Monday, October 31, 2011
Sunday, October 30, 2011
My flyboys are having a rather tragic Christmas and I wonder what readers will think. They do manage to turn it all around because I'm all about the HEA. However, it's not the kind of Christmas story fans of Afterburner might expect. There's some hot sex but nothing like what I dished out in Afterburner. This story is startlingly sweet and family oriented. I'll admit, my mushy side is showing with this one.
So my point is, will readers and fans of Afterburner be satisfied with my flyboys going in a less hot direction with Breath of Heaven?
On the one hand, I do care what my readers think. On the other, I have to write what I have to write and I always have to be true to my characters. So I'm hoping readers understand that Bas and Ryder's lives are moving in a new direction and therefore this story is different than the tone and sensuality of the first story. I hope they feel all warm and fuzzy when they get to the end.
My next project is yet another Christmas story, probably the last of my Christmas Cowboys stories for Pink Petal Books. This is also a gay rom Christmas story, but it's a little darker and a lot more sexy than Breath of Heaven. My two heroes are star-crossed lovers in a sense, parted by the ambition and immaturity of one of them. Of course, it's Christmas and he's learned his lesson and is all about apologizing for breaking the other hero's heart. And much hot sex ensues.
That pretty much does it for me for holiday stories this year. Just the two. Which is just as well because I have a super sekrit project that is feeding my satisfaction level these days. I'm winding up some research and polishing up my synopsis and then it's on to my first three chapters which I will then send off with a query letter to a publisher that isn't one of my usual publishers. After that, I cross my fingers and begin chanting, "Please, please, please..."
I'll be glad to have these other two projects sent off though because I have a number of other projects waiting in the wings. Four re-writes of old material, all of which are already sold, and then some new stuff that I've had on my schedule for some time. One good thing about being a writer, your work is never done! It's good to be wanted!
While I'm basking in my satisfaction, let me pass on some information for you. Monday is Halloween and my birthday. On my blog Sunlight Sucks, I'll be talking about something special I did last week and I'll be giving away a book to a lucky commenter. It will be my birthday present to you! I'll also be over at Flirty Author Bitches talking about some of the odd coincidences of my life. And if you want a taste of the Tales series, hop on over to my author website and check out the Six Sentence Sunday post I have on my blog there.
Now, before I head off, let me remind you that writing is fun but it's still work. The satisfaction of completing a manuscript can't be beat but what's even better is the knowledge that I continue to grow with each book I write. I try not to sit on my laurels and bask. I try to make sure that I'm learning something with every manuscript completed. If my super sekrit project gets contracted I will be ecstatic. When you don't have deadlines and your editors take everything you throw at them, having a little resistance is a good thing. Becoming complacent is a bad thing.
And with that, I am off to work on the super sekrit project! I wish you all a wonderful Halloween and I hope you're looking forward to the holidays and all the wonderful Christmas stories I know will be coming out. Happy Sunday!
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Is it ghosts? Goblins? The scream of a someone who just totalled the calories of all the halloween candy they "sampled"?
No- it's writers!
It's NaNo time! For those of you who are unaware of NaNoWriMo- aka National Novel Writer's Month- it's when 200,000 slightly insane writers from all over the globe commit to completing 50,000 words in a month.
Why you ask? Why would otherwise perfectly sane (debatable since we ARE writers after all) people want to inflict such a horrific torture on themselves?
Good question-LOL. It’s not something one can really brag about to non-writers…try it. They don’t get 50,000 words, so for me I say about 170 pages. Their eyes glaze over, they start to look down, a little foam forms at their lips (ok only those who were traumatized by English classes in school). Then they shake their heads and quickly change the subject.
When you tell them you can’t go out when they want – they tilt their heads,and narrow their eyes-
“Because you have to write 1667 words?”
“Yeah- or more, see I need to build a cushion-“
“Wait, so you get paid for this?”
“No, but see-“
“Is someone forcing you to do this? You signed a contract?”
“We’ll no. I signed up, but no one is forcing me…”
At that point it’s better to just walk away- if your friend hasn’t already.
So why do we do it? NaNo is a great chance to train your internal editor to SHUT UP. Trust me, cranking out those kind of numbers (especially for us “day job” folks) is NOT easy. Madness often ensues. And you can’t afford to lose a single word to editing. For many writers learning this skill alone is worth all of the heartache of NaNo.
