Friday, September 28, 2007


I'm off to Canberra for Conflux this weekend, so I won't be online much. I've never been to an Aussie fantasy con before (actually, I haven't been to any fantasy cons before--something I aim to fix in coming years), so this should be interesting. I'm slated to appear on a couple of panels at this one. The first panel is the Urban versus Paranormal one, which I can talk quite easily about, but the other two should prove interesting. One is running under the title The Dead Body - how to kill someone heroicly, and given that personally I don't think there should be anything heroic about killing, we could get into some interesting discussions. The other panel is Love, Crime and Spells - cross-genre work, which I should be okay in. I mean, I don't do the whole spell scenario in many of my novels, but I definitely have crime and love.

In writing news, I've finished the final edits on The Darkest Kiss (riley 6) and the book is now in my editors hands. Now the wait begins--hopefully, it won't need drastic edits like Embraced did. At least I had a little more time to work with The Darkest Kiss, so hopefully it'll be tidier. I've also managed to finish the first chapter of Mercy. I'm quite happy with it overall, and hopefully, given that I'm taking the alphasmart up with me to Canberra, I'll get the chance to do some more writing on it.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

a good weekend...

It was a watching rather than writing weekend this weekend, and I enjoyed every minute of it :)

It all