Saturday, January 31, 2009

Couldn't Do It and Contest Entry

So much for starting something new. I tried. Really. I wrote a whole chapter of that science fiction/romance idea I had. And I got bored. Utterly, entirely bored. And I went back to writing Agency Files, Book 2, which is coming along nicely. Chapter one has been written and revised several times. I like it, though it still needs a bit more telling rather than showing in the opening fight scene. And I'm happy writing it.

Except for the frustration.

Because if I can't sell Book 1, what the hell am I going to do with Book 2? I'll spend another six months to a year writing the next book, and I can't even pitch it to anyone when I'm finished because it's a sequel. And then what? It's a trilogy, for crying out loud! So I'll write a third book that will take another year?

The hubby seems to believe that once I get this trilogy out of my system, I'll be able to write unrelated material. I tend to agree with him, but, two more years?! Sigh.

On the up side, if I do sell Book 1, I'll be well along with the other books in the series, if not finished with them. I'm told that's very attractive to agents and publishers.

On a different note, I entered Assassin's Nightmare in a new contest. The top three manuscripts, one in each of three genres including science fiction, will go to the head of the slush pile for three prominent editors at major publishing houses. Mine will go to an editor at Tor if I win. That would boost my writing spirits somewhat.

I'm also considering posting my work over at Authonomy, a site run by Harper Collins. It's kind of like American Idol for writers. Readers vote on books they like and give feedback. The most popular titles end up on the editors' desks over at Harper Collins. I doubt I would win, as I suspect it's more of a popularity contest than anything else, but I'm curious as to how the book would do and what feedback I would receive.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Book Review of the Day - Talia Gryphon

Ok, with a name like Gryphon, the woman really has to write paranormal. Key to Conspiracy is the second novel in the Gillian Key series. And let me say up front that paranormal anything really isn't my favorite genre. That said, there are some things I really enjoy about this series.

I like the main character for the most part. She is generally tough, yet attractive, and the combination Marine/psychologist is an interesting mix. The fact that she's blonde gets on my nerves, but that's my personal bias. :) It's the main character that has kept me reading the series, despite this not being my "thing."

On the downside, for me, anyway, there are vampires, elves, and werewolves. I'm very tired of vampires, elves, and werewolves. Granted, the vampires are HOT and the description of their romantic tendencies is also HOT, so I'm letting that slide a bit. But I enjoy the ghosts and other less-common creatures in her series a lot more. I'd like to see more of those.

I'm also noticing in the second book, which I didn't notice in the first, a tendency to shift point of view at random, sometimes in the space of one page without any indication that the shift is coming. I can't get away with that in my writing. My mentor would eat me alive.

I guess what disturbs me most is the reason I'm reading it at all. And that is, there is nothing else on the bookstore shelves that I want to read. I've been to the store and scanned the woefully minimal science fiction section, and can't find any dominant female protagonist stories in that genre that I haven't read already. It's disheartening, to say the least. I'm now in the midst of the third book in this series. It's probably good for me to step outside my "comfort reading zone" but I'd like some sci-fi kick ass women, now, please.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Anniversary With Authors

For our anniversary, the hubby and I gave each other . . . a writing conference in Ft. Myers. Ok, we're total nerds. It wasn't exactly romantic, but it was cool since our author mentor was attending. She brought with her her previous mentoree who sold her first book at auction for a rather large sum. Now both of these published authors are reading our work, so I guess we know have two mentors. Which is totally awesome!

And our anniversary dinner was with these two wonderful individuals, talking about writing and a hundred other things. So, yeah, it wasn't wine and roses, but it was really cool!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Starting a New Novel

My New Year's Resolution was that on January first, if my current novel had not yet earned an agent (or more happily a sale), I would start my next novel.

I am pleased to say that I have done so. While this new undertaking begins with some sadness for the current lack of interest in the previous one, I do feel that I have learned so much in the writing process and in making connections with authors and agents, that the current project may be even better. I am almost finished with chapter 1 of a science fiction romance (yes, Linnea Sinclair and Ann Aguirre have seriously influenced me in that genre), and I'm liking what I produce which is not always true.

But it's a mixed blessing. On the one hand, a good book is a good book. It's got an original storyline, interesting characters (in my opinion), and it fits in a genre that seems to be selling if not well, then better than science fiction space opera which is what Assassin's Nightmare falls into. If I can sell it, it won't matter if it was my first, second, or hundredth novel. Oh, working title is "Real" Love, by the way. On the other hand, it's a stand alone. Assassin's Nightmare is the first of what was planned to be at least a three-book series, all of which I've outlined and plotted in some detail. I've even got some scenes written in rough draft form for the other two books in that series. I love Vick Corren, Assassin's Nightmare's main character. I'd planned to spend years on her development. An earlier novel in that series, Slipped Disc (co-authored with my friend, Jen Lindman), featuring a different character in the same universe, is already written. It never sold or gained an agent, but I always felt that if I could sell Assassin's Nightmare, I might go back to Slipped Disc.

Writing "Real" Love feels like I'm abandoning the Agency Files series. I know that's not true, that Assassin's Nightmare is still being reworked with Linnea Sinclair's wonderful assistance and will go back out for a second round of agent perusal in a few months. And I do believe that someday, the series will see publication. But it still feels strange to leave it for awhile.

And it's frustrating that our earlier works are likely the nearest and dearest to our hearts, but, of course, the later ones will be the best written because we learn something with every word we write.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Book Review of the Day - Adam-Troy Castro

Just finished Emissaries From The Dead by Adam-Troy Castro (agented by Joshua Bilmes, though I didn't realize that until after I purchased it and read the acknowledgments). Though the main character is a strong female, that isn't why I enjoyed the book so much. And I did enjoy it. Main character Andrea Cort is unlikeable in the beginning of the novel and through much of the rest of it as well. I have a difficult time liking books in which I can't sympathize or empathize with the protagonist. But while character development was a major point of this novel, there were other elements that dominated more.

It was a murder mystery, a most satisfying one that kept me guessing right up to the last two chapters. I'm not really into mysteries, but I liked this.

It had complex aliens and an unusual setting both extremely well-defined and described. Again, aliens aren't usually my thing, but I liked this. It was so well done.

And by the end, the main character is redeemed. I liked her. I understood her. I look forward to future novels featuring her character.

So, any complaints? Yes, one. Typos. I do not believe I've ever read a novel with as many obvious typographical errors. I'm talking about every other page or so. It was unbelievable. It felt like a draft had mistakenly gone to final printing instead of the fully edited copy. If I were the author (or agent, or editor) I would be extremely upset that this went to print. And it makes me wonder, do authors, agents, and editors read the version of the novel that's actually on the shelves in bookstores, or does their interest fade after years of revisions, copy edits, galley proofs, etc.? Having read and re-read my own as yet unpublished novel, I can sympathize with not wanting to ever see it again. And so, I wonder if any of them even realize what a huge number of typos are present in the finished product.