Wednesday, January 31, 2007

January is over! Yay!

Which means that it's February. *grumble* Yes, February is a perfectly nice month. After all, we all know what holiday falls in February, and I'm sure you're looking forward to it just as I am!

That's right. Ground Hog's Day! Are you excited yet? Do you think he'll see his shadow this year?

Oh, you might have been thinking of that other important February holiday - President's Day. Hey, I'm all for anything that gets me out of work, and I actually respect those Presidents.

I'm just messing with you. I know you're thinking of Valentine's Day.

Let me show my curmudgeonly side here for a moment and admit that I despise Valentine's Day. I'm not a magpie, so shiny things don't interest me. I tend to be allergic to anything a florist delivers, and the idea of sticking my nose close to smell something that technically is already dead is kind of creepy. Restaurants are impossible, and nothing kills my sex drive like a strolling mariachi band. (I will do chocolate.RichArt if you want to wow me, See's if you know what I like, Godiva if you want a gold box chucked at your tender bits.)

Beyond the unrealistic expectations VDay puts on a relationship, the other thing that bugs me about it is it's Victorian nature. It's about playing out the chase and seduction like a pair of eunuchs. The true agenda is buried under hearts and flowers, lace and candy. It's frilly and it stinks like Grandma's perfume. I'm sure there are people out there who go for that kind of thing, but I prefer to sweep away the clutter and get down to the minimalist's version.

Valentine's Day is about sex. I want it, the SO has it. Forget the soft music and candles. I plan to go straight to the raw nature of it. We'll enjoy a gritty, extended seduction that leaves us both feeling incredibly dirty. Then we'll take a shower, and then do it again. Trust me, being fucked like a sex god kicks ass compared to a lame stuffed animal.

Don't ever say I'm not romantic.


Early this morning, I was in Venice (the Los Angeles neighborhood, not the city in Italy) trapped in traffic, mentally zoning while waiting for the light to change when a high school boy crossing the street caught my attention. He wasn't walking, he was marching. And not just marching, but the chair step with high lifted knees. As I watched him, his hands stared moving and I realized he had a mace. By the time he was half-way across Lincoln Blvd, he was in full strut with that mace twirling smoothly over his head, behind his back, and then in front of him again. Obviously a drum major.

I wanted to shout out to him - tell him he was wonderful and that he made my morning, but anyone with enough balls to lead his own parade down Venice Blvd. doesn't need my validation. Besides, he might have thought I meant that his twirling was good. It was, but I wanted him to know that he gifted me with a rare moment of awe, and a honk and a wave doesn't convey that well.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Last night, I thought I'd knock one more thing off my to-do list. Something quick and easy.

Dan Boyle let me read his new novel and asked me to write a blurb for it. I
was so flattered that I said yes. Besides, Dan is so charming I doubt
many people can say no to him. His story appealed to the geek girl in
me, so you'd think it would be no problem. After dinner, I sat down to write the blurb. Quick? Easy? Hah!

I went to bed late last night with only one sentence written. But I
gave my word, so it will get done. (Must resist temptation to post new
high score on computer game instead.)

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Weekend is Over Already?

I knocked out two items on my to-do list and got a good start on a couple more, but it doesn't feel as if I'm getting anywhere. It's either my nature or everyone is like this, but once I've met a goal, no matter how hard I worked at it, it doesn't seem as if it matters much. Instead of being happy that I knocked one big item off the list, it feels as if I got nothing done. All I can see is what remains to be done.

The things I'm most anxious about are the things I have little control over, as usual. And I know that pacing doesn't help, but I do it anyway. At least it eats up time while I'm waiting for information or action.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


My sister is throwing a family reunion this summer. There's a reason why I live waaay over here on the other coast. There's a reason why four or five years lapse between my visits. There's a reason why I let my phone roll over to voice mail when they call, and why ten months pass before I respond to messages or emails. But my sister gave me the pouty face, so I caved. I should have told her to keep that our little secret, because Mom just called.

Mom: We've decided to hire a professional photographer for the reunion.

Me: *groan*

Mom: I hope that your hair won't be purple this time.

Me: Actually, I've gone completely gray since you last saw me. I kind of like it. (note: my hair is the same mud brown it's always been, except for when it was purple, or the time it was red, and the year I embraced black. But she's so damn easy to tweak that I can't resist.)

Mom: *long sigh* I don't think that's funny.

The list of things Mom doesn't find funny is endless. Come to think of it, I don't think anything amuses her.

Mom: Please tell me you'll color your hair.

Me: Just not purple, right?

Mom: A natural color. (Experience has taught her a lot about how I interpret her words.)

Me: Cool. Pink is found in nature, right?

Mom: *longer sigh* I suppose we can pay the photographer to fix you in the pictures, like we always have to.

Ah- the queen of the parting shot. Truly a master. And she wonders why I never call.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Not Another Cat Post!

For the past three days, the cats have been "killing" small toys and leaving them at my feet as offerings while I'm writing. I'm a little worried. What heinous thing have they done? If it's bad enough to make a cat apologize, do I truly want to know? I'm thinking that ignorance is probably bliss.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Switching Gears

I've never been so busy as a writer. Of course everything had to hit in January, my busiest time in real life, but I'm still loving it.

