Other Pages To See...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!


Hope all of you have a joyous day with loved ones and lots of sunshine and flowers.


Love and peace,
Devon

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Sloan Seymour's Debut


I know it's been a few days since I've blogged, but I have a good excuse. I've been writing!

I wanted to get on here and tell you about a new author, who's also a friend and chapter mate, and introduce her debut novel, That Montana Summer. The book, which is a contemporary romance set on a ranch in Montana, releases in e-format today over at The Wild Rose Press. The print version will be out in the fall.

Sloan Seymour is a natural storyteller with a gift, and I was so tickled when she received her very first review today from The Romance Studio. Here's a link to the full review.

The reviewer, evidently, saw the same thing I saw in Sloan's story the first time I read her writing. Pure talent. She's got a huge career ahead of her. Her characterizations are some of the best I've read anywhere and she lends such authenticity to her settings, you think you're there. I highly recommend That Montana Summer and can't wait until Sloan finishes her current work in progress.

Devon

Monday, April 28, 2008

Inspiration?

For the past two or three weeks I've been completely uninspired to work on my writing. I thought it was spring fever making me lose focus. At least, that's where I lay the blame. Each time I sat at the computer, rather than open up a document, I checked email or browsed the very long list of sites on my favorites list--writer and reader blogs, reader forums, publisher sites, MySpace, and even the weather.

Then, when I got up this morning, something unusual happened. The cable was out. No tv and no internet. After putting in a call to the cable company, who informed me there was an area-wide outage, I settled in with a little housework. When I figured I'd done enough of that, I finally ended up at the computer. And you know what. I ended up writing 2,288 words today, which is a very good writing day for me. I didn't have the distraction of pulling up email, or checking to see the latest on my favorite reader blog. All I could do was sit here and write, and I actually lost myself in it for quite a while. The result was fingers flying on the keyboard to try and keep up with the narrative and dialogue scrolling through my head. It was terrific!

So now I have to admit that my husband has been correct all these years. He's always told me, if I turned the energy I spend writing emails and cruising around the internet toward my writing, I could turn out several books a year. I always denied the truth of that because, frankly, I didn't want to admit the amount of time I waste each day purely on entertainment. But now that it's looking me straight in the eye, I'm going to have to face the fact and reassess how I spend my time each day. I have no wish to give up email or some of the things I do online, but many of the things I'm currently doing in the name of trying to keep abreast of what's going on within the romance community are a complete waste of valuable time.

I see so many authors in cyberspace that make me wonder how they ever get anything written. They're here, there, and everywhere. Some of these authors have built big careers from their writing and are very prolific, but I'll be darned if I can figure out how they do it all.

Peace,
Devon

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Light Bulbs -- Warning!

You may think this post is about those rare moments of inspiration we sometimes get. I wish it were, but it's not. This post is about exactly what the title says -- light bulbs. The following is copied from the Daily Mail which, oddly enough, is a British news agency. I Googled for facts before I went spouting off and this article--dated April 27, 2008--was the first one I ran across.

~~~~~~~~~~
Energy-saving light bulbs are so dangerous that everyone must leave the room for at least 15 minutes if one falls to the floor and breaks, a Government department warned yesterday.

The startling alert came as health experts also warned that toxic mercury inside the bulbs can aggravate a range of problems including migraines and dizziness.

And a leading dermatologist said tens of thousands of people with skin complaints will find it hard to tolerate being near the bulbs as they cause conditions such as eczema to flare up.

The Department for Environment warned shards of glass from broken bulbs should not be vacuumed up but instead swept away by someone wearing rubber gloves to protect them from the bulb's mercury content.

In addition, it said care should be taken not to inhale any dust and the broken pieces should be put in a sealed plastic bag for disposal at a council dump – not a normal household bin.

None of this advice, however, is printed on the packaging the new-style bulbs are sold in. There are also worries over how the bulbs will be disposed of.

~~~~~~~~~~

I posted this because I want everyone to know about it. Hubby and I actually saw a news story warning of the hazards because of the mercury content on the Nightly News with Brian Williams about a week ago. I had planned to tell my mother and a few people because no one I know is aware of any of this and they all use the bulbs to some extent in their homes, then it promptly slipped my mind. Just goes to show how scatterbrained I am these days.

What really got me about this, besides the obvious dangers, is the fact that we live out in the boonies where there are no hazardous waste disposal places. So what are we supposed to do with these bulbs when we've ready to throw them away? You can bet your boots these babies are going right into the garbage dumps with the rest of the trash around here--and how many do you think stay unbroken from the crush in the back of a garbage truck.

Just one more thing to boggle the mind and unleash more poison on us. As if we don't already have enough in all the food products we consume.

Devon

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Joys of Writing

Well, the Texas Rose story is in a temporary holding pattern while I figure out how to fix a major plot snafu. Ah, the joys of goal, motivation, and conflict. And just so you know, motivation (the part that's grown from a character's past and solid enough to carry throughout the story) is the one that habitually gives me fits. Not to mention the sympathetic factor. But I didn't come here tonight to talk about craft. I figured I should blog since my last post was 10 days ago. Yikes.

Okay. So I've run into a huge stumbling block with the one, but in the meantime I've been working on another gunfighter story. My faves. :o) The conflict in this one is so monumental, it gives me the silly grins every time I think about it.

I managed to get some words down on the page today. But it's very hard to sit here in my cave while the weather is so glorious and the temperature topped out near 80 degrees. Nature, flowers in bloom, trees and bushes leafing, and yard work beckons. Outside, the air smells sweet with the natural perfume of lilac and dianthus, vastly preferable to my stuffy office with Zeb cat's litter box hidden in a corner behind the armchair. Ugh. There's just no place else to put it. Lately, I've been mighty tempted to ship him outside with the rest of God's critters. Only the thought of him actually being out there, having access to the road and any huge dog that might wander past stops me. The poor guy has spent his entire life in this house and I can't bear the thought of putting him out the door. He thinks he belongs here, with us, and I guess he does. And, wow, did I ever meander off topic.

Since I mentioned him, here's a picture of Zeb. He'll be 9 in June. When this picture was taken, he weighed 28 pounds. Truly. He's a whopper and wouldn't lay a claw on anything (such as furniture) if you paid him. Such a nice puddy tat.



Well, I have no idea how I started out talking about gunfighters and ended up with my cat. But there it is. It's late, so I guess I'll call it a night. Later...


Devon

Monday, April 14, 2008

Oh, The Drama...And a Lovely Surprise


Earworm for the day = Roy Orbison's "Crying"

Since the earworm topic is such fun (not to mention weird). I thought I'd add it as a regular feature. LOL!

Angel in the Rain was put into Kindle format by my publisher today on Amazon. Don't know what the result of that will be. Remains to be seen. The list price is $4.80, which is well below regular price for a download. One thing I'm sure of, any resultant royalties will make peanut money look good. Once everyone gets their cut off the top, what's left to filter down to an author? Not much. But I'm looking at it this way, at least I might get a few more readers, people who would not have bought the book otherwise. So, hopefully, it will be a good thing.