Getting a down and dirty draft of something means you have something to work with verses a blank page- which means you have nothing.
But even after that first year, when the lesson of stuffing a rag in your internal editor's mouth has been learned- people come back. This is their 13th year and there are folks who have been at it for all if not most.
Because it’s a unique challenge for a writer. Actually it’s two- completing 50,000 words in one month AND making those words actually become a book afterwards ;). Trust me- my books have gone places I never would have thought of if not for NaNo.
So the screams you hear may or may not be from Halloween- they may be writers everywhere preparing for the Big One.
Happy Halloween! Happy Samhain! And Happy NaNoing!
Friday, October 28, 2011
Here are some of my favorite paranormal romance authors:
Thursday, October 27, 2011
We are all familiar with the story of The Sleeping Beauty, from the classic Disney film to Tchaikovsky's ballet to numerous books and paintings. This Sleeping Beauty is part of the Cannon Movie Tales, which aired on the Disney Channel as 'Storybook Cinema.' In this retelling, a mischievous little elf trying to do some good is responsible for giving the Queen (played by the stunning Morgan Fairchild) the magic drink to help her have a child.
The King and Queen throw a party to celebrate the birth of Princess Rosebud. Due to their number of golden plates (I guess fairies can only dine with gold dishes) they do not invite one fairy, the Fairy of Red. Calamity and curses ensue! What I enjoy about this version is that instead of sending their daughter away, the King and Queen decide to remove the implement itself. They burn all the spindles/spinning wheels and forbid anyone to own or use one. As trade doesn't seem to exist and online shopping hasn't been invented yet, the entire kingdom is reduced to rags.
It's kind of funny. You have to admit, a little bit.
What is your favorite retelling of this classic tale? Book or film?
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Lord of the Rings was a huge movie production and a lot of people saw those movies. Does this mean that the mainstream audience is looking for more?
Is everyone in general a little tired of reality? Could they possibly be looking for the escape into magic that I’ve craved most of my life?
I’m just wondering what this means for fantasy fans. Are we ready to share? I am. But I also don’t consider myself a hardcore fantasy fan. I suppose I’ve never clung to a niche market enough to consider myself diehard. Although, I am re-watching the Harry Potter movies at this very moment, so maybe I am a little diehard.
Avatar is the ultimate fantasy. Harry Potter proved we’re all willing to take a wizard seriously and give magic our attention. So does it need to be the right story? Or is Hollywood starting to see it could be any story that’s well-written with compelling characters?
I have to say I was a little confused by Once Upon A Time’s premise before I watched the show. I understood that fairytales were real in some way, but the commercials confused me a little. I was pleasantly surprised by the premise and the writing. I cried a little and ended the episode with a smile on my face.
Is mainstream ready for more? Or do we still need to be careful what we dole out. I’d love for sci-fi romance and fantasy with romantic subplots to catch on. Television and movies can be quite the escape from writing and reading. I love reading, but having Terra Nova and dinosaurs to look forward to on Mondays has definitely improved my week.
What do you think? Is Fantasy trending mainstream? What do you see this meaning for the fantasy and sci-fi markets?
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
When I came across this picture a few days ago, I felt inspired to write a Halloween fantasy story. However, as Halloween approaches, I've been reading blog posts and social network messages filled with Halloween horror—zombies, demons, characters like disfigured dream stalker, Freddy Krueger.
Which do you prefer around Halloween time: horror or fantasy?
What is your favorite Halloween costume?
Less than one-week left to join in the fun. Castles & Guns is a sponsor for Night Owl Reviews' Halloween Full Moon Web Hunt though October 31st. Join us. Win cool prizes! Be sure to enter here.
My Scottish time travel fantasy manuscript from my Garden Gate series, Just Once in a Very Blue Moon, is a finalist in the Passionate Reads pitch contest. Chapter 1 is posted with only a few days remaining to vote. Voting ends on October 28. I could sure use your help. Read and vote here.
Tweet me at @DawnM_Hamilton
Monday, October 24, 2011
Sorry to disappoint, but I'm not writing about that today (maybe later, though). I'm talking about those other climaxes -- the ones in a story where our hearts are beating like crazy, our nails are digging into our palms (or the seat cushion), and our emotions are taken on such a roller-coaster ride that we're left both drained and sated at the end. (OK, so maybe you could describe great sex that way, but I digress...)
