Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Blogging Trauma :: Seven Of Cups

If Blogger doesn't get their crap together soon, I'll be switching to Tumblr, or some other blogging platform that doesn't strive to piss me off. I'm actively shopping around, looking for something that won't require me to reverse highlight or otherwise use 2x4s to prop up every single post just so it's readable.

Yesterday I fought to login because the whole Site Advisory gray-boxing of my default nav bar. I just managed to wrangle my blog into submission so it will allow user comments again. Now more login issues?

I can't determine if the gray-boxing is because McAfee is no longer cooperating with the Blogger Nav Bar itself, or if Google Chrome is simply no longer working well with Blogger. I've noticed a json_parse error, but I haven't added any new widgets or other javascripty bits to the blog, so I'm leaning towards an issue with Chrome. I recently read in a tech forum that Google is shutting out Chrome and Firefox on some sites. I can understand disallowing opensource browsers on some sites, but Chrome?  Really?

Anyway, I checked a couple of tech support forums, and I'm not the only person experiencing these problems, so I'm declaring the nav bar issue a bug. I see this has also been an existing issue since 2010, albeit sporadically. I figure after two years, no one at the company cares, and it ain't getting fixed. Probably the same as the highlighting bug, which simply boils down to piss poor design. Who includes a highlight palette and doesn't include a remove highlight button. #facepalm

This morning I switched browsers from Chrome to IE, which I hate because it's like trying to maneuver a tank down a hallway. However, the nav bar is unblocked in IE, and I'm able to use my blog. No bloodletting necessary at this point, but I'm still looking to switch. Soon.

On to writerly things... Today I'm going to transfer these last three pages into the wip so I don't have them sitting on my desk anymore. From there, I need to get 2k on this current manuscript. I have a lot of projects lying around right now; it's time to start wrapping up some of them so I can either submit them somewhere or put them on Smashwords.

That sentiment is perfectly illustrated in my tarot card for the day. I thought that was kind of interesting. Seven of Cups. Nothing wrong with having a lot of projects going on, but it's time to dig in, and take them from the idea phase (a vision, or daydream, as indicated by the card) to a finished, physical product. Those ideas that don't work will fade away when you try to mold them into something real, giving you the opportunity to hold on to what will work. Once those cups have been tended to, it gives the higher mind room for new cups to form.

I'm off now to begin the writing day. I can tell already: tonight, there will be wine!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Vintage Vampires :: Remaking Dance of the Damned

Holy smokes! On Saturday, I read that Director Katt Shea is filming yet another remake of Dance of the Damned.

I was dating the hubster the first time I saw this film. We rented the VHS from Movie Gallery in Ruston, and to this day, Dance of the Damned remains one of my favorite, lesser known 80s vampire movies, along with To Die For, To Die For 2, and LifeForce.

I thought the ending could have done with a more edgy, "love is death" twist, but no matter. The ending was a popular resolution for when the movie was first presented. It should be note, this was a movie really close to what we think of as an erotic paranormal romance these days. 

I still love this film! Not sure how I feel about another remake, but I'll give it a fair chance. Dance of the Damned was remade in the 90s?/early 2000s? as To Sleep With A Vampire. It was okay, but I didn't care for that one as much as Dance of the Damned, which was more angsty and character driven. Anyway, I hope the new movie is everything the director wants it to be. Maybe the third time's the charm, and the director will finally be happy with her vision of the story and consider it told. 

If the director ever decides to go looking for more erotic vampire material apart from Dance of the Damned, a story based around a sexually charged human and vampire relationship....oh, I don't know, maybe she'll consider a film based on Wicked Obsession? *cough, cough, nudge, nudge* ;o) LOL!

Seriously, though, Dance of the Damned is an awesome vintage vampire tale. It does look a bit dated now, which is to be expected from a 20+ year old movie. Clothes and hairstyles go in and out of fashion, and all that. *shrugs* The characters themselves are very contemporary and memorable, and truthfully, the heroine/antagonist are perfect for each other. In other words: great chemistry. That's what I remember most about the film. Le sigh.

I wish the movie was available on DVD, but presently it has been retired to the VHS movie dust bins of Amazon.There could be a clip or two of the film on youtube, but I don't know for sure. I haven't checked. Regardless, I would love to see this movie again. Maybe the director will re-release the 80s version of the film direct to DVD when the new movie comes out? I certainly hope so!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Cora's Picks :: Lust Ever After by Rose de Fer

I don't have whole a lot to blog about at the moment. Things are kind of quiet here, and we all kind of do our thing on the weekends. I've been keeping to myself, writing, reading, and that sort of thing. Recharging my creative batteries, or however you want to phrase it. I'll write a few hundred words or wrap up a scene, then I'll go read for a while. When the book slows, I'll put it down and go back to writing for a bit. It's an endless cycle.

I've downloaded several of the new Mischief books, and I'm really liking them. The first book I bought from Mischief was Red Grow The Roses by Janine Ashbless. I love her work. Very literary hardcore. She's an autobuy for me.

I also bought Underworlds: Tales of Paranormal Lust, which is a collection of various authors. I plan to read that one this weekend. It looks like it has a little bit of everything tossed in there: menage, f/f, and of course vampires, and what-have-you.

