Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
If you're wondering what I've been up to lately, you can check out my other blog. I just finished updating that one too. Stewart, I'm sorry to say that I haven't written you a vampire story, but I have an excuse. Really, I do. It's um, it's uh... the cat ate my mouse. Yeah, that was it. And by the way, where are the links you promised us? I haven't seen your entry yet.
As for the rest of you, I've been lurking about, reading your blogs. Just haven't had much time lately and blogger doesn't always let me comment. Keep up the good work, folks.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Residents become ill after meteor crashes - http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070918/sc_afp/peruhealthoffbeat
Britain approves creation of hybrid human-animal embryos for research - http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070905/sc_nm/britain_embryo_dc
Don't you see the makings of sci-fi/horror there?
Anyhoodles, just finished a really good book last night. A MANKIND WITCH was fun, but was not on the level of this one. Once more, I accidentally brought home the last book of a series, but since I was desperate, I went ahead and read it. I didn't really need to read first two to understand the third, but I'm going to go pick them today just because I loved this guy's writing style. Here's an example where he describes a hunter's dog from a demon's point of view:
That dog, potential insanity on four legs, can be as calm as a dreamless sleeper until danger drops from the trees and then his placid, near-human smile wrinkles back into a snapping wound machine. The crafty beast learns to lunge for my brethren's unprotected areas--wing membrane, soft belly, groin, or tail. I, myself, witnessed that hound tear of an attacking demon's member, slip through its legs, and then shread a wing to tatters in his escape. He has an uncanny sense of certainty about him in all situations, as if in each he is like a dancer who has practiced that one dance all his days. Wood reads Cley like a book, understands his hand signals and the subtle shifting of his eyes. There is no question he will die for the hunter, and I am convinced he will go beyond death for him--a guardian angel the color of night, muscled and scarred and harder to subdue than a guilty conscience.
Doesn't that just perfectly capture the essence of dogs?
The book? THE BEYOND
The author: Jeffrey Ford
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Go ahead, try it. Don't be shy. You know you want to.
by James Joyce
Most people are convinced that you don't make any sense, but compared to what else you could say, what you're saying now makes tons of sense. What people do understand about you is your vulgarity, which has convinced people that you are at once brilliant and repugnant. Meanwhile you are content to wander around aimlessly, taking in the sights and sounds of the city. What you see is vast, almost limitless, and brings you additional fame. When no one is looking, you dream of being a Greek folk hero.
Actually, with the exception of that Greek folk hero thing and the fame bit, I'd have to say this was right on the money.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Saturday, August 4, 2007
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
However, I also recently read the following:
LAMB, THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO BIFF, CHRIST'S CHILDHOOD PAL by Christopher Moore, which managed to be hysterically funny and poignant at the same time. The story is as the title would suggest, the "untold tale" of Jesus' boyhood narrated by his childhood friend Levi, aka "Biff." Though there were a couple of places I felt dragged a bit, overall, Moore's writing style is so smooth that I was pulled along with the flow of the story and was sorry when it ended. I highly recommend this one as long as your religious sensibilities aren't easily offended. In fact, I think the quote by Voltaire in the beginning of the book is excellent: "God is a comedian playing to an audience that is afraid to laugh." It made me wish the story were true.
ASHES TO ASHES by Jennifer Armintrout. This was the third in her "Blood Ties" series about a doctor turned vampire, and I've liked them all so far. I like that her heroine, Carrie, is not always perfect--she makes some questionable choices at times, but Armintrout sets up the background and characters in such a way that her choices are not only believable, you can sympathize with them even if you think it may not have been the wisest thing. Overall, I recommend the series if you like horror, romance and erotica all in one book. :)
THE UNFORTUNATE MISS FORTUNES by Jennifer Crusie, Eileen Dreyer, and Anne Stuart. I picked this book up about three magical sisters, expecting it to be neatly divided into the three sections by the three different authors, but to my surprise, it was told as one tale. It was a credit to the authors and editors that this book unfolded so seamlessly. Recommended if you like romance, humor and magic.
Now, in the "shameless self-promotion" category, Cimorene at Enchanting Reviews read my story and had this to say:
Unmasked – Kate Sterling
When Morgan receives an invitation to the ball on Arcadia Island, she knows the wish she wants granted: to have one more night with the love of her life… without hurting his wife.
The goddess Aphrodite sees fit, however, to throw a stumbling block in Morgan's way. She has to find Derek before midnight, at a masked ball!
Instead, Morgan finds Brianna and Marcos, a married couple whose relationship is on the skids, and Morgan wants to help them spice it up. But when the couple is unmasked the next morning, Morgan has to decide if she's going to run, or live with her new love.
I'm not much into erotica myself, but Ms. Sterling handles it excellently, making this story tastefully spicy. While there seemed to be a bit of a flow issue in the beginning, it quickly straightened out after Morgan and Brianna met.
Ultimately, this is a good read and definitely adds to the character of the book!
....My overall opinion of the book is that it is a fabulous collection of works by some very talented authors. I can't wait to read more of the Masquerade Series, and see what other gods make their debuts.
A must-read for anyone who wonders what the ancient ones might be up to today!
When I have the link to the full review, I'll post it.
On my current, ever-growing "to be read" shelf are: "Industrial Magic" - Kelley Armstrong; "Swords of Talera" - Charles Allen Gramlich; "High Seas Cthulhu" - Stewart Sternberg; "Apocalypse Woman" - Tyree Kimber; and "Hellblaze" - Yolanda Sfetsos.