A climax shouldn't come out of left field. It should have a slow build, from the very beginning of the story, each detail enhancing the previous until you reach that critical point of no return.
A climax should be on the same scale as the build-up, gratifyingly appropriate. Nothing is worse than a tease. If the story is hinting at something huge, then the climax should fit the foreshadowing, the tension, the stakes.
A climax shouldn't be over in a few seconds or resolved with a simple conversation. No wham-bam-thank-you-ma'ams. It should be meaty, juicy, fulfilling.
A climax should wrap loose ends and be relevant to the story. Don't leave me dangling. It shouldn't leave me going, "Well, that's nice, but what about XYZ?"
Why am I harping on climaxes today? Maybe it's because I recently read a book where I become emotionally involved with the characters and was left decidedly disappointed by the climax. Yes, reading can be like sex in that way. No matter how tempting a story seems at first, if it's disappointing where it counts, then I'm left feeling hurt, betrayed, and less likely to invite that author into my bedroom again.
Think about the climax of the book you last read or the last movie you last saw. Was it good for you? Did you immediately need a cigarette? Or were you ready to hit the shower and wash the memory away?
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Well, mine is a stream over my head. I can pluck information out of it. Once, a friend's husband needed a job, and I got them into contact with a person at the company I worked for at the time. Then I was out of the picture. I had no influence on the hiring. It was up the 'husband' and his credentials. But, like most people, he desperately wanted to know . . . anything. I went up to the stream and came back with numbers. They didn't make sense to me, but lo and behold, they were the exact dates that he was hired.
Another time, a friend asked about a missing cat. I could see the cat near water, trees, wet, cold, shivering, feeling lost. She went out looking in an area that I described and found her missing cat. Yeah. Because of that, another friend asked me to search my stream for any information about her cat that dashed out her door. I got nothing. It was like the cat didn't exist. Guess what? He never came back.
Things don't pop into my head. I have to reach up into this stream high over my head and accept whatever it gives me. There is no control. Sometimes I can visual it sort of sparkling with different colors, like faceted gemstones.
I'm not sure how I feel about this ability. Am I psychic? I honestly don't know. I'm a great believer in denying these abilities. Call me Queen of Denial. Can I do anything with my stream? Not sure. I've always had it. I like to think that I'm a really good guesser. Is that denial rearing its head. Maybe. When I use the stream a lot, it seems to get stronger and I don't partially like the feeling. Am I nuts? I hope not.
I supposed I just have to be honest with myself, and be happy that once in a while I can help people.
What about you? Anyone have psychic abilities that they'd like to share with the rest of us?
Friday, October 21, 2011
Then I had to really think about what I knew well enough I could blog about it with a straight face.
Okay, there is one area that while I won't claim any sort of mastery over, I have studied enough and have starting walking the path that I do feel comfortable to start talking about.
That is Branding.
Yes, I hear the groans now from my beloved author compatriots. I just want to write, that's what I hear them say. Leave me alone and stick your branding where-
Whoa, whoa, whoa, let's not get too hasty peoples. Yes, you are sick of the word and everything it stands for, I get that. Doesn't change the facts though. You need a brand. You need it now. And you need to live it.
Your brand is how people will find you. People - as in, your readers. This is a highly important thing for an author.
Let me give a few examples.
Delilah Marvelle is an especially naughty historical romance writer (not quite erotica, but very steamy.) She is charming, ribald, and an overall delight. She blogs about the history of sex. Her taglines include, "I don't write bodice rippers. I write trouser rippers." and "Respectable society, your days are numbered!"
You have no doubt from the above about who she is as an author or what she writes, and if that interests you then you as reader are going to be making a beeline for her. She also doesn't make the mistake of mucking up her brand. Everything she does online is connected somehow to what she writes.
You could also do a group branding. The Smutketeers are a wonderful group of ladies who write erotica, with the tagline "All for smut and smut for all." Again, you as reader know exactly what you are going to find when you stumble upon their site.
What do you write? Distill it down and give yourself a tagline, just like you do for your books. And then everything you write - whether it be book or blog or twitter post - build upon that brand. This is what's going to make it easier for your readers to find you.
Remember, you need to be consistent in your message. I seem to recall somewhere that it takes 7 exposures to something before you start to remember it. Well, if every time someone is exposed to you they are seeing yet another message, then you'll never even hit that magic 7 number.
So my friends, any other branding tips you wish to share?
