Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Silly me. I looked at my two weeks off from my day job for the holidays as two solid weeks of writing time. Figured I'd have tons of time between the visiting, the cleaning for guests, the cheer and the fun. By this point I expected to be half-way done with a first draft for a new piece.

Yeah. And the North Pole's not melting, too.

I spent the first week throwing spaghetti at the wall.

What? You don't know that metaphor? Let me 'splain. No, that takes too long. Let me sum up: My mother read somewhere that, in order to tell whether the spaghetti was cooked enough or not, you could take a piece and throw it at the wall. If it stuck, it's ready. If it doesn't stick, it needs to cook longer. Behind our stove there was a scrubbed spot on the wall from where my mother always tossed the piece of spaghetti. It was fun watching her fling it and taking guesses as to whether it would stick or bounce or slide.

When I start stories, I'm always reminded of my mother flinging those strings of spaghetti at that spot on the wall. I start writing fast and furiously, letting the story form on the page, getting to know the characters, discovering their troubles and, in general, just immersing myself for a few minutes in their world. If everything goes along smoothly, I keep writing, not coming up for air until I'm well over a thousand words in. That's a story that's ready to be told. It's a keeper and will get written right away.

Sometimes, however, the spaghetti doesn't stick. I'll write a few hundred words (if I'm lucky) or a few thousand (if I get suckered) before the story dries up and either the characters stop talking or the plot won't reveal itself or I just get bored with it. I have files and files of these not-done story starts and whenever it's time to start a new book, I rifle through them to see if any of them are done yet. I'll pull up each file, write a little more on it and either a) keep going 'cause it's ready to be written or b) throw it back into the pot to simmer a little longer. New York Moment and Kara's Captain both took more than one throw at the wall before they stuck, same with Submission Revealed. So I've learned never to throw out any un-cooked piece of spaghetti -- sometimes the story just needs a little more time before it's ready to reveal itself.

So I've spent the entire week throwing spaghetti. Not until Monday did a piece stick and now I'm 2000 words into it and still going. I'm aiming for novella length with this one -- a bit darker than I usually write, though. Keep your fingers crossed and your eye on the spaghetti water!

Sidenote: you'll see I added Steve Duprey's blog to my blogroll -- be sure you check out his work if you haven't done so already. He's got another post up with a tribute to his sister that's incredible.

Play safe!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Thought I'd share my favorite Christmas song with everyone. Managed to talk the composer into making a recording of it today -- Merry Christmas!


Sunday, December 21, 2008

I need to point this blog to another today. Cait Miller blogged over at Sizzling Scribes' and her point is a good one: we far too often forget those who have to work on holidays. I know I've needed emergency care on a day when everyone else has off and I'm sure some of you have, too. Cait, besides being an amazing erotica author, works as a delivery nurse in the UK and her suggestions are good ones. I know I'll be gathering a plate of cookies for the local emergency personnel this Christmas, and I encourage you to do the same. What a great way to say "thanks" to those who keep us safe when we forget to take care of ourselves.

And to all for whom tonight is a special night -- Happy Hanukkah! :)

Play SAFE!


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

An interesting article here about how romantic comedies affect our perceptions of our real, everyday relationships. As I read through the article, I was reminded of the wife of a friend of mine who complained that her husband, "didn't sweep her off her feet" anymore after ten years of marriage. When I tried to explain to her that marriage didn't work that way, that the "being swept off one's feet" emotion existed only in the early stages of a relationship, she got mad at me and yelled into the phone, "He just needs to read a good romance and he'll understand!"

That conversation has stayed with me for years. The woman ended up leaving her husband for someone new -- someone who ignited that longing to be "swept" along and I spent a great deal of time wondering if the books I wrote were somehow to blame for her poor understanding of the ups and downs of a long-term relationship.

But then I remembered that most romance books end at the altar. Those heady moments of first love, the joyous discovery of each other's foibles, each one overlooking the other's small imperfections and seeing only the greater good -- that's the part of the relationship we find exciting. That's what we want to read about. Over and over and over.

Are we, however, doing a disservice to couples everywhere? The article and study are being done in Britain (although anyone can participate in the study. I think I'm in -- I answered all 14 screens of questions only to have my Internet hang up when I tried to enter my email addy. Not sure it went through or not), but no matter where you are, the romance genre will find you. And once it does, the question remains -- when you pine after Mr. Darcy or Phillip Townsend, are you ruined for all the real men and the real work of real relationships?

Play safe,

Monday, December 15, 2008

Oh, what the heck, I'll give this a go one more time.

Give what a go? Blogging. You see, I've pretty much decided people fall into one of four categories: Those Who Blog, Those Who Comment on Blogs, Those who Barely Notice Blogs, and Those Who Don't Know What a Blog is. There might be a few middlin' categories in there, but those four cover it for me and I know I'm firmly in the second category.

Reading blogs and joining in the discussion is, for me, a great way of expressing my opinions. In Real Life (RL) I tend to be the quiet one in the corner who listens, but who, by the time she's got her sentences straight in her head, the topic's moved on. And so I remain the quiet one in the corner, keeping my opinions to myself.

But online, I can take my time -- think through my answer (and even spell check it!) before I join in. Sometimes I'll write and close the window without sending because I decide what I have to say doesn't really further the topic, but at least that's my option. I'm not cut out simply because I want the time to think before I speak. I can read the post at hand, go away and think about it for a while and then come back and express myself clearly. Definitely a plus.

So why not be One Who Blogs? Time, mostly. Blogging well takes time. And time always seems to be at a premium lately. I work full-time, write erotic novels part time (and have a straight fantasy as well as a historical that keep clamoring for my attention), I have a family I love to spend time with -- and blogging just adds one more thing to do into an already busy life.

