Yesterday, I bought two more pairs of shoes online. People who know alter ego will laugh at this as alter ego is well-known for her love affair with shoes. The notable issue with this purchase is that it makes the fourth and fifth pair of shoes bought from a particular line of a particular brand in less than two weeks’ time. I don’t think I’ve ever mainlined shoes like this before, but this particular brand line is amazing for how well they fit out of the box (I have very large and wide feet) and the fact that the pairs I’ve already bought do not appear to inflame the plantar fasciitis I’ve been dealing with for the last year. I also fell down because the brand offered up a 25% off sandals sale.
I’ve mainlined authors before. The first romance author I remember having this reaction to was Amanda Quick when I was in high school. When I first came across JD Robb, I wanted to mainline her books, too, but at the time Naked in Death was the only book out (yes, I’ve been reading her that long), and I didn’t know JD Robb was Nora Roberts–who I was already reading. I’ve been hearing from a lot of friends lately that they’ve been mainlining Kristen Ashley. I’m a little afraid to try her only because of my work & writing schedule, and the fact that I’m just now diving back into my TBR mountain. Which authors have you mainlined in the past, or are in the middle of?
Last night on PBS, I watched the American Masters episode featuring Mel Brooks. When Carl Reiner came on for the first time, I may have genuflected. The two of them, outside my family, were probably the greatest influences on my sense of humor. This is to say, I’m warped. More warped than wood laminate left out in a torrential rainstorm. The end of the show left me once again wishing I might have the opportunity to meet them. Who knows? They’re still alive. I’m still alive.
When it comes to writing, I’m having a hard time pinning down my influences. I can tell you who I love to read. I’m not so sure I could say they directly influence my writing in terms of style, though. I love the way Nora Roberts portrays her grounded, yet flawed characters and makes you root for them to live happily ever after. I love the sexy intensity of Stephanie Laurens’ heroes. Jayne Ann Krentz in her many incarnations encourages me strive to create strong, intelligent heroines. So, bits and pieces, here and there, yes, they have influence me. But I’d never take one of my titles and hand it to a reader who loves any of them and say “Since you love Nora/Stephanie/JayneAnneAmandaJayne, you’ll love this title of mine!” I’ll have to give this some more thought
Who are your early influences?
Once again, I failed to have pictures taken to share here! People did take pictures of me, but the one I have a copy of are me as alter ego. If any photos from the WRW panel come up, I’ll link to or post them Many huge thanks to Nicky Penttila, Avery Flynn, Sally MacKenzie, Christi Barth, Kimberly Kincaid, Bette McNichols and Meredith Bond for being such a great panel! I really loved doing this and look forward to the next one!
In the last few months, I’ve been discussing various aspects of writing and career planning with writing colleagues. One conversation was specifically about what I was writing. Novel A–which is now out with beta readers–and Novel C (which needs a new code name) are not and will not be erotic. If I publish them, I will probably do so under another pseudonym. The person I was having the conversation with, after I gave a brief overview of both projects, asked me why I was writing them. Market-wise, neither will probably be ready at the right time. Novel A will probably be a little too late while Novel C is just iffy in the first place. My response to my conversation partner? It’s because I love these stories and need to tell them. I am lucky in that I have a full-time job which I also love, so continuing to work and having that be my primary income is no hardship.
However, in order to achieve my long-term career goals, I need to better align the timing of my projects to the market. This is in some ways hard to do because you don’t want to write in response to what’s hot now, but you want to anticipate the market just enough to ride the cresting wave of it. I love erotic fiction, so I will continue to write it under this name. I’m also planning on stretching to writing still steamy, though not necessarily erotic, fiction. Whether or not it’s romance, I’ll leave it up in the air, but I consider romance to be my “home” genre. To hopefully achieve a balance of continuing to build this name as well as staying true to the stories that move me, I will be more deliberate about alternating writing projects. For a writing “break” between finishing the rewrite of Novel A and starting the revision of said rewrite, you may remember I worked on Short Story B. SSB was an erotic story with a specific submission call in mind. Project Occipital is going to be more on the steamy rather than erotic side of things (though it’s knocking hard on the erotic door), but again with a specific market in mind.
My answer to “why are you writing X?” is always going to be “because I love the story I have to tell.” Whether I succeed or not is going to be up to the reader, but I promise to have delivered to you the best story I was capable of writing at the time I wrote it.
If you live anywhere near Frederick, MD and are looking for something to do this Saturday, come on over and check out the Frederick Book Festival’s WRW panel which I will be moderating!