I bought a very sexy book today that is worth a mention. I read it in one sitting. It's unlike anything I've read in the past few months, so cool beans. It gets a gold star from me.

In the short novel Lust Ever After by Rose de FerDr. Frankenstein has a practice of relieving the society ladies of their "hysteria" with his special vibration device, the Alleviator. But this is just a means of funding his true goal...to master the secret of life, and create his unique vision of the perfect woman.

Very hot read, approximately 116 pages, and only .99 cents on Amazon. Run, run, run, and get this story!

In all seriousness, if you're a fan of literary erotica, you won't be disappointed with the selection at Mischief. I'm not saying that to kiss ass or anything. For what you're paying per story, you can't beat the quality of writing. So far everything I've read from them or sampled is quality work. I will be going back for more. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Platinum Connectivity

627 Platinum Silver, China Glaze 
So, let's see. I've spent most of the day sneezing my brains out, and fighting to connect to the internet. With two guys playing bandwidth draining online games, running messengers, and playing youtube videos it's a challenge for me just to connect to the net. I swear, I'm ready to run them off with a stick...after I take another Benedryl. {achoo!}

I'm pretty sure summer is rapidly losing its appeal for Mini as well. He wanders around bored half the time, and I don't know how many games of Guess Who? and Candyland we can play before the authorities step in and declare us both legally insane.

I sneaked off to my office this afternoon and painted my nails. Ah, blissful girly stuff. Not easy to come by in a house full of males. If we could afford it, I'd totally take a day for myself and go to the day spa for the works, but for right now I'm stuck doing  home treatments if and when I can find the time.

Tonight, I need to work on a beta project, and do a bit of writing on the wip. I left my hero and heroine in a compromising position the other night, and I need to go back and finish the scene. I'm sure they're exhausted by now. Ha!

And there you have it. Not much else to report at the moment. Then again, slow paced, drama free days are certainly welcome around here. Happy Wednesday, y'all. And happy writing!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pictures and Old Posts

I'm sorry for the old posts appearing in my current collection of posts on blogger. I didn't intend to do that. I've been going through my posts and culling pictures: anything not 100% taken with my own camera. This is all in response to the author that got sued for posting pics on her blog.  I've decided it's not worth promoting someone else's humor or artwork, especially if some asshole is going to turn around and possibly sue over it. So, if you're looking for art here, from now on you won't find it. 

I think I've deleted most of the old photos that aren't family related. A few meme pictures may still remain. This blog is quite old, and some of the posts were transferred from an even older blog that existed back when AOL hosted journals. Yeah, I'm kinda dating myself now, aren't I? 

That said, there are posts here from 2004 to present day, and while sorting through Picasa webs albums, some of my old posts were republished by accident and ended up on the current timeline. I've drafted some of them, and deleted others. If you can't find what you're looking for, I'm terribly sorry. Also, if you're going through posts and you see broken or deleted images, that's the reason why. I killed them at the source. 

Anyway, tonight I noticed some people coming to view my erotica fiction posts that republished from networked blogs. If you're looking for Red Light, Green Light - my erotica short story, you can find it in the What She Doesn't Know collection on Smashwords. My apologies for any confusion. 

That said, I'm no longer affiliated with the Midnight Moon Cafe. I still get mail from people looking to promote there, or people who want to offer me some kind of article writing service, or whatever. The blog has been dead for roughly 2 years now. And as of tonight, to clear up any confusion on that matter, the blog no longer exists. Cassandra and I deleted it. Any other outlets of the cafe still standing, are not under our ownership, so be aware of that.

Let's see what other bombshells I can drop this morning... I say morning, since it is shortly after midnight. I have three stories I'm working on for Grrl X Publishing. I've already mentioned them before, so I won't do that again until they're ready to publish. Life has pounced on me in one form or another since I began working on them. I'm simply going to take a step back and tackle these projects one at a time. 

Two of the stories should be up later this year, but I'm not making any concrete dates for release. No promises. This will take a little pressure off of me, and allow me to spend some time with my son while he's home, instead of worrying about self-imposed deadlines. The stories will be there when I can get to them. My son is leaving on August 12th for Bahrain and I won't see him again for roughly 2 years. It's all a matter of priority, and for me, family comes first. 

Currently, I'm working my way through a novel, a few thousand words at a time. I've blogged about it once or twice in the past few days. I'm thinking about sending it to an agent who has caught my eye. Also, there are maybe three publishers on my list who might take this kind of material. I'm thinking about sending it to all of them, just to see what happens.

That's all for now. Sorry for the rushed posts. I'm heading off to bed before I fall asleep at my desk. Night, night, everyone! 

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Parking Garage :: My Subconscious Mind

Early this morning I dreamed I was driving through a maze of a parking garage. Hubby was in the passenger seat, and when I made it to the panel that spits out the ticket, I had to wait. It gave me the ticket, but up ahead, there was some guy standing at the security shack. After waiting what felt like a short eternity, I got out of my car with my license, the time ticket for parking, and walked toward this officer, who took my stuff but said I had to wait. He walked me back to the car, did something like put the ticket back through the machine, then I still ended up having to wait for the guy who had no car (!!!) to walk through security.