So, what have YOU been reading lately?
Friday, July 20, 2007
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
The gist is that I'm supposed to post 8 random facts about myself and then tag 8 others to do the same, but since everyone I know has already been tagged while I was away, I guess I'll just leave it at this.
So, let's see....
1. I've tried to resign from my current job four times now and they keep pulling me back. I just turned in my resignation again last week, and they talked me into staying on part-time through at least the end of October.
2. I took modern jazz, ballet, folk and tap dancing classes for years and still can't dance.
3. I've broken 12 bones from the waist down due to my lack of coordination. (see #2)
4. I love balding men with big noses - I think they're sexy.
5. When I was a teenager, I had a chance to run away with a carnival to work as a caricature artist. Now I wish I had taken it.
6. I currently have almost no furniture but am living with boxes and boxes of books for which I need to buy shelves. (got to have your priorities)
7. I'm having a really tough time coming up with these.
8. I'm glad this list is over.
Ok, so I cheated on the last two. Give me a break - I'm tired, still not unpacked from the move, and still trying to quit my job. I'm just a little burnt out these days, but it's good to be back online, even if for limited amounts of time. :)
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Nevertheless, great to lay fingertips to keyboard again! Hope everyone is doing well.
I missed you guys.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
When I saw it, the question that immediately sprang to mind was, "What the HELL were they thinking?"
As I heard, and later read, the parents left their three year old daughter alone in a room in a foreign country, while they went out to eat and she subsequently disappeared.
Now they have the whole world offering rewards for her return and they've even met with the pope for consolation. Yet nowhere have I seen that question raised - why in the world would they have left a small child alone like that? She was asleep and they were hungry? For crying out loud, one of you go get something and bring it back while the other watches the kids!
I, too, hope she is returned safe and sound. But while everyone is pouring their hearts out to these parents, shouldn't they also ask them what the hell were they thinking? It's illegal in this country to leave a child alone before they reach 14 years of age. Parent who do so, and are found out, are generally charged with child endangerment and neglect, sometimes they even lose custody if it's bad enough.
Maybe I'm being harsh and judgemental, but I think those parents are partially responsible for what happened and should also be held accountable.
I'm not a perfect parent either, but this (and the case Susan blogged about) are just two more reminders that "common sense" is not common at all.
Ok, I'm done ranting now. Just had to get that off my chest before I pack up my computer.
Have a great June, people.
Friday, May 25, 2007
See, I work on our intra- and inter-net sites at work, as well as create many of our publications and online learning modules, so I have to access to numerous photographs and graphics. I recently received a set of pics from someone in multi-media that were taken during a Multi-Cultural Task Force meeting - you know, a group put together to promote peace, harmony and unity, while celebrating diversity in the workplace.
Hmm.... I looked them over, trying to find a good shot... what's this? They all have something in common... our loving, multi-cultural task force is comprised of all caucasions who appear to be in a heated, bitter discussion. This one is glaring at that one, that one has her fingers in this one's face, all are late 40's to early 50's, and nary a color appears other than white, white, white. There was, however, one man. I guess he added diversity to the otherwise all female group.
I had to laugh. It beat crying. Maybe the photographer meant them to be an example of what NOT to do? One can hope. After all, false hope springs eternal...
As for my own angry white face, I got spam this morning from an email designed to look exactly like my own from katesterling.com! Those b@$t@rds! So I apologize in advance to anyone who may receive spam that looks like it came from me.
In fact, any emails from me should be regarded with at least some suspicion through the first week of July. Starting June 1, my computer time will be severely limited - mainly confined to sneaking in at work - as I'll have my computer in storage while I'm temporarily homeless.
After next week, I may move out to San Francisco and borrow a towel from Clifford. :)
Have a great weekend, ya'll.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Since a few male (and non-romance writing) readers have suggested lately that they might try their hands at romance and/or erotic romance, I thought I’d list a few publishers here.
Note: None of these publishers require agents to submit, and some are also open to genres other than romance.
In alphabetical order:
Aphrodites Apples (new e-publisher; they published my story “Unmasked” in their Masquerade anthology, volume 3. I’ve found them to be very nice and responsive - a fun group of women currently run this company)
Aspen Mountain (e-publisher of most genres)
Avon (large mainstream publisher of “large” romance - usually historical romance)
Cerridwen Press (e-books & paperbacks of most genres - the non-erotic offshoot of Ellora’s Cave)
Changeling Press (e-publisher of all genres of erotica - (romance/horror/sci-fi/fantasy, etc.) have been around a few years)
Cobblestone Press (e-pub, mainly romance & erotica)
Dorchester (large mainstream publisher of most genres of romance)
Ellora's Cave (e-books & paperbacks of erotic romance - was one of the first and largest publishers of romantic erotica in e-book form)
eXstacy eBooks (e-publisher of erotica and erotic romance)
Harlequin (large, mainstream, many imprints and “flavors”)
Juno Books (small, mainstream with focus on strong female characters - publishes mainly fantasy - not really romance, though can have romantic elements - their books look really interesting.)
Kensington (large mainstream publisher of most genres of romance)
Medallion Press (small mainstream - current openings many genres)
Mundania Press (small mainstream publisher - closed for submission until later this year - but check back)
Penguin-DAW (large mainstream publisher - this particular imprint of Penguin publishes fantasy and sci-fi, also with romance - you can check their ROC imprint as well for guidelines.)