I've noticed that the numbers on Amazon have been really sluggish for the past several days. From the looks of it, book sales across the board have slowed way down. No wonder, with all the drama that's been ongoing for the past couple of weeks. First it was the BookSurge panic. Now the reviews manipulation and some really bad behavior over there on the part of certain authors.

So far, this year has been nothing BUT drama in the romance community, and all of it negative press. The actions of a very few have impacted all of us a great deal, and it's all played out on public forums. The bizarre and sometimes criminal actions of a handful of authors have given all of us a black eye in the public view. I hope things settle down soon. I keep wondering how many more nasty little cans of worms (oh Lord, worms again) the bloggers are going to tip over in romance land. Who knew there were so many bad eggs among people who write about enduring love and relationships! Blows my mind.

The Romantic Times convention is in Pittsburgh this year, and it starts tomorrow (I think). Maybe something fun will come out of that. Let's hope.

Before I go, I want to tell you about a lovely surprise I got today. My crit partner, Jan Scarbrough, who often leaves comments here, recently had a book released, titled "A Man of Her Own." She made the dedication to me! When I saw it, I could hardly believe it. What a wonderful tribute. It brought tears to my eyes, I can tell you. That's her cover at the top of the post. Most of her books are set in Kentucky horse country, and she really knows her stuff. This is the one and only story she's written that I haven't read, so I'm very much looking forward to it. :o)

Peace,
Devon

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Earworms That Eat Your Brain

From Wikipedia: Earworm, a loan translation of the German Ohrwurm, is a term for a portion of a song or other musical material that becomes "stuck" in a person's "head" or repeats against one's will within one's mind. Use of the English translation was popularized by James Kellaris and Daniel Levitin. Kellaris' studies demonstrated that different people have varying susceptibilities to earworms, but that almost everybody has been afflicted with one at some time or another.

For the past 48 hours, I've had an earworm that won't quit. It goes like this:

It's lonely out tonight, and the feelin' just got right for a brand new love song.
Somebody done somebody wrong song.
Hey, won't you play...

Yeah. Remember that one? I'm thinking I'm one of the people who's susceptible because it's rare when I don't have something playing in my head. Let me put it this way. If there aren't scenes from a story, or dialogue between characters going on in my head then that space is usually occupied by an earworm. Sometimes, it's so bad, I spontaneously start belting out lyrics to go along with the broken record in my brain. If my husband's around, he can't resist doing a Simon Cowell imitation, which annoys the hell out of me. He holds up his hand and (deadpan) says, "It's still a no." Errr! This coming from a man who sometimes spontaneously breaks into his own stylized rendition of Tainted Love. Rolling Eyes

My earworms don't restrict themselves to any certain genre or time period. Oh, no. They're all over the place. So, do you ever get earworms? If so, what type of music does your brain get hung up on?

Devon

Monday, April 7, 2008

T.G.I.M.

Thank God it's nearly Monday! It's been a long weekend, and I'm tired. I'm always relieved when Monday rolls around again. The normal routine starts over and things settle down so I can actually get some work done. Writing work, that is.

I've been giving a lot of thought lately to the word "unique." Editors are looking for western romance manuscripts that are unique. Well, what does that mean exactly? If something is unique, it's one of a kind. Kind of hard to wrap your head around in terms of writing a romance novel. How can anyone possibly write something that's never been done before? There are only so many plots and variations. The only thing different is the individual author's voice. Besides, based on past experience, while they say they want something completely different, that's never been done before, they also mean they want it to be the same. It must fit the normal parameters, or it will be an oddball that they wouldn't know how to market with other books of its kind. So what the heck do they really want? I think it's a case of, they can't put their finger on it, but they'll know it when they see it.

Who knows. This is the age-old question that's driven writers batty... well, for as long as I've been part of the writing community. It's a question I've wrestled with for the past eleven years. Maybe I should go back and read my own blog post where I advised, Write what you feel passionate about.

All I know is, I'm deep into a manuscript and have several more waiting in line. I have no idea if any of them would be considered unique. The only thing that makes them different is my voice and style. That all I can do, and I think it's a little late to start in on the vampire gunslinger idea Jan suggested I do a while back.
Devon

Friday, April 4, 2008

What's Your World?

I added a brace of long-barrelled Peacemakers to the top of this post because it's part of my "world." No, I'm not an antique gun freak, although I wouldn't mind it, if I could afford to indulge. The pistols are part of my writing world and I'm adding atmosphere to reflect my genre. Maybe I'd better explain.

Pat Rice recently returned from the Novelists Inc. conference with several tips about branding. Only they're saying now, forget about branding yourself. Now, you should have your "signature" on all the places that represent you as a writer. Here's what Pat says on her blog : The marketing expert said to develop an author's name, they need to invite the reader into the worlds the author has created, presumably on their website and Myspace page and blog and so forth.

Well, I think most of us are already trying to do that. Although, I do still see an occasional author page that's so generic, they might write anything. Unless their name is super recognizable, it's anyone's guess. You'd have to look at their titles to be certain.

Even a color scheme can reflect the era or general atmosphere of what you write. The Old West just begs for rich, earthy colors, and usually some neutral tone to go with them. I have clicked onto author sites that made me say, "Whoa, what was she thinking!" The colors are a decorators nightmare and don't even complement each other. Not that I'm a decorator or anything close, but I can tell (I hope) when colors clash horribly. I've noticed that most people who are color coordinate impaired seem to choose shades of yellow or puce, and all too often try to put them together. Sorry, but just the word "puce" makes me nauseous.

My web site screams Western Historical. I tried to do the same thing with the blog, although I couldn't change the background, I added a few western touches. The problem I have with my web site is that while it screams western, it doesn't necessarily scream romance. And that's a problem that's left me scratching my head. What's a person to do? Put one of those steamy graphics top and center, or in the background, like some people have on their MySpace profile? I think not. I'll just leave that to the erotica authors.

I've piddled endlessly with my web site, trying to change it up, make it better. But I'm with one of the web hosting places because I don't know squat about building a web site. Their pre-set templates do all the work. All I do is fill in the blanks and go around inserting pictures and hyperlinks. It's fun and easy, but there are only so many templates and most of them have a very contemporary look. So I keep settling on the one I have because it works best, has more of an organized look, and the text is easier to read.

Anyway. If anyone runs across a sexy cowboy picture that wouldn't infringe on any copyrights, let me know, will ya. Just so it isn't one of those half naked guys with the zipper on his jeans pulled down. Tacky. Tacky.

So, what kinds of images and things do you use, or would like to include but still don't have, on your web site or blog, etc. that would invite a reader into your "world?"

