What Stace had to say on Friday, July 14th, 2006
I’m just getting ready to walk out the door-we’ll be in London for the weekend so I won’t be around until Sunday night.
While I am gone, it would be great if you could help me out with something. Starting Monday I will be writing a short tory for the Indulge blog-one short “chapter” every three weeks.
Is there a particular setting you’d be interested in? Historical-maybe medieval or Victorian? Or a paranormal? A combination? Might be fun to do a paranormal historical.
Let me know. Most popular option wins.
What Stace had to say on Thursday, July 13th, 2006
Maybe a little, but I’m gonna do it anyway.
So lately there’s been lots of lalala happening in Blogland. Bloggers being snarky, writers stepping in and being downright shitty, publishers threatening everyone. Romancing the Blog had a post about this the other day (the link will take you straight to said post. If you feel up to it, read some of the comments. Specifically mine. Here’s what I said:
“I think it’s about time we all started saying something about this. Romance has a bad enough reputation as it is, the last thing we need is for readers to start saying, “And the romance writers act like whiny children when criticized, too.”
If your boss criticized your performance, would you start calling him/her names? Not if you wanted to keep your job, you wouldn’t.
The readers are my bosses. They’re all of our bosses, no matter how much a few writers would have us believe they’re somehow superior to those pesky readers.”
Guess which part of the comment I thought might get people talking? That’s right, the bit about how shit like this spoils the reps of romance writers in general. Because it does. Publish America doesn’t get reviews, in large part because they’re shit, but also because the few places that took pity on their writers and did review them found themselves knee-deep in nasty letters if they didn’t give the book a glowing, five-star recommend.
That wasn’t the part that people responded to, though. Instead they all had to leap on my to tell me how readers aren’t their bosses, they would never see the readers as their bosses, they work for themselves and I’m just wrong to the nth level of wrong for daring to suggest that we keep our readers in mind when we write, and that we not pop into their blogs to call them names if we don’t like their response.
Okay, it was an analogy, folks. That’s all. The example worked. I suppose I could have said “You don’t insult your customers if they hve a complaint about your service” but the fact is someone would have said something pissy about that too (aside from the fact that I worked in Customer Service and retail for years and regularly insulted my customers. And no, I wasn’t a dominatrix.) The problem with the customer analogy is that it is easy to insult one customer. You know if they want your product they’ll probably be back, unless you spit at them and call them horrible names. We’ve all had bad service somewhere and still gone back because we really do love the food, or because the store is right near our houses, or whatever.
But readers aren’t like that, and you don’t fuck with your boss. Your boss is sacrosanct to his face. To tell your boss what a flaming dillweed he is to his face is career suicide. So should it be with our readers. To have your boss assign you to a project on, say, development of a new sales script, and you turn around and give him a project on the way fountains would brighten up the building’s grounds, is a perhaps less serious form of career suicide, but a bad idea just the same. So it is with readers. Yes, we write for ourselves. But once we’re published, our writing for ourselves–or rather, our livelihood therefrom–is governed not just by our own whims, but by those of our readers.
The other ranty thing happened on a different blog. Contracts were being discussed, and some brave anonymous popped in to say how any writer who signs a contract with a certain publisher (I think I know who it was) must be desperate because the contract is so bad. They turned it down, because their work is better than that and they want to find the right home for their baby. Arguments ensued, which I followed with great interest.
While I understand that mindset (except for insulting writers who made different choices than you did), I don’t agree with it. You know why? Because while each book I write is my baby, it’s not my only baby. I know I will write another one, probably an even better one. (Like, for example, Prince of Death, out Jan 07 from Whiskey Creek Press-Torrid! Which to be honest I thought kind of sucked, but last night I reread it and was pleasantly surprised. It’s not bad. So you should all buy it. Anyway.) Selling a manuscript is selling a manuscript to me. So the contract for this one or that one isn’t the best. So I wish I had found a bigger publisher for that one or that one. Whatever.
There will be other books. My books are not me. They are not full of my precious, golden words that only the exalted may gaze upon. They’re stories, and I love them, but I’m also in this business to try and earn a living. I’ve chosen to start at the bottom and work my way up. I have complete faith in my writing and my books, this has nothing to do with that. But if I can go to an agent or editor with some credits, I might have a little leg up. I might be less of a risk than someone with no credits.