Phaze (e-publisher of erotica/romance - been around a while)
Quanum Kiss (e-publisher of short romances - pays flat $10 for each accepted submission)
Quill Pen (online pulp fiction magazine)
Red Sage (mainstream publisher - paperback erotic romance)
Samhain Publishing (mainly e-pub, but also some paperback, most genres with a lot of focus on erotic - currently only open to special themes so check their website for details. I have friends published with them, I’ve had exchanges with them also, and they seem very nice.)
Sourcebooks (small mainstream publisher, currently open to most genres of romance; also publishes non-fiction)
Stardust Press (new e-publisher - publishes most genres, though currently seems focused on erotic romance)
Tiger Publication (small, new mainstream publisher, but seem responsive & with big plans)
Tor-Forge (large mainstream publisher of sci-fi, fantasy and paranormal romance)
Triskelion (mainly e-pub, but also some paperback, most genres with a lot of focus on erotic romance - also currently actively looking for horror, fantasy and graphic novels)
Twighlight Fantasies (new e-pub of erotic romance)
Whispers (new e-publisher of erotic romance)
Whiskey Creek Press (e-publisher of mainly erotic romance)
Monday, May 7, 2007
Friday, May 4, 2007
This one from EuroReviews who gave it 5 "rings":
(By the way, the reviewer is German, so the English is slightly off)
"UNMASKED by Kate Sterling is the story of Morgan who is on a mission to find her old flame, Derek, that she left some years back when she was in fear of becoming too close to Derek. Since then, Derek had found another, who has become his wife. Morgan's wish was to be with Derek, just one more time, and for her wish to be fulfilled, she must find Derek at the Masquerade Ball before midnight. Morgan finds Brianna who is trying to find her husband Marcos to save her marriage. Helping each other without knowing who each are, the triangle of these three become an intense, sensual and loving romance story that ends with a surprising ending. The scenes within this story is sizzling! The reader will become emotionally attached to them all, wanting them all to have their love everlasting."
She had nice things to say about everyone and said she wished she could give MASQUERADE 3 higher than 5, but that's as high as they go. As soon as I have a direct link to the site, I'll include it.
Steve, I thought of you saying the German reviews of your comic were better than the English. I guess they must like us. *grin*
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Here's a helpful instructional video to ease the writer's blues. You may want to have pen and paper handy to take notes.
Rejection Letter Response
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
A friend sent me this link the other day - I thought it was pretty funny. Funny and frighteningly true...
Oh, and by the way, if anyone is interested in a chance to win a free copy of my e-book, you can see the details at my other blog.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
A tiny bandaid
the open jugular bleeds
Lexapro, Prozac, Lithium, Buspar
Freedom, Mania, Death and Despair
Count your blessings
Say a prayer
Get off your ass
Stop feeling sorry for yourself
Others are worse off
Get out there and help
Sometimes, a swift kick in the pants is more effective than sympathy. Other times, it's just a pain in the butt and wrinkles the clothes.
Friday, April 13, 2007
Stewart wrote: Have you ever been so butt-fucking low that you've called a crisis line? I know people do it, hell..I used to man one of those phones...but I've always wondered what it would be like to be the person making the call.
(Raising hand) Um, yeah. I have. Here's how it went:
In a moment of utter desperation, in an attempt to keep from committing suicide, I called a "hotline." I was put on hold for the first several minutes. (Crisis hotline, can you please hold?) I was then transferred between a couple of people and finally transferred from there (via phone) to a local clinic, where I was put on hold again. After about 15 minutes, someone came on the line, transferred me to a nurse who looked at their schedule and said they could get me in (are you ready for this?) in about 3 months. I actually started laughing and said I'd call back another time.
For better or worse, my sense of humor has never strayed far from me. (I'm the type of person who could find something funny in a funeral, and have.) The humor came to my rescue then. I hung up the phone, thought it was a good thing I wasn't holding the knife to my wrist during the time I made the call, and just had to laugh at how ridiculous it all was. Somehow, that made me feel better. So I guess the crisis lines do work. :)
Thursday, April 5, 2007
I made a comment today (without thinking) about publishing in a room full of people and suddenly I was the center of attention. Not my favorite place to be. In the blink of an eye, I went from unassuming, middle-aged mom to an expert on writing, had lots of great stories to tell, knew every famous writer in the world personally, and must be working on a fabulous, famous series.
The fact that I ran screaming from the room didn't deter them. They followed me to the elevator, which was too darn slow in arriving for a quick getaway. I considered sprinting for the stairs and jumping over the railing, but the arthritis in my ankles was acting up. I was trapped. I spent the next few minutes stuck in a 4x4 cube explaining that I didn't know "so-and-so" and I don't know how to get started writing screenplays (Sidney, I gave them your dad's number if they have any more questions.)
To give these people credit, they were extremely nice and just excited for me, but I felt like a fraud. I managed to dodge a few questions that I didn't want to answer, yet the overall experience was very embarrassing. I'll have to watch what I say more carefully from now on.
At least, until I really do know "so and so", am raking in millions, have great connections and my series is an international best seller. Which should be, oh, any day now. :)
Friday, March 23, 2007
As it is, I'll be off for a while. Hopefully getting well and getting my a$$ kicked by God and the Devil. Sometimes, I really think they ought to be begging our forgiveness for letting us live. Other times, it's just good to be here.