Devon

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Follow Your Passion


Years ago, right after I joined RWA, I remember going to my very first critique session with some of the ladies from my local chapter. I took a synopsis and the beginning of a Medieval werewolf story I had started and felt pretty excited about. After reading my material, the ladies expressed disappointment that I wasn't working on one of my westerns. They told me paranormals weren't popular and NY just wasn't buying them. They strongly advised me to put away the werewolf story and pick up where I'd left off with my western historical.

Well, green newbie that I was, I figured they knew what they were talking about and followed their advice--and I've been kicking myself ever since. Why, you ask? Because only a short time later, westerns went into a sharp decline and the paranormal market literally exploded. Sherrilyn Kenyon introduced her Dark Hunters and opened the door for all the vampires, werewolves, and other creatures of the night that have thrived ever since in the romance world.

By that time, I was deeply entrenched in the Old West. Meanwhile, western historical romances continued to fall off the lists, along with the authors who wrote them. They were a dying breed, and many predicted they would never make a comeback because today's generation didn't grow up with John Wayne and that whole era the way we boomers did. Now, my chapter mates (at least the ones who took the time to give me advice) told me to put away the westerns and write something else.

This time, I didn't follow the advice because I had learned not to try and chase the trends. They come and go too quickly. Besides, what you see on the bookstore shelves today was likely bought as long as 2 years ago. So in order to get in on a trend in the writing business, you have to anticipate it before it happens. And how many of us are that astute at guessing or have esp? Not me, that's for sure.

No, after much hair pulling and staring blankly at the computer screen for days on end, I decided I had to write what I felt passionate about. I wanted to tell the stories about characters I have grown to care about. I can't try to anticipate and write toward the market trends because that is the one sure road to insanity.

So, all this time, I've been writing my western historicals, despite the fact that some of my chapter mates began to view me as one of those who would probably never be published. But guess what. The wheel has turned, come full circle again. Vampires and werewolves have run their course and are on the way out. What are one of the things editors are clamoring for now-- WESTERN HISTORICALS!

Who woulda thunk it?

The moral of this story is -- always write what your heart and passion tell you to write. Even if it's not the hot ticket right now. Trends come and go and the wheel will turn full circle again...eventually.

Devon

Monday, March 31, 2008

Wild Texas Roses


After a strange few days, things are finally settling down to normal around here. As if it's ever truly "normal." I look forward to getting back to work on my manuscript tomorrow. Yay! I've missed writing.

See the pretty yellow flowers in the picture? Those are prickly pear blooms. I have prickly pear--straight from Texas, where my mom still lives--in my back yard and they thrive here and bloom like crazy. Unheard of in Kentucky, as far as I've seen. I've given pads from my cactus to everyone who's asked so they can start their own, and they always die on them. Very strange. All we have to do here is cut off a pad and give it a toss. It will take root wherever it lands and start growing. So I don't understand why no one else around here can have any luck with them. A friend once told me, I have a very strong desert vibe going on, so maybe that has something to do with it. LOL!


Back to my point. I posted the picture because these are the Wild Texas Rose(s) I refer to in the title of my current manuscript. During a very nice turning point in the story, my hero makes up a story for my heroine about The Yellow Rose of Texas.
Here's another shot of a starter pad in bloom right beside the steps going out of the garage. This little baby grew into a colossal patch of pads and thorns, completely overrunning the space we had allotted. My husband dug it up after my son tripped one day and fell into the middle of it. Ouch! Poor little guy (he was still very young at the time). We spent at least an hour pulling the nearly invisible spines out of him with tweezers. Very pretty, but if you get near them, they get you.

Hope everyone has a nice April fool's day tomorrow. And stay out of those cactus! :o)


Devon

Friday, March 28, 2008

To Blog, Or Not to Blog...

This week I've seen an awful lot of pros and cons about authors blogging. Mostly cons. There was a discussion about it on the Kentucky Romance Writers private loop and there's also a post about authors wasting their creative energy on blogging over at Smart Bitches.

Do I think authors waste creative juices they could better use writing their next novel? No. At least, I don't. For me, the blog is usually the place I turn to after I've expended my creative energy for the day and want to wind down. I blog to feel like a part of the community. It's like turning to an old friend to share triumphs or disappointments and spill my guts about the daily tedium of writing a lengthy romance novel. And sometimes friends drop in to commiserate or congratulate. So, I feel I'm not alone in my pursuit of an (often) crazy dream of writing. Without the blog, or some other outlet such as email, my voice would go unheard, except by my husband who really has no interest in my daily musings or rants about the writer's life. All he's wants to hear is results, just don't tell him about the struggle to get there.

There are authors who reveal way too much of their personal lives that have nothing at all to do with the pursuit of writing or the writing community. To them, I say, mmm...yeah. Might be better to tone it down a little. The whole world is watching you, sister.

I also have a pet peeve about authors who blog solely for promotional purposes. They disappear for months and then reappear and start chatting it up when they have a book due to be released. To them I say, you're boring me. If you have nothing more to say than, "Buy my book!" do me a favor and restrict your pitch to an actual ad or promo loop. No one (well not me, at any rate) is buying the sudden friendliness that disappears as soon as the book has been launched.

As usual, there's no real point to this post. I guess I'm just a little tired of having the people who don't blog get all superior on the rest of us who do and tell us we're wasting time we could have spent crafting a better novel.

Peace,
Devon

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

David Cook is my IDOL

Watch this performance from last night's show. I've already chosen "my" next American Idol.


EDITED to add: Well, my video's gone. I removed it from the post because YouTube pulled it and all the other performances from Tuesday night.


Devon

Congratulations KYRW RITA & GH Nominees!

Rita finalists--
Toni Blake for "Tempt Me Tonight" -- single title
JR Ward for "Lover Revealed" -- paranormal

Golden Heart finalist--
Cindy Nord for "No Greater Glory" -- historical

CONGRATULATIONS, LADIES!!!

Devon

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Frustrating Delays

Since it's past midnight (way past), it's now been six days since work on the manuscript came to a screeching halt. I did manage to write a very detailed thirteen-page synopsis. That took a while because the story isn't completely written, I had to stop and think it through every step of the way. The black moment and subsequent events that bring about the resolution turned out better than I had originally planned. Things came up (nice surprises) that I never knew were there. And I ended up with a circular plot, meaning the story ends with much the same scenario as it begins, coming full circle for all involved.

Still, I'm not finished. Now I have to start culling out unnecessary lines and words to cut it down drastically before I send it to the agent. No way would I send her thirteen pages of synopsis. This long first draft is printed and I'll keep it for my own reference because it does go into detail on certain key scenes, or events that act as turning points, and explanations of motivations, etc.

Delays have made me antsy. I want to get all this finished and submitted so I can get back to the real, and much more enjoyable, work of writing the manuscript. But life stops for no one, and there are a hundred and one things that daily drag me away from writing. Today, nearly the entire day was taken up with a trip to the eye doctor with my son. We were in the doctor's office for five hours. No kidding. I've never seen a medical practice run as this one was, and hope never to see it again. If my son hadn't seriously needed to see the doctor, I would have walked out at the three hour mark. But we had to sit there and be shuffled around from one exam room to another, for this procedure and that. It turns out, my son has blockage of the glands along the rims of his eyelids. It turns ugly and my handsome son is looking pretty pitiful at the moment. Hopefully, he'll be back to his gorgeous self very soon.

