Tuesday, March 28, 2006

supernatural and writing

How cool was Supernatural last night? Wow. Great acting (especially from Jenson Ackles, who gets the best lines and can act the pants off the other guy. He's cuter, too ;). Best thing yet, the plot is starting to thicken. I knew something was up with that blonde chick (Meg) the minute she turned up at the bus station and met Sam again, but I didn't actually expect her to be the daughter of the demon. Very cool twist. It actually reminds me a lot of the early x-files days, when not a lot of cool effects were happening (and that seems to be one of the main gripes about supernatural--sucky effects) and the plot sometimes didn't make a whole lot of sense. But I (and obviously a lot of other people) didn't care, because the characters had us hooked. It's the same thing happening with Supernatural. The effect may not always be great, and some of the story lines are not so brilliant, but the characters are making the show. I'm just hoping the show gets the ratings it deserves--there's not many watchable shows on the telly right now! (well, House and Boston Legal, but that's about it)

In writing news, I wrote 5 pages of the Loch Ness book yesterday, and added a few paragraphs to the fifth Riley. I'm slowly creeping forward with Destiny's story, but it's becoming a page by page revelation. I currently know what's going to happen in half the sixth chapter, but beyond that is anyone's guess. And some of the revelations in the fifth chapter did catch me by surprise--which is totally cool. I started this story with an image of the opening scene, a vague idea of where I wanted to go, and little else. And it's such fun uncovering all the little plots and sub-plots as the story goes along.

Have I told you what the Loch Ness book is about? Probably not. It's the story of Destiny, who wakes up on a deserted Oregon beach beside a dead man. She's naked, has obviously been in some sort of fight, and the man beside her has had his heart shot out. She has no memory of who she is or where she's come from, and the story is about her trying to uncover her past and what is going on before the police and her hunters capture her. And of course, there's the hero, a thief who wants the ring she carries and who is reluctantly forced into helping her.

I'm hoping this will be a two-part story, because our hero, Trae, is carrying secrets of his own, and I think his story should also be told. And there's really not a whole lot of room in this book to retell his tale. But, I'll have to see what happens. Bantam have left their options open when it comes to the third book in the latest contract, which is why I'm writing the fifth Riley now. The third book (which ever one it is) isn't due until next year, so if I can get the fifth Riley finished, I've got time to play around with possibilities for the second Loch Ness book. And time is a good thing--as Penumbra proved, I don't do well under pressure.

Friday, March 24, 2006

email problems and researching...

I've been having a whole lot of problems with Mozilla Thunderbird lately (a result, I discovered, of not compacting my folders often enough--like, never). As a result of trying to fix the problem and make the program usable again, I've managed to delete just about all the emails in my inbox folder. And I can't get them back.

So, I'm putting out this general plea--if you've written to me and I haven't answered your email, could you please resend the email? I'm not intentionally ignoring you, I promise!

Onto writing stuff--of which not a lot was done yesterday. I wrote two pages of the fifth Riley, but I was a little concerned about the direction and stopped. You see, my plot springboard for the fourth book came from an old Persian legend about the dark God Angra Mainyu, and from the ancient belief that human sacrifices brings great power. But my initial idea for the fifth book also involved human sacrifice, which meant two books would have similar plot paths. Not a good thing. So, I spent most of yesterday researching myths and legends, trying to find the spark of an idea. One that wouldn't mean too much of a rewrite of the first chapter. Hours of searching led me to the Goddess Kali, and from there, the cult of thuggee. Which, as my movie-mad husband immediately pointed out, was what the second Indiana Jones movie--The Temple of Doom--was all about (meaning, I'm now going to have to watch the movie to ensure my spark of an idea isn't too similar to the movie. The sacrifices we writers have to make.... :D ) For those who aren't familiar with the movie (or like me, simply can't remember it), the cult of thuggee were a well-organized group of criminals who took part in carefully planned, large-scale robberies and murders in India for centuries. Posing as friendly travelers, the Thugs befriended and accompanied groups of wayfarers and, when the time and omens was right, killed them by strangulation and robbed them of their possessions. And they did all this as an expression of their devotion and service to Kali, the Hindu goddess of creation, preservation, and destruction. Now that's a legend I can work with! Of course, human sacrifice is still a part of the plot, but it's different enough that it won't seem the same. That's the hope, anyway. As ever, I guess we'll see how it all pans out once I get deeper into the book.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

my editor is a tease....