See you in a few weeks.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
See, I've been looking through my many works-in-progress, trying to figure out which one to focus on (get out of my lazy funk and finish something already) and I came across something interesting. I hadn't touched a number of my files for some time, and some of the ones I'd remembered as being good, were fairly blah--a few even downright bad. But there was one that I remembered as being boring crap, which actually held my attention and made me care about the characters in just a few pages. I was surprised, because I had abandoned that work some time ago on the basis that it was too boring.
After some contemplating, I realized why I thought it was much better than the others upon re-reading. It was written from real emotion, based on deep feelings that I had experienced, and that made it ring true. The situation was complete fiction (a selkie and a summer cottage) but the emotion was real, and that made all the difference.
Everywhere, I find the advice to "dig deeper" - go for the gut emotional appeal. It takes courage to do that. I find it very hard (being such a coward and all.) I've abandoned other works because the emotional toll was so great, and I'm a little suspicious that may have been what was truly behind my abandoning the selkie story. It wasn't boring - it was painful.
So I applaud those of you who dig deep, look closer, pull out the hard truths and put them out there for everyone to see. Good on ya.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
The premise is this:
You turn to page 123 in your work-in-progress. (If you haven’t gotten to page 123 yet, then turn to page 23. If you haven’t gotten there yet, then get busy and write page 23.) Count down four sentences and then instead of just the fifth sentence, give us the whole paragraph.
Now, I'm not going to be so cruel as to tag people, but I'd love to see what you're all working on, so if you'd care to share, please do so. I'll get it started by posting the paragraph four sentences down on page 23 of one of mine (called Chimera Falls).
(It's rather a shame where this landed, because I love the bit just before it, but I'm following the rules here.)
The door opened immediately and Bernie’s head appeared. “Honestly, Meghan, why in the world didn’t you just knock on the door instead of yelling like that?” Her aunt looked up and down the street quickly as she opened the door a little wider. “The whole neighborhood probably heard you, and here I am trying to tell everyone you’ll fit in just fine…” she grabbed Meghan’s arm, “now don’t just stand there gaping at me, come inside.”
Saturday, March 10, 2007
My daughter and one of her lost soul friends are here tonight getting ready for a couple of "hot, hot, HOT" boys to come over to "hang out." (I'll be here the entire time. Loaded gun not optional.)
The three of us just had a long, very open talk about how "badly" they "want" these boys. I suggested they masturbate when they shower to get it out of their systems before the guys show up. (Yes, I really did.) They took that suggestion with varying degrees of humor and horror. The saddest part, though, was after some while of discussing STDs, birth control, self respect, etc. her friend admitted that "sex wasn't really that great." She's been at it for a couple of years. She's also fourteen.
God help us.
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
|You scored as River Tam. The Fugitive. You are clever and dangerous, which is a nasty combination. The fact you are crazy too just adds to your charm. They did bad things to you, but you know their secrets. They will regret how they made you.|
Saturday, March 3, 2007
Anyway, Spyscribbler's blog had a link to this blog about breaking through writer's blocks. Among the comments there were the usual prats who said they never had it, but there was also some useful advice, and this bit:
"CREATIVITY" by Martha Graham
There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one you in all time, this expression is unique. If you block it, it will never exist through any medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is; it is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your worth. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time; there is only a strange, divine dissatisfaction; a blessed unrest that keeps us marking and makes us more alive than the others.
Over the past year, I've come in contact with several writers--some in real life, some on the Internet--and most of us seem to suffer the same insecurities and doubts. Some of us wonder if we're wasting our time, if we're any good, even if we should even be writing at all; others believe in their writing but not their ability to market it. Some want to share their stories with everyone; others don't want to share at all. Others, like myself, tend to drift in and out of those all those feelings and more.
Today, I read a short post on a blog that left me in awe of this man's ability to write: Jon Zech. I immediately looked to see if he had books published, but from what I could surmise, he tends to fall into the "only share once in a while" category. That made me sad. I'd like for the world to see his work. I want to publish him. Him, and so many others.
We all have our unique perspectives, our stories to tell. Let's not keep them to ourselves, even if we do think they're less than perfect. I'm glad I finally managed to write some more last night, even it was only 700 words. It's about time.
Thursday, March 1, 2007
Must be the disappearance of Wayne.
I want to write something different, something to match my bizarre mood, yet I'm afraid it will be impossible. I think it has something to do with the space-time continuum shifts as Wayne and Stewart face off in the multiverse. Ice storms, electrical malfunctions and extreme lack of focus are the fallout in our world.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
But wait, there's more!
Right after that, I got another blessing. Susan and I had just agreed yesterday that toys aren't the same as real men; but now, thanks to the wonders of email marketing, I can enlarge my penis! This day just keeps getting better.
Now, if I can just get a powerful televangelist on the phone to stop the snowstorm headed our way, I'll truly lack for nothing. I expect a woman of my vast wealth should have no problem getting through.
How's your day going?
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Let's start with the first statement.
The last man that I had an intimate relationship with told me that I would never find anyone to treat me better. Oh please, I said, you're under the impression that I need someone, and I don't. He seemed puzzled.
Oh, if I had a dollar for every time I heard that, there'd be people crawling out the woodwork claiming to be my baby's daddy. It's as bad as its fraternal twin: "If I can't make it with you, I can't make it with anyone." And not too far removed from its cousin, "If you loved me, you would."
Let's break this down, shall we? (But before I do, let me state that I have nothing but respect for the men who regularly read and comment on this blog--I doubt any of them have used these lines. At least, not since leaving puberty. *g*)
(Cue Lou Rawls) "You'll never find..."