That dream probably means I'm mental, but whatever. I've had a lot of "in the car" dreams lately. I'm thinking it means I'm ready to move on. Move on to what, I'm not sure, but there you have it. Oh, a couple of nights ago, I dreamed I was in a strange house. It was very sparsely furnished, and I was folding a blanket in front of this enormous arched window with black square patterns all over it. I have no clue what that dream means, either.

Anyway, I think I've finally fixed the commenting issues with the blog. I have no idea how or why it stopped allowing comments, but I started noticing failed form attempts in the log. I pushed a few buttons and it seems to be working now, so I'm going with it. Fixed. Hurray.

I wrote probably 2k on the wip last night, and found three pages I need to transcribe over to the main document. Holy shit. Why did I ever decide to write long hang? I'm pleading temporary insanity. I left off at the start of a new chapter, and now I'm kind of twiddling my thumbs, like, what now?  I may need to go back and poke a new problem into the previous chapter so there is something to work through in this one. I don't know yet. That's going to be my project du jour, I believe.

Before I go.... A few interesting articles and what-have-you that I read this morning. Various stuff. Worth a peek.

5 Ways Your Brain Sabotages Your Writing...And What To Do About It by Kimberly Turner 
Justice Department Slams Apple, Refuses to Modify E-book Settlement
and... The Fiction Desk is looking for submissions

That's all for now. I hope you have a marvelous Monday! ;o)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Fangtastic Sunday

I hope you've all had a happy weekend. :o) This has been the sleepiest Sunday ever for me. My allergies were going crazy this morning when I got up, and it was either suffer with it or take a Benedryl. Well, I took the Benedryl, and within twenty minutes I was zombified. It's been that way ever since. Bleh. lol

I've been working on the wip today. I had to read through some of it to remember where I left off, but I think it's going pretty well. It's a bit kinkier than I'm used to writing, but I'm going with it since it fits the characters' relationship.

Speaking of which, I'm especially happy with the character dynamics. There's a lot of heavy hitting banter right up front. You can tell the hero and heroine are very attracted to each other, even though they are on opposite sides of the fence. Even though they both have had a string of previous relationships, I can't imagine them being happy with anyone but each other. I'm having a lot of fun with these two.

It arrived, it arrived! On Saturday, My Betsey Johnson vamp necklace came in. :o) I don't wear a lot of jewelry, but with this one it was love at first sight. The fangs are gold and the lips are a raspberry color with at tiny fake diamond on the lower lip. Love, love, love.

The necklace matches my vampire candy Tokidoki bag, which is the biggest tote bag I've carried in a very long time. If I'd had that bag when Mini was little, I'd have used it for a diaper bag. No kidding! All my stuff fits in the bottom two inches of the bag. Insane!

Now, I just need to match that lipstick shade on the those fang lips. A first glance, I'm thinking MAC Rebel, maybe layered with a little Violetta. What do you think?

That's it for now. I'm about to take SassiePup into the den to sit on her daddy's lap for a while, although I'm not sure she'll stay. She's been very "mommy, hold me" lately. Poor beast. I'm about to pour a glass of wine and get going on some more writing. I'd like to get another 2k before midnight. We'll see!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Saturday Sleep In

Big boy is finally home. Hubby picked him up from the airport this afternoon, and they made it back around 7:30 Friday evening. Oldest loves the new room, too. Yay! That's great news. While the guys were gone, I gave the house a thorough cleaning. It was much needed. With the Big boy home, tonight things felt like they were getting back to normal...at least for a little while. ;o)

Oldest raided the fridge, watched some TV, reconnected to the house wifi, and everything is pretty much how it was before he left. I gave Mini and bath, and put him to bed around 10pm, then went to the den to chill with hubby. Oldest came into the den not long afterward, and hugged us all goodnight. After both the kids were sleeping, I hung around with Hubster and watched a couple of back episodes of True Blood, then I headed to the office with a glass of wine. I figured I might as well peak at the wip. It's been so long since I looked at it, I can't remember where I left off. 

It's almost 1 am, and I'm about to toss the clothes in the dryer, finish up this glass of wine, then go to bed. I'll probably save any hardcore writing/editing until Saturday afternoon. I'm just too tired to deal with it right now, and I don't want to do any late night/early morning, tired out of my mind, disastrous wip changes. Been there, done that. So...I'm taking out time to rest. I've been getting up at roughly 7 am for the past week and working in Oldest's room until the wee hours of the morning. I think I've earned a day to sleep in. ;o)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Renovate Me

Chocolate brown with black wash
I'm so tired! Oldest is coming home Friday, and I just put the first coat of clear seal on the floor. It's gorgeous, but there's still a lot of work to do to get everything wrapped up before we head off to the airport tomorrow. The house is a filthy wreck. I need to do laundry. And...I still need to put on another coat of sealant on the floor so we can move the furniture back in there. We'll see how it plays out. I'm going to try to get it finished tonight, but at this point, I'd just settle for my house being clean again. 

another shot of the texture
Here are a couple of pictures of the floor. The top picture is the actual color as it appears int the room. Almost like a bronze/chocolate brown with a black wash over the top of it. I don't know why the bottom photo turned out so light. You can see the texturing better in the second photo though.