Why? Because she emailed yesterday to let me know the last lot of Kissing Sin edits were all good, and that she was turning it into production. (which means I'll undoubtedly get a long list of line edits soon ;) Anyway, she just happens to casually mention that she's sitting at her desk with my Kissing Sin cover composition in front of her, and that it looks absolutely gorgeous!


So, of course, I can't wait to see it. It's all blues and silvers (at the moment, anyway), which sounds totally stunning. As soon as I get it, I'll post it, so you can all check it out. If its anywhere near as stunning as the first cover, I'll be a happy, happy woman :)

In writing news, things are cruising along nicely, if a bit slowly. Wrote 6 pages of the Loch Ness book on Monday and Tuesday, but I'm still struggling with this one and I think it's because I'm still not clear where exactly I want to go with it. But I did come up with an idea to end the current chapter, so that's one more step forward. I'm actually up to 106 pages written of this one, so that's a quarter of the book done. I like milestones like that--makes the end seem that much closer. The other book I'm writing is the fifth Riley (the current working title is Dead Man's Revenge--though I'm not exactly sure where the dead man mentioned in the title actually fits into it as yet.) I wrote five pages of this yesterday--finishing the first chapter--and have to say, this one is flowing a whole lot nicer than the Loch Ness book. Maybe it's simply because I know these characters so much better than my Loch Ness characters. Which is natural, I guess, considering one is a first book and one a fifth. First books are always more difficult--it's harder to get the right mix of introductions, worldbuilding, action and characterisations into them. It's a fine line between too little and too much information, and more than one book has failed because this mix hasn't been right. Anyway, Dead Man has already deviated from my original idea, and we are definitely going to learn more about the Jensen pack and the people who made Riley's growing years such hell. Not sure if we'll meet her mother yet, but she's already been mentioned in passing. Should be an interesting ride!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

a woohoo and some answers

Just headed on over to Rosemary's to check out some books, and saw that Full Moon Rising is in their top ten best sellers for the month! How cool is that? :) I've never been a best seller in any book store before now, so excuse me while I do a little happy dance! :D Of course, my ImaJinn books are pretty darn hard to get in any store, here or in the U.S., so Rosemary gets a huge THANK YOU from me for not only getting in FMR, but many of my ImaJinn books as well. It's fantastic to actually be able to walk into a store here in Australia, and see so many of my books on the shelves. :)

Onto some questions--or rather, some answers to some questions I've been getting asked regularily about Full Moon Rising.

Will Riley and the gang be back in another book?
Yep, all the gang are back in the next book. There's actually another three books already written--Kissing Sin, Tempting Evil, and Dangerous Games. Kissing Sin will be released in October this year.

Is there a planned end for the series?
At this stage, no. And given how I plan to end the fifth book, I think I'd be lynched if I didn't write the sixth. What happens after that really depends on how well the series is doing

Will Quinn and Riley get together?

Now, if I answer this that would be spoiling the ride!

Is the werewolf mythology in Full Moon Rising related to any of your other books?
In a sense, yes, because the mythology in Full Moon Rising grew out of the other werewolf books I've written. The moon dance is mentioned in Beneath a Rising Moon and, to a lesser extent, Beneath a Darkening Moon, and the moon increasing the sexual appetite of a werwolf was also mentioned in Circle of Desire. The world building in FMR is different, of course, but many of the key elements did develop out of those previous books.

Will FMR come out in paperback.
Yep. The paperback release is set for later this year.

Will there be as much sex in Kissing Sin?
Riley is an inherently sexual being, so yes, there will be sex in all the books. But the moon isn't rising in Kissing Sin, so no, there's not as much. The sexual content in the books will ebb and flow, depending on the plot and the situation.