Ahem. And why not? Guys, you may think you're showcasing just how deep your love is, but think about what that statement actually means. Why wouldn't we be able to find someone else to love us deeply? If we inspire such grand passion, are we not capable of inspiring it in someone else? Or are we not truly that lovable and we'd better grab onto you now because we won't get another chance? Is this a threat? That'll have us swooning. Please, talk to your sons about this.
Next, on a more personal note:
The only problem that I have found is sex. I don't want to have random sex and don't feel like I'm wired for that. Yeah, yeah...toys, I know, but it's not the same and all women know it. Do you think this is why you write about it? And isn't that some type of torture?
I can relate to that, Susan. I'm not wired for it either, though I wish I were. I did give it a try, thought I might be able to work out a win-win solution, but found I just couldn't do it. Hence, I had to give it up.
However, as time goes by (guys, you might want to close your eyes here, or go check out Ms Dewey because this is gonna be some serious gal talk) :)
I've noticed that there is a correlation between the times I feel the most sexual and ovulation. That makes it easier to deal with - I see it as any other natural bodily response (such as hunger or thirst) and just as it would be foolish to eat a dozen donuts because I have an appetite for them--since they'd make me sick and do all sorts of damage--I also know I shouldn't go out and have sex just because I have an appetite for that.
While it's true that solo sex can't replace the physical warmth of another human being, noticing the body's ebbs and flows somehow makes it easier for me to deal with the lack. I simply observe what's happening the same as I would notice when I'm hungry and need to make healthy choices to calm the stomach rumbling. (Your mileage may vary - and I'm still working on making the healthy food choices. Getting control of one appetite at a time...and let's not even go there re: substituting food for sex.) The biggest difference of course, is that you won't die without sex. You might feel like you're going to, but you won't. :)
Actually, I will address sublimation because you asked if I write about sex to fill the lack of it in my real life, and asked if that's torture.
Answers: possibly, and not really.
It is an outlet, though quite frankly, the fact that I'm having a tough time remembering how it's done because it's been so long makes me feel unqualified to write on the subject. :)
Seriously, though, I have considered giving up trying to write romance and erotica because I am so far removed from it now. On the other hand, I love writing fantasy and the fact that I'll probably never pet a dragon or capture a fairy wouldn't stop me from writing about it. And that's not even an accurate comparison because I have had exciting relationships in the past, so I can draw on that experience when I write.
Now, if at some point in the distant future I decide I want to share my life with someone, it want it to be just that: A decision to share. I would want the decision to based good reasons and not because I was lonely, horny or seeking security. And certainly not because I'd been threatened with never finding another. :)
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
I've read so many sad tales of the lengths people will go to just to have a relationship (JR's blog has several); have watched scores of friends settle into less than fulfilling relationships because they didn't want to be alone, that I'm speaking out. (Warning - long blathering ahead)
Several years ago, a number of friends of mine and I were going through relationship problems at the same time. One friend was dating, but felt that every man she met just used her for sex, another friend's husband had left her to "find himself" after 20+ years of marriage, yet another called off her engagement because her fiance just seemed to shut down and quit communicating with her, and I had just broken up (for numerous reasons) with a man I was briefly engaged to.
As I was laying in bed one night, I asked myself why I had even agreed to get married in the first place, when the truth was, I really didn't want to and knew it when I said 'yes'. (The same could be said the both times I did go through with it.) I then thought of the other women.
On their own, they were all capable, intelligent, vivacious, fun and charming. Yet they seemed to lose themselves in relationships - they would turn either controlling and bitchy, or clingy and insecure, allowing themselves to be treated badly. (More often the latter.) I thought of men I knew who, on their own, were intelligent, charming, fun and acted with integrity. Yet, put a woman in their vicinity and they turned into something else entirely.
I kept asking myself "why?" Why do we do this to ourselves and each other? Don't we, at heart, want the same things? After a while, I began to believe that maybe not. Maybe we really don't want the same things. Maybe we're just hardwired very differently. (I still don't have any answers to that - if you do, please share.)
In the end, I decided that all I could focus on what was I wanted for myself. I realized that in each instance of a long-term relationship, I was looking for a sense of security. Not necessarily financial security - just a sense that there was someone else who would help me out and take care of me if I needed it. It was a strong enough desire that I was willing to sacrifice key parts of myself to try to fulfill it. That's when I realized that no one else will ever be able to give me that. It's impossible. We never know what each day will bring.
I started focusing on what made me happy, and I realized the times I was happiest in my life only once had to do with someone else (my daughter) - every other time I was alone. The transcendent moments of joy that I experienced were when I was doing something completely and solely for me. I realized that I'd spent the greater portion of my life caring for other people - mother, brothers, husbands, child - very seldom did I ever just take care of me.
Thus, I decided to forgo relationships entirely and I've never been more at peace with myself. I've spent the past several years alone raising my daughter and trying to work in some "me" time. When I received the contract for my first short story, I experienced a happiness that I have to say I've never had in a relationship. The weekends I spent with my critique partners, pouring over our writing, brought me more pleasure than any weekend wondering what to wear on a date.
Which brings me to my point: I wholeheartedly believe that one of the greatest problems facing mankind is that people don't know how to be alone and be happy. They search for solutions outside themselves: sex, alcohol, drugs, religion, marriage. Yes, I said it: marriage. For some, it's just another escape. Yet we see what happens when people don't know how to be happy by themselves and marry the first person who comes along: ugly divorces, unhappy or unwanted children. Then they just keep on going to the next person, making things worse.