And if not, I’m still earning money as a writer while they wait for That Perfectly Author-Friendly Contract, because they won’t sell this book until they find it. Which means they will probably never sell the book. Why? Because they’ve gotten their egos so wrapped up in it that they think it’s their only chance. I know each book I write is not my only chance. Not by a long shot. I’m in this for the long haul, which means I’m working as hard as I can and selling what I can. An unsold ms is not a precious baby who still needs a home. It’s however many months of my life wasted. And yes, maybe one day I’ll sell it, when I’m a huge bestseller and people are desperate for anything by me . But until then it’s still months of my life wasted. (And btw, when I hit that bestseller list, you better believe I’ll be buying out my less-than-perfect contracts, baby.)
Well. I have really rambled on. I had some questions for yall, but I think I’ll post them tomorrow.
What Stace had to say on Monday, July 10th, 2006
Got your attention now, eh?
I owe you all My Exalted Opinions on several different manifestations of same-sex sex, but first I had to relate my silly titles.
I was thinking of writing a highwayman story. Cuz I’m all about the highwaymen. What could I call it? I thought. The Highwayman’s Treasure? Well, no, because highwaymen don’t really have treasure, per se. The Highwayman’s Gold? Eh, no…what’s a good word for stolen stuff? Booty? The Highwyaman’s Booty? Uh…yeah.
Which got me thinking about a series of tongue-in-cheek pirate stories: Stolen Booty, Hidden Booty, A Big Pile of Booty, Stealing Booty, Booty in the Chest, My Beloved Booty? How about The Pirate’s Hidden Treasure? The Pirate’s Stick of Gold? Oh, does the hilarity ever stop?
Okay. Now for the sex stuff. First, I do have a very strong opinion about men having sex with each other in the World Cup locker rooms. I am totally against it. Because I am a fan of old-time sports superstitions, or really any kind of semi-obsolete thought on anything, I don’t think footballers should be having any kind of sex during the World Cup, heterosexual or homosexual, in the locker room or in their luxurious hotel rooms filled with champagne and performance-enhancing drugs. (I’m just kidding about the drugs, of course. Ha ha!) No sex! Sex steals their life force, or makes their muscles weak, or whatever the reason used to be for why athletes should keep it in their pants before The Big Game. You want pent-up sexual rage on the field, baby!
Now according to everything I’ve read and seen lately (all my insider info, y’know), the Next Big Thing in the erotic romance game is man-on-man love. Especially when that love is, ah, penetrative. Menage books are big, m/m books are big. Girl-on-girl not so much. I’ve written (to some extent) both.
There is a girl-on-girl scene in my vampire novel (it involves a vibrator, too!) It’s a show being put on for the bad vampire, who is no longer capable of “performing” and so comes up with more and more interesting things to watch. Nobody is particularly tunred on by this except for the bad vamp, but I imagine if you were turned on by that sort of thing, it’s a pretty hot scene. I mean, it’s supposed to be, although it is short and a little less detailed than my other scenes are.
Keep in mind that’s erotic erotic romance, though, meant to be strictly for the over-18s. I wouldn’t put a scene like that in all my stories–it fit this one and gave us some insight into the motivations of Mr. Bad, but apparently readers aren’t big fans of the g-on-g.
M/m, on the other hand…I’ve seen a lot of articles about this lately. And I just wrote my first menage story, along with my excellent crit/writing partner Anna J. Evans. We’ve been wanting to do something together for quite a while, and the opportunity came up.
It isn’t a full, full menage. Technically there is no man/man penetration, although there is some oral and hand interaction. I’m proud of the way we did it, actually, and I love the book (and fingers crossed will have some news soonish!)
What’s my point? I’m not really sure. I definitely prefer to write straight one-man/one-woman stuff. (If for no other reason than keeping your pronouns straight when you have two “he”s and they’re both doing things to each other is really a bitch, and if you’re not careful you sound like you’re describing some sort of man-beast with three hands who’s watching the action in a mirror.) But writing the man/man stuff was fun. It was something different, a bit of a challenge, which is always good.
I’d be sad if the world of erotic romance becomes exclusively women reading about men touching each other. I actually think that says a lot about men today, if you think about it, that women are so desperate for forceful men that they’re now looking for men who spend their time skewering other men in the ass. But I guess that’s a blog for another time…
What Stace had to say on Sunday, July 9th, 2006
Okay, unlike the fabulous Sherrill and Jenna, I don’t post eye candy here. Mainly because I have no idea where they find all those lovely photos. So if you are looking for hot men in very little clothing, those are the links to click, over there ———->
But I have to post these. I saw them a few days ago and fell in love.
