Sunday, January 29, 2006

the never ending edit story

Eighty pages edited, thirty pages chucked out. This is tough stuff. I'm totally changing several threads, because I need to tone down Riley's relationship with one character (a new character, not one of the old ones). Plus, several of the scenes with Quinn don't ring true, given where were left off in Full Moon Rising. So, new scenes to be added, more pages to be cut. But making changes so early in a book has repercussions right down the line, and it's often tough to catch them all. Rereads a plenty are happening!

I edited all day, and set the muse free on the Loch Ness book this evening. I've only got a couple of pages done, but it's enough to keep the story rolling along, and the characters fresh in my mind. I still love this story, even though I have no idea what is going to happen (well, I know her overall goal, but have no idea how or why she is going to get there). I'm pretty sure now this is going to need two books to get through. The plot I started with (as I said before, I don't actually plot, I just have a vague outline in my head that gradually becomes coherent and begins to make sense) has indeed evolved, and has become part of the heroes story. A story I just won't fit in this book. So, that'll be book two, and a deeper exploration of the world of the Loch Ness monster :)

Oh, and can you believe it? We finally get a reasonably coolish day (high twenties) and the damn humidity shoots up! It's currently sitting at 85%. This sweaty little black duck has had enough. We're shouting ourselves evaporative air conditioning. The dogs will love it, and so will we :D

Saturday, January 28, 2006

edit time!

I received the edits for Kissing Sin and Tempting Evil today. There's more edits than I'd hoped for, but not as much as I'd feared! :D Most of it is basically nitpicky stuff, though there was confirmation that I had some problems with Kissing Sin--it's always been the weakest of the three (in that it hasn't got quite the same level as action as the other two--but by no means is it slow!). So, now I have to sit here and work on ways of beefing it up a little. The good thing about editors is that they feed you ideas that let your muse take flight. Until Anne clarified what she thought were the problems, and where/what I needed to amp up, I knew there was a problem, but wasn't sure how to go about fixing it. That's the problem with being too close to a story--you can't see the wood through the trees!

Writing wise, I've paddled along and written another 6 pages of the Loch Ness book. I'm really loving writing this one (not that I don't love writing Riley--it's just that I've been writing her for two years now, so it's nice to play with new people). I'm hoping to keep writing this one every day, even with the edits having come in. I'm on such a roll with it that I'd hate to break the flow. A couple of pages a day, after 6 hours of edits, might just be the break the muse needs to refresh herself :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

I've been blogged

Lady T, over on her Living Read Girl blog, has had a rave about Full Moon Rising and asked if I'd mind answering some questions. I didn't, so you can check out the result on her blog

Writing wise, I'm having a great time with my Loch Ness book (temporarily titled Destiny Kills). I love new books--it's great fun exploring shiny new characters, uncovering their likes, dislikes, needs and desires, and great fun discovering where the plot might be headed. Of course, I have a vague outline in mind with this one--points I want to achieve--but it's the finer details that are the unknowns. And they're the bits that I love writing--for instance, I had no idea the hero was a thief in this one until he tried to run the heroine down and they got into an arguement about it :D

In weather news, it's a cool (and beautiful) 15 degrees C here (59 F) and the whole of Melbourne has breathed a huge sigh of relief. Considering it actually peaked at 44 C here on Sunday (111 f), that's a most welcome change! I just hope we get some rain to provide some much needed relief to all the firefighters currently fighting the massive fires in central and western Victoria. Too many people have already lost their lives up there. And here's hoping they catch the stupid bastards who the lit the fires. May they rot in hell for the loss of life--stock, wild life and human--and property damage they've caused by their stupidity.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

it's hot...damned hot

who can function when it's this damn hot? We got hit with 39.3 degree C (102.7 F) heat yesterday, had one damn hot night that didn't go below 27 C (despite severe thunderstorms that included hail), and it's now 41.3--which is 106.3 F. That's TOO FREAKING HOT!!! Even my computer is having a meltdown (my study is small, and doesn't get a lot of flow-through air. The fan in the computer just doesn't cope after a couple of hours running time in this heat)

It's days like these I regret my stand on not having aircon. (it gives me headaches, believe it or not. But then, so does heat like this!)


needless to say, much writing has not been done. I have been thinking about the plot of the Loch Ness, and that's gotta account for something. I mean, in this heat, any sort of excerise--even mental stuff--takes a lot of effort.