If you have any other questions, just send them along and I'll answer them here :)

Monday, March 20, 2006

commonwealth games

You know, I wasn't at all interested in checking out the games before they started. Didn't buy any tickets, didn't watch the opening ceremoney (a flying tram? A thong with wings? A boy with a duck? What the hell?), and I absolutely had no intention of watching any of the events. I wasn't alone. Tickets sales have been low right up to the start of the games, and organisers and media were theorising about how much money the state government would lose. But this is Melbourne, the most sports-mad state in Australia, and when the games began, the crowds came out in full to support it. All you had to do was look at the sheer numbers they had lining the marathon course to see that. Personally, I think everyone was just waiting to see if the ticket prices would come down. Melburnians love their sport, but they also love a bargain ;)

And as much as I didn't want to, I got drawn in. How could you not? There's been some mighty fine moments already in these games. And I'm not talking just about the gold medals, though Australia has won plenty of those already. And yeah, who didn't have a tear in their eyes when Aussie Marathon winner Kerryn McCann ran over to her family sitting in the crowd, grabbed her son and just about crushed him in a bear hug, then did a lap of the MCG holding his hand? The grin on that kids face was as big as the G itself.

But it's the other moments--the non-winning moments--that are often more powerful. To me, at least. Take the marathon as an example. Aussie marathon runner Kate Smythe was just about done in by the time she got to the G. She was leaning so far back as she ran she looked ready to fall flat on her back, and there was a very real danger she'd collapse long before she got to the line. But she was determined to run on, and with the crowd at her back, did so, despite her legs going every which way except where she wanted them. Tenacity, determination and courage at it's finest. She came seventh. Or how about the male marathoner who's feet were bloody, but who wouldn't stop, because this was the games and he wasn't going to not finish? Or the unknown west australian swimmer who swam the race of his life against world record holders to come in a mighty third? That's the stuff that makes these games. That's why I'm now stuck with watching it. I don't care who wins the medals--though yeah, it's nice when Australia does--what I love watching is the drama, the passion, and the sheer, bloody determination of all the althetes. Now, that's what makes good TV.

Writing wise, well, I got 4 pages of the fifth Riley written, and a bit of a clearer idea of where this story is going. I'm still not sure who the bad guy is in this one, and until I figure that out, I guess this story won't be going that far. In the mean time, I'm going to try and get another five pages of my Loch Ness story done. If I don't get sidelined by the games again, that is ;)

Friday, March 17, 2006

writing? what's that?

yep, having one of those weeks where the muse wants to do anything else but write. Of course, it did buckle down and do the Kissing Sin edits, but then, I've never considered edits writing, as such, but more a required fine tuning something that's already finished. I might have ended up adding another three pages, but the muse just doesn't think of it as 'fresh' stuff. I did do a read through of the Loch Ness story yesterday, and tweaked that, but mostly I was designing business cards, postcards and magnetic calenders so I could put an order into vistaprint and have something to hand out at RT. Of course, having never been to an RT convention before, I have no idea what to expect when it comes to the requirements of handouts. And I'm not going to be able to cart a whole lot from Oz, either. But I figure as long as I have something, it'll be all right.

I planned to put up a pic of Ella and Finn together today, but I haven't been motivated enough to get it off Kasey's computer, so that'll have to wait until the next time :)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

edits and puppy pics

I didn't get any writing done yesterday, because I spent most of yesterday standing in queues waiting to get served. Stupid Commonwealth bank--I had to stand in line just to get a withdrawal slip! I was there for 15 minutes, and when I finally get to the counter, the chick says, "We don't do withdrawal slips any more, you just go to the counter with your card." Says I (in narky voice) "Well, what the hell am I supposed to do with an account that requires two signatures and my husband cannot take time off work to get here to sign a stupid form?" Says she. "Oh. Well, then you can have a slip." SO nice of the bank to allow me to get at my own money! Of course, once I visited Pete and got him to sign it, I then had to go back and stand in line again. Such a fun experience, banks.

But the good news is that by paying cash, I saved a heap (like $200) on the fridge. And it comes today! Woohoo! No more living out of the esky for the Arthurs :)

In writing news, I got the second lot of edits back on Kissing Sin, and I'm hoping to get those done today. Seems I went a little too far with the cuts last time, so I have to edit back in some cut scenes. (or try to remember the scenes I didn't actually save). There's not a huge amount to do, so I'm hoping to get back to actual wriitng tomorrow.

