Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Could someone shine a light on the dark paranormal?

Dark paranormal. Everyone wants em. But I'm not sure what it is everyone wants. As a grittily determined author clawing toward first publication, it's a source of frustration.

What I think of as "dark" may be dismissed as just weird. Or too tame. Or (probably) oh-my-God-how-can-you-even-consider-putting-something-that-gross-in-a-romance-novel?

So what the heck is going through your minds, editors and agents?

  • Are you looking for the that classic noir feel, with the jaded narrative voice backed up by smoky saxophones and slow-walking baselines?

  • Are you looking for the hero and heroine to overcome life-or-death, or worse-than-death, jeopardy to find their happy ending??

  • Do you want the reader to be on the edge of her seat, wondering if the hero will win the heroine's heart or just rip out her throat?

  • Do you need one of the lovers to be a paranormal person, or can they both be human fighting a great mucking evil?

  • Are you looking for epic-poetic internal discourses about the anguish of sucking blood? (Please no, as I reader I beg you not more of that!) Or, you know, sucking anything? (This is a much better option.)

  • Or are you looking for Clive Barker-esque or Hannibal-and-Clarise-ish where the important people actually end up happily together? (Because that's what I want to read, baby.)

  • Someone deliver me from confusion!

    Monday, March 27, 2006

    Keeping the writing going

    It's a long slow slog through pages and pages of story. You just have to keep going till you get to the end, through orgasms and coitus interruptus, through sword fights and gun battles and curious fish and one blasted thing after another until you can finally write The End.

    And sometimes, you get to pull stuff out from under the bed and look it over and think: "Damn, that's still good."

    So, yeah, I mailed one of those to my agent on Friday. Let's hope other folks think it's as good as I do.

    Saturday, March 25, 2006

    Should I have an orgasm

    In my book... of course?

    I'm on tenterhooks, as you might imagine. I rewrote INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL to cut down severely on the scenes with psychics and playing cards, and to engorge the pages with sexual tension, and coitus interruptus.

    Sex gone wrong --for someone else-- is so much more entertaining to read about than sex going right, isn't it? Or do I simply have a nasty streak?

    I think IMM is a sexy book, but now it is on the editor's desk and on the way to a few of my favorite reviewers, I have started to agonize about a certain scene.

    As I've mentioned, I'm severely restricted on page count, so it's not as if I could throw pages to the wind with gratuitous sex scenes. If I were writing for an erotica line, there'd be no doubt in my mind that the hero and heroine should not miss any opportunity.

    But... oh, here's my problem... if I were on a deserted island sea shore, and the sea was cold --it usually is-- and I wasn't immensely confident about my relationship with the guy, AND I was afraid of getting seawater in my ears, I don't think I'd try to re-enact From Here To Eternity.

    Would you?

    Friday, March 10, 2006

    Did Owein have an orgasm?

    Hey all, I'm just thrilled to be invited to contribute this snobby, literary-minded, upper class blog! But I mean, really - penises being bitten by fish, phallic rhubarbs, oral sex - how's a nice girl like me supposed to keep up with all that?

    So I had to think long and hard (about 30 seconds) about the subject of my first post.

    This is what I decided: In keeping with the august literary tone of this blog, I figure there are a lot of people out there who would just love to listen in on the high-brow literary discussions that go on between an author and her editor.

    So here you have it, a real, honest to goodness recap of last week's phone conversation between me and my editor at Dorchester.

    Setting: my day job

    Time: just after lunch

    Picture this: The phone rings. It's my editor calling from Dorchester. I immediately ditch the day job to talk to her. She wants to discuss edits for The Grail King, my August Love Spell book.

    Luckily, I have the final manuscript saved on my work computer.

    "Okay," she says, "page 177. What I need to know is, did Owein have an orgasm?"

    "Um," I say, looking around wildly. There are a couple people - of the male persuasion - on the other side of the room.

    "Because," she says, "it's clear that Clara had an orgasm, but I'm not sure if Owein had his."

    "I bet you don't even blush when you say things like that," I say, blushing.

    "No, pretty much at this point I've gotten over all that."

    Since editors are busy people with no time for trivial things like false modesty, she forges right ahead.

    "Since Owein is really vulnerable to Clara's psychic power just at the point when he reaches his orgasm, I think it's important to make sure the reader knows that it happened for him right here, before you go into the flashback."

    "Um," I say again. "Okay." I eye the guys on the other side of the room. "Let me think about that and get back to you."

    "All right, good. Now, on page 295..."

    So I go home and print out the orgasm passage. I don't know about other writers, but I really like to see the words on an actual sheet of paper rather than on the computer screen.

    It's a nice scene, I think. Owein has been trying to shield himself from Clara's psychic ability to see inside his mind. He's got some nasty stuff in his past that he just doesn't want to face. At the same time, Owein hasn't had sex in two years, so he's REALLY hot for some action.

    Unfortunately, when Owein has an orgasm, he can't keep Clara out of his mind.

    I realize my editor is right (of course) - I have to make it clear that Clara has made Owein lose control of both his body and his mind. After all, that's a romance heroine's job, right?

    Here's the original passage:

    Her passion broke. His fingers moved on her, sharpening her pleasure. A sob tore from her throat. Her body convulsed as she gasped his name.

    The sound echoed in his soul.

    Here's what I add:

    It caught him and pulled him with her. Sensations expanded, until he could no longer keep them within. His pleasure broke, shattering what was left of his emotions. The door to his heart splintered.

    Next line:

    And suddenly, he felt her there, inside.

    I was pretty happy with that. I sent it on to her the other day. Hope she likes it!

    Blog with you later,


    Thursday, March 09, 2006

    About that penis bitten by a fish

    I want to thank Brenda for the comment on an earlier thread... does he have to wank?

    After mature consideration,
    I decided that if the heroine was examining the penis for fish tooth indentations, that would be exciting enough considering all the things the hero could think about. That saved a paragraph!

    I sent the manuscript in to my editor yesterday. It was 404 pages including the blank final page that said only The End.

    The book is INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL, it is scheduled for February 2007.

    Wednesday, March 08, 2006

    It's About the Treatment of Women

    A Public Service Announcement:


    Sunday, March 05, 2006

    Cute Advertising Ploy

    Hi all,

    I was cyber-chatting with Joy Nash and she directed me to her site.
    She'd done a cute advertising ploy, a psuedo-interview with her characters.
    I thought: WHAT A GREAT IDEA! Especially since my www.dellishchronicles.net is sort of geared toward a neo-reality. (Have you all read Jago's welcome letter to new recruits?)

    Anyway, I thought this was a great idea and thought to share, with Joy's permission of course.


    Wednesday, March 01, 2006

    stasis-- a way to get off the pot...boiler

    Sorry to be clinically crude....

    I'm eight days from my submission deadline for a 100,000 word story (that I've been asked to cut to nearer 80,000 words).

    Cutting left me with about 16 pages of disjointed story points and lines of dialogue or internal dialogue that I simply have to retain. I've been blocked on what to do about it for over a month.... a precious month.

    Today--already!--, I realized that I should try putting some of it in the heroine's point of view, even though it was counter intuitive because the hero was eavesdropping on the heroine chatting with a hooker... yes, about his strange looking dork.

    I had a boring but important preamble to the fish bites penis action scene, and I could not, as I've said, figure out what to do with it.

    Eureka! It adds immense depth.... the heroine wants to be overheard!

    What a really good rotorooter when you're stuck on the potboiler.

    Best wishes,