Archive for February, 2007

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What Stace had to say on Wednesday, February 28th, 2007
Here I Am

Okay, I just accidentally hit the CapsLock key, and I had to retype that stupid headline three times before I figured it out. Think I’m a little burned out? Yeah, me too.

And I’m not really sure why. Perhaps it’s a lack of caffeine. Perhaps it’s that I’m trying to write three books at once. Perhaps it’s that I’ve been so distracted and furious the last day or so by the new wave of internet piracy, and the attitude some poeple seem to have towards it. Which ranges from “Nobody reads ebooks” to…well…”Nobody reads ebooks.”

Oh, well then. If nobody reads them–aside from the several hundred people downloading them, or the thousands who buy them every week–then I guess theft of intellectual property is okay, right? It’s just some freaks who like ebooks doing it, after all. Grrr.

And what else? I am officially so tired of winter I want to rip out my hair at the roots.

The hubs and I watched Raiders of the Lost Ark last night. I hadn’t forgotten how good it is–I don’t think you forget how good a movie like that is–but I had forgotten just how good. How clever the visuals are. The use of shadows in the film, for example. Amazing. When Marion is closing up her bar, and the door opens, and we see a shadow on the wall. It’s Indiana Jones. We know it, and so does she. before he even speaks we see her shoulders fall and then tense as she recognizes him. It’s such a great moment.

Do you think it’s possible for books to bring the same sense of the visual to a reader, as it is for a movie to a viewer? Or is it never as clear, because it’s open to interpretation, or simply takes too long to describe?

I would never say I prefer movies to books. But I do think they each have their limitations.

And tis is short, and not ranty, because I really am whacked.

What Stace had to say on Monday, February 26th, 2007
Elizabeth George Hates Me

Okay. This is very emotionally disturbing for me…so cut me a little slack as I get hysterical later.

You guys know how I feel about readers, and readers being God as far as I’m concerned, and blah blah blah. You also know that I have said publicly, right here on this blog, that characters belong to writers and they know them better than readers do.

Well, as Ben Franklin said, a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

Because I’ve been thinking of this a lot lately. See, in the comics world, reader loyalty is a big deal. reader opinion can actually change stories. While this may not always be good, I think in a series it is a good thing. And perhaps I’m not as inconsistent as I originally thought because really, despite the enormous popularity of Hannibal Lecter, Thomas Harris wasn’t strictly writing a series.

But series are different. Readers get very, very emotionally involved in the lives of ongoing characters in books. You introduce someone in one book and they die in the next? Well, yeah, that’s sad. You introduce someone in one book, marry her to the MC of the book, and then have her brutally murdered while eight months pregnant, thirteen fucking books later? And then, as a sequel to that soul-destroying carnage, you write a sequel book about the kid who committed the brutal murder, and what he did before committing said murder? 400 pages of this shit?

You, my friend, must hate me.

Elizabeth George? She hates me.

You must understand. It isn’t just how awful the senseless death of a pregnant woman makes us instinctively feel (Lacey Peterson, anyone?) It isn’t just that the murdered woman was someone we all liked and trusted from the first page of the first book, someone we thought of as a friend, someone whose happiness we were pulling for. Or that in marrying her, her husband seemed to finally be coming into his own again and growing up.

It’s that once we discovered she was pregnant, we had to wait FOUR GODDAMN YEARS, breathlessly anticipating the birth of the baby, wondering what it would be, wondering how our intrepid detective would deal with having a vulnerable baby at home. Eagerly we sat through one volume of self-written short stories, one nonfiction book about writing, and one volume of short stories written by other people edited by Elizabeth George. We plodded on through a not-very-satisfying book about irritating minor characters, all the while thinking this was the longest literary pregnancy in the history of the world (which it may or may not be.)

Four fucking years we were strung along, only to have the lady die in what was essentially a drive-by shooting, totally unconnected with the rest of the book. It wasn’t even that clean or simple. Our friend, our detective, had to make the decision to turn off his pregnant wife’s life support.

The hubs called me from Tesco the other day. “Elizabeth George has a new book out. Do you want it?” he asked, a little warily, because he remembered the fury with which I finished the last one and what a miserable mood I was in for days.

I hemmed and hawed and told him to bring it to me. Curiosity killed the cat.

But in this case satisfaction most definitely does NOT bring it back. I am done. Done, done, done. That I was treated with such contempt is absolutely beyond my ability to forgive.

