Saturday, January 24, 2009

Good news! My editor has accepted my newest manuscript, tentatively titled Stress Relief. She's done her first read-through and is now going through it paragraph-by-paragraph and making her notes; she'll send it to me when she's done. Then I go full-blast into rewrite/edit mode and with any luck, we'll have a finished piece by the end of Februrary. After that, it's in the publisher's hands and comes out in their first available release slot. So keep your fingers crossed and maybe it will be published by this summer :) .

This is a newsy post, I guess -- since I have many plates in the air right now. Remember those plate-jugglers on the Ed Sullivan show (yes, I know. I've just dated myself)? That's what I feel like right now. I have a Second Life Valentine's Tour of readings, I've already begun a new manuscript, I'm recording some short stories for audio release, and am reworking an older set of stories for retelling in a brand-new way. You know me -- always keeping busy! Read on for details.

While finishing Stress Relief, I bowed out of Second Life for a while. Needed to concentrate on getting that puppy finished. But I'm back now, giving occasional readings in two sims for January. Come February, I have a five-stop tour planned to read my Lovestories -- a collection of short pieces (some erotic, some sweet romance). As a part of this I'm writing a new piece to add to the body of work. At the moment I have five in the rotation; this will give me six.

Connected to that is the audio recording. Since these stories exist nowhere for publication and several people have asked for copies, I've decided to keep them "in the air" as Taylor Mali would say and offer them as audio stories. I recorded a few over the summer and am now finishing them up. My wonderful songwriter husband is creating music for the opening and closing tags and is working as my producer on the project. Won't be fancy -- my "recording studio" is my study and our "mixing board" is the computer. But it's amazing what a home system can produce nowadays! My goal is to have them finished and available by Valentine's day.

Yes, you did read that I already have another work in progress. This is a shorter piece (novella length) that will be offered under a different name to a different publisher. Ellora's Cave does not publish hardcore stories and this will be my second venture into some of the VERY dark undertones of BDSM. Since it isn't a "typical" Diana Hunter book, I write with a different psuedonym. Endings aren't necessarily Happily Ever After and the sex isn't always consensual in these books, so beware! That should be finished by the end of February and off for consideration to a strictly BDSM publisher.

And then there's the last project, which will take the longest to see light, I suspect -- simply because of its complicated nature. Two years ago I started a serial in SL called As the SL World Turns. The theory behind it was to present a series of stories with different leading characters in each thread. The threads would interweave and separate as the characters wandered around SL meeting new people, seeing new sims, having new adventures. At first, I bit off more than I could chew and planned for a new adventure every two weeks. But RL has a way of saying, "What are you thinking? You have other responsibilites, you know!" So I went down to one new adventure a month. And then one every two months...and you get the picture.

If I didn't have a full-time job on top of all the writing ideas/projects I have, I think it would have worked. But I just couldn't devote all the time to it that I wanted and so it has died a slow death. This week I pulled it out of SL, taking down all the episodes while I thought it through.

Another way of telling the story has come to me, you see. A more interactive way. I've always been intrigued by the hypercard idea, ever since I first worked with a Mac back in the late 1980's. Telling a non-linear story definitely intrigued me. Then I played Myst...and got hooked on the idea. But until now, I couldn't figure out the right medium. I'm not a visual artist (at all!) and I can't write code (there's a reason people refer to it as a foreign language!). I only have words and like it or not, words are read in linear form. So how to break out of that?

I think I've got it now. I'm starting with the threads of As the SL World Turns, renaming it As SL Turns (I think), and going interactive with it. There will be a central starting spot (in SL) but several "colors" one can choose from. Each color is a different character. Won't matter which one you pick or what order you go in. At the end of the notecard is a link -- a place to teleport to for the next episode. Or perhaps several links, depending on what you, the reader, want to do next. Think the "choose your own adventure" books. Only here you can actually wander through the places where the story takes place.

Okay, I'm rambling now :). Lots of plates in the air -- let's hope I can keep them all spinning!