I often feel like an alien on this planet. You see, I don't know another soul who truly feels the way I do. Several people (most) pay lip service to the idea, but when it comes right down to it, they'd still rather be in a relationship, even if it's a bad one.
People don't believe me when I say I like being alone. They think I'm just hurt/bitter/afraid/deluded, whatever. They say I just haven't met a good man (or had good sex) - um, no, I've known good men, had good sex. That's NOT the issue. Then they look at me in horror and say, "But don't you get lonely?" They can't comprehend when I say that honestly, I'm not even sure what "lonely" means. I don't know what they're talking about. Does that make me an anomaly? Maybe.
I'm not afraid. I like my life. I see it as pure potential. That's exciting.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Even though I was a little huffy about the UK article that referred to paranormal romance as "para porn", I will freely admit that in my case--with this story--it sorta fits. And I make no apologies. *g*
Here's the link if you'd like to read it. Masquerade 3 Review
It was a little embarrassing, though, because my daughter and one of her friends were standing over my shoulder when I read it. I wasn't expecting the explicit references to the story as they were laid out, so you can imagine my horror when they started screaming "Oh my god, MOM! You wrote about a threesome?!"
Oh, well. Cat's out of the bag now. Yikes. I suppose I can expect a visit from child welfare any day now.
Friday, February 16, 2007
Why horror writing will be big in 2007
Though I must admit to being a little ticked off by their reference to what they sneeringly called "Para Porn" - paranormal romance. Snots.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
- Do you ever buy short stories in print?
- Do you like reading them?
- Writing them?
- Do you like anthologies?
- Do you prefer anthologies of stories by the same writer, or a group of different writers?
- Do you ever buy single short stories in e-book format?
- Have you ever purchased ebook anthologies?
- Do you hate short stories or anthologies, or have strong opinions about why you'd rather buy a novel?
Just gathering information because I'm still working on that publishing business... :)
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Nevertheless, if I see one more press release that illustrates Bush's blatant attempts to justify an invasion of Iran, I'm going to start writing letters to the Canadians, the Swedes, the Danes, the Australians--even the Brits who are tired of it all, too, and BEG them to invade the U.S. to liberate us from our mad dictator. Would some lovers of liberty please come save us?
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
It made me wonder how other people experience the scenes and characters in their books. I've been guilty of expecting everyone to be like me: I see (and consciously try to feel) everything in my head, then have to try to translate that into words. It didn't occur to me that other people might experience it differently. (Duh)
I wondered if the differences could be traced along learner styles: aural, kinesthetic and visual. I'm a strong visual learner with feeling/doing coming in second place - almost no auditory involvement at all. In fact, my daughter was aggravated with me last night because I couldn't understand what she was reading to me unless I looked at it myself.
So now I'm really curious -- how do you experience the characters and scenes you write about? Do you see them? Hear them? Feel them? Something else?
Inquiring minds want to know. Can you see a correlation to your learning style?
Friday, February 9, 2007
Sunday, February 4, 2007
Maybe I'll start percolating ideas again if I'm lucky.
So, I'll see you all around in a week or so. Until then--GO BEARS, and have a great week everyone. I'll miss you. :)
Friday, February 2, 2007
Yeah, I said it. And I ain't askeered o' you.
Thursday, February 1, 2007
July 11--RWA national convention
July 13--Release of film: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
July 14--Daughter's birthday
July 21--Release of the final book: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows
I see I'm going to have to take two weeks vacation that month. No real reason for this post other than I'm excited. :)
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
You see, I hate conflict. I've spent my entire life avoiding it as much as possible. I mean, really, actively avoiding it. That makes it hard for me to write it--I don't even want to face it in my fiction.
Now, internal conflict, I have no problem with--my characters have plenty of that. But as far as I've seen, very few books sell on the sole basis of internal conflict. It's important, sure, but they still have to do something. Something has to happen, darn it. They need jobs, lives, external conflicts. Sadly, that always throws me. That's when I say, "Oh, well, I need to do some more research on this" and move on to the next exciting character.
As in real life, I avoid conflict like the plague. My stories may be rich in character, but they're painfully poor in plot.
Does anyone else have this problem? Is it just me? Makes me feel like I shouldn't even attempt to write. The most common advice I see when there's a plot stall is to kill a character, but obviously those people are missing my point. I like these characters--I don't want them to suffer. I don't want them to run for their lives and have to save the world with only a stick of gum and a shoelace. (Especially since I don't know why they have to run for their lives and whom they're running from--I'd have to do a little research on that and get back to it.)
Unfortunately, the market for character driven, introspective "quiet stories" is as thin as my plots. What's a cowardly gal to do?
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Recently, I went through a period of introspection that led to a major reorganizing and re-prioritizing of my life. Several of my friends and some family members seem to be going through the same thing--in real life, and online. Maybe it's the new year's time of contemplation and goal setting, or maybe it's just age--seems like those I know who have been going through it are of "a certain age" (40's through 50's) or else are rapidly approaching that age group. I've watched a dear friend struggle with depression for several months because she's almost 40, never been married, and is afraid she's run out of time to have a family of her own. She's a beautiful, intelligent, well-educated, well-travelled woman whom I admire, and has been successful in her career, yet she's questioning what she's been doing with her life.
Whatever their reasons for it, a number of people around me seem to be asking the same question I asked myself: is what I've been doing worth it?