I know when you write series books things have to change. I know readers aren’t always going to be happy. It isn’t the death that bothers me so much (I mean it does, it totally does, but). What bothers me is that I wated so long for it, and now, just over a year later, I have another book about the same fucking incident. No aftermath. I still don’t know how any of these people are dealing with what happened.

(What makes matters worse is the rumors that have flown around for some time, saying that this death was written because the TV series made from the books–which isn’t a good series, btw–has gone in a different direction with the relationship, and so did not marry the detective and his wife, etc., and that they wanted the books more in line with the series. I don’t know if I’ll go that far.)

But I am literally shaking with rage. If you hate me so much, Ms. George, just stop writing the books and do something different. What you did to me was inexcusable, and expecting me to read the same horrible, depressing story twice is arrogance beyond measure.

(I’m going to post more about how this relates to series books tomorrow or Wed.)

What Stace had to say on Friday, February 23rd, 2007
Some Friday Odds and Ends

You know, I’ve noticed I tend to do these little rag-end posts every week or every other week or so. I think I’m going to start just doing them on Fridays. Things that aren’t big enough to do a regular blog post on (by my admittedly long-winded standards) but that I want to share anyway.

I invented a delicious soup the other day. Really, really tasty, with chicken and little meatballs and carrots and dumplings. I was going to post the recipe, but it’s rather long. That made me think of how I still owe little bird blue the recipe for peanut butter cake.

But I hate to clutter up this blog with recipes, which some people enjoy and some don’t, you know?

And then I thought, I have that whole Deadjournal just sitting over there on, uh, Deadjournal. And I did spend so much time making it pretty.

So the Deadjournal is now officially the December Quinn Overflow Blog. Where I will post the occasional recipe or excerpt or whatever (always alerting you, of course). So the soup recipe is there now, and on Sunday or Monday I will post the peanut butter cake recipe.

Item Two is, I will be in London tomorrow. I am going to see Daniel Radcliffe (that’s Harry Potter, yes indeedy) perform in Equus. So I won’t be here at all, my train leaves here at 9 am and I won’t be back until after midnight.

And…my fellow Indulge Authors and I are going to have an exciting announcement to make very soon! March 1st…be ready.

What Stace had to say on Wednesday, February 21st, 2007
Hope Springs Eternal

…And it does.

Finishing a project is always difficult for me. (At least, finishing a solo project is–the corwitten books, while I love them, don’t tend to get as personal for me, if that makes any sense.)

Anyway. It hurts a little to finish a book. I’m one of those people who could tinker with it for ages, or at least until the moment I decide it sucks. Which is generally a few weeks after I’ve finished it. Part of me still believes in it and loves it, but what I seem to really remember is the bits I edited out. It’s like I see the book viewed through a lens of repeated words and thought.

But that’s not important at the moment. Plus, you know, it makes me sound like a bit of a loser. Which I am so NOT! Ha ha! Not me! And if anyone out there is reading this with an eye towards representing me, I am GREAT to work with! And not a kook at all.

But today I realized something.

I’ve had an idea.

Something clicked in my head, and now I have another idea, for another book, for another project. I’m not washed up, the book out there now is NOT my only shot. There’s more out there for me, and I know there is.

I can’t remember now who said this (probably Stephen King because, let’s face it, every wise thing we all quote to each other about writing was always said by Stephen King. He’s the Winston Churchill/Oscar Wilde of discussions about writing), but it’s true. Ask a writer what his favorite book of his is, and it’s always the one he’s working on right then. Those old books? No, no. Nowhere near as good as what he’s doing now!

And that’s the way I look at it. My last finished project–I love it. I think it’s great, and smart, and sexy, and I still want to cry at the idea that it might not be The One.

But if it isn’t, I keep plugging. Because that’s what we do.

I reach for the next idea and I get started.
How do you feel when you’ve finished a project, whether it’s a book or something at your other work or what?

What Stace had to say on Monday, February 19th, 2007

Yay! I am very pleased to announce the sale of my erotic vampire romance novel, Blood Will Tell, to Ellora’s Cave!