And, hopefully, I'll get back to my normal writing routine.

Devon

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

And the Winner Is...

Me! Imagine my shock when I pulled up the Bookends LLC blog today and saw my name listed as the winner of the hook contest! There were so many entries, they actually chose two winners. I was Jessica Faust's pick. Here's what she had to say about the first 100 words of "Wild Texas Rose."

~~~~~~
I even surprised myself by picking this one. As you’ll see, most of my picks are Regencies, but I was really excited by this voice and in the end this was the stand-out for me. The agony that Trey feels when she doesn’t get off the train comes through easily and makes me want to hear more. And of course I’m dying to know who he’s waiting for. I also think this opening was a little different from the rest. It stood above the others in my mind.
~~~~~~

Just had to share that. Talk about starting the day off with a bang! Now I'm off to write. I have to write a synopsis asap. The prize for winning the contest is a critique of my first chapter, synopsis and query letter. Wowsers, I'm excited! A personalized critique from a big literary agent, and the word "rejected" isn't going to figure into it anywhere. LOL!

Hope everyone is having a terrific day, despite the rainy, gloomy weather.

Devon

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Back on Track

I spent a long time last night mentally planning what I wanted to do with my story. So, first thing this morning, I turned on the computer and went to work. Finally, this thing is going the way I always envisioned. Doing the rewrite will take a little time away from my progress, but it has to be done. Hopefully, it won't take too long. I was zipping along today, and every once in a while, I caught myself tee-heeing at what was going down on the page. I love it when that happens.

I'm changing the tone by putting my heroine back to the way I originally conceived her character. And it's working out well. Not only is the thing taking on some life, I find that by altering her personality, I'm no longer bogged down with those long stretches of introspection. Now, a lot of that is coming out in dialogue because my heroine has turned into a regular chatterbox.

It's amazing how much I, we, all of us writers invest of ourselves in this stuff. My state of mind is directly tied to how well the writing is going. Today, when hubby came home from work, I was in a wonderful mood.

I guess I need to take the blurb down from the web site and rewrite it, too, since it no longer applies. But that's no problem. I enjoy writing blurbs.

A friend and fellow western romance writer sent a note today, telling me she's just contracted one of her stories. This is her first, so I'm excited for her. Altogether, it's been a very good day.

Devon Thumbs Up

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Paddy's Day!

Pot Of Gold St. Patty's Day Sign St. Patty's Day Beer Clink Showing Shamrock St. Patty's Day Kick Pot Of Gold

Dead Standstill

Today's post will likely be a meaningless ramble, but I'm trying to work through some things. I wrote nothing yesterday and, last night, I was up until the wee hours thinking about Wild Texas Rose.

It's not working. The tone is all wrong and because of that, the characters have turned into lifeless cardboard figures, just going through the motions. I can't have that. These were always two of my favorite characters and I'm writing them straight into lifeless oblivion!

I've figured out the problem, and it wasn't hard. The hard part will be rewriting to repair the damage. On the advice of a fellow writer, I gave my heroine a handicap that was the result of an injury. This was never part of the original idea, and this is why it isn't working. For one thing, I keep forgetting she has an impairment. So I'm writing along and suddenly I remember and I have to tone it down to accommodate her. I've also had to roll back the hero's thoughts and actions and make him more thoughtful of her because she has a disability. This is turning out to be dull stuff because the dialogue and action between them before was snappy. It's what gave the story life. I've unintentionally sabotaged the backbone of the story--the interaction between the hero and heroine has been toned down and it just doesn't work that way.

The original idea was a heroine with a wounded heart, not a physical injury. So I'm going back to that. There's plenty enough conflict and the black moment will still work. And the revelation, when it's finally revealed, will be even more of a doozy. I'm not going to tell what it is, but I've never seen this done in a romance novel. Maybe that's why I backed off from it and settled on a more conventional conflict. I was afraid of it. But in today's market, I have to wonder what I was thinking. They're looking for something that hasn't been done a thousand times. So I'm pulling out the stops and going for it.

I don't know how long it will take to go back through what I've written and change the entire tone of the story, but I have to try. Otherwise, it's all been a waste of time. What kills me is the time factor. I seem to waste a lot of it. Another lesson driven home in an extreme way -- always trust your own instincts.

Devon

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Neverending Scene

I've been writing all morning and it's time to take a break. So how do I take a break? I write on the blog. Makes perfect sense to me.

Not really. It's just that I've spent the past couple of days working on a scene that's giving me fits. Before I got to this scene, I looked forward to writing it because it's kinda cute and funny. Once I got to it, it became a different story. Not literally. The scene turned out to be not such a breeze to write as I anticipated. In desperation, I wrote past it. Now, I keep going back and trying to flesh it out and put some closure on it. Almost there, but not quite. For some reason, my hero is behaving badly. He keeps shutting me out and not letting me inside his head. I won't be happy again until that scene is completely finished and I'm satisfied with it. Only then will I be able to move on completely and make some real progress again.

What really bugs me is I'm now behind schedule for my deadline. So when I really get going again, I'll have to push my output each day for a while to make up for lost time. Not fun. But I need to stick to my deadline. A huge part of being a (professional) writer is learning discipline. Authors have to meet deadlines. That's just a fact.

In other news, I entered a contest on a whim a couple of nights ago. I don't expect anything to come of it and doubt if my entry even gets a mention. It's a hook contest, first 100 words of the manuscript, which comes out to about the first two paragraphs. There are a bunch of great entries, none of them mine, which seems rather low-key compared to the others. LOL! But, hey, if you expect any kind of feedback or results, you have to put yourself out there. Everybody's looking for a killer first line. Try coming up with a great, hooky first line sometime. It's not as easy as it seems.

Devon

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Computers Are Sneaky



Late last night, I sat here and pored back over a scene I had just finished, adding a line here, changing a word there, deleting an unneeded comma. That sort of thing. I got to the very end of the scene and ran across a word that defied the built-in thesaurus, so I turned around and opened my trusty (and huge) Rodale's on my lap. When I turned back to my monitor, my document had disappeared. It was in plain blue mode and the words SHUTTING DOWN were emblazoned across the screen.

Mentally, I screamed, "No! Nooo! Wait! Don't do this to me!" Computers always turn a deaf ear to our panicky pleas. It shut down anyway.

When it came back up, I immediately went to my document. Just as I feared, none of the changes I made were there. All that meticulous proofing and tweaking had vanished into cyber hell. At that point, my computer had the audacity to pop up a little screen to tell me that updates had been installed and it had restarted. Duh. No kidding. What happened to asking my permission to do all that? After all, computer, you're supposed to be working for me! And yet, I've always been a slave to your little whims and glitches.