They're predicting thunderstorms again tonight--this time with a cool weather change. Here's hoping they're right for a change--I need to write!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Loch Ness Ahoy!

Had a couple of good writing days these past few days (and I'm hoping like hell I don't jinx myself by saying that). After a somewhat slow start (the muse struggled a little to get into the flow of the story again), the Loch Ness monster book is beginning to chug along quite nicely. Once again, the muse took it off in an unexpected direction, and the hero has proven a little more willing to cross the line than I thought he would be, but that's all good for the story. Besides, discovering new and unexpected stuff about your characters and plot is all part of the fun of writing. I'm now thinking that maybe--just maybe--this might need two books to get through the entire plot (I don't plot in the traditional sense--I just have a vague trail of ideas sorta linking together and burbling away inside my brain somewhere), but I won't be sure until I get further into the book. Right now, I've actually finished the third chapter (after writing 12 pages in two days, which I'm extremely happy with), and I'm going to review it then choof it off to Miriam for an opinion. Depending on what she says, I'll either work on this full time, and do the fifth Riley book when the muse is bored, or swap them around and just do the Loch Ness book when the muse is bored. Either way, I'd like to eventually finish it--it has a good 'feel' to it :)

Friday, January 20, 2006

Dear Texast...

The above chap (at least, I'm presuming it a chap. If it's a gal, I apologise) left a comment in my 'off topic, but writing related' blog defending the rights of translaters to get as much money as authors. And he explained why he thought this was reasonable. I was going to reply in the comments section, but thought, what the heck, I'll post it here, because I feel strongly enough about it to do so.

so, here goes:

Dear Texast,

If writing was just about sitting there, blithly typing 60 words a minute, 3600 words a day, then every man, woman and their dog who thinks they have a novel in them would probably be published right now (btw, I don't know many authors who type at that speed. I certainly don't.)

Translating is a skill, yes, and it's certainly one that not everyone can do. Or do well. There's some mighty bad translations out there that prove that. But translation is about translating words and concepts: writing is about ideas, structure, and the craft of words--and putting them all to make a decent, readable book. One is interpretation, the other is creation. There's no comparison between the two.

In the words of Anna Jacobs, "a translator doesn't invent the story, he doesn't spend hours--days, weeks--agonising over characterization and markets, he doesn't spend months trying to sell it, he doesn't do the PR, he doesn't respond to readers, he doesn't give talks, he doesn't do the long hours of research, he doesn't read other books in the genre to make sure of not repeating a story line. Nor does he go for months and months without a pay check coming in to write the story. '

And for my part, I'd just like to add that translators also don't have to wait the two years it usually takes for author royalties to start reaching the author.

Translators get paid by publishers to perform a task--translate the book. We're talking about a book that has been written, published and sold elsewhere. The translator had no involvement in the creation process, the selling processes, or the production process. Why then, should they be entitled to a percentage of the royalties--at the cost of the people who created it and produced it? I know some authors who get as little as 2% for translation rights. Translaters want to get paid to do their job and get royalties on top of that as well? For what? Transforming words from one language to another? How does that entitle them to part of the 'creation' fee? They're translating--interpreting what is already written. They are not starting from scratch.

As for this--"Without the damn translator, the authors wouldn't have their words translated in the first place so they could tap into other markets, and then where would they be?"

truth is, they'd probably not be a whole lot worse off. As I mentioned earlier, translated books are generally sold elsewhere first, and make the bulk of their money in their main markets.

Translations, however, can be taken off shore and done. And there's already several German companies considering doing just that. Authors may lose out on German sales over this--but translators stand to lose a whole lot more--like their job--if the market goes off shore thanks to this money grab. Sorry, I'm all for skilled workers being well paid to do their job--but this goes beyond that. This is a grab for rights to which they have no right.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

ding dong, the witch is dead

and the novel is FINISHED!!!!!


(picture me running around in circles, waving my arms crazily and screaming at the top of my lungs, and you've pretty much got the right picture. Though if you add the piddler running around behind me, yipping at my heels, it'd probably be more accurate :D )

Yes, the muse decided to play the game yesterday, and we finished the final ten pages. It didn't exactly end how I thought it would end--and I actually had tears in my eyes when I wrote some of it (tho that might just be hormones rather than good writing ;)--but it's finished, and I can now let it sit for a while, while the muse moves on.