I am so, so excited, because I love this book–I tend to look at all my projects with more love the further away from them I get, I’ve noticed. This one is where I really started to get my dialogue on, yo. I’m really, really proud of some of the dialogue in this one, and I’m offering this tiny teaser as an example:

The stew in her white china bowl looked and smelled fabulous, rich with beef and red wine, but Cecelia wasn’t about to dig in. Who knew what was in it? She’d seen enough movies to know that the heroine—in which category she firmly placed herself—never just blindly accepted food or drink given her. Especially by someone whose category—hero or villain—she didn’t know.
She watched Julian from under lowered eyelids, waiting for him to begin eating. He didn’t. He was watching her right back, smiling slightly.
“Is this where I take a bite myself, so you know I haven’t poisoned the food?”
“Would you?” she asked sweetly.
“They’re in separate bowls,” he pointed out. “I could easily have drugged yours and not mine.”
“Then switch—”
“Stop being ridiculous. I’m not going to sit here and play out scenes from The Princess Bride with you. Eat it or don’t. I don’t much care.”
She looked doubtfully at the bowl.
“Just ask yourself,” he said. “If I planned to kill you, would you have woken up at all after you passed out? Fun as our little conversation has been, I assure you I have other things to do than trade barbs with women who make it a habit to wander around alone at night.”
“I wasn’t wandering. I was coming out of the lab. Where I work. I’m a scientist. You make me sound like a hooker.”
“And you make me sound like a clumsy serial killer,” he said. “Poisoning your food, indeed.”
“Look, just what the hell is going on here?”
“We’re discussing which of us thinks the worse of the other. Not a pastime I usually—”
“Oh, shut up!” she said, louder than she’d intended. “What do you know about all of this vampire stuff, anyway? You can pretend you don’t, but you do. How are you involved in all of this? And why are you being so fucking mean to me? I was attacked, and you don’t even care.”
“Should I?”
“Go to hell,” she snapped, standing up. “I’m leaving.”
“Oh, and you’re welcome,” he replied.
“I said you’re welcome. For saving you. You couldn’t be bothered to thank me before.”
She stopped hunting for her shoes and stared at him. “Is that why you’re being so nasty?”
“One of the reasons, yes.”
“And what, pray tell, are the others?”
He sighed. “It irritates me when people waste energy.”
She kept staring.
“You’re spending all of your time worrying about me. Am I a serial killer, am I going to poison you, what do I know about vampires. What do you know about vampires, Cecelia?”
“They have fangs and drink blood and catch fire in the sun. Crosses scare them. Holy water burns them. A group of them attacked me earlier. And…I know you saved me. Thank you,” she added, hoping she didn’t sound as begrudging as she felt.
He nodded an acknowledgement, managing to look in the process like a king bestowing favors. She hated him. And still, damn it, found him incredibly sexy. “A group of vampires,” he repeated. “Doesn’t that strike you as a bit odd?”
“Uh, the whole concept of vampires strikes me as a bit odd. What exactly is supposed to be standing out in the sea of weirdness here?”
“Don’t you usually think of vampires hunting alone? Stalking their prey on a lonely street or some fake-smoke filled nightclub?”
She sat back down. “I guess I do.”
“So, then, isn’t it odd that a whole group of them showed up-barely past sundown-and attacked you? Outside of a blood research facility?”
She was beginning to see his point, and fear flowed through her veins like a frozen cocktail. “But,” she said, a little desperately, “couldn’t they have just wanted to get in? We keep blood there…”
“Cold blood. Blood that’s being tampered with. You’re not a blood bank, you’re a research lab. I don’t think they wanted entrance to the building, Cecelia.”
“How do you know my name, anyway?”
He raised one eyebrow at her again. Bastard. “Do you think I would have brought you into my home without knowing something about you?”
“You searched my purse.”
He shrugged. “Of course.”
She wanted to be angry, but found she really couldn’t. In the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t that big of a deal. After all, he had saved her.
Although why, she had no idea. The image he seemed to be painting of himself as wandering Samaritan faded quickly when examined through the lens of his snide personality.
“And did you find out anything interesting?”
“I know you like MAC lipstick.”
“Ah. The secrets of my soul lie bare before you.”
“Sarcasm is so charming in a lady.”
“Just as charming as in a gentleman,” she retorted. “So what you’re saying is, I was attacked because of me. Not by chance, or at random. There’s something about me that made a big gang of vampires want to kill me. Which means…” her voice faltered. “Which means they’ll probably try again. And keep trying. Until they get me.”

I am also extremely pleased to announce our beloved Bam has made her first sale, to Samhain Publishing, for their upcoming “A Midsummer Night’s Steam” Anthology. Her sure-to-be-amazing tale, called “Skin to Skin” (oooh!), releases August 17th, so make sure you save some cash this summer so you can get it, because Bam is a wonderful writer and I’m sure her story rocks hard.