Just an observance here, but it seems like since getting my first computer years ago, I've spent an awful lot of time trying to work around the glitches and trying to recover lost words and even whole documents.

I'm just venting. After my computer pulled the sneaky on me, I got disgusted and shut down. Now, I have to go back and try to remember all the little changes I made last night. For all the ease computers give me with my writing, I would hate to know the hours I've spent during the past several years with do-overs to try and hang onto what I've written.

Computer, you are on my list today, and I'm going to be keeping my eye on you every minute. You've been warned.

Devon

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What I'm Reading


"Loving Mercy" by Teresa Bodwell is the western historical romance I ordered last week. I started reading it a couple of nights ago, and I'm enjoying it very much. Ms. Bodwell's style and kickass heroine remind me just a bit of Maggie Osborne, whose books I loved and miss.

Here's the blurb from the back cover:

~~~~~~
Mercy Clarke had no trouble getting a hundred head of cattle to Abilene. Getting back home through five hundred miles of untamed frontier is something else again, especially with a handsome gambler like Thad Buchanan tagging along. He swears to pay her in gold if she guides him to Fort Victory, but she doesn't quite trust his fine manners and gentlemanly ways. And then there's that look in his eyes--he could make her forget that she's sworn off men for good...

As Thad sees it, the same rules apply to playing poker and loving women: it's all about knowing when to hold 'em. And come to think of it, a pretty lady like Mercy Clarke would fit very nicely in his arms. Now, if she could be persuaded to put down that rawhide whip and tell him exactly what she has in mind, he has no doubt they could come to an agreement that will satisfy them both. No doubt at all...

~~~~~~
What I've read so far leads me to think there's more "story" here than the blurb implies. And I hope that turns out to be true. Kensington has been gearing its marketing toward selling everything with a sexual angle. I think (and hope) this book is more than that. If so, it might just bring me back to reading. I'll be keeping an eye on Ms. Bodwell and looking out for more books from her.

Devon

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Indulgence

Lately, I've been indulging the characters in my current work in progress. I'm allowing them to lead me through the story, and choose the course for each scene. And you know what, it's working out great! The only thing I have to do is steer them gently in the right direction so we don't go completely astray from the plot. By allowing more freedom, character details and layers are coming to light that I never knew were there. I love it when this happens!

One big thing I've found since I first plotted this story is that Trey (hero) has matured. So now he's telling me, nope, we can't go there, it's immature and I would come off as a total, unsympathetic ass if you make me do that. So, I'm letting him show me the way to get where we need to go. And that probably sounds like the guys with the straitjacket will show up at my door any second but, let me assure you, letting a character lead you around by the nose is lightweight stuff in a writer's normal day.

The writing is going well, and I'm staying pretty much on schedule to wrap this one up by the end of April. Once it's finished, I'll let it sit for a couple of weeks and then start reading from the beginning and doing my own version of first round edits. Fortunately, I'm one of those people who loves going back through and hacking and slashing at those unnecessary adjectives, or those lines that are 20 words long and work much better if they're cut to 10. Or entire paragraphs that won't be missed if they disappear completely and never turn up again. Sentence structure and finding just the right combination and placement of words is an art form in itself, in my opinion.

Another story and a whole cast of characters have already been calling to me. This has gone on all winter. This particular story has been in the works for quite some time, but I've been reluctant to commit to it because the hero spends several chapters laid up with a bullet wound. It's already all plotted and I've written quite a bit of it. In fact, it's been nagging at me so strongly, occasionally I sneak over and write a few words while I'm working on the current manuscript. I'm not sure that's such a good idea, but when a few lines of narrative or dialogue pop into your head that seem so perfect you must get them written down, what's a writer to do?

Now is good writing time. There's snow on the ground and it's 25 degrees outside, so what better way to spend time than sit at the computer and write about a dark-haired, blue-eyed hero riding through the heat and dust of Texas cattle country during the 1800's. I'm totally there!

Devon

Thursday, March 6, 2008

High Concept

Today, over on Word Wenches, Pat Rice was talking about high concept and how difficult it is to come up with one for historical romance. This reminded me how nuts I get whenever the subject of high concept comes up. It's always been a thorn in my backside.

To me, high concept, by definition, should mean an idea that aspires to more or is bigger than the norm. When it's said that someone has written a "big" book, this is what pops into my head. And of course, by big book, that doesn't mean it's extremely long. It has nothing to do with size at all. It means just that-- a story with a bigger concept than the norm.

So, imagine my surprise a couple of years or so ago when I realized people in the industry were calling a "tag line" a high concept line. Yes, sometimes I am the very last person on the planet to find out these things. This came to light when we were discussing a letter I had received from an agent, wherein she mentioned the words "big book." From that, someone suggested the agent might have thought it was high concept. And from there, someone else suggested I simply come up with a high concept line to attach to the work when I pitched it to agents and editors. Problem solved.

That's what threw me for a loop. The general consensus out there is, if you can come up with a dandy "line" to describe your book, then you have a high concept.

What!

Confused yet? I was, and even though I now know what they're talking about, I still don't think it's right. Just because you can attach a killer tag line to a book doesn't mean it's high concept, by any means. But most out there would argue with me on this point.

In all fairness, I have to say of my writing group that the point was finally conceded that the high concept "line" is a totally different animal than a high concept "idea." But I really think there are some people out there who don't separate the two, and that's why I object to the use of the term to describe a tag line. It's danged confusing and inaccurate.

Here's an example, Toni Blake's high concept line for her upcoming book, "Letters to a Secret Lover," is -- Sex and the City meets Grizzly Adams. From this simple line we get the big picture in brief. Modern, sophisticated city girl meets nature man who lives in the woods. Sounds good, doesn't it?

A high concept line is composed of industry buzz words, or phrases that are easily recognized by everyone. Another example would be -- Legally Blond meets The Beverly Hillbillies. (that one I came up with myself for a book, the author of which I won't mention because I found it to be just as silly as the tag line suggests. ;o)

So, the question is, how do we come up with a high concept for historical romance? There isn't a whole lot in modern pop culture I could apply to one of my western historicals. At least one part of the buzz words or phrase needs to be current and what's happening now, or else you end up with something that sounds antiquated, which defeats the purpose. None of us wants to plant the thought in an agent's or editor's head that our story is old-fashioned or out-of-date.

I'm going to be giving this some thought. I'm a little rusty because it's been a while since I've been in the position where I needed to think about these things. But the sad fact is, if we plan to submit, we need to have a snappy one-liner that describes our story in a nutshell. A high concept. (and I still cringe because, in my opinion, it will always be a tag line no matter what kind of spin everyone puts on it) But incredible as it may seem, this one line is often what an editor will take into a meeting and pitch to the rest of the staff when she's interested in buying your book and needs to get a thumbs-up before offering you a contract.

Devon

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Who's Your Hero?