The day job and my schedule related to it has kept me hopping for the last three or so weeks, and the next three weeks are equally busy. RT was great because, while I was there as alter ego, I was able to also soak up information and ideas for this side of my life. Hence, the start of Project Occipital. Last week, the latest post from Hyperbole and a Half was making the rounds on the web. I read it and very much recognized where she was coming from. While I’ve never hit those truly low levels, I’ve dealt with my share of depression.
Sunday afternoon, after spending part of the morning sorting out the rhythm of Project Occipital, and then heading down to the National Mall to play kickball, I came home to the realization I was dealing with another bout of depression. As much as I wanted to work on P.O., I could not dredge up the energy. Since I wasn’t going to work on that, I would do my laundry. I have to go out to do my laundry, so I got all ready to go, seriously, keys in hand about to walk out the door, and I could not be bothered to take a step further. All I wanted to do was crawl into bed and go to sleep. It was six in the evening. On Mother’s Day. And I had yet to call my mom. And I didn’t want to call my mom, with whom I have a very close relationship. I knew if I called her, I’d unload about how crappy I was feeling, and who wants to call their mom, ON MOTHER’S DAY, to say “Hi mom! Happy Mother’s Day! I’m depressed. Please fly two hours to give me a hug.” At least I can recognize I’m in a depressed mood. It gives me a little bit of hope it will pass through quickly. While in this mood, I have little energy to be creative, so I’m powering through a lot of more tedious work as my attention isn’t bouncing around at every little squirrel that passes in front of me. I’m going to let this week ride and try to jot down a few more ideas for the structure of P.O. On Saturday, I’ll be moderating the WRW panel at the Frederick Book Festival. I’m going to spend some time with writer friends and bounce ideas off of them, with the hope it will punch through this enervation. I think that’s the worse thing about depression. You recognize factors contributing to the depression, you know what you can do to alleviate some of those factors, but you have absolutely no energy to get those things done.
I hate to end a post on a low note, so I’ll just leave it with: Come see me and other WRW writers in Frederick on Saturday!
Over on the side, you should hopefully see a new widget above the tweet stream. I look forward to keeping those bars moving ever forward. The project code names are references to our skeletal system, and aren’t specifically intended to represent something in the story. Project Occipital is the new novella I mentioned a few days ago. I still haven’t determined the new name for Novel C. I’ve got until June 1st to ruminate on it
Alter ego is off by the ocean for the day. I think this is the first time I’ve had the chance to dip my feet in the Atlantic Ocean. I’ve dipped my feet in the Pacific Ocean, and swum in the Gulf of Mexico. I don’t think I’ve ever slept by the ocean, but, man it is loud! The great thing about this is I’ve got new sensory experiences to weave into a future story. You can be assured I’ll need to come back and do some more research
On the way home from RT, I got a nifty little idea for a novella. I’m going to spend what time I have this week, which is sadly little, plotting it out so I can get started writing it this weekend after the WRW meeting on Saturday. Usually, my process does not include extensive plotting beforehand, but I am finding I work most efficiently when I balance the plotter and pantser methods of writing. What I definitely am not going to do is try to write this whole novella by the end of this month as I’ve already got June 1st as my designated start date for starting Novel C. Now that I’ve got more projects on the plate, I’m going to need to come up with a more distinctive code name system. I’m almost tempted to go with fruit, but, for some reason, bones are also appealing to me. I wonder how long would it take me to run through all 206. If you had to come up with a code name system, what theme would you use?
I had such a great time at RT in Kansas City this past week. There were so many people I was able to introduce myself to, as well as revealing this identity to friends who’ve known me for a long time only as alter ego. As I do enjoy my superhero stories, I’m almost tempted to start referring to alter ego as “Batgirl”, but that’s not likely to happen
One of the coolest things I got to do at the conference was sign a copy of Duty & Desire to Jill Shalvis! Thanks, Jill, and I hope you like my story! If not, I hope you like other stories in the anthology
I’m on the fence about attending RT in New Orleans next year as, if I do, I will be attending under this name. To do so, I need to have sold some more stories, or at least have finished another two novels. I’m going to work hard on that as I do have a lot of ideas floating around in my head I’m looking forward to tackling! Thanks to everyone who spent time with me at RT. I miss you already!
I’m at RT in Kansas City and am having a great time even though I’m here as alter ego, and therefore am focusing more on day job concerns. I’ve been able to give away a number of books to readers which is always fun. I’ve also been able to meet up with a lot of friends who know me as alter ego. If you see me in KC, please stop me and say hi!
What books are you reading and enjoying?