We ended up going with a dark taupe for the walls, which is really soothing and lovely. I prefer neutrals and natural colors since they will go with anything, and I'm hoping by doing these floor like this, we will never have to do them ever again.
Highest Eagle's Peak WM115 - 11151
paint color in afternoon lighting -
"dark taupe" 

Yesterday, I painted in there from about 7 am until after midnight. By the time I made it to the shower and all that, I was ready to drop. I sat down and had a glass a wine, and shortly thereafter, it was lights out.

I haven't had a chance to write much in the past few days. I've been entirely too busy / too tired painting all day. It looks like I'm going to have some catching up to do when I finally get back to work.

Anyway, tonight, I'm going to listen in on a radio show, answer emails that are piling up, and then it's back to the bedroom for more painting. Hopefully, this will be the last of it. Wish me luck!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Dueling Vampires :: Modern Paranormal Romance

I had a great weekend, but I'll admit I'm ready for Monday. Bring it on. My asthma has been giving me fits all weekend. I partly blame the crazy shifts in weather: hot and dry one minute, then flooded with rain, the next. The other thing I blame is the dust from ripping the tile out of the house.

We're getting ready to do showroom style floors from one end of the house to the other. The new floors will be a soft gray with a clear epoxy over them. After we do this, we will never put down another tile in this house ever, ever, ever again.

We started remodeling in Oldest's room first. The tile was there when we moved in, and we think it's at least 30 years old. Who knows what it's made of, but when hubby ripped one third of the tile from that room, my asthma went crazy. 

It was so bad Friday night and Saturday morning, I didn't know if I'd be able to drive to my local RWA meeting. I didn't know for sure until right before I walked out the door. I took my medicines with me, just in case, because all morning, I was wheezing and gasping for air. I've been very congested, too. Still, I managed to get it under control, and made it to Bossier. I'm glad I did. There were two very good workshops, one on subtext; the other on voice and style. I took a ton of notes, then came home, inspired, and ready to write.

Last night, in one of those moments when I was able to sleep without feeling like I was suffocating, I dreamed I was walking down this dirt road alongside a field. There were a bunch of turtles out there. They were moving a little faster than turtle speed, and they were playing and roaming through the field with their necks stretched out so they could see where they were going. I was barefoot, and went out there to play with them and tromp through the grass. I walked with one turtle for a short distance, then returned to the road. A very strange dream, but kinda fun.

Anyway, on to writerly things... I read today that a panel member at the San Diego Comic Con credited Buffy the Vampire Slayer Series for the entire paranormal romance genre. Um...what?  I have to say, this totally blew my mind. I thought about that for a long time, wondering if there was something I missed, and I'm thinking... no.

That credit to Buffy may work for people who were fans of the show, but on my own behalf, I have to respectfully disagree with that writer's statement, especially as someone who writes in the paranormal romance genre.

Now, I watched the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie back when Kristy Swanson was "the Buffy". It was a good movie; Donald Sutherland was fantastic in it, but it was a movie that didn't really stay on my radar for very long. And when the Buffy the TV series came out... I'm going to spill a little secret. I was hugely disappointed Kristy didn't take the part as Buffy. Because of that, I have never been able to watch an entire episode of Buffy or Angel in one sitting. I have tried, but it's just not for me. I mean, I know who Spike is, I know who Willow is. Pretty people with problems. Do I care to watch them on screen? Not really. 

Everyone's influences are different, and I can understand how someone can bring Buffy into the picture when talking about paranormal romance, because she helped redefine the heroine in the eyes of mainstream TV viewers as someone who can kick ass. The thing is, there have been kick ass heroines since before Buffy. Comic books are filled with them. However, Buffy became more of a pop culture icon. She reached a broader audience than most comic book heroines. However, I don't feel like her impact was what set off the popularity of paranormal romance as a genre.

My first brush with paranormal romance happened in 1987. The attraction between Star and Michael in The Lost Boys. For me, at the time, that was the hottest thing ever. Who didn't want to date one of the Lost Boys?  Hello? Sexy vampire bikers. Count me in. (My parents were not amused.)

The new guy in town comes battles a gang of vampires because he's fallen in love with the only girl in their group. Back in the day, every teenage girl I knew, myself included, would have kicked over and screamed Bite Me, please! to at least one (or more) of those bad boy vampires.  

My next adventure into paranormal romance came in the form of a paperback copy of Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire. There are people who will argue that Interview isn't a romance. I beg to differ. There is a non-physical romance between both Louis and Lestat, and Louis and Claudia. This was the definitive book that made me want to seek out more poignant vampire fiction. This is the book that made me go to the bookstore to search for vampire romances. Let me just say, there were not many vampire romances on the bookstore shelves at the time.

From there, I read The Hunger by Whitley Streiber. The book had been out  for many years before I finally read it. I had already seen the movie, but the book is so much better than the film. The author was decades ahead of his time with the creation of his character, Miriam. She was a bi-sexual vampire, of sorts, who kept trying to turn a lover into an immortal like herself. Only, every time she created a companion, after so many years together, the human would go insane and rapidly age. To protect herself and others, Miriam would have to lock the lover away. She could still hear them as they decayed into a thinking, feeling pile of dust. A very sad love story indeed.