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Look at it like this. Why are you a writer? You (hopefully) enjoy writing books. What happens if you push yourself too hard and think you're superwoman in disguise? You begin lacking that desire and lose what makes it all so fun and great because you're stressed out and worn out.
It's really important to learn the words focus and no. If you're not sure about taking on a certain project because you know you're needing some rest, it's okay to say no. If you already have things going on, but that place you've been wanting to submit to has a call for submission, focus! Don't do it unless you know without a shadow of a doubt that you can make the time to accomplish everything! Just because they're having it now, doesn't mean you'll miss out by waiting a little until your schedule eases up.
Anyways, writers should be ambitious, and a little crazy when it comes to writing, but it's so important to learn your limits. Stretching is good. Overestimating is bad.
How about you guys? Have you learned your limits? Do you know how to say no?
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Hi everyone –
I'm a generally a happy, optimistic person. It takes a lot to rile me up...
But my friends... I am RILED!
I’ll do my best to keep this little rant short…
I’ve blogged here before about my love for my Kindle and my newfound love of eBooks. I find hands-free, larger font, never-lose-your-place reading to be a gift from the gods.
I have bought about 3 times more books since I got my Kindle. It’s SO easy to go snatch up an author’s entire backlist! Wow! Instead of having to remember the author’s name next time I’m in the bookstore, only to find they don’t carry any of the older backlist books, I can now buy an author’s entire series and have it in my kindle in less than 5 minutes!
We live in amazing times!!!
My Mom owns a Nook. I asked her about the book buying phenomenon and she confirmed that she too, is buying at least 3 times as many books now…
So what is New York Publishing’s problem???
I finally got around to reading Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series. (Love it!) Anyway, each eBook was $7.99 the same cost as the mass market paperback. Annoying since I’m not buying a physical product, but I can stomach it.
Until I got to the most recent release.
River Marked just came out in March of this year from Ace. On Amazon the hardcover goes for $16.00, the paperback for $7.99 and the eBook version…
This is like a slap in the face to faithful eBook readers. We like our digital device. We pay our money and no trees are harmed.
And yet we have to pay more for a digital version than for a printed paperback book that also has to be shipped across the country??? *boggle*
Who does this math?
I refuse to pay it. I refuse! Give me a break New York! I’m not paying $12.99 for an eBook and I won’t be bullied into buying the paperback when I wanted to download to my Kindle.
So I won’t get to see Mercy and Adam get married for now. I’m so annoyed and irritated I might not get the book even after the price finally comes down… Although I like Patricia Briggs and it’s not her fault they jacked up the eBook price so…
How long does traditional publishing think they can do this to readers? More Kindles and Kindle Fires will be under the Christmas trees this year. More people will discover the joy of hands-free reading…
And will traditional publishers still try to strong arm readers into buying a paper book?
What are your thoughts?
*frustrated eBook lover*
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
As the bodies pile up, Vicky, her formidable aunt Mab, and her werewolf boyfriend Kane investigate, only to find that the creature behind the carnage is after something much more than blood…
Nancy is holding a tour-wide contest for your chance to win your choice of a signed copy of Deadtown, Hellforged, or Bloodstone. The giveaway is open to the US only. Click here to enter.
Monday, October 17, 2011
Sunday, October 16, 2011
A few weeks back, author Jason Edding and I had been talking about collaborating on something to do with the world his characters Jack and Edge inhabit. We couldn't figure out how to do this and puzzled, we tabled the idea for the present. Then I got this impossible idea. The more I thought about it the more I wondered if it wasn't as impossible as I thought. So I emailed Jason, who loved the idea.
The next thing I knew, I'd emailed some of my very favorite author pals and tossed this impossible idea at them. None of them thought it was impossible even though some of them turned down the opportunity to bring it to fruition because of time issues. Well, time was one of the reasons I thought it might be impossible, but with more than four authors participating, the do-ability of the project became probable rather than impossible.
The idea was to create a serial story written by several multi-published gay rom authors. And not just any serial story...it would be a steampunk gay serial with weekly story posts free to the public. If the project got off the ground and began to grow a fan base, we could then take this little freebie world and story and grow it into novels and novellas published by the authors on Amazon and B&N.