I need to write a blurb for a friend's novel.

I just got a contract for a short story I promised to write.

I got a contract for a short story I submitted to one of Zane's collections ages ago. (not much to do there but review the contract - and you know I will! - and update my bio)

I received the edited version of Chaos Magic and have to clean that up and maybe add a few scenes.

I'm working on an erotica writer's conference.

I'm heading a panel on BDSM at a conference in March and have to get my panel questions together as well as a syllabus of BDSM how-to books and BDSM novel reading suggestions.

All of this on top of the other novel I'm planning to submit soon.

Yesterday I was in synopsis mode for the new novel. Today, I'm going through the editor's comments on Chaos Magic. I have to switch gears into the right mindset. If only my brain would stop whirling around with all these other matters.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Oooh, I am Sooo Good

I forced myself to sit down and take a first pass at my synopsis. Took me four hours. And it sucks.
Yes, sucks. It's horrible.

I think one of the great secrets to getting over writer's block is to embrace sucky writing on a first draft. Everything can be fixed in the rewrite and polished to a luminous glow, but you can't do that unless you finish the first draft.

So I'm proud of my poor synopsis, not because it's good, but because it's done!!!!!!!!!

I'm going to take a break as a reward. Ahhhh! Life is good. My synopsis is not. But I can live with that for now.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Why Short Stories Are Better Than Novels

This is not going to be some deep analysis of form, style, etc. My opinion is temporary, and entirely biased because I do not want to write a synopsis. See, when you submit a short story, you have a cover letter, and then the story. That's it. The story speaks for itself. But a novel requires the dreaded synopsis. *cue ominous soap opera music*

Think of it as a book report. Are you groaning already? Now you know how I feel. It's a book report that matters. The distilled essence of the story. A total frickin' pain in the ass. There's no way around it though. This is what separates the published from the unpublished. (Well, that and the ability to complete a novel, and some skill at the craft.)

I know I have to do it, but I'm feeling grumpy and don't even want to try right now. I'm going to have to force myself sit down and write it. But first, I think I'm going to indulge in a Diva moment on my (imaginary) aubergine crushed velvet fainting couch. *puts wrist to forehead*

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Totally Pointless Blog Entry

But aren't they all?

I've been listening to the Dreamgirls soundtrack and just can't get into it. But then I switched over to my Best of Aretha Franklin CD and, as usual, am so blown away by her. Put into the context of the time she originally recorded some of those songs, she's even more astounding. Gotta love that voice, that power, and just all things Aretha.

also listening to: Thievery Corporation, Ray Charles, Tiernny Sutton, Nina Simone, Peggy Lee, and Death Cab for Cutie (Plans has been in my CD player for almost a full year, with no signs that I'm getting sick of it yet.)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Sanity Check

Fellow writer Kate Dominick took me to lunch today to meet a woman who has chaired many science fiction conventions. The topic: How to Run a Convention.

Ayiiii! So many details! I took pages of notes. If I'm going to put together an erotica writer's conference, I have my work cut out for me. I'm lucky that I have some good people already stepping in with offers to help. Those who can't help are putting me in touch with people who know how to make it a success. Even though 2008 sounds far away, I've already been warned that I have an ambitious time line.

I really want to do this. Now all I have to do is get it done.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Guess I'll Be Cheering for Seahawks Today

Yesterday, I decided to take a break from writing and watch the Saints play. I prefer college football to pro games, but it was a great game.
I'm not into sports as an analogy for life in general, but who doesn't want to see the Saints go all the way to the Superbowl? Cheering for them feels like cheering for New Orleans. And every time they win, it seems symbolic of the resurgence of their city.
Oh lord, I'm buying into the hype. On the other hand, I got to watch it in high definition, and I swear I could almost smell the sweat. And man-oh-man do those tight pants look gooooood in motion.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Thank God That's Over (For Now)

I'm doing the happy dance around the hovel today. (I know I said I don't dance, but this is different.) Just finished the rewrite on my novel. Now I await the verdict from a few brave folk who agreed to slog through it.

I'm so picturing a Roman Emperor giving me the thumbs down. My instinct is always to predict failure on a epic scale. It's a good thing that the books I ordered from Suspect Thoughts just arrived. Without the distraction of reading, my happy dance would slow down into pacing, and then the colossal mind-fuck would commence.

Friday, January 12, 2007

It's a Profit Deal reduex

Back on 9/13/06 (you have to scroll down to my entry titled "Oh, It's A Profit Deal") I made some rather snarky comments about the so-called "Sobol Award" which read more like a scam.

And I am feeling SOOOOOO very vindicated today. Read all about it! Not to mention how very proud I am of desperate writers everywhere that so few of them fell for this.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Beckham signs with the Galaxy!

I'm tempted to dance around the house waving my Galaxy scarf, except that A) I don't dance and B) I wouldn't want to scare the boy away from LA.