And because I haven't got anything else interesting to say right now, I thought I'd put up some puppy picks. Not that Finn looks too puppy-like any more--he looks like a real dog now (he's just not as fluffy as he will be when he's fully grown)

and yep, he's as cute as he looks in the pic. I'll upload a pic of Ella and Finn together tomorrow. The pair of them are never too far apart :)

Monday, March 13, 2006

writing update, bloody fridges, and a teaser...

Well, I got another five pages done on Friday, so I was pretty darn happy with that. It was still the fifth Riley, but hey, at least the muse is cooperating. I've got a huge 13 pages of the fifth book done so far, and no idea who the bad guy is just yet--but a I know where I want the emotional plot of this one to go, so that's one up on all the other books :)

In other news...can someone tell me why things always break down at the most inconvenient times? It's a long weekend here in Melbourne, and Saturday/Sunday were both high heat days. So, of course, the fridge decides to blow up. And being a long weekend, it's almost impossible to catch a repair man, and even if you can snag one, they cost a sheer fortune just to get them to your house. Needless to say, we weren't enamoured with the idea of paying someone a couple of hundred just to come out and tell us our 15 year old fridge is stuffed. We'll wait until a regular work day to hear that cheery news. In the meantime, we're having the joy of living out of eskies. Feels like the old camping days :)

And, as promised, a teaser. This is from the start of Kissing Sin, which is due out in October. Remember, it's only gone through one lot of edits, so there may still be mistakes :) Enjoy!

All I could smell was blood.

Blood that was thick and ripe.

Blood that plastered my body, itching at my skin.

I stirred, groaning softly as I rolled onto my back. Other sensations began to creep through the fog encasing my mind. The chill of the stones that pressed against my spine. The gentle patter of moisture against bare skin. The stench of rubbish left sitting too long in the sun. And underneath it all, the aroma of raw meat.

It was a scent that filled me with foreboding, though why I had no idea.

I forced my eyes open. A concrete wall loomed ominously above me, seeming to lean inwards, as if ready to fall. There were no windows in that wall, and no lights anywhere near it. For a moment I thought I was in a prison of some kind, until I remembered the rain and saw that the concrete bled into the cloud-covered night sky.
Though there was no moon visible, I didn’t need to see it to know where we were in the lunar cycle. While it might be true that just as many vampire genes flowed through my bloodstream as werewolf, I was still very sensitive to the moon’s presence. The full moon had passed three days ago.

Last I remembered, the full moon phase had only just begun. Somewhere along the line, I’d lost eight days.

I frowned, staring up at the wall, trying to get my bearings, trying to remember how I'd gotten here. How I’d managed to become naked and unconscious in the cold night.

No memories rose from the fog. The only thing I was certain of was the fact that something bad had happened. Something that had stolen my memory and covered me in blood.

I wiped the rain from my face with a hand that was trembling, and looked left. The wall formed one side of a lane filled with shadows and overflowing rubbish bins. Down the far end, a streetlight twinkled, a forlorn star in the surrounding darkness. There were no sounds to be heard beyond the rasp of my own breathing. No cars. No music. Not even a dog barking at imaginary foe. Nothing that suggested life of any kind nearby.

Swallowing heavily, trying to ignore the bitter taste of confusion and fear, I looked to the right.

And saw the body.

A body covered in blood.

Oh God...

Friday, March 10, 2006

a good day at the office...

As I rather expected, the muse was still in Riley mode yesterday, so although I opened my Loch Ness files and did a read-thru of the last few pages to get a feel for it again, I actually ended up writing the 5th Riley book. And already, this book is not going where I thought it would. My original idea was to have Riley waking up to find a dead man--as in a ghost, not a vampire--in her bedroom. The ghost would ask her to help to find his killer, and Riley and the gang would get involved in some more nasty stuff. But the ghost has morphed into a guy who is astrally travelling. He also just happens to be from Riley's pack--the pack that threw her and Rhoan out when they were teenagers and who told them never to contact the pack again. He still needs her help, of course, but Riley is less than eager.

