Tuesday, April 26, 2016

An Outlandish Post

Started this post a while back and got sidetracked. Revised and here it is now.

Long-time followers of my blog know I'm a big fan of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. With the advent of the Starz series, even more people have fallen in love with Jamie and Claire and the world they inhabit. And it's pretty obvious Ron Moore, the showrunner for the series, is also a fan, based on tiny touches we've seen that allude to events several books away from where they are now.

There are several fan groups dedicated to the books, the series, or both and one of the recurring ideas that pops up is the wish that Jamie could travel forward to Claire's time. It's an established protocol in the books that he cannot. He does not "hear" the stones the way Claire (and others) do, and I, for one, am glad. He's her anchor in time, her North Star that remains fixed and grounds her. He needs to stay put for reasons outlined below

SOME SPOILERS FROM HERE, so if you're watching the series or haven't read past Dragonfly in Amber, you may want to stop here!!!

Claire leaves her time in 1968 to go back to Jamie. Even if she could bring him back, what time would they return to? The last time she made the jump, she'd lost three years of present time (because she'd spent those three years of her life in the past). This time, she's been there a little over twelve years. Should she step back through the stones now, she'd arrive in 1982 (yes, I know 1968+12=1980, but Diana G. seems to have set up an extra two years in the jumps. This site has a great timeline of events if you want to see).

Besides hairstyles and clothing and the adjustment of some political parties, 1982 isn't all that different from 1968. There haven't been major technological advances, although medicine has made great advances in vaccines. Of course, Claire understands what a vaccine is and the use of them wouldn't surprise her.

So really, her coming back to 1982 wouldn't be such a big deal. The Apple IIe is still a year away from hitting the market, as is the first commercially available cell phone (I have a story about that, but will tell it some other time). There are Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) that are available, but only a few thousand are using them (Diana Gabaldon being one!). The explosion of computer technology will happen within a year of Claire's (and, ostensibly, Jamie's) return.

And then what? Claire might adapt to the changing technologies but she's 50 years old in 1968, which means,if she were alive, right this minute? She'd be 98 years old. How many 98 year-olds do you know who do well with smartphones, computers, ATM's?

And Jamie? We love him because he can handle every situation. Not always with grace, but certainly with panache. He loves hard, lives hard, fights hard. Can you see him anywhere in the 21st century? There is no place for him and he'd end up useless and pitied.

No, leave Jamie in the past where he's the man I've come to love. I mean the man readers have come to love. :) Don't bring him forward - and leave Claire in the past as well. Let her be the heroine, saving lives and having adventures. I do NOT want to think of either of them sitting in a nursing home watching the world go by.

All this is a long way of saying, trust the author. Let her move her characters as she envisions them. Fan fiction has a place, but leave them in their own time period.

Rant over. :)

Play safe,
a different Diana LOL

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Sales slumps

As with any business, sales slumps come with the territory. In publishing, genres seem to come and go in waves of popularity. While Romance as a category always sells well, the divisions within it change. Westerns are popular for a while, then Scottish Highlanders. Erotica will sell, then everyone's writing steamy sex scenes and the backlash goes to sweet romances or shapeshifters. Or paranormal. You get the drift.

My sales numbers have plummeted over the last six months. Partly that's because I only had one new title (Winter Break) but even that book hasn't done as well as past titles. It's no secret Ellora's Cave is behind in their royalty payments - I eagerly check each week to see if maybe this will be the week they catch me up, but it hasn't happened yet. Soon, I'm sure. They took a chance on me and gave me my start. It is my fervent wish they find their footing and keep going. But even the royalty statements I have gotten show sales for some titles in the single digits for the first time ever.

I suspect the erotica market is now glutted and finding new readers isn't as easy as it used to be with all the authors now choosing to self-publish. The first titles I released on my own did wonderfully well. The last ones? Not so much.

To be honest, I'm starting to grow a bit bored writing erotica, myself. I had a lot of fun with it and am happy to have written as many books in the genre as I did. But it isn't only the marketplace's tastes that change - writer's appetites do, too.

To that end, I've been challenging myself lately, writing in several styles, just for fun. I've written a short story in the Action/adventure genre, several non-fiction travel pieces, and an epic fantasy (that's currently taking up much of my time!).

This isn't to say there won't be more Diana Hunter stories. Hot sex is still fun to write on occasion but honestly? Mystic Shade outsells Diana. You're more likely to see more stories from Mystic than Diana, especially after the egg laid by Winter Break (still don't know if people who bought it liked it or not. Please leave reviews!!!! Good or bad, it's the only way we writers get feedback).

Sales are in a slump and the way out for me is to keep writing. Even one book sold is one more reader touched by the story I've written and that doesn't suck. Reading back on this, it sounds pretty depressing and I don't mean it to be. Waves happen in business. The trick it to keep going. If I stop writing all together? Then I'll never find that next wave to ride, and I'd hate to miss the fun. So don't worry - there will be more books, more stories, more genre to choose from.

In the meantime, play safe - and leave a review!!! :)