The arena is just down the street from me (several miles down the street, but hey). The past couple years we've gone to at least three games a year. Now I'm wondering if I'll have to battle Beckham crazed soccer Moms for the good seats.

added: Today's News headlines:

Beckham signs $250 Deal With LA Galaxy.
Scientists Move Doomsday Clock Ahead.

Hmmm. Guess those scientists were Real Madrid fans.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I Hate January

Aside from the holidays, which I ignore as best I can, December is a slow month for me. Beginning January 2, all hell breaks loose.

Things to be grateful for:

For the first time in ten years, the SO was home on my birthday.

I wisely used the slow moments in December to prepare for January.

I didn't promise any editors anything until April.

I have friends who will come over to dinner and take my mind off my to-do list for a couple hours.

Things that have me biting my tongue:

Vague requests for information.

People who don't know the difference between what's necessary and what would
be nice. If you want data from me between now and February, you're
getting it raw. No analysis, no pretty colors.

People who think my office door is shut to everyone except them.

My inability to get everything done under the wire with complete accuracy. Nothing drives me crazier than my own stupid mistakes. The fact that my brain is fried from an overdose of minutia is no excuse.

It's the tenth already. One third of the month has slipped away from me. I'm looking at my to-do list and it doesn't seem to be getting any shorter. Meanwhile - tick, tick, tick - the deadlines are only looming larger.

I really hate January.

Saturday, January 06, 2007


As much as I hate cutesy cat stories, I have to vent about our retarded cat, Loki.

We brought Loki into our home about six months after Mara The Fat Butted Cat took his final swipe at me and died in our bed. Leave it to us to lose world's most malevolent, passive-aggressive cat only to find one that's even weirder. We're like magnets for psycho kitties. (On the other hand, MY cat, Skitters, is perfect.)

Loki must drop at least one item per day into the water dish. He prefers hair scrunchies. I throw them out; he finds more. Where, I have no idea. I'm beginning to suspect that he has a scrunchy connection.

He dips his paws into the water and licks it off instead of lapping straight from the bowl.
When he's finished, he flips the water dish over so that it spills all over the kitchen floor. Then he drinks out of the toilet. Skitters, being a bit more refined, refuses to do the toilet thing, so she squeaks until I mop the floor and refill the dish.

I won't even go into Loki's addiction to my used dental floss (he will dumpster dive for it if I don't hide it in a bigger trash can) or how, after eating, he scratches at the food bowl like he's just used the litter box. A writer friend watched all this and commented that Loki has fascinating behavioral patterns. Fascinating. Sure.

It's cold here in Los Angeles. (Relative cold. I'm a weather wimp and damn proud of it.) Last night, Loki got off the bed (my feet, actually, and he's too heavy to kick off once he settles in) , went through the open bedroom door, and walked around the house to the closed door. He then meowed his fool head off and scratched at the door for ten minutes before I got out from under my warm blankets to let him in.

"You were just in here!" I told him as I stood shivering in the cold draft, waiting for him to finish slinking around the jamb at a glacial pace. "Why didn't you just come back through the open door?" (Yes, I realize that talking to a cat is a little demented. Scolding one is even more insane - as if they care what I think.)

He jumped up on the bed and made himself comfortable on my pillow. At three o'clock in the morning, the line between fascinating behavior and total dumbass is awfully thin.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Contract Saga Continues

Contracts are legal documents which describe a unique relationship. They aren't one-size-fits-all forms, even though it's more convenient for the company writing the document to try to make it so. On writer's lists, people frequently point out that every part of a contract is negotiable, and that's true, to some extent. A writer can try to negotiate. That doesn't mean the publisher will yield.

I've been negotiating a contract with a publisher for a short story for one of their anthologies. At least that's my interpretation of the rights they were buying - first time US print rights - but the wording of the contract gave them far more sweeping rights, such the right to republish my entire story anywhere they wanted to without paying me beyond the small initial payment for the anthology. I balked at that. I simply couldn't sign away my ability to sell first time electronic or magazine rights. I was told by the publisher that they wouldn't change their standard contract for one writer. So much for negotiation.

I don't make these decisions lightly, but it looks as if I'm going to have to pull my story. I really like the editor, but this is business, and I hope that she will understand my concerns and not let it affect our friendly acquaintance. I certainly don't wish to harm my relationship with the publisher to the point where we can't, in the future, work together. However, until the contracts change, I doubt I'll submit any more stories to that publisher's anthologies. I know I'm not the only writer who refuses to sign that contract as it stands, and I'm not the only one who has put that publisher on a personal "do not submit" list. (What else do you think writers talk about at my salons? We talk business.) This isn't a good situation for the publisher, who may not realize for quite some time that good writers aren't willing to work with them anymore. Eventually the slush pile will make it clear, but by then the damage will be done. It's harder to change a reputation than it is to earn one. It isn't good for the writers either - the ones who sign those contracts, or the ones who limit their publishing options because of such contracts.

Ah well. It's only one story. I have enough published by now that I don't sweat losing one, but it bugs me to pull it over the terms of the contract.