Stewart also posted about this feeling lately, and I must apologize to him if my comment was condescending. Who am I to say what he should be doing with his time? Only he knows that. Of course, I'd hate like crazy if he gave up writing because he's so darned talented and I love reading his work, but that's the crux of it. Is talent enough reason to keep doing something if your other values in life indicate you should go elsewhere? What about disappointing others?
My brother is a very talented artist and I badger him from time to time about not doing more with it. Why is he wasting his gift, I wonder? His answer: he does it only up to the point when it stops being fun and starts to feel like work. He is truly an amateur--he does it for the enjoyment, and once in a while gives the world the gift of his talent. Does he really owe it to anyone to do more? I'd like to say yes, but that's selfish. It's a loss for me, but not for him--when he creates when he enjoys it, but he's also got his own priorities and I can't argue with that.
People also tell me to do more with my own artwork and writing, but I don't take the time--other things have to come first right now. I don't think that makes me less of an artist--it currently makes me more of a mother. It also doesn't make me a professional, but I'm still an amateur and I see nothing wrong with that.
So what about you? If you never made a(nother) dime on your writing, would you still write?
Friday, January 26, 2007
Stewart's comment how he liked seeing people twist his assignments to their own styles is part of what made me dwell on it; the other is all the kind words and positive feedback I received on the assignment I posted. You see, I've realized that I actually have two very distinct writing styles and "voices." Each comes naturally, yet the one that receives the most praise is the one that I often think is the worst; while the one that I enjoy the most doesn't receive nearly as much attention. This isn't the first time I've noticed it, either; it's happened before. I'm starting to wonder if I should go back and dust off all those stories that I set aside without letting anyone look at them because I felt they were too serious and too descriptive.
The self doubt is getting to me. How do you know when what you're writing is good or not?
It's funny, even as I'm writing this, an answer is occurring to me. Maybe the question that I should be asking is not which of my voices is better, but if I'm using that voice to tell the truth or not. Charles recently had a good blog about truth in fiction, and Spyscribbler has posted a lot in her blog about "digging deeper" and not wanting to write superficially. Perhaps my "lighter" voice and style is the one I use to avoid the deeper emotions and hard truths, and the reason I like it is because it lets me avoid those things--yet people recognize it for what it is: shallow. The other style, the one that makes me uncomfortable yet people seem to like, is the one that's more honest.
So tell me, how do you buck up the courage to write about your truth?
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
So here's my pitiful little offering.
Strange creatures inhabited the land--monstrous, ugly creatures that came and went with alarming frequency. Abe never knew when another would pass by, sending him scurrying for shelter, praying he’d remain unseen.
He couldn’t recall exactly how he came to be in this strange place; the details were starting to fade. He did recall bright lights and a great shiny thing hovering over him just before he was yanked from his home. He still had nightmares about those burning moments of pain when he thought his lungs would burst just before he was dropped into a cramped space where the atmosphere settled and he could breathe again. Soon after, he was transferred with sickening speed to another location that was similar to, yet vastly different from his own world. Where he was, or how long he’d been there, he didn’t know.
The landscape was bleak, less forgiving than home with cruel lights, sharp rocks, and harsh plants. He’d learned about the cutting edges of the foliage the first time he’d fled in terror from the aliens. He’d hoped to find shelter within the leaves of the large plants, but their barbs gouged his face and sides as he escaped. He had feared the drops of blood would lead them to him, but thankfully, they passed by, their large snouts seemingly insensitive to the smell.
Abe shuddered at the memory. They were huge; creepy, pale things that reminded him of mutant sharks. Their eyes were bigger than his whole body; long, squid-like tentacles hung at their sides, and fangs of various shapes and sizes filled their enormous mouths. After his narrow escape among the plants, Abe knew he had to find another hiding place. He tried tunneling out a shelter among the smaller rocks but the ground was shallow, and a hard, smooth surface barred further digging. Abandoning the effort, he went back into the forest to wait until dark before he searched again, terrified of who or what else might be nearby.
An eternity of anxiety passed before he finally ventured forth, damning the relentless light that never dimmed, and sought refuge in the foreign land. He moved swiftly through the trees, heart pounding, eyes darting left and right as he sped out over the rocks, trying to stay in what shadow he could find. His eyes adjusted to the light as he scanned the horizon, noting an opening in the craggy hills he’d found. It appeared to be a small cave. With some effort, he made his way up the slopes and discovered the hole in the rock. It was dark and silent inside. As quietly as possible, he went back down the hill, gathered some smaller rocks, and carried them up to stack on the ledge near the entrance, terror spurring his movements. He needed a hiding place in case the cave had an occupant who was merely sleeping.
Abe hid behind the mound of smaller rocks then flicked one of them into the cave. Only a thud as the small blue rock connected with the sand colored cave interior greeted his effort. With great caution, he went around and poked his head inside the cave’s opening. It was empty. He went inside only slightly relieved; and after a long while, he slept, hunger in his belly, despair in his heart.
Then the Others came.
The Others were similar in appearance to the huge monsters, but were smaller, more aggressive. Deadlier. Their clawed tentacles nearly fit into the opening of his cave, forcing him to press back against the rock until his body ached. When they finally left, Abe knew it was only a matter of time before they caught him. He shivered, hunger and fear warring within. He didn’t know which would kill him first: fear, starvation, or the aliens. He contemplated killing himself before allowing any of the three to take him--better to die on his own terms. There was nothing left for him. Even if he somehow made it home again, no one would believe what he’d been through; they’d think he was insane, and if he stayed here much longer, he would be.