The photos are probably copyrighted. I just hope His Imperial Hotitude doesn’t mind me using them. Maybe he won’t if I run my naked body all over his.
Can I? Please?
Ladies…(and a few gents)…
I give you Russell Wong.
What Stace had to say on Friday, July 7th, 2006
Note: So I Googled pigeon mating habits. I found a site called Pigeons! They’re pretty obsessive over at Pigeons!. It’s like Bert created the site. I kept expecting to see a little cartoon of him doing the pigeon across the bottom.
Anyway. Pigeons seem to have sex just like most other birds. They’re not interesting like bald eagles tumbling through the sky trying frantically to finish before they hit the ground and die. Afterward, though, the male claps his wings.
So, in an attempt to make this more interesting, I’ve written a little story. What would happen if people mated like pigeons?
Lynn (ha ha) wiped sweat from her brow, deciding that after this song ended she would take a break. Her throat was dry from the smoke machines. A nice cool drink was what she needed, maybe a cocktail, something to finally and completely wipe away the last vestiges of her crappy day.
It had been a bust, from the lousy breakfast-on-the-fly, to the meeting at work where the promotion of that miserable bitch Jane was announced, to the stop-and-start traffic on the way home. All she wanted to do was dance, work off some steam.
Out the corner of her eye she spotted a man, working his slow, sinuous way towards her through the crowd, his head bobbing up and down, alternately exposing and hiding his strong neck. His tawny skin gleamed in the flashing colored lights of the club. He looked like a man who spent a lot of time outside, maybe worked with his hands. Whatever he did, he was fit and strong. Her dry mouth dampened as he approached, his knowing smile as his dark eyes looked her up and down incredibly sexy.
Just watching his head move excited her. She knew what was coming.
He leaned back, showing her the muscled column of his throat, and dropped down, letting the ass she was certain was firmly muscled hit the floor, before raising it again. This was too much. His intentions were so clear, so frankly unembarrassed. Lynn felt like prey, like he would not rest until he had her, and the feeling made her hot.
He started circling her, sliding her smoothly away from the crowd, pausing as they moved to slide his bottom along the floor. She managed to sneak a peek at it while he moved. It was everything she’d hoped for, and the bulge in the front of his gray trousers told her that her instinct was right. This man meant to have her, and she was just about ready to give in.
When he’d separated her from the rest of the crowd, he smiled, moving in closer to her, inviting her to place her lips between his so he could nibble them. This she did, throwing caution to the wind. She hadn’t expected this, hadn’t planned on it, but deep down she had to admit she was always ready. There was no particular season or time of the month that was best for her. She could do it anytime.
His lips tasted tantalizingly of bread and lettuce as they started bobbing their heads up and down, holding each others lips with their own. They quickly found a rythm, moving their heads as if they’d done this together before, had been doing it for years.
Lynn was ready. She broke the liplock and turned around, leaning her hands against the wall. Her mystery man lifted her skirt and slid his erect manhood into her, so hard and fast she thought she might die from the pleasure. He started moving, quickly, the incredible friction building inside her. She felt him swelling, heard him gasping in her ear, as they both quickly found their release in the dark corner of the club.
It was over. Lynn turned around in time to watch her mystery man run away, clapping his arms together loudly in the age-old celebration of pleasure that always made her smile.
She guessed it hadn’t been such a bad day after all, she thought, and she smiled as she went to the bar to order that drink.
What Stace had to say on Friday, July 7th, 2006
This is totally off-topic. It’s not about writing, or sex, or books, or publishing in any way.
This time, it’s personal…
Yesterday I left an online community I’ve been part of for over 4 years. It was a really hard decision to make. Basically, I felt the people there had changed. The parameters had changed. What was once a really fun place to be had become a den of vipers, a place where people were just waiting to snipe others for any reason, where free discussion and repsect for other people’ opinions were not to be found.
I’m still wierded out by this.
But I thought about it. And I realized that right now, I’m part of another online community. Whether we’re all Snarklings or Minions or Cowlettes or whatever…we’re all here.
I like writing messages to you guys. I like reading yours. I like not feeling like I better keep my mouth shut because who knows who’ll pile all over me if I say something.
So that’s basically it. You guys have made me feel better, without doing anything but being you.