The project is Lords of Aether and the current author line-up is myself, Jason Edding, KC Burn, Stephani Hecht, Jaime Samms, and Charlie Cochrane. We're working on an overall storyline/plot, world building, and characters and hope to launch before the end of the year. Eventually, in 2012 we hope to get other authors involved if only on a guest author basis for short term sub plots. With steampunk growing as a genre, this would be our chance to test the waters. Working as a group, we can help each other overcome issues with writing in a completely new genre. And I think the idea of a gay steampunk serial is just hot, hot, hot.
When I discussed the idea with my pal Z.A. Maxfield, she thought it definitely had possibilities for growing the kind of fan base that spawns fanfic. The funny thing about that is the whole serial story idea came from my love of The Bar which had it's roots in fanfic.
I think some of the richness of this serial will come from the fact that we're experimenting and trying new things. It's my sense that we're approaching this with the same mindset as those who write fanfic. This is a new genre for us, but it's one that we are intrigued by and enjoy. We want to see how we can put our spin on it. Eventually, if it takes off, the idea of novels and novellas that the fans can purchase should translate to a means of supporting the world and growing the fan bases of every author involved in the project.
The potential for success is high as is the potential for failure. However, I am positive that the experience will enrich us all as authors. I'm looking forward to hammering out the plot and world and characters with my friends. And I'm really looking forward to giving this story (whatever it may be!) to the readers.
You can follow the progress of our start at LordsofAether.com. Nothing much to see there now, but...there will be.
Have a great Sunday!
Friday, October 14, 2011
A lot of paranormal romances seem to follow this path. It doesn't matter what you call it, the bottom line is there is one woman for one man. But it goes deeper because generally the future they face if they do not find that soul mate or other half, is beyond bleak--it can have deadly consequences.
When I look at others of my must buy authors in this genre like Kresley Cole, Lynsay Sands or Jennifer Lyons they all go with some variation of that theme. Interestingly in Sands case, finding a life mate has to do with not being able to read that person's mind, among other things, and it is possible to have more than one life mate over the course of a lifetime. Even so, since it can take centuries or more to find that one impossible-to-read mate, it still comes down to a kind of destiny.
I have to say that I am a sucker for that gob-smacking moment when the hero realizes "she" is the one. I have been known to go back and re-read those parts where that realization hits. No laughing, please. ( : Seriously, the tension that builds to that moment and the emotions that rain down when it happens are the stuff of great, can't-put-down fiction.
I had a discussion with a friend who felt the whole life mate, soul mate, etc. was overdone. I argued that a lot of readers enjoy it, and that includes me. (See above about re-reading those scenes.)
Is it necessary for the genre? Not really. Linda Wisdom's Hex series doesn't follow this pattern. Yet, it's clear that the mates they end up with are the catch of a very long lifetime. At the end of the story there is that feeling of "this was meant to be." And really, for any reader, ultimately you are looking for a great love story. If an author delivers on that point, whether the hero or heroine is "the only one" or simply "the one," won't make a difference.
What do you think? Do you like having a one and only soul mate? Do you think this pattern within the paranormal romance genre is cliched and overdone?
Thursday, October 13, 2011
I have a confession to make! I have a penchant for cheesy retellings of fairytales in films. If it was a cheesy fairytale retelling that aired on the Disney Channel in the 90's, you can believe that I watched it many times. I always seemed to catch the last half hour, so while the endings are cemented in my memory, the beginnings are pretty fuzzy.
Oh, the trials and tribulations before DVR.
One of my favorites was 'The Polar Bear King' and recently it was added to the selection of Instant Netflix. Naturally, nostalgia made me rewatch it. (Technically, this is folklore, not a fairy tale, but work with me here!) If I was looking for a cheesy retelling, I was not disappointed.
The Polar Bear King is the story of a prince turned into a polar bear by an evil witch for turning down her hand in marriage. He has to find a bride and his journey takes him north. He finds a beautiful and kind princess and carries her on his back to his home. There they marry and every night he visits her at midnight when he is human again.
This film is loosely based on a Norwegian fairy tale 'White Bear King Valemon.' Does the story sound familiar? Try the myth/legend of Cupid and Psyche. The search for a lost husband is type 425A on the Aarne-Thompson classification system and there are many more stories on that list. Also known as, 'Oh no! I messed up, Honey! Let me go through awful ordeals to prove how sorry I am.'
My favorite cheesy moment in the movie...
For some reason, the princess' father, the King of Winterland, considers the wild animals as his subjects and can talk to them. At one point he yells for everyone to be quiet because the wolves are calling to him. ...Sure they are.