What Stace had to say on Saturday, February 17th, 2007
The Calling Card

In more genteel days, there was a custom known as “Paying a call”, wherein ladies of a certain social stature would travel around the town in the afternoons, stopping in to “call on” their various acquaintances. Calls had a very strict structure; jackets and gloves were left on, umbrella was not handed over to the butler. This signified the call would not last long, as a caller generally only stayed fifteen minutes or so. A lady would designate one day a week (sometimes two) when she was “At home” to receive her callers. (There are lots more calling customs, and they’re pretty interesting, but I’m not going to describe them all, because that’s not the point.)

Sometimes a lady would be at home, but not “at home”. Sometimes a lady would be getting ready to go out of town. Sometimes a lady would genuinely have been called away.

In all of those cases, a card was left. A calling card. A small, business-card sized piece of card, on which was printed the lady’s full name. (Actually, three cards were often left–two of the woman’s, and one of her husband’s. The lady’s were for the lady and gentleman of the house, her husband’s only for the gentleman.) Often, one corner of the card was bent down to convey a message–“I am leaving”, “I have returned”, etc.

But the cards were left. Because it was a way of building and maintaining a social network.

It was also a courtesy. If someone had a party, you called the next day, often just leaving a card (in fact, towards the end of the custom, many ladies simply hired someone to distribute their cards for them.) If someone did something nice for you, you left a card. If you were new in town, you waited patiently, hoping someone would call on you so you could pay them a return call and thus begin building up a network of friends.

We still have this custom online. Only instead of cards, we trade blog comments.

Which brings me to the point of my post today. When people take the time to comment on your blog, you should respond if possible. There are one or two blogs I’ve stopped reading because the blogger never acknowledges comments–and we’re not talking about somebody like Miss Snark who gets dozens of comments, we’re talking about someone just starting out in the blog world. When only one or two people are responding, you can answer them. And you should. Otherwise they start to feel used and ignored.

Also, if you’ve posted a link to your blog in your signature in a forum, and it specifically asks people to comment on your blog? If somebody does, you should comment back. You’ve asked them to begin network with you. You owe them something in return. Likewise, if you’re asking people how to get people to comment on your blog, and someone explains to you about commenting back, and then comments…the link is right there. Click on it. Say hi to them. To refuse to do so is to rudely ignore your social obligations. It’s to announce to everyone involved that you are a taker, not a giver.

I’m not talking about people like EE or Miss S, or any of the blogging agents I’ve come across and/or linked to. For many of them, to comment everyone back would not only take a huge amount of time, but might encourage relationships which may be rather awkward. Imagine having to reject someone whose blog you regularly visit. Do you keep commenting after? Maybe they hate you. It would be odd, so those people are excused.

But there is no excuse for most people to ask for other people’s time, to read and comment on their blogs, and then not repay the visit. It’s rude, and it makes me mad.

I may not comment on some people’s blogs as often as they do on mine, but I do try. And of course some of you I consider friends to the point where we don’t need to keep track of who’s commenting where and when, right?

But in general…oooh it bugs me.

What Stace had to say on Thursday, February 15th, 2007
Cliche, Smiche

Okay, I’m not officially doing the Thursday Thirteen (yet), and I certainly don’t want to detract from the strong “GO BUY IT” message below about The Rest Falls Away, but I had occasion last night to think about heroic cliches–in movies more than books, actually–that, no matter how many times I have seen them, still do it for me.

There are some I just love, that make me fall in love with a hero right away, that make me catch my breath. So, in no particular order, here are a few cliches I adore:

1. When the hero, faced with a gang of people who want to beat him or shoot him or whatever, pauses, gets himself ready, then gives them a “Come on” gesture with his hand. (This was especially awesome in Desperado, one of my favorite movies, which turns all the cliches around and is so much fun, plus Antonio Banderas was never sexier, plus the film features a .50-caliber Desert Eagle, a totally illegal firearm that looks cool as hell [it’s listed as a “Destructive Device”. Which, totally want one, because weapons are hot.] But the master of this, of course, is BRUCE LEE. Mmmmmm.)

2. When the hero has only one bullet and must hit a target head on, and he just does it. Example: Chow Yun-Fat in Hard Boiled.

3. Any sort of one-handed gun cocking.

4. Anyone cleaning wounds with whiskey. Especially if they drink the whiskey as well.

5. Two-handed shooting. This is cool whether it’s cocking with one hand, pulling the trigger with the other (like in Westerns–I believe Val Kilmer did this in Tombstone, in which he was sooo hot) or if they’re holding a gun in each hand.