I’ll do a real post later. I just wanted to say that.
What Stace had to say on Tuesday, July 4th, 2006
I don’t know where all my lovely friends went. I had such a happy little bunch, and you’ve all disappeared. I’m feeling awfully rejected (and not just because nobody else wanted to condemn stupid PC romances either. In fact, not just because of anything blog-related.)
I just feel bad. Not sad bad, angry bad. (Okay, maybe a little sad, but just sad enough to add a piquancy to my crankiness.) I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning and no matter how many times I climb back in to start over the day is just not improving. I’m grumpy, I’m tired, I’m impatient–just generally pissed off at the world.
I’m having a little bit of a crisis of confidence. I can’t seem to get cracking on my WIP. Doing a major edit that cost me over 5k words might be partly responsible, but just in general I’m having something of a slump. Which really pisses me off. I don’t know if I’m putting too much pressure on myself or what. All I know is the head-to-hands link is just not working the last few days, I’ve gotten maybe 2k words done, and that is nowhere near where I need to be. I’m considering starting a different project just to see if it’s some kind of slump. (I’ve had slumps, so I know. I used to play baseball with my brother.)
What do you do when things just aren’t happening for you?
(And by the way, the stupid ugly-ass new Yahoo homepage isn’t helping. Not only is it horrible to look at and confusing [I have to go through three steps now to check the US headlines] but the fucking thing moves. Every time you come back to it, the image slides down as a bar at the top widens. It is so fucking IRRITATING I can’t stand it. SW I tried the company you recommended but just got an ad for some program. I need a new homepage!)
What Stace had to say on Sunday, July 2nd, 2006
Yes, I know. I need to blog about all the ramifications of gay sex and pigeon sex. And I will, I promise. I have some thoughts on all of it. (Okay, except the pigeon sex. But I’ll come up with something.)
But there’s something I need to discuss first. Look for the gay posts in a day or two (aside from the fact that I frankly can’t bear to blog about the World Cup yet.)
The other day over on Smart Bitches, they were discussing smoking, and how in the 60s and 70s, virtually everyone in romances smoked-the heroes, definitely, the heroines often (but not heavily.) But how it’s become so rare now for anyone in a romance to smoke, and how strange that is considering there is still a chunk of the adult population that does smoke.
I smoke. I drink. I love to write heroes who smoke and drink. None of them are heavy smokers–A)because writing someone who is smoking constantly can be a bit dull, and because when you have someone who doesn’t smoke much suddenly smoke a lot it’s a good way to indicate stress-more on that later, and B) I guess, because I’m not a very heavy smoker. My heroes also do not generally smoke indoors or around my heroines. I am ever mindful of the large population for who this is a turn-off, but the fact is, some of these guys smoke. Especially since they’re paranormals. Why wouldn’t a vampire smoke? It won’t hurt him. Likewise my demon hero from my current WIP. Smoke is actually fairly healthy for demons in my world.
Anyway, this is all beside the point. Someone commented to the Smart Bitches post about how they could never stomach a smoking hero because smoking is socially irresponsible and therefore unheroic.
This absolutely stunned me, I have to admit.
With all due respect, what kinds of frigging milquetoasts are the heroes you like?
There’s a reason Batman is more popular than Superman, hon, and it’s because-and corect me if I’m wrong, but I’m not-”socially responsible” isn’t sexy. Dark and dangerous is sexy.
Yes, it could be a fun challenge to write a hero who works at a charity center and is always nice and acts like a hero in every aspect of life while also being modest and self-affacing. There must be an audience for that sort of hero, too. It’s just I’m not part of it.
I sat down and started thinking about my heroes. They’re not the nicest men in the world. They’re fairly prickly and–with one exception–they’re dmaaged. I like writing about damaged people. I like writing about people who genuinely believe it’s not possible for them to find love, not possible for someone to love them, and who fight it when it happens.
Funny thing is, The Black Dragon‘s hero, Gruffydd, is actually as heroic as they come. He is socially reponsible-to a point-so I guess he fits that definition. But he’s also rude, standoffish, defensive, a little arrogant, sometimes downright mean, impatient, and overly suspicious. I adore him.
Cynwrig from Prince of Death is selfish, completely reckless, oversexed, and emotionally unavailable. Julian from Blood Will Tell is sarcastic and sometimes cruel, arrogant, snide, secretive, and egotistical. Now Nick from my WIP is secretive, rebellious, antisocial, oversexed, overconfident, and a criminal.