Of course, the way I finished it now means I'm going to have to rework the start I had for book five, but that's not really a major hassle. Most of it will still work, I just need to work in Riley's 'break' at the beginning of it. Yep, that's a spoiler, and no, I ain't going to explain it :D

So, I can now move on to writing my Loch Ness book. I'm actually excited about writing this one--so much so that I dreamed about the thing last night (always a sign the muse is feeling good about something.) Anyway, I'm planning to finish the third chapter, and choof it off to Miriam (agent extraordinaire) for an opinion. As much as I want to write this one, I'm not sure whether I should, or whether I'm simply better off concentrating on my Riley books. After all, they have sold, and Bantam may want more, and I've learned the hard way it's better to be several books ahead. The last thing I need is a repeat of the problems I had with Penumbra.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

one down, one to go

the muse got its collective act together yesterday (very reluctantly, I might add), and not only did we complete our allotted ten pages, but we finished the fight scene between Gautier and Riley. I don't think I've ever written a tougher scene, even though it was just a fight scene. I mean, geez, I've written a thousand of them over the years, so it really shouldn't have been a problem. But no, I was all worried about doing it justice, and that just stopped the words from flowing like they usually did. I'm actually still not sure that I did do the scene justice, but at least I now have words down on page. As the old saying goes, words are fixable. A blank page is not :)

One thing I am happy about is the way the scene ended. I think it was appropriate, considering what has gone on during the book and the warnings Gautier was given. And any more than that I can't say, because I'll be stepping into spoiler territory--and this book isn't even on the publishing horizon yet! :D

Anyway, I've hit 402 pages completed, and I'm now on the final scene. This is the wrap-up scene, but it's also a scene where Riley makes some tough decisions--decisions that'll affect her emotional future. And, hopefully, tie neatly in with my plans for the fifth book. :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

books, movies, and..oh..writing

well, my writing has fallen somewhat into a hole again. I tell you, getting up at four in the morning to take the piddler outside is not making my muse a happy gal. I wrote two pages on Thurday, a whole eight on Friday and, because I was feeling guilty, decided I'd better write on the weekend (my 'official' days off). But I didn't write anything yesterday. So, I've crawled up to 392 pages completed, and while I've been slack, at least I'm still on target for finishing this book at the end of the week. I think my biggest problem (aside from the piddler piddling everywhere) is the fact that the scene I still have to write is the big fight scene between Gautier and Riley. As I mentioned before, I've been working up to this for three books, so it needs to be good. Part of me is worried that I just won't be able to do it justice. Of course, not getting words down on the page is probably worse, because I can't fix something that is not there. Hopefully, I'll work through my stage fright sometime today, and get the damn thing written.

Onto something more exciting--my hardcovers arrived in the mail today! They look absolutely smashing. Just love the cover, love the feel of them, love the smell of them...what, you don't sniff new books? You don't know what you're missing out on! :D

In movie news, Pete and I trundled off to see King Kong yesterday (yes, yes, it's one of the reasons I didn't write :) How good was that monkey? Man, those eyes were just incrediable You could just see all sorts of emotion and life in the monkeys eyes, and you (well, I ) totally believed them. Now, Jack Black was another matter. I like JB as an actor, but he just seemed off in this one. More cartoonish than believable. Totally didn't have a problem with the length of the movie, though I will say it's not a movie I'll watch over and over again. (unlike LOTR). Oh, and for those who know my penchant for crying at was a three tissue deal. Yep, it's a bad one.

Oh, and channel 10 here in Oz is finally showing the TV series Supernatural. I'm loving the look of this already. It's seems to be a mix of x-files and buffy (both shows I adored) and though it's aimed primarily at the teenage market, there's enough creepiness and humour to satisfy most adults. (well, this adult loved it. Interestingly, even Pete enjoyed it, and he's not one to watch those sort of shows, generally). And for those who like a little bit of eye candy with their scary viewing, can I just say that the older brother--Dean--is particularily fine :D If you didn't catch this last night, Ten are reshowing the first episode on Wednesday night. Catch it if you missed it, because while the first one is good, word is that it gets a whole lot better over the coming weeks.