So basically, we're going to learn a whole lot more about Riley and Rhoan's pack and their life growing up. Not what I'd intended, but an interesting path all the same. And I already know how it is going to end, even though at this stage I only have vague ideas for the middle bits. Will it be a happy ending? Maybe not entirely. But it will be an appropriate ending :D

Page count wise, I ended up writing 8 pages. Pretty darn good considering it's the beginning, and I always think beginnings are harder to write. Maybe because it's tougher to get the right mix of hook and information. This one starts a lot slower than previous books--there's no action, no fighting, no conversation of any kind--just Riley and her thoughts. I still think it works--but I'll let my crit partners have the final say on whether it actually does or not. Although if I don't bring the loch ness book to our crit session tomorrow, they might just kill me. Seems I left it in the middle of an action scene last time... :D

Thursday, March 09, 2006

writing stuff and tv shows...

Did a read through of my Loch Ness book yesterday, just to get back into the 'feel' of the characters and the plot. I left the last page practically mid-sentence, and I have absolutely no idea now where I'd intended that particular line to go. But other than that, it's all good. I did have to correct some of my 'aussie' speak, because the main character has supposedly been living in America for a little while, and she was scottish before that, so she wouldn't go about flinging Aussie words (ie holiday homes instead of vacation homes, fly screens instead of screens, boot instead of trunk...seems the US has a different word for just about everything. Makes writing an American character insteresting, let me tell you :) I'm hoping to start my five pages a day gig again from today, but I'm still a little in 'Riley' mode and may yet write some of Riley 5. We'll see how I go.

In non-writing news, watched House last night and laughed my head off. It was the parent episode, and it has to have been one of the funniest yet. But sad at the same time, because this time they didn't save the kid. I tell you, House and Boston Legal have to have some of the best script writing I've ever seen. And the characters in BL are just brilliant...and so is the acting. I mean, who knew Captain Kirk could actually act? ;) And James Spader is simply amazing as Alan Shore. That man can say a whole lot without ever opening his mouth. What I like the most about the show is the layers--the show may peel away one layer, but you just know there's so many more yet to reveal...which means you never can quite predict just how any of them will react. As we say here in Oz, bloody good writing. Why it's resigned to the wee hours of the night here is beyond me.

But good characters is also the reason why I like Supernatural. Sure, the plot is sometimes so-so, and the special effects often suck, but hey, the special effects on Nightstalker sucked all of the time, and that still rates as one of my best-ever TV shows (along with the x-files up to season 5). I think the relationship between the brothers is what makes Supernatural so good--because you actually care about them. In fact, when you think about it, it's characters that make or break most shows, just as it's the characters that make or break a book. If you don't like the main characters, if you don't really care what happens to them, why would you continue to watch it or read it? I think that's what's finally driven me away from Lost. Sure, the endless questions had me hooked for a while, but long term, I really don't care about any of the characters (well, other than Sawyer, who I treat as eye-candy more than anything else.) I couldn't really give a damn who lives or dies--and maybe it's because there's simply too many of them. The show flits constantly between all the characters--and most of them really aren't all that warm or likeable to begin with. In fact, if half the island keeled over dead next show, the only thing that would matter to me is if their deaths provided some damn answers. And you just know that's never going to happen. The X-files might have had the myth arc and the questions that were never fully answered (not properly, anyway) but at least they had 'regular' episodes inbetween the myth episodes, and did provide regular snippets of the arc for fans to snatch and store and wonder over. And it had two characters who intriqued, who made you care (and yeah, I was a 'shipper'.) Lost just provides yet more frustration every week. Which no show--and no book--can sustain long term.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

further to previous rant....

A new review popped up on Amazon today, one bemoaning the lack of plot and the 'terminally horny' heroine (made me grin, that). Now, as I've said, I have no problem with the reviewer hating the book. My books aren't for everyone, and I don't pretend to believe otherwise. (hell, my hubby hates my books, and I still love him) What troubles me about this particular review is them saying they heard me on national radio, and that I was making the book sound like it was an 'interesting science fiction' plot. Now, I don't know who this person heard, but it wasn't me. I live in Australia, and to talk on any US radio stations I'd have had to have been up at some ungodly hour of the morning. Trust me, that hasn't happened. In fact, the only radio station I've talked to at all in my forty odd years of life was a sports channel last year who yakked to me because I was a cook at the essendon football club. So, not me raving about the book on radio.