6. Yeah, I still like guys who smoke. And drink.

7. The shot of men walking slowly. It’s a classic for a reason.

8. When the guy grabs the girl and gives her a hard, passionate kiss before leaping into the fray.

9. Any sort of breaking glass.

…and I know there’s more but I can’t think of them right now, so I’ll add them later.

And tomorrow or the next day, I’ll do cliches that leave me cold.

But first tell me your cliches you love!

What Stace had to say on Thursday, February 15th, 2007
New Year’s Resolution book

Yay! I love this one!

Here’s the blurb:

In every generation, a Gardella is called to accept the family legacy of vampire slaying, and this time, Victoria Gardella Grantworth is chosen, on the eve of her debut, to carry the stake. But as she moves between the crush of ballrooms and dangerous, moonlit streets, Victoria’s heart is torn between London’s most eligible bachelor, the Marquess of Rockley, and her enigmatic ally, Sebastian Vioget. And when she comes face to face with the most powerful vampire in history, Victoria must ultimately make the choice between duty and love.

Okay. First, yes, while the idea is Buffy-like, the book’s not like Buffy. After the first couple of chapters I forgot about the resemblance. Colleen Gleason has created a new and original vampire mythology which promises to be develop in a really unique way as the series goes on. I enjoyed Victoria’s attempts to keep her activities secret in a world where keeping secrets was so difficult. And the characters are so alive and interesting. So alive and interesting, in fact, that…

the end made me cry a little.

I think you guys know me well enough by now to know that I am not the type of girl who cries at books very often. In fact, I can only think of a couple of books in my life that have made me cry: when Melanie dies in Gone With the Wind; the entire last few chapters and Epilogue of Sharon Kay Penman’s The Reckoning; and sometimes I get a little emotional when Willie hears “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” on the radio in The Caine Mutiny (but then, who doesn’t get emotional when they hear that song? It’s like “Over There”. Seriously. I dare you to listen to that and feel nothing at all.)

I didn’t sob at the end of The Rest Falls Away, but I teared up. And that’s a big deal.

The book started a little slowly for me–which very well might have been that I was snatching minutes here and there to read–but quickly absorbed me once I focused and the set-up was complete. I would have liked a little more “period” feel–not that the book didn’t have that feel, but I was hoping for a little more velvet, smoke, fog, and blood.

Still, we had three handsome, sexy men to tempt our heroine–and I can’t decide, so don’t ask. That nipple ring and the slight pain fetish hinted at is awfully tempting (although I have never found men with nipple rings appealing, so don’t ask me where that came from, I just know it did), but Mr. Kiss-Me-In-The-Coach-And-I-Might-Be-A-Bad-Guy is pretty hot too. And the other one…just…aaaw.

And I can’t believe I have to wait until June to read the next one…but you don’t have to, because Colleen Gleason is doing an ARC contest over at her website, so go enter!

Seriously. This is a keeper. Go get it.

What Stace had to say on Wednesday, February 14th, 2007
Happy Valentine’s Day

Yeah, it’s that day, the one where everyone is expected to be all romantic and lovey-dovey. Am I the only one for whom this day tends to just suck?

For years I was always sick on Valentine’s Day. Like, respiratory infecton or stomach flu sick. That ended when I got to Florida, but the day still basically stank. So much pressure, I think. Everyone wants to know what sorts of gifts your husband bought for you, or what special thing you’re doing to celebrate.

Usually, the hubs and I end up fighting. We don’t fight much. And the last couple of years have been fine, now that I think about it. But I know we’re not alone–a lot of couple fight on Valentine’s Day, and I think it’s because of the raised expectations.

I don’t even really advocate planning all sorts of wild sexy things. Chances are it will backfire. Silly lingerie covered in hearts? Nah, not for me. Why would you want to have sex with someone who looks like a float in a cheezy parade?

So this year do something extra special for your significant other–give them a break, order a pizza, and watch sitcoms. Save the romance for when it’s spontaneous. That’s what makes it special.

What Stace had to say on Tuesday, February 13th, 2007

I’m hoping to blog later today, but I don’t know that I’ll get the chance…a casual email to an important (and incredibly nice!) coontact about a newly formed idea has led to a request for more info, so I am frantically putting my notes in order to get an outline written up ASAP.

So I am a busy, busy beaver today. Think of me fondly!

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