Wowsers! I don't even want to know what year Pierce Brosnan had this picture taken. Looks like he's grown in his winter coat though, doesn't it? Now, this is the kind of guy I picture when I'm writing a hero. Most of my heroes have dark hair because I've always been more attracted to that type. Eye colors vary, but I usually stick to some shade of brown or blue. But this is the type of physique I envision for my heroes...mmm, maybe minus just a little bit of that chest and belly hair. LOL! The cowboy over in the sidebar is also an excellent example of a hero-type, imo. The guys with those huge, pumped-up muscles bulging all over the place don't do it for me. They look too unnatural. I mean, how often do you run across a guy out there with a bod like that?

I've been thinking about the hero in my current work in progress today. The challenge in writing a hero is making him appealing to all women who read the story. If we can get the reader to fall in love with our hero, at least for the duration of the story, then we've done our job. And since romance novels are mostly written by women for women, it's all about the hero.

That doesn't mean the heroine is completely without purpose. She must be someone the reader can identify with on some level, have goals and motivations the reader can get behind and want her to succeed. She must have strength of character and be worthy of the hero's love. But, let's face it, do we really care if the heroine in a romance novel is dripping with sex appeal?

Which leads me back to the hero. What makes a hero universally appealing? It's got to be more than looks. Though that sex appeal I mentioned doesn't hurt a thing. He must have some noble and worthwhile attributes that go more than skin deep. Even when he's acting like the bad boy, there are certain lines of behavior he won't cross. And speaking of bad boy heroes, they're my favorites and the most fun to write.

When I wrote Rane, I tried to give him all the heroic attributes I possibly could. He was brave, strong, self-sacrificing, fiercely loyal, not to mention damn good looking. But even a year (yes, it's been one year this month) after the publication of Angel in the Rain, I still wonder if I couldn't have done more. Today's market demands that heroes be hotter than ever.

So, now I'm interested in input. What qualities do you demand in a romance hero that make him worthy of being a "hero?" What "type" of hero is your favorite? Give me some specifics, please.

Last but not least, I couldn't write a post about heroes and insert a picture of Pierce Brosnan without tacking on one of Johnny Depp. He's one of my favorite actors. Have you ever seen a male face quite so symmetrical? No, he's not much of a macho type. And he always plays the weirdest roles. And what's up with that hair? Weird personality and hair aside, there's just something so appealing about him.

Well, that's it for me tonight. Must get some sleep so I can be well rested for another day of obsessing tomorrow.

Devon

Ignoring You

Monday, March 3, 2008

Too Much Information?

I promised myself a while back that I wouldn't get my panties in a twist anymore over the never ending dramas that unfold within the romance industry and surrounding environs. But tonight I read a statement in the comment section of a post written by Jane over on Dear Author that really ticked me off.

Short of reading the post and the entire thread of comments (which is long), the topic was a word of caution to certain authors who are posting personal information that casts them in an unfavorable light -- most notably a particular erotica author, who has very explicit sexual posts and pictures on her blog about herself.

Whoa. Jane's point was that there are some authors out there who may be sharing too much information with their readers and the general public.

Here's the comment I took exception to, posted by someone calling herself Dee ---
It is the the fluffy "heaving bosoms" of romantic literature (such a nasty set of words without flavor or intention) that force women to stay in the sexual place like dogs on leases set at the feet of their masters. In truth, sexuality and erotica are not filled with the women who lack the ability to think, feel, and react in a way that is raw (sometimes) and real (always).

Okay. This woman should have checked her spelling. When she wrote "leases" I assume she meant "leashes." That aside, this says to me, it's this person's opinion that any woman who doesn't wear a black leather thong, spikes around her wrists, and carry a whip is sexually repressed and allows herself to be subjugated by men. Further, that it's this sort of repressed, subjugated woman who reads (and I'd guess also writes) what we think of as regular romance novels. And by regular, I mean anything that isn't erotica. So I gather, this person is saying the only valid reading material for women is erotica. I also seem to recall the statement being made that if you don't read it (or write it) you are a prude. *snort*

Wow. In the past, some of these authors have accused those of us who write about the "fluffy, heaving bosoms" of being judgemental and of looking down our noses at them.

Devon

Saturday, March 1, 2008

In Like A Lamb

March came in like a lamb here in southeastern Kentucky. It's been a gorgeous day, but still chilly. Tomorrow, the temperature is supposed to be 65 degrees. That will feel more like spring. I'm ready for it. I just hope we don't have a repeat of last year. Summertime came in March. Everything leafed out and bloomed, then got killed by a hard freeze.


I've had a terrific writing day. When I stopped earlier, I was so close to the 2,000 word mark for the day's total, I went back tonight and rounded it out. Yay! For me, that's smokin'! If I can keep up this pace, I'll make my end of April deadline.


The Seventy Days of Sweat challenge started today. A couple of weeks ago, I was tempted to enter, but I didn't. I figured I'd only jinx myself if I committed because I would have to write more than 1,200 words a day, EVERY day to keep up. The writing has been going so well lately, I was afraid to tempt fate by having Sven and company hanging over my head every week, checking up on me.

I ordered another book today. This one's a western historical romance. More market research. As many times as I go looking for westerns, I'm always amazed, dismayed, or whatever that there are so very, very few being published in the mass market these days. The buzz for the past year has been that they're coming back. If so, they sure are taking their good ole easy time about it.

Well, that's it for today. I think I've written so much today, I've run out of words.

Devon

Friday, February 29, 2008

Colin Farrell's Son

Most people who know me are aware that my 30 yr. old daughter has Angelman's Syndrome. She still lives at home with me and is one of the joys of my life. Recently, Colin Farrell disclosed that his 4 yr. old son has Angelman's, so I'm posting an interview he did. Here's the link. Colin Farrell Interview.

Devon

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Doing The Homework

Yesterday was a terrific writing day. I added just slightly more than 1,200 solid words to my manuscript. By solid, I mean they advanced the story. I didn't dash them out just to be putting words on the page and there's little chance that I will end up ripping them out later because they're crap. They're there to stay, therefore they're solid. So, it was a good day for me. I just wish I could write faster.

Today, I hope to add at least a few more words, but I'm mostly taking the day off to do some research. Today's mail brought the books I ordered, so I'm going to do some reading. These books are historicals from the line I plan to target with the story I'm working on now. This is called doing your homework. Getting a feel for the kind of book your targeted publishers are buying. I'm homing in on the market. Eww... I feel smarter already. LOL!

Hey, it's a dirty job, but somebody's gotta do it. Flirty Wink

Devon


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Let It Snow


It's snowing! We're supposed to get a couple of inches, and maybe as much as four! I was hoping we'd get at least one measurable snowfall before winter's end. I love the snow, but the climate has changed so much in the past few years, we only get dustings these days, rather than the big, scary blizzards we used to get just a few short years ago.

On the writing front, I'm counting this day as a loss. I only managed to write a few paragraphs this morning before hubby came home unexpectedly. He wasn't feeling well and left work early. I just can't understand why one little deviation in routine throws everyone around here for a loop. But that's exactly what it does to me.