Another book that was way ahead of its time was Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite. I always felt like this story might've been influenced by The Lost Boys. I could be wrong, but it had that same rock n' roll bad boy vibe going on. Lost Souls greatly inspired my interest in tragic vampire stories that are dark, but have heavy romantic elements. I've read this book so many times, the front third of the book has fallen off in sections. I bound it together with a rubber band and still have the first printing on my keeper shelf. Lost Souls turned the entire vampire mythos on its ear. It was very fresh, and very different when it came out, and it's the first book I ever read that featured openly gay vampires. 

I'm still not sure why a movie hasn't been made based on the book Lost Souls. It has a strong cult following, and in my opinion, Jeffree Star would be perfect in the role as the evil, lover, father-figure vampire, Zillah. 

Those books were all very influential in developing my interest in paranormal romance as a genre. But, I remember the story. The one that changed me forever. The movie that made me want to not only read paranormal romances specifically, but to write them as well.

Bram. Stoker's. Dracula.

Gary Oldman as the Count was H-h-h-hot. I've watched that movie dozens of times, and it still stuns me that Mina decided to go through with her marriage to Johnathan Harker. Why? Why?!  Johnathan was so dry and boring. And Mina was so giddy in love with Dracula who was "a prince, no less". She cheated on Johnathan with her vampire lover, drank absinthe with him, laughed and led him on, then when Johnathan beckoned her, she left that poor vampire weeping in despair. If that isn't a whirlwind romance, I don't know what is.

I still want to shake Mina for choosing Johnathan. In her shoes, I would've been on the first train to Transylvania with my new husband, the Count. Make no doubt about that!

Bram Stoker's Dracula, The Lost Boys, and Interview with the Vampire literally reshaped the real world goth and vampire community "scenes", and brought them into the mainstream. So did lesser known White Wolf role play books such as Vampire: The Masquerade, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, and the briefly popular TV series, Kindred: the Embraced.

Look at the new wave "goth" scene before these movies and books became popular. The Bela Legosi/Frank Langella cape-wearing vampire ruled the night. And that was the type of vampire presented in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie, which the TV series was based on.

After Gary Oldman's portrayal of a sexy, romantic, genteel, and brutally blood-thirty Dracula, there was a big change in the way we view vampires, both generally speaking, and as potential romantic partners in fiction. Gary Oldman's role redefined the vampire, and the vampire/goth scene changed almost overnight because of the popularity and styling of that movie. And those visible changes in the fictional vampire was further cemented in popular culture, when Interview with the Vampire was released shortly thereafter.

I remember seeing a flood of Mina and Dracula style weddings getting coverage after Dracula hit the theaters. I had been married for a couple of years, and I gawked over the pictures of Victorian inspired wedding dresses with corsets and bustles. Dressing like that had never crossed my mind. The gowns and cakes, and Victorian details were absolutely gorgeous. But what impressed me most, were men walking down the aisle in the count's suit, complete with walking cane, top hat, and even his purple, vampire sunglasses. That's romance, baby. That's fiction inspiring real life. 

So if I were to credit anyone for bringing about the paranormal romance genre as we know it today, I would have to say Bram Stoker's Dracula is directly responsible for birthing the modern, sexy vampire as seen in paranormal romances nowadays. Anne Rice's gentlemen vampires Louis and Lestat can be held equally responsible. The Lost Boys, also. Both authors, and the movie directors that made those films box office hits, brought about this change by making paranormal characters that were dangerous, sexy, sympathetic, and accessible to a wide audience of movie-goers and readers.

Modern paranormal romance heroes are often rich, genteel, alpha male, and utterly in love with the heroine. For example, take Christine Feehan's The Dark Prince. Do you see Bram Stoker's influence in there, or Buffy's?

Buffy had an impact on paranormal fiction, yes. But not on the same scale. If Buffy influenced anything, it was early paranormal chick lit. The tone and style is very similar. But paranormal romance overall?  Sorry, guy, I'm totally not feeling it.

With that said, I'm stepping off my vampire soap box. It's almost midnight, and I have (more) writing to do before I can go to bed. Remember, it's Mercury retrograde, so take care out there. Happy dreams, everyone!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday the Mercury Retrograde 13th :: With Books

I stayed up entirely too late last night/this morning. Insomnia gets me most nights, but rarely does it have me up at two in the morning putting up a new shower curtain. Yeah, it was like that.

Thursday we were in the shadow of the Mercury retrograde, which kicks off today, and I'm hoping that wasn't an example of what I can expect until the energy goes direct. If it is, I may end up cutting off all external communications and sitting this one out. I'm totally not joking. Yesterday was an exercise in frustration. I will skip the details of the traumatic trip to Walmart I had to endure for the sake of grocery shopping. The weather was rainy, miserable shit, and everyone I was in direct contact with was in a right, snarly mood. And if I needed information on something, anything, it was either slow in coming or a complete lost cause. 

One example of that frustrating void of information... I recently heard about an interesting book called The Runaway by Albertine Sarrazin. It's an English translation, from the 60s, and if I understand right, it's a young, French woman's diary of sorts. She wrote it while in prison, and it was initially printed without her permission. Anyway, those are the details I have, although there is no way to check them to ensure they're accurate.  