I know, I know -- others find the time, why can't you, Diana? I have no good answer to that one. Which is why I'm giving this a go again. I'll do my best to write at least one new post a week. And if no one reads it, well, that's okay, too. It's good exercise for my mind. And if you DO read it -- leave a comment now and again? So that I know you're there? In fact, which category do YOU fall into?

Play safe,

Sunday, July 13, 2008

My turn to blog at the Scribes this week. Tough subject...but one I hold as important.

Play safe,

Thursday, July 03, 2008

I couldn't resist...and had to do Submission Revealed as well. The font I used was "Loved by the King"...and it sure shows who is king in this story! Make your own at Wordle!

I've just discovered Wordle...what a wonderful little program! Okay, so it's not so little. What you see above is the cloud tag that came out of the entire text of Secret Submission. I copied the entire text of the novel into Wordle, it picked out the most-used 75 words (discounting common words like "I" and "is") and created the above. Cool! Just click on the picture to see it in its entirety.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Friday, April 18, 2008

I've been posting this on my MySpace blog, but then thought there might be a few people who still read this one :). So here is what's going on in my world lately...

Wednesday, April 16

I managed to get to Pittsburg just fine. Got off the ramp and into real city streets and didn't have far to go...just a quick set of rights and a quick pull into the hotel loop. Right?

Yeah, right.

The first right was closed...road all ripped up as they do construction on...something. I drive around the block, only the blocks aren't square...they're at angles here in Pittsburg and so I stop and ask for directions (I'm not proud). Some very nice women on the street point out the Hilton (which is 2 blocks straight ahead so I wasn't too far off!) and I'm on my way. Pull into the loop...big sign "Valet Parking-- Full". Drat.

I unload and leave all my stuff on the sidewalk beside the bellhop's station, keeping my purse, my laptop and the projector with me. He says, "take a right and another right and the overflow garage is right there."

He was right . The garage was right where he said it would be. And it was full.

This attendant gives me directions for the NEXT garage...I drive over and it's automated and gives me a ticket. I drive up and up and up...finally find a place on the 9th level. Least I think it was a place. If not...I made my own. Parked, grabbed the purse, the laptop and the projector and hiked my way 3 blocks back to the hotel. Where my bags still sat on the sidewalk. No carts available.

So the bellhop tells me to go register and probably by the time I'm done, he'll have found a cart. Now I'm rooming with Jennifer Dunne, who came in yesterday. Only the hotel says she's a no-show. They still have her room available...one with a king sized bed. One bed. Not two. One. I take it, figuring for three nights I can deal with this. Not happily, but I can deal.

I go to my room, breathe. Take a few pics out the window (I'm on the 22nd floor...the better suites and rooms...which I don't mind at all). I grab some of my promo to put down on Promotion Lane and head back down to register for the conference. And who do I find down there? Jennifer Dunne!

Turns out she refused the room with the king-sized bed and made them switch us to a room with two beds. Only the change wasn't ever logged into their computer. So I go BACK to the front desk...tell them I need to change my room. After some confusion, they manage to figure it out.

Only all the bellhops are busy and there aren't any carts. So Jennifer and I lug all my junk from the 22nd floor...to the 6th.

In my roaming around trying to find people, I happened to be waiting on my floor for the elevator (waits can go as long as 20 min!), with a tall, muscular hunk of a model. I thought it might be...wasn't sure...he turned and I saw the tattoo on his shoulder (he wore a muscle shirt)...and I smiled. "You're John Fish," I said with particular brilliance (insert eyeroll here).

He smiled and said he was, so I introduced myself, telling him he's on my book, Winter Studs. We have a fun conversation, the elevator comes and we both ride it down to the ballroom floor and go our separate ways.

Ladies, I can tell you without embellishment, yes...he is as hunky in RL as he is on the cover of that book! He's polite, a true gentleman, and VERY easy on the eyes.

The Ellora's Cave party was fun, as always, although I was pretty tired. By the time I finished this blog post and Jennifer and I finished going over our presentation, it was one in the morning. Thankfully the beds here are comfortable. :)

Today deserves a post unto itself, and I'll write about that in a bit. Play safe!


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Okay...so the world is divided into three sets of people: those who don't know what a blog is, those who keep a blog, and those who comment on blogs. It's taken me a while to realize it, but I belong in the third category.

It's not that I can't pontificate...heck, I do that all the time! Nor is it that I can't write (I let my books speak for themselves on this one), or that I don't have the time (although that is at a premium lately). I'm afraid it really has to do with the fact that I'm just a better kibbitz-er than I am a generator.

So if you're a reader of this sometime-blog, know that I comment like heck all over the blogosphere. I DO have opinions...lots of them. They're just spread hither and yon like so many seeds scattered across a meadow. And know that, although I rarely post here, my thoughts can be found in many places. :)

All that said, there are some important dates coming up. Besides my regular schedule of in-world readings in Second Life (btw, I'm WAY over my shyness at saying particular words...and my audience doesn't seem to mind them at all!) and workshops (just finished a 12-week set of discussions and creative writing exercises and am on hiatus for April), I will actually make an honest-to-goodness, real life, live appearance at the Romantic Times Convention in Pittsburg, PA this month! I'm arriving Wednesday afternoon and will be there all week, including the Saturday booksigning extravaganza :).

While I'm there, Jennifer Dunn and I will be presenting Second Life to the uninitiated and showing other authors how it can be used for promotion. Looks to be a lot of fun :).

So I'll see you 'round the blogosphere...and play safe!