I probably shouldn't count the day as a total loss. Even though I wasn't planted in front of my monitor today, my brain was busy clicking over scene possibilities. Two new scenes played out in my head while I washed dishes and cooked and tucked blankie around hubby when he fell asleep in his recliner. I can't wait to write them! It's times like this when I break away from the point of the story where I've left off and jump ahead. When a scene is screaming to be written, there's just no denying it. You have to go with the flow. So, I jump ahead and write those scenes, placing them in the order they'll appear when I catch up to them with the rest of the story. And I always write each story in one huge document so I can jump around and scroll back and forth if need be.

The one scene I'm most anxious to write is humorous. While I was thinking about it, I couldn't stop myself from tee-heeing. Hubby hates it when I do that. He always asks, "What's so funny?" And I always answer, "I was just thinking." And he always jumps to the conclusion that I've invented some private little joke about him. You'd think, after all these years, he'd know that I don't consider him to be that funny. Well, I have to admit, sometimes he is pretty funny, but not so much that I go around snickering several days later about his antics.

Sooo.... what gives you the laugh out loud giggles when you're alone in a room or have the entire house to yourself? Inquiring minds want to know.

Devon
ROTFL

Monday, February 25, 2008

It's Been A Good Day

For tonight's post, I have no certain topic in mind. I just felt the need to mark the day somehow because it's been a good one. I passed a mile marker today in my work in progress, and that's always reason to celebrate. I'm just thankful that my husband is understanding and tolerant of the peculiarities of "the writer's life." Otherwise, it might not have been such a good day. I sat here at my computer until 4:00 this afternoon in my flannel pj's. That's a new record with me for time of day and still not dressed. I noticed the time occasionally and would mutter, "Oh, God, I've got to get dressed!" A couple of times I made it as far as getting out of my comfy swivel armchair, and starting for the door. Then, I'd suddenly remember just one more line or snippet of dialogue I needed to do (before I forgot). So, each time I tried to tear myself away, I ended up back in the chair typing away again. I'm telling you, this is the life!


On an unrelated, and yet slightly related, topic... my numero uno crit partner, Jan Scarbrough, talked me into ordering a book by a new author that's--while still historical--outside my usual genre I turn to for reading material. I look forward to getting my hands on a good book, and she assures me, it is. Once I've read it, if it meets expectations, I'll post the cover and share my thoughts.

Hope you had a nice, relaxing, productive weekend. Until next time...

Devon

p.s.--if you haven't voted in my poll yet, go look in the sidebar and choose your favorite historical periods for romance novels. You can pick more than one. Thanks!
Thank You

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

The writing is going well and I've managed to add significantly to my word count nearly every day. Until today. Today, I actually ended up going backward when I cut an entire scene that had no real relevance. The only purpose it served was to beat the reader over the head with my hero's state of mind, which I'd already covered in the previous scene. So, out it went. Hey, it's part of the process. After a while, you learn that nothing we write is such absolute gold that it can't be changed or gotten rid of.

I think it's kind of funny, the way some of us have become so word count obsessed. It's the new method we use to measure progress. Not chapter by chapter anymore. Now, it's word by word. I know I find myself going up and clicking on my tools option way more than I should to see how many words I've written that day. I keep a log, you see, with each days word goal and totals, and record how many I wrote that day. It's just another small thing to try and stay motivated to produce. One. Word. At. A. Time.

Hey, whatever works.

Another little Word function I've gotten attached to is the readability statistics. Occasionally, (like after finishing each chapter) I run a grammar check so I can see my percentage of passive voice. Anthing over 2% and I go berserk. I start going back through what I've written and tracking down those lazy little devils.

Obsessive? You betcha. Wink

Do you have any quirks or pet peeves that you must pay attention to while writing? If so, tell me about them.
Devon

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Voices in Our Heads

Tonight's post was inspired by a friend and fellow writer, in response to a couple of comments she made on her blog.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You ARE a writer. Repeat after me, then tell hubby to repeat the words, too. LOL! Honestly, I don't know what more you could do to prove "you are a writer!" You've finished five manuscripts! I've known aspiring authors (notice I said, aspiring) who've been at it for years and never even finished ONE. Heck, there are published authors out there in romance land who've never written five manuscripts. Trust me, you're a writer. To. The. Bone.

I know exactly what you mean, though. Even after having a book published, I'm still dealing with the same things you are. Still having the fact that I write swept under the rug, and not taken seriously. For what it's worth, here's what I've concluded. It's the same as all other aspects of life. Money talks. It's that simple. The day we started getting big, fat checks in the mail, then I bet you a lot of folks would change their tune. They'd be whistling and holding our hands while they walked us to the bank. I know that sounds cynical, but it's the truth. So long as our writing doesn't pay the bills or put food on the table, it's going to be a time-consuming hobby to the people around us.

The really sad part is, the people we love will never truly understand us. Even if they do make the effort to be encouraging and share our excitement over accomplishments, they still won't understand. Okay, here comes the really nutso part. The reason they'll never understand is because of the voices inside our heads. They don't have them. They don't see scenes playing out or hear character dialogue. What they DO hear and see, I have no clue. I've asked, and gotten no satisfactory answer. If it's true that our minds never stop, never sleep, etc., then what's going on inside THEIR heads all day long? It boggles me. I don't know how they get through the day. Since my earliest memories, I've had people talking to each other inside my head, and scenes playing out in vivid color.

Anyway, all they can do is love and encourage us, and more importantly, give us the freedom to follow our dreams. But they'll never really know the feeling of accomplishment we have when we finish a manuscript, or plot the "perfect" story. They don't understand the driving need we have to even do these things.

I have to tell you this; I think you'll appreciate it and know exactly what I mean. When I joined KYRW and started interacting with the other writers, I was shocked the first time I heard someone mention the "voices in their head," or some reference to "living up in my head." Until then, I honestly thought I was an odd duck, or a little bit crazy. It was such a relief to learn there were other people out there like me, who heard the voices and felt the need to write their stories. I remember coming home from a meeting, all excited, and telling my husband about it. Until I got acquainted with other writers, I think he was afraid I was a little bit crazy, too, and that's why he didn't want me to write. LOL!

Until twelve years ago, I hid my writing from everyone. Now, I wear my weirdness proudly. :o) I own it because it's who I am and I can't change it. I'm a writer. Nowadays, when I'm sitting around staring into space, my husband will ask me, "Where are you?" My usual answer is, "Damn, why did you interrupt me?" He knows there's something playing out in my head. He accepts it now and, between you and me, I think he kinda likes it--now that he's interacted with some of the women in KYRW and knows being drifty as hell is rather normal (for writers). He even sometimes (if he's in just the right mood) tells people, "My wife's a romance author."

Bless his heart. Wonder how he put up with me all those years, before he found out I wasn't really loony-tunes? LOL!