I decided to look up The Runaway on Amazon to read what the dust jacket/blurb has to say about the book. There were a couple of copies for sale, some of them without the dust jacket. However, each listing was missing the blurb from the book. In its place, the sellers posted the author's uninformative bio from the back of the book.

I don't like the idea of paying over ten dollars for a book if I don't know what it's about, so I decided to check other places I knew to look. I searched Goodreads, where the book has been given several five star reviews; I searched Google, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Ebay, Abe Books, Wikipedia... and there is nowhere to read a summary of this book. 

Not one single person who claims to have read this book has actually reviewed it other than to slap some stars, which tells me nothing. After hours of exhaustive searching, I know as much about the book as I did three days ago. There are copies for sale all over the internet, and you would think at least one seller would post the fucking blurb. I am not amused. 

But that is just one example of the information no-go. Example #2:  I ended up turning off a radio show I faithfully sit through every week. I tuned in a little early, and as the show starts, I'm listening in and it's going on and on with some topic way off base, and something I care absolutely nothing about. I keep waiting for the show to get on track. Instead, it goes on for more than thirty minutes skirting the very reason I tune in every week. I don't know what happened with the programming, if they thought that was a good idea or what, but I was not impressed. I kept thinking, get to the point already. I swear, half the show was over before they finally got it on track, and then the rest of the broadcast was very watered down, repeated information from last week. I ended up turning it off about fifteen minutes early, and I've decided from now on if they are having a guest on the show, I won't be tuning in. That was a (frustrating) hour of my life I can't get back. 

I had such a tension headache by the time the day was over, it took two packets of powdered aspirin {which is loaded with caffeine}to kill the pain. It was either that, or strangle the piss out of someone. Once the headache was gone and the caffeine had worn off, I was probably more tolerable to be around, but by then it was four in the morning.  I went to bed shortly after that, but I still ended up waking at seven, so that's what?  Roughly three hours of sleep? 

But let's rewind a bit... Around midnight-ish/one a.m., I popped over to Ellora's Cave and downloaded a few short stories. I picked up In Appreciation of their Cox, by Janine Ashbless. One girl, eight guys is the gist of it. I had no idea it was a story revolving around rowing or I would've bought it sooner. I'm a college rowing fan. I'm just glad "catching a crab" didn't work its way into the story. lol

I also bought Rising Green by Sabrina York, and downloaded Only Love by Kit Tunstall. Oh! I downloaded  Subtle Magic, by Beth Kery, too. I haven't had a chance to read that one yet.  Both Only Love, and Subtle Magic are free for a limited time on the EC website.

So anyway, Happy Friday the 13th. I'm off to do some writing. I need to make up for yesterday, and earn the glass of wine or three I intend to drink tonight. Cheers!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Shamelessly Domesticated

I'm presently drinking the last of the sangria and reading vampire smut I downloaded from the Mischief site earlier tonight. I bought Red Grow the Roses by Janine Ashbless, because I love vampires and I know I can't go wrong with Janine's writing style. She's fearless, and I love that about her work.

The house is an utter mess tonight. Hubby began tearing apart Oldest's room for remodeling Tuesday morning. We managed to get the room cleared out, and all the furniture moved into the dining room. Tomorrow I rip out the tile. Fun, no? We have to work quickly, since the big boy graduates his first round of training next week, and he'll be coming home to stay until he ships out to Bahrain.

Hubby promised to redo the room, but of course, as I predicted would happen, he waited until the last minute to get started on it. Now, there's all this frenzy to get it finished. We were joking about it earlier, but I will again make a prediction - he'll be cursing this project before the week is out. {g}

It's after midnight now. I'm probably going to read for another thirty minutes or so, then go to bed. In the morning I have to go to the grocery store. We're down to bread heels and butter scrapings, and personally speaking, I will not survive another week without some Ben and Jerry's. That's definitely at the top of my shopping list.

I have more writing to do later on today. I have three hand written pages left to type into my main document, and then I hope to write seven to ten fresh pages on top of that. I'm trying to get in as much as I can before the weekend. On Saturday I'm heading out to my local RWA meeting. And yes, I mean it this time!

Anyway, that's all for now. Here's hoping we all have a peaceful, productive Wednesday.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Painful Revelations: Strive to Write Happy

It's already after midnight., and I'm totally wound for sound. I'm also on my fourth *cough* fifth glass of wine, so this blog post should be truly interesting when I reread through it in the morning. Heh. 

Yesterday was a day of painful revelations. Call it a crisis of career if you like, because honestly, I can't imagine myself doing anything else. However, I'm at this point in my writing life where it's really time to stop and ask myself what I want, and what do I have to do to get there. Wherever the hell there is, because as of right now, I don't know. I'm already published through six or seven different publishing houses, not to mention my own damn label, so what am I really, truly, looking for? 

This hasn't exactly been a fun conversation (with myself), but I have to start looking at the type of fiction I write best, and compare that with the type of fiction I'm satisfied writing, and find a happy medium. Then I have to figure out where is the best place to release that fiction into the wild. The rest will fall away, because as of right now, I'm done with not being satisfied with my own writing. 