Play safe,

Monday, January 12, 2009

I made the mistake of reading some blogs this past week I shouldn't have read and I'm afraid that put me off writing for a while. Sort of like getting the taste of sour milk in your mouth and then not being able to eat anything 'cause it all tastes bad. I won't link to the blogs I read as I don't want to perpetuate the flaming and overall bad manners on display.

But it did get me to thinking about professional behavior, blogging and trolls. Trolls by their very nature are "gotcha" kind of people. For whatever reasons, they get their jollies from poking and prodding and finding one's sensitivities, then blowing them wide open. While I don't understand their motives, their actions are clear, as are their results. Far too often they succeed in making someone show their vulnerable side so they can then rip it apart. Paparazzi and blog trolls are cut from the same cloth.

Professionals, of course, rise above the fray and don't get involved. Ha! Easy to type, not so easy to do. I pride myself on my professionalism in my day job and like to think I bring a lot of that to my writing career as well. Was I sore tempted to jump in and make a soothing comment or two this past week? Of course I was. But I didn't. My cooler, professional side prevailed and I closed the window I'd opened before I could post a reply.

There's no point, you see. The trolls will circle and taunt and wait for one to break from the herd, then pounce. So any sane and sensible words I might have offered would only have succeeded in giving them more opportunity to try and lure someone out. Maybe even me.

Do I sound snobbish with this post? I suppose so. Because while I firmly believe in everyone's right to their own opinion, I also believe that where their civility ends, my rights begin. No one should have to put up with rudeness, no matter how much I might disagree with their comments. So I will be polite to the trolls, not because I think I'll change their behavior, but because I will not sink to their level of vicious behavior.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Good morning. I'm afraid this isn't going to be one of those cheery, let's-make-this-the-best-year-ever New Year's posts. While I'd love to sound the trumpet of optimism (I really am a glass half-full kinda gal, honest), this article has had me steaming for the past few days.

It seems Britian is considering a bill that would regulate pornographic images and ban those deemed too "extreme." They go on to define "extreme" as: "grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise of an obscene character" -- words so general as to mean nearly anything. I've seen some pretty obscene pictures of carrots in my time -- would those be banned along with pictures of naked humans? In order to make sure this won't be the case (your carrot pictures will remain safe to keep), the bill further stipulates that the regulation covers pictures of any acts that are life-threatening, or acts that appear likely to result in harm to a person's genitals or breasts.

Getting the picture? The BDSM community in Britian is outraged and with good reason. The article details much of the controversy and I won't insult your intelligence by repeating it all here. But there is another aspect of this bill the Huff Post article doesn't take into account: the written word.

Once censorship begins, it rarely stops at the first bill to pass legislation. The people who want to remove choice from our lives only look around for the next target after the first one is passed. The leap from banning images that detail BDSM activities to banning books that contain BDSM activities is not a large leap at all. And from there? Would those who want the ban go so far as to try and outlaw all BDSM activity as well? The steps are precariously small from photography to stories to activity.

As avid readers of my books already know, I'm fascinated by the D/s dynamic, especially as it relates to male Doms and female subs. Every one of my stories explores some aspect of BDSM and most include some sort of bondage. EVERY bondage activity can result in potential harm, EVERY D/s activity can lead to physical danger, EVERY sado-masochistic activity can result in trips to the emergency room. That's why I'm always touting the TPE (Total Power Exchange) mantra of "Play safe, sane and consensual" both in my books and in life. The BDSM community as a whole understands responsibility -- and if people want to swap pictures about what they do, I just do not understand why others find it necessary to care.

To be fair, the couple behind this push in Britain lost their daughter to a careless decision on the daughter's part. She chose to play with a man who was neither safe nor sane. I truly am sorry for their loss and my heart goes out to them. But please do not color an entire community by the actions of one individual. Censoring is never the answer.

Have a happy New Year -- and PLAY SAFE!