Friday, January 13, 2006

off topic, but writing related

When I saw this in Publishers Lunch, I just had to post it. I know a lot of people who don't get either versions of Lunch, and yet as authors, this is something we need to be aware of. It certainly has the capacity to seriously impact overseas incomes--especially if it spreads futher:


Translator Compensation Cases Could Rock Market for German Licenses

Agents, authors and publishers should brace themselves for complex legal developments in the world's largest market for books translated from English that could both reduce proceeds and restrict demand in the future. Three court cases now on appeal in Germany regarding the compensation of translators are expected to reach final resolution shortly, and already some German publishers are telling agents to prepare for different terms of business as a result. As one prominent German agent puts it, "It's highly explosive and will probably change the entire translation landscape in Germany. The question will now be, 'Do we really need that book?'"

In a number of recent cases, German courts have ruled that translators are entitled to share in some measure in all royalties earned by books they work on--a demand for as much as a 3 percent royalty on both hardcovers and paperbacks in one case--and in the cases currently on appeal, the courts also ruled that translators should receive of 25 percent of all gross subsidiary rights income, including paperback licenses. If prior rulings, which apparently derive from a copyright law passed by the German Parliament three years ago, are upheld, publishers would be considered liable for back payments on previous works, which reportedly could amount to hundreds of thousands or even millions of euros for the translators of the most successful authors. Additional complexities remained unresolved, including how the 25 percent share would apply to paperbacks issued within the same group as part of hard/soft rights purchases.

A group of trade publishers is scheduled to discuss the issue as part of a larger meeting in Munich today, though our correspondent reports that "they have explicitly excluded agents because they want to discuss it among themselves but they have invited the press." For the moment, in a situation that remains unresolved until the appeals are adjudicated, some publishers are formulating new positions. Head of Hanser Verlag Michael Kruger told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that under the proposed new rates, approximately 85 percent of their titles would not be publishable. Agent Sebastian Ritscher at Mohrbooks echoes this sentiment, observing that "This is going to have a tremendous impact, especially on publishers who depend on income from paperpack licences (like Hanser or Antje Kunstmann). What translators are asking for would reduce the publisher's share to 15 percent and make a lot of translated books impossible to calculate."

Ritscher notes "the outcome is as yet uncertain," but confirms that "most publishers assume that one way or another translators will be getting a higher share in royalties and, possibly, a share in subrights income." His particular concern is that "We have to protect the authors who in some cases (especially mass-market genre paperback fiction) already get less out of their German editions than the translators."

Last month another publisher, Luebbe Verlag, sent a letter reportedly announcing a reduction in standard royalties and a different split in other income in advance of any final court decision. As one agent explained, "It created a lot of unrest as it seemed to indicate that the publishers are ready to cave in." The recent FAZ article indicates that publishers are also exploring outsourcing translation work to Austria and Switzerland as one possible solution.


Personal opinion? This stinks. How can translators justify getting more than the authors? (in some cases). They didn't create the book, they're just translating the words. Without the damn author, they wouldn't have words to translate in the first place, and then where would they be? Look, I'm all for people demanding and getting a decent living wage, but surely somewhere along the line, common sense has to come into it. Translators should not be getting more than the authors, plain and simple!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

one scene down, three to go

Well, the nasty scene is finally written. I'm not sure I'm entirely happy with how it's written, but for now, I'm just happy I have words down on page and I can now move on to the sacrifice scene. This is the scene where Riley gets to kick some bad guy butt. Me and the muse like writing those :) I did fall down slightly on meeting my target yesterday--I did 8 pages instead 10--but I'm still very happy with that result. Especially seeing I was out most of the afternoon doing some shopping (got myself a very nice handbag) and visiting the lovely Robyn. Who promptly stole my audio book so she could listen to it before the crit meeting. Ms. Robyn, I expect a full review :)

Oh, and Gabrielle tagged me yesterday (the link to her blogsite is on the right). Sorry G, but I'm not doing it. :( Mainly because I can't think of five answers for most of the categories, but also because I'm trying to keep this blog mostly about the writing :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

day two, smart puppies, and audio books

Day two of my late New Years resolution, and the writing again went rather well. The muse still didn't concentrate for more than two hours at a time, but I ended up writing 12 pages, so the muse can fart around all she wants if that's the sort of output we end up with. Right now, I'm in the middle of the 'nasty' scene, and just about to put Riley in the stocks (literally) and torture her some. It'll be interesting to see how this whole scene reads once I actually finish it. Then, of course, I have the scene I've been building up to for the past three books--the fight between Gautier and Riley. This one does scare me--because of said build up--and I just hope I can do justice to it. I'm currently sitting on 370 pages done, and hoping to be on 380 this time tomorrow (if the needle in the shoulder doesn't hurt my arm too much this afternoon. Yeah, yeah, I'm a wuss :) )

In other book news, Random House sent me a couple of copies of the audio book of Full Moon Rising. They look absolutely smashing, and been I've proudly showing them off to anyone and everyone who will give me the chance (even some who didn't want to give me the chance :D ) The actress they got to read is Tamara Lovatt-Smith (who, eerily, rather looks like the image I had of Riley), and she does a brill job. I've only had the time to listen to some of the first disk, and I have to say, it's rather odd at first to hear someone reading your own words. But it's also such a buzz!

