Thursday, May 28, 2009

I've Been Falling Behind

It always takes me a while to recover from Saints and Sinners. This year was a huge networking year for me, so I've been chatting away with new and old friends. And I jumped right into a novel as soon as I got home. So I'm a bit behind, but here's the good news:

Coming Together Against The Odds is out! If you don't know about Alyssa Brio's Coming Together anthologies, they raise money for charities. Most of the proceeds from Coming Together Against The Odds will be donated to autism research. All writers and the editor donated their work to this worthy fundraiser. The EPPIE nominated Coming Together anthologies raise money for different charities, so check out the entire line.

Coming Together Against the Odds features erotic mysteries. My story is The Booty Call Caper, a wicked homage to my favorite 1940s madcap movies - The Thin Man series. Georgie and Jack are friends with benefits, only their benefits seem to always get interrupted by a mystery. Jack wants to investigate the scene of a possible crime; Georgie wants her booty call. The pair manages to satisfy both desires while on stakeout. Nick and Nora Charles were never this naughty.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Back From Saints and Sinners

I had an amazing time, as usual, but always a different amazing time. D.L. King was a blast as a roommate. I loved seeing everyone. Met some new people I liked a lot. Schmoozed like crazy.


There's always a but, and this year it's a big one. I haven't been to the erotica panel in a couple years since it's always the same three people. But this year I figured what the hell then left thinking What The Hell?????

Did every person on that panel actually admit that they don't read erotica? Did one person go on to say they preferred to read "good writing" when they have time to read? Great. Erotica writers calling erotica worthless crap. I-- Fuck it. Never again.

This AM: I can't let this go.

In another panel, one of the "name" people at the conference was talking about his short story collection and how he wanted people to feel it was erotic, but not erotica, because he wanted it to be considered literature. He also left out his science fiction short stories for the same reason. I am so sick of this snobbery.

Thank god for Peter Dube' on the literature versus genre fiction panel. He was the one person who said genre and literary are arbitrary divisions that have no value. Good writing is good writing.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Off to Saints and Sinners

I'm not leaving until Thursday morning, but I doubt I'll have time to make another entry before then.

I blog about Saints and Sinners, the GLBT literary festival held in New Orleans, all the time, so you're probably already aware of it. Still, if you're waffling about going, let me praise it once again.

There's something indescribable about being in a room full of other queer writers. It's comfortable, it's familiar, it's home. Through the years, I've made many friends there, so a lot of the fun is socializing with people I normally only get to talk to via email, facebook, and writer's lists. Plus I get to be fan girl.

The feature that sets Saints and Sinners apart from most writer's conferences is the focus. The first day of master classes is all about improving your craft. Other writer's conferences I've been to have given a nod to craft, but the real focus is usually selling novels. That's important, and every writer who wants to sell stories needs to hear the basics about how to go about being a professional writer. By their nature, those types of conferences are suited for beginning writers. It's the same basic information over and over. Once you've been, there's no reason to go back. On the other hand, Saints and Sinners offers different classes every year, and I take away something new each time.

This year, I have a wonderful roommate who hasn't been to S&S, so I get to introduce her to everyone and hang out with her in the evenings. I'm looking forward to that. Many writers from my publisher will be there, so we're going to have a meet and greet. Unfortunately, the publishers couldn't make it this year. And this year, I hope to finally go on an official tour of New Orleans.

When I get back, I'll try to share the highlights. I'm usually so overwhelmed that I can't, but I'll try. Or better yet, come yourself.

Saturday, May 09, 2009


I was about 8,000 words into a novel when I decided to scrap it and start over. I'd written about 5,000 words of it several months ago, set it aside, and jumped into it again recently, adding the last 3,000 words.

I know there are writers who can crank that word count out in days, but I'm not one of them. So when I decide to walk away after committing that much effort, it's because I know I can't make it work. I lost faith in the story and didn't find it terribly interesting. The funny thing is that I mentioned this to someone in a forum when he asked how my writing is going, and the resident loon jumped into the conversation and called me a shitty writer for scraping it.

This is how I can tell writers from non-writers. I'll bet most writers have written the first chapter or so of many novels they've never completed. Being able to tell if a story will work or not is a sign of experience. Wasting time and sanity trying to make something work is pointless. Only someone who has never written a novel would believe that you sit down, craft the first sentence, follow that up with the exact right sentence, and move on in that manner until the last word. It just doesn't work that way. Paragraphs get moved. Whole sections get deleted. Characters get cut. Dialog gets trimmed. Sometimes, the whole damn thing gets thrown out.

Is that bad writing? Rhetorical question. Of course it isn't.

I'd been discussing a co-authored project with Helen E.H. Madden for some time. While we'd both love to do it, we simply can't. I'd envisioned this great opening scene for our project. Now that it's been shelved, and my novel has been shelved, I still have this strong opening in my head that I hate to waste. So I'm going to take that first scene and run with it. We'll see how I feel at the 8,000 word mark. Hopefully, I'll be just as enthusiastic about it.

Sunday, May 03, 2009


In publishing, it's who you know that matters.

I hear this sentiment a lot, usually from people who haven't been published. It isn't entirely true. Trust me, there's no great conspiracy to keep great writers off the market. The publishing industry desperately needs breakout hits. Then they need other writers to create derivative works to cash in on the popularity. No one in the publishing industry makes a killing at it. Most scrape by. They're in the business for the love of it. If they read something that knocks their socks off, they're going to champion it in a big way.

But notice that I said "entirely true." It helps to know people. And by help, I mean that you get a better picture of how the publishing industry works by talking to many published writers. You hear about trends in publishing as they're happening. You get to learn from someone's bad experience, saving you the trouble of a do-it-yourself disaster. Then there are the opportunities that drop into your lap because you know someone.

In the past few months, I've been offered some wonderful opportunities. The temptation to get involved is strong. The potential benefits are almost worth it. And I always regret opting out when I see the project moving forward. But here's the thing - I only have so much time in my life. I do not churn out stories. I am fascinated and astounded by people who can. I'm just not one of them. So I have to pass on anything that isn't a pet project. That kills me, because through years of networking with writers and editors, I finally know people. And it doesn't do me any good.