Lately, I've been pushing myself to write, even when I'm not feeling "the spark" with the material. It's like I hope the spark will magically appear while writing, and sometimes it does. But then again, sometimes it doesn't, and then I'm stuck with the results. I guess the real question is, if I'm not jazzed about a particular piece of work, shouldn't that be an indicator it's time to make a change? 

I asked myself that exact question yesterday, and I decided to make a change. I put aside a story that was making me dreadfully unhappy to write it, and I have been reevaluating what I'm doing in writing as a whole. As a career choice. I think this is long overdue. 

When I first started writing for publication, the big dream was to have a book in print. That was it. That was the major goal. I didn't care if I made twenty five cents as long as I managed to get something, anything in print form. What can I say? I'm from the old school. That was the big dream when I started hobby writing in the 1990s. The measure of success was to hold the finished product of your labor in your hands. The print book was the trophy you hoisted high after you won the race. Times have changed.

That goal was made before digital took off, and before mass market started its decline. Looking back only a couple of years ago, I remember when my goal, my dream, began to lose its importance. It was around the time I first started hearing the rumors Dorchester was in trouble. Even after seeing how things were changing in the market, I never actually sat down and said, "okay, Cora, now what?" I just kept writing. I never took the time to reevaluate what I truly want.

While I would still love to hold one of my own print books in my hand one day, that goal isn't really as important to me as it once was, especially now since there is CreateSpace to consider. And if I'm completely truthful with myself, I'd much rather have an ebook that is selling well, than a print book that sells only one copy. 

I guess what I'm saying is, it's time to step back, and take a look at the bigger picture, not just float by on an old goal that isn't relevant any more. Writing monster smut is probably where I'm truly in my element, even if the popularity of the genre is waning. Then again, who can keep up with all the trends? In the past six years popular genres have fluctuated wildly. First, an explosion of paranormal, then erotic romance, YA, and now contemporary erotica. I think I'll be better off, or at least I'll be happier, sticking with what I know, and what I love to read.

From this day forward, I'm going to focus more on writing what inspires me. I'm going to focus more on writing the books I want to read, but haven't been able to find in the bookstore. I'm doing this, not only because I want to like that I've written; I'm doing this because I want to be satisfied with the end results of what I've written.

And there it is. My big epiphany for July. Whatever your genre, write happy, folks!

Friday, July 06, 2012

The Agent Debate

Happy Friday, everyone! I've been informed it's International Kissing Day, and National Fried Chicken Day, so in a little while, I'm going to give hubby a big kiss and send him to Popeye's Chicken for a family box. When I told him this, he was all for it. Game on.

First thing out of bed this morning, I turned on my computer and wrote four pages. I consider it a brain purge, because last night, while I was trying to sleep, two characters kept talking to me. Loudly. Profoundly. They wouldn't leave me alone. I tossed and turned, and tried unsuccessfully to shut them out. That didn't work, so I finally got up and wrote down everything they had to say. Appeased for now, I would imagine both those characters are sleeping. Because they were too busy talking last night to have gotten any sleep then. I sure didn't.

Once again I'm debating whether I should look for an agent. I torture myself with this question at least twice a year. With all the changes going on in publishing, I'm torn on that subject. I think if I found someone I was comfortable working with, it would make all the difference. Anyway, I've made a very short list of prospects, and once I finish this novel, I may send out a few queries just to see what happens. I'd like to end up with an agent who takes erotica and erotic romance, and who works closely with their authors. Also, ideally, I'd want them to have a good working history with EC, Harlequin, and Kensington.

Of course, I'm only thinking out loud. I have to wonder, though...am I the only person that gets lightheaded thinking about this sort of thing?

Oh dear, the lights are flickering a bit. It's storming right now, so I'm going to close down the comp in case of a power cut. We do need the rain, so no complaints from me! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Happy writing! xx

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Feeling Zombiesque

Honey, I'm home! First thing out of bed this morning, the guys started plotting off by themselves. I was worried at first, but it turned into nothing more than a trip to Panda, and a stop by the grocery store. We went, and it was all good. I'm relieved. I can't take the stress of too many surprises these days.

Now that we're back home, I'm sorting through the day's to-do list. My favorite radio show is on tonight, so I'm going to wrap up everything before seven so I can listen in. After it's over, much later on tonight, I'll probably drag out one of the novellas I've been working on.

I'm tired, and feeling kind of pms-y/bitchy/crabby; but at the same time, I'm pleased with all the new material I've written this week. On Wednesday, I wrote roughly twenty pages, and I'm currently revising the last short story on my current {summer} to-do list. I have one scene left to clean up, then that particular story should be ready to release into the wild. Woot! I'll be so glad to get that one out of my hair.

That's pretty much the order of business around here these days. Writing and more writing. No workshops, or classes or anything like that. Oh. I've recently picked up some interesting books, though. I'm currently reading an anthology called Zombiesque, edited by Stephen L. Antczack, James C. Bassett, and Martin H. Greenberg. I picked it up for the Nancy A. Collins story, but it also has contributions by Nancy Holder, Wendy Webb, Tim Waggoner and many others. So far, so good. I'll post more after I've read it cover to cover.

That's it for now. The house is currently quiet, and I need to get crackin' on this short story. Going to take advantage of the zen environment while it lasts. Happy writing, everyone!