In puppy news, the shitting machine known as Finn is proving to be a very smart little man indeed. He's already worked out how to use the dog door, though the heavy plastic dog door flap probably weighs a whole lot more than he does. He doesn't use it to go outside to do his business, of course. He just goes out to wreck the garden some more. And he's already walking on a lead--as long as the leaping lab is being walked with him. Put him on a lead any other time and you have a fight on your hands. Still, it's a start, and considering he's not quite ten weeks old, he's doing rather well.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

a late new years resolution

I decided on the weekend that enough was enough--that I was being totally lazy, and allowing my muse to get away with blue murder. Well, doing nothing, at any rate. So I've decided that until I finish the fourth of the Riley books, I need to write ten pages a day, five days a week. No more, no less. This is my job now, and it's about time I started treating it that way.

Yesterday was my first day on the 'job' and I pleased to report it was successful. I at least did my alotted ten pages, even if it took forever (I finished writing at ten at night. Of course, 20-20 cricket was on, the Aussies against South Africa, and the Aussies were at their smashing best. SO, I will admit to a fair bit of time being lost there. ;) Of course, TV watching aside, the fact that it did take forever to write ten pages wasn't helped by the fact the muse couldn't seem to concentrate for more than two hours, and had to 'refresh' itself by playing computer games, cruising the net or watching the above mentioned cricket on TV. Still, I don't particularily care how the ten pages are done or how long they damn well take, just as long as they're done. So, I'm currently sitting on 358 pages completed, which means that by the end of this week, I should be sitting close to 400 pages. And that, in turn, means this books should technically be finished some time next week. Of course, I still have a couple of nasty scenes to write, but my new motto is (as the Nike blurb says), just do it.

Of course, I also have to have another jab in my shoulder tomorrow, in an attempt the fix the bursitis and muscle tear there, and I'm told the second jab can be the worst (of course, the person who told me this could also be a wuss :D ) So, hopefully, that won't stop things in their tracks.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

happy birthday, Pete!

It's Pete's birthday today, and he's officially two years old than me for the next two months. So, of course, I have to make the most of it and call him old man at every opportunity :)

In other news, I've spent the last day and a half revamping my website, because I was totally unhappy with the table set-up of the previous one. This one is much neater--plus, I've combined some of the pages, so there's not quite as many click-throughs. Easier for everyone, that way.

In writing news, Full Moon Rising got four starts from Romantic Times. The reviews says, in part;

This novel is fast-paced and briskly written...the sex scenes crackle with tension, and Riley's relationship with the enigmatic and charming vampire Quinn is a highlight.


Wednesday, January 04, 2006

happy new year!

yeah, okay, I'm a few days late with wishing you all the best for 2006, but as the old saying goes, better late than never. :) Did you make any resolutions for the new year? I'm not actually a big believer in them--mainly because the few I've made over the years I've failed miserably to achieve (much like the writing goals I set myself, really). But I did vow to continue to get fit--can't fail at that, because the leaping lab gets really, really narky if she doesn't get her daily walk. To keep the peace (and to keep the house unwrecked), I have to walk every day. :)

In other doggy news, little Finn has settled in rather well. He's totally unafraid of the black terror that is the leaping lab, and can often be found doing circuits around her yapping his little head off. When he's not crapping or peeing, that is. Who knew puppies could contain so much waste?! :D

In writing news, well, I rewrote the essay and finally sent that to Bantam. Another huge thanks to Anne for patiently reading the rewrites and pointing out the errors. And I've done a few more pages of the 4th Riley book--I'm currently close to 350 pages completed (348, to be precise, but close to 350 sounds better!) We're taking the doggies to the beach today, so I can't see a whole lot being written. But I am still planning to get this written asap--I want to continue the Loch Ness story!