blogs, email loops, chats, forums, signature lines in email, or on forums, all create visuals that readers see consistently.

Don’t stop at the Internet, though. There’s no reason to limit yourself in such ways. Low cost, and even no-cost business cards are readily available, as well as either ready made, or make it yourself bookmarks, and flyers. Post flyers anywhere bullitin board space is available. Give out bookmarks to libraries, schools, or, to someone you see reading a book on the train, bus, or in the park.

Business people in all walks of life are always ready with their card… you should be too. Have it handy, and ready to produce whenever someone asks you about yourself, and/or what you do.

Be Prepared To Talk.

Always be prepared to talk about writing, your stories, how you live as a writer. These things interest ordinary folks. It is a romantic notion to them, and one that we know isn’t a reality, but face it, and embrace it, normal people want to know about those of us that they consider to be living under the artistic umbrella of ‘eccentric’ and ‘artsy’. Whatever way you handle that, either by dispelling the fantasy, or giving them what they crave by weaving a world of delightful artistic debauchery, you will win an audience by the fact that they fell they’ve touched upon another realm of existence, and have a connection with its inhabitant. Nothing makes a stronger connection for a reader than seeing a book and being able to say, ‘I know him!” Or “I talked to that writer.”

Sampling.

Giving a reader samples of what they might expect from your products overall is a great way to let them decide if they like your style enough to take the plunge and purchase other works. Post excerpts from novels on your website. Post full-length short stories, or novellas as a gift on your website. Posting fulls not only gives the potential reader a complete feel for how you handle a story, but also a sense of gratification, and appreciation of your generosity.

It’s a lot of work getting your name, and your products out where they will be seen, and then acknowledged, and these are just some of the ways. It’s worth it in the long run though. So, however you do it—as Nike says: Just do it.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Even 'Guns N' Roses' Need Editors.

This link is priceless for all editors who would like a laugh at their own expense, or writers who would like to laugh at the extremes of editing.

Scan down a few inches to the article titled: Notes on"Sweet Child O' Mine,"as Delivered to Axl Roseby His Editor.

Special thanks to POD-dy Mouth for pointing out this humerous look at editing.

Place Settings

How do you set your atmosphere? It’s as important in a story as creating believable characters, and just as tricky.

It’s easy for a writer to slip into the easy way out when setting the backdrop for his/her well thought out characters.

For example: Dr. Trainlove sat upon his stool and studied the page before him. His wire-rimmed spectacles perched upon his nose, and his gray, frazzled hair sticking out at all angles.

That little paragraph tells us something about Dr. Trainlove, but not much about his surroundings. Delving deeper into his ‘place’ can give us lots of information about who he is, without having to ‘tell’ the reader who he is.

Such as: Dr. Trainlove made his way to a simple stool at the back of his study. The trip from door to stool was more like an expedition, than a trip from one end of a room to the other. Wading through papers, and stacks of books, vigilant in his effort not to upset the carefully planned disarray. Tripping on a stack of medical journals, Ivan Trainlove shoved his flimsy wire rimmed glasses up further on his nose, and twisted a gnarled finger through his gray, frazzled hair in an attempt to tame it’s unruly spikes that stuck out at all angles as he dropped to the stool, that creaked in protest. With an impatient flourish, he grabbed a single sheet of paper from the top of a precarious stack at the edge of his withered desk, and let the impact of the report sink in.

It would be easier, and more concise to simply say Dr. Trainlove’s office was a mess. It would be weak, passive, and boring though. Instead we see the office for what it is, in an active, and interesting way that portrays the character, and his quirks in a lively way.

How do you set your backdrops?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A Pain In The...

...back.

Yep, I'm officially on the crippled list. I threw my back out yesterday, so I won't be posting, or being on-line at all much today. What a hiderance these frail bodies of ours can be at times. I wasn't even doing anything that could be construed as dangerous to my back. I have troubles with it, so when I'm going to be doing something heavy, or difficult--which considering I live on a farm, is often enough--I take great pains to make sure I'm moving in an efficient way. So... I don't throw my back out doing hard stuff. Nope. All I did was throw some feed to the chickens and I'm out in the middle of the barnyard screaming for hubby to come save me.

I haven't thrown my back out in ages. Mostly because I am so careful about it. This stupid kind of throw-out happened once before, I think it was about 9 years ago. I swooped down to pick up a scarf that had fallen to the floor... back out. I was flat out on the bed for several days. Luckily this one doesn't seem quite as bad. I was pretty much down and out for the remainder of the day yesterday, but today I'm able to hobble about like a woman twice my age.

I think there should be a law against a body being able to hold its human hostage. How about you?