PS. Blogger has this buggy shit going on where it highlights half my text every time I post. Until they fix this mess, I apologize for any crap-looking blog posts. To fix the problem manually I have to remove all the formatting and start from scratch. There just aren't enough hours in the day.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Happy July 4th

Happy July 4th!  

It's after one in the morning here in the land of La, and I'm trying wrap up a short story before I go to bed. The first draft is complete, and now I'm working on cleaning it up for submission.Yesterday I completely rewrote the beginning, and makes the story more cohesive overall. It reads much better now, but I still need to go through and do a few more chops and tweaks before it's ready to send out into the wild.

Once the sun is up, we're all going over to my mom and dad's house for hamburgers and hot dogs. I'll probably send the guys and SassiePup ahead of me, and run by the store to pick up extras. In short, we're having a family day. Maybe I'll do some writing toward the afternoon. Or, maybe I'll put in a movie, curl up on the couch and take a cat nap. I'm going to hang ten and go with the flow of the day.

Whatever you're doing today, I hope it brings you happiness. Happy Independence Day, y'all!

Monday, July 02, 2012

Monday: Printable Self-Editing Log

Welcome to Monday! I looked at the calendar this morning and realized I have a lot of writing ground to cover in July. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by it all, I'm going to take it one day at a time, one project at a time, and work my way through the stack. What gets finished, gets finished. What doesn't get finished will be a priority in August. It's as simple as that.

Right now I'm focused on getting a couple of projects wrapped up and out the door. The Twilight's Edge collection is one of those projects. I'm writing the last story to go in that book, but there is still so much to be done on the other side of writing it. Revising, re-revising, compiling everything into one document, formatting... The list goes on.

The other project is a short story I finished yesterday. I need to revise it, reformat it, and send it out. That one is on a very tight deadline, so it has to go out in the next couple of days.

Since I've been doing so much writing and revising lately, I've found it necessary to create a self-editing log to keep track of characters, places, spellings, and important information. I'm definitely going to need this log while working on these latest Werekind Series projects. My writing and habits have changed a lot since I started the series, and I admit, I never kept a book by book log. In fact, it's something I only started doing recently.

Keeping a log is something I learned in the editing class I took through La Tech a few months ago. Since I'm juggling so many pre-existing characters in the Werekind Series books, I figure this is a good way to put the process to the test. I've made the blank log sheet available for free on my website, and on my Scribd page. Just head over there and download a copy for yourself.

The self-editing log is very easy to use. If you have a character named Alganon, or whatever, you'd put his name as you want it to appear throughout your book in the box marked A. That way, any time you might not remember whether his name was spelled Alganon with one N, or Algannon with two N's, you can just look at your log sheet and there it is. Of course, you can draw one of these out on a piece of paper every time you start a new project, but...eh, I'd rather just click and print. Anyway, using the log is supposed to help with consistency in your writing and all that. ;o)

It's already after 10 a.m., so I better get on with the writerly stuff. I hope you all have a productive, stress-free day. Happy writing! :o)

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Sunday Ramblings

July 1st...wow. The summer is slipping by way too fast. I really hoped we'd get to do more summery things this summer, like go swimming and all that, but the last few times we drove to the lake it was trashed out. I'm not kidding. I ended up picking up garbage off the sand so we'd have a place to play.

I feel bad about that for Mini sake, but I'd rather let him play in the water hose at home where at least we know he won't come up with some creepy parasitic disease because people at the lake are so effing nasty.

I mean, really. Some folks can pick their too-small bikini bottom out of their butt crack right there in public, but when they turn back around they can't seem to pick up their empty Sprite bottle. And, yes, that is describing an actual event I witnessed that the last time we were at the lake.

Well, I guess Mini didn't totally miss out on the summer fun. We did the resort thing, and he did have a great time at Biloxi Beach. And at least the sand was clean over there!

Moving along, moving along... I'm up late as usual, but when I get up a little later in the morning, around 8-9 a.m., I'm going with the to the dollar store to pick up bags of bird seed, feeders, and if we can find one, a cheap bird bath. We're doing this to try to keep the birds off my fig tree. Our figs are finally ripening, but as soon as they get ready to pick, the birds and wasps fly in and tear them up. It's to the point now it's a real problem.

We'll see what we think is a ripe fig, but reach for it and discover it's half eaten. And it's dozens of them. Not just one or two.

I'm not yet sure what we're going to do about the wasps. I've seen them eating the figs, too. Hubby didn't believe me until yesterday, when he saw a wasp land on a newly ripe fig and start chomping away. Darn critters!

As for writing...

On Saturday I wrote roughly 2500 words, and I've about reached the end of another short story. I'm going to try to get that one knocked out early, so I can revise it quickly and send it out into the wild. Also, The Butterfly Prince is almost finished and ready for revisions. That story is going to be part of the Twilight's Edge Collection.

Just for the sake of saying so, if it's at all possible, I hope to have the Twilight's Edge collection finished and ready to publish on Smashwords by the end of the month. Then again,I don't want to sacrifice quality for the sake of a quick release.

So, that's pretty much everything that's going on right now. Writing, gardening, and mom duty. Oh, I will say, my overall goal for Sunday is another 2k on the wip, but for now, I'm off to bed. Happy dreams, y'all!