He wondered how to end it--slice himself open on the rocks--when he smelled something wonderful. It smelled like food. He dared a glance out of his cave, searching the horizon and sky. He was alone. Still trembling, he slowly inched forward to find the source of the smell. Odd, flaky bits of something fell from the sky, littered the rocks and decorated the trees with heavenly aroma. Abe sniffed, then dared a taste. It was good. He didn’t spare a thought whether it might kill him; the taste was divine and it filled his emptiness.
Maybe he’d live another day.
Friday, January 19, 2007
But... I just can't resist a challenge. I recently saw a call for submissions due by March 2, 2007 for a dragon anthology. The catch, of course, is that it has to be a romance with a dragon theme. Having read other books by this publisher (I have friends who write for them--Samhain Publishing--print and e-books) I can pretty much bet that most of the submissions they'll receive will be shapeshifting dragon erotic romances. (Are you listening Stewart?) The rest are likely to be epic adventures featuring dragons who aid the lovely or handsome princess/queen or prince/king in their quests.
My dragon? His name is Herschel and he's a bit of a hypochondriac. Somehow I suspect they're not going to buy it... :o)
Saturday, January 13, 2007
That's when it occurred to me. Blood is not crimson. Maybe it could be called scarlet, but my painter's eye declared Cadmium Red Light. But crimson and scarlet sound sexy, they look sexy when you write them down. "The Cadmium Red Light Tide, for instance, just doesn't flow nearly as well a Crimson Tide does.
Why do I bring this up? No reason other than my finger hurts and I'm risking bleeding Cadmium Red Light all over the keyboard.
But I'm willing to take that risk to add a few new links to this blog: Clifford Brooks, Sidney Williams, CS Harris and Charles Gramlich. I hope they'll forgive me. I've been reading so many interesting and fun blogs lately (most of them via links from Stewart's blog) that I can see that I'm way out of my league here. But I'm having fun, even if my keyboard now sports an odd mix of cad red light and gray, soon to turn a muddy shade of burnt sienna.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
One of the things I've been working on over the last year (and will continue into this year) is allowing myself to make mistakes and look foolish. After all, that's going to happen anyway, so why be so uptight about it?
So without further ado, here's part of the opening scenes of a WIP. It isn't the type of thing my CPs like to read, so I though t I'd post it here and let people rip it up if they want. (And if you want to humiliate me privately instead of publicly, you can always email me to say it should just R.I.P. I won't report you for violations to the TOS. Maybe. :)
Oh, and don't comment on the format - I know it's off - technical difficulties again. Blogger keeps freezing every two seconds and I don't have the patience to fix it.
“Is the old bat dead yet?”
“Not yet, and stay out of the ‘fridge, I’m cooking dinner.” Kitty glared at her brother and added a bit of salt to a pan.
“I think we should go up and kill her now. Put the leathery old beast out of her misery.”
“Just leave her alone, Bart.”
“How long has she been in that attic, anyway?”
“A few months.”
“She’ll probably starve to death if you don’t get her out of there.”
“I’ve tried, but she won’t move or eat anything I take her. I tried mice, bugs--all the things bats usually eat.”
“Are you sure she’s even still alive? It smells pretty bad in here.”
“You say that every time I cook.”
“Well, she’ll probably outlive all of us. Evil never dies.”
“Don’t talk about your mother that way!”
“She’s your mother too.” Bart shrugged and opened the pantry. “Maybe Mary can talk to her when she gets here,” he suggested, pulling a box of cookies from a shelf. “She’s the only one mom ever listened to.”
The colorful Christmas lights on the gray tenements made Mary sad. The dead woman next to her probably should have made her sad, but Mary didn’t spare her a thought. No, it was the cheerful lights illuminating the misery of their surroundings that she found depressing.
As for as the other woman, Mary hadn’t bothered to speak to her when they’d boarded the commuter train; didn’t ask what plans she had for the holiday; didn’t exchange names.
The woman was merely a job, and a job done well.
After they’d taken their seats and shown their tickets to the conductor, Mary quietly slipped the hypodermic into the woman’s neck, unnoticed by crew or passengers. So efficient was she that no one even noticed when she switched the shopping bags tucked under their seats.
Mary looked down at the shiny gold bags under her feet, smiled and nodded. She’d take some of that money to buy razor blades for mom’s stocking.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Monday, January 8, 2007
A word of warning to those who rolled their eyes at that last item: if, at any time in the course of discussing fiction, speculative romance is vilified, I will immediately invoke Harlequin's Law. :)
Now, since readership building takes time, I'll just start by saying "hello" and "welcome" if you've found your way here, and recommend a few good reads & links.
If you haven't read "In the Company of Ogres" by A. Lee Martinez, and you enjoy humorous fantasy (such as Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett) then I think you'd enjoy that one. An unpublished writer that I recently discovered (and who makes me want to buy a publishing company so that I can launch his career and become very wealthy *g*) is Stewart Sternberg.
Actually, I've read stories from so many talented writers whose work is considered outside mainstream fiction that I am seriously looking into starting my own publishing business. I imagine the big houses probably got big catering to the masses, but I also believe the niche markets are still alive and well. I've read on some blogs that people think the paranormal/speculative fiction lines will soon tank, but I recently tried to take a stroll down the sf/f aisle at Barnes & Noble and had a hard time getting through. One sight that warmed my heart as I was elbowing my way down the aisle was a dad pointing out his favorites and describing them to his little girl. She looked to be about 5.
I don't think the fans are going anywhere.