Devon

Skin Deep

When I was young, I thought Ursula Andress (pic at left) was the most beautiful woman on the planet. If she hadn't gotten old, she'd still be the most beautiful woman on the planet, in my opinion. But there's a new generation of beauties on the big screen. Jessica Alba, Charlize Theron, and Selma Hayek, just to name three. The list could go on for a long time.

I mention these ladies because I was thinking about beauty today, and how it's depicted in romance novels. The reason I was thinking about it? Some of the comments I see on reader forums and various blogs. Honestly, readers are funny sometimes.

It seems there's a contingent of readers out there who are sick and tired of the heroines in romances novels always being stunningly beautiful. On one forum, they even list their gripes and ask authors to please not write these types of heroines anymore. Here's just an example ---

  • No more blondes, please
  • No more redheads
  • No more blue eyes
  • No more green eyes, or amethyst eyes,, or violet eyes
  • No more unrealistic figures, such as melon-sized boobs, or impossibly small waists (you know, the ones a guy can span with his hands and have his fingers touch) LOL!

Get the picture? It appears this (very small, I would think) contingent of readers wants us to write heroines with bad hair, preferably brown. They'd also like brown eyes, I'm guessing because that's the only color they didn't ask us not to write. They'd also like the heroines to have average figures. By average I'm thinking anywhere from a rack of bones to a plus, plus size.

Hooo-kay. I guess these readers don't realize that romance heroines do actually come in all shades and shapes. They only seem to be paying attention to (and griping about) the ones who happen to be beautiful.

On the other hand, these same readers had no complaint whatsoever about the stud-muffin heroes we write. I guess they kinda like them tall, and with all those ripply muscles, not to mention certain other exaggerated (ahem) endowments. They definitely want a hero who's drool-worthy and will play into their fantasy. Go figure. Looks to me like there's a bit of a double standard going on out there. What else is new?

Devon

Monday, February 18, 2008

Indiana Jones Rides Again


Have you seen this yet? It's a promo shot for the new Indiana Jones movie. Yep, they've made another one. It's due out in theaters May 22nd, and the title is "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." There are trailers all over the internet already.

I luuvvve the Indiana Jones movies! Well, except maybe the second one, "The Temple of Doom." It was my least favorite of the three so far. I think the reason I didn't like it as well was because the story didn't follow a Biblical sort of theme with the artifacts. I mean, in the first movie they went after the Ark of the Covenant and in the third movie the Grail. Great stuff! Besides, having Kate Capshaw constantly blowing out the sound system with all that screaming didn't help matters. The woman really needed to just shut up.

I have to say, I was very surprised when I heard they were making yet another installment AND that Harrison Ford would still be playing the lead. There's no one else who should play the part of Indy, nor could they. Ford owns the character. BUT. The man is seriously getting some age on him. These movies are always very physical. How believable is it going to be when Harrison Ford does all those incredible stunts (and you know the movie will be full of them). And what about all those close-ups of the stunned or horrified expression on his face when he's confronted with imminent danger? I honestly didn't believe there would ever be another Indiana Jones movie because Harrison Ford's dashing, hot hero days are in the past (in my opinion).

Oh, well. I'm looking forward to the movie. I just hope it's not another Temple of Doom. The title says to me that it might be. There were no references to a Crystal Skull in the Bible that I'm aware of. Wonder if Sean Connery will be reprising his role as Indy's father in this one? Now there's a man who got better with age... up to a certain point, anyway. ;o)

Devon

Sunday, February 17, 2008

New Tricks

I put a picture of an old dog into my post because that's sometimes how I feel, like an old dog who can't learn any new tricks. I refuse to hop on the trend train and try to write a book that's the hot ticket at the moment. No, I keep plodding along with my chosen, favorite genre and hope it someday makes a comeback. And now I realize I'm straying from what I wanted to write about this evening.

Even if we don't pick up a new trick every so often, I do believe that most of us continue to learn, no matter how old we are. Me, for example. I'm still learning about life in general and human nature, and about writing. The day I stop learning, I think I'll probably grow bored with it.

My word output for the day has been pitiful, so far. Only about 150 words today, compared to yesterday's 2,200. But I hope to make up for lost time later tonight. It feels good to be writing again, and I'm slowly working past the "beginning a new manuscript" insanity and settling into my comfort zone.

Not many people know this but I'm just coming off a two year writing hiatus. There was just no way around it. With all the things I had going on in my personal life, writing had to take a back seat. Now I'm back at it and even though it took some doing to get all the rust out of all the cogs and gears, it was worth the pain and effort.

Back to the learning thing... After a distance of two years, I've discovered some amazing things. When I look at my past writing, I can see things I couldn't at the time. Now I know what that big-name editor meant when she told me, my narrative style was a little strange in certain paggages. At the time, I wondered what the heck she was talking about. Now, I see it! Probably the biggest reason I can see it is because my style has evolved, and so those "strange" passages jump out. And I think we all are constantly evolving. I just hope my next step in the learning process doesn't require a two-year hiatus. Winky

What about you? Do you look back on old manuscripts and say, "My, God, what was I thinking!"

Devon

Saturday, February 16, 2008

...By Any Other Name



I always knew I would use a pseudonym if I got published because I didn't think my real name sounded very romance writer-ish. Why sound like someone's grandmother or old maiden aunt if you have a choice in the matter? So, when I received my book contract, the decision had essentially already been made. I took the names of my daughter and son, Devon and Matthew. To this day, my son kids me about it and says I don't care as much about him because I put his name last. What's more, I added insult to injury by tacking an "S" onto the end of it.

Many of the elderly relatives didn't understand why I wouldn't use my own, perfectly good name. But just as many thought it was very cool. All in all, I think it's worked out pretty well. Not once have I goofed up while in author mode in the romance community and signed my real name to a message. Whenever someone calls me Devon, I always respond because the name is as familiar and dear to me as my own.

Within my local RWA chapter, I still go by my real name. Others in the group who have pseudonyms use them for all purposes, even when communicating on our private chapter loop. But not me, and that's what I've been thinking about lately. Maybe it's time. I know it must be confusing to new members who join our group. When I post messages, they don't make the connection between me and the person on the published author page. Why should they, unless I tell them?

Still, I'm resistant to crossing over totally and becoming the identity I've created. And I can't really put my finger on the reason why. I have no problem whatsoever with it out there in the cyber romance community. But the idea of asking people I've known for a lot of years to suddenly start calling me by an assumed name just feels silly somehow. I can't help wondering if anyone else felt this way.

I will tell you this. Taking a pseudonym put a degree of separation between me and my publishing experience. Here, and on my web site, and on the various forums out there in cyberspace, my real name is nowhere to be found. Yes, the photos are me and all the information is about me. But when I saw my book for the first time, it didn't have my name on it. I in no way expected this to have an impact, and I wasn't prepared for it. Until now, I've never even confessed it. Somehow, not having my real name on the cover of my book de-personalized it. It was almost as if I'd worked all those years for something and then ended up handing it over to someone else. I'm wondering if there are other authors out there who've experienced this feeling of separation by taking on an assumed name.

Devon