None of them are “socially responsible”-again with the slight exception of Gruffydd, but that’s a little different. You’ll understand when you read the book when it comes out (no date yet.) Certainly none of them are socially responsible to the point where they would not smoke because they consider it their social responsibility not to. All of them would laugh at you if you said something like that to them.
Writing a romance with Suoerman isn’t interesting, not is reading one. Because Superman is so worthy of love. Superman is perfect-kind, loving, socially responsible (there it is again), handsome, respectful, etc. There’s no challenge in a man like that being loved, and the book starts to feel like “which lucky girl is right for him?”
What makes a hero interesting are his flaws. What makes a romance interesting is the moment when a hero decides he needs to do some work to make himself good enough for the heroine. Not when they realize they’re both so perfect they belong together.
Just my 2p.
Oh, this is long!
What Stace had to say on Wednesday, June 28th, 2006
I don’t have a blog topic at the moment. So why don’t you tell me what to blog about?
G’head. Ask me a question. Suggest a topic. Anything you want to hear My Illustrius Opinion on.
What Stace had to say on Sunday, June 25th, 2006
So I just finished reading an erotic romance from an author I’ve never read before, a very popular best-selling-type writer (whose name I will not reveal.)
Eh. It was okay, I guess. I had some issues with the idea of someone who’d time-travelled from the particular time and place using modern expressions. I had issues with some of the background because it was not historically accurate (not as bad as the person who thought medieval men’s hose were actual pantyhose, and so put a waistband in them, and had the man wearing them under a kilt. But whatever. The inaccuracies weren’t that bad. It’s just that I don’t think Dark Age Druids would use “For the love of Christ” as an expleteive. I’m just saying.)
But something really, really bothered me about this book. Once I got past the initial stuff anf the story moved to modern day, it was fine. I enjoyed it. I was getting a little tired of the way the H/h kept making out all over the place and never actually even getting to third base, but whatever. Sexual tension is just dandy, and it was perking along quite nicely.
Then we got to the Big Scene. The one where I, the Reader, knew we were in for one fantastic sex scene. I was ready to read this scene. I thought the hero was pretty sexy. The heroine had, like all good little romance heroines, been “saving herself” and so was a virgin (a fact the H/h discussed several times), but that didn’t bother me. I don’t mind the defloration so much.
So here we go. They’re making out all over the place in an empty room in a castle. They’ve had the romantic little talk about how she wants him to be her first. Lalala.
he bends her over a desk and takes her from behind.
Yes, you read that right. The romantic first time for the heroine is frickin’ doggie-style over a desk.
Isn’t that romantic?
And he made her talk dirty, too.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Having characters bent over furniture is fine. Dirty talk is fine. Believe me, my characters get up to all kinds of things in all kinds of places.
But you know what? That’s not romantic. It’s sexy, sure. But the first sex scene after the “I love you”s should not be from behind! He couldn’t even look at her! She couldn’t look at him! Who the hell thought that was a good idea?
There is a difference between romantic sex and erotic sex. Wait. That came out wrong, like I don’t think they can be both. They can, of course. What I mean is…some moments in a book call for a tender, loving sex scene. The first sex scene after the “I love you”s is generally one. The heroine’s First Time is definitely one.
The sex should evolve and change just as the characters and their relationship do. It’s fine to have all kinds of crazy sex all over the place. But when we finally have an emotional connection, when the H & h are finally truly baring their souls to each other, they should be looking at each other.
That scene-the only truly detailed sex scene in the book-lost me. I don’t even remember it very well. I skimmed it, because I was so irritated that in the author’s Big Emotional Moment she got scared, and skipped the emotion, and instead gave us a fairly clinical description of two bodies having sex, not two people making love.
Not to mention that as a woman, I couldn’t imagine the heroine wouldn’t feel pretty upset and cheated that at this very important moment for her, her man doesn’t even want to look at her. That he doesn’t kiss her once while the action is happening. That her first time is being turned into some porno movie and not the special moment she obviously always wanted it to be.
Nothing’s wrong with writing scenes where that position is used. It can be pretty hot. I’ve done several, every erorom writer I know has done them.
But pick your moments, please.
What’s the worst sex scene you ever read? One where you would have gotten out of bed (or the car, or the room, or whatever) because somebody’s actions in the heat of the moment were such a turn-off?