The problem is, of course, if it was supposedly me this reviewer heard on that radio station, then we have an imposter in our midst and I'd sure as hell like to know what is going on. So, if you happen to be out there "Random Access/MMyers46" could you either email me or post a comment, and let me know what station you heard the interview on? Please? Actually, if there's anyone else out there who happened to hear this interview, could you please let me know when and where? Because if that person was pretending to be me, it needs to be followed up.

In other news, I've finished the edits of Tempting Evil, and have choofed that off to my editor, Anne. So I can now, officially, get back to writing the Loch Ness books. But not today. Today is my birthday, and I'm taking a break :D

Sunday, March 05, 2006

the customer is always right...

you know, I come from an industry where there's one rule you live by--and that's the customer is always right. Even when you know they are so wrong it hurts to apologise or to refund or whatever it is you have to do to make them happy again...they are right. Because without them, you wouldn't have a job.

A part of being a cook or a chef or a waiter or bartender means learning how to keep people happy, no matter what. It's a service industry, and that's just what you do.

Which is why I'm sometimes stunned at the reaction of some authors to criticism.

Getting a bad review, or having people tear your book to pieces is never a pleasant thing. It hurts, there's no doubt about it. But by the same token, any author who goes into this gig thinking everyone is going to just love their work is seriously deluding themselves. I mean, really, the world is a big place, and you can bet that for as many people who love your work, there's just as many ready to shoot it down and stomp all over it. And yep, I've had my fair share of stomps in the past, and I dare say I'll have plenty of more in the future. But you know, everyone is entitled to an opinion, and most authors, by the time they've reached publication, should have had enough rejections and stomps under their belt to cope with whatever a reader might throw. And hey, what wannabe-writer hasn't gone home in tears one time or another over something another critiquer has said about their work? But we learn to suck it up, and keep on going. Being published shouldn't change that.

But there's another rule in the service industry--never diss the customer in public. Do or say what you like behind closed doors (and could I tell you some stories about the behind-the-scene antics of chefs when there's a whinging customer about that would make your hair curl...) but in public, an urbane and pleasant face is always presented.

Which, again, is why I'm so surprised when some authors go off on a rant on amazon or in blogs about reviews or fan reactions. Like it or not, authors are working in a service industry. Their jobs (writing) depends on the reaction of their customers (the readers and buyers). Turn enough readers away, and you ain't got a job anymore. Keeping customers happy is a motto most in service industries live by--so what makes some authors think they are special?

I'm not saying authors should change what they are doing writing wise--not at all. Hell, the muse goes where she wants to go, and sometimes, that may not be where the readers and the fans want her to go. But, like any other person working in a service industry, writers do have a duty of care to the readers. Which means, at the very least, acknowledging their concerns. Talking to them.

It certainly doesn't mean going off about comments or reviews.

It annoys me, because I'm a reader as much as I'm a writer, and I certainly wouldn't like my favourite authors calling me names in blogs. And yet some writers do precisely that.

I just don't get it.

At least I know I'll get a swift kick up the backside by my writing buddies if I start getting precious about stuff. But maybe, for the moment, I just need to stop reading certain blogs so that my dander doesn't get up, and I don't go off in my own blog ;)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

editing update...the end is near!

Well, Kissing Sin has been edited and checked and handed in. Yay! The weekend away provided enough of a break for the story to fade a little from my mind, and I found a number of minor mistakes in the final read-thru. I undoubtedly missed others, but nothing major, I think. I'm currently doing a read-thru check on Tempting Evil, and then that can be choofed off as well. With those two out of the way, I can finally get back to writing my Loch Ness book--though I'll probably start editing the fourth Riley book as well, while the other two books are still fresh in my mind. Hopefully, I'll catch a few of the goofs that are undoubtedly there. (and save Anne--my editor--some trouble for a change :)

In reading news, I've started Moon Called and I'm thoroughly enjoying it so far. I saw over on Rachel's blog that she's started a list of books read this year. I thought this was a good idea, so I'm adding a list to my blog. Maybe it'll encourage me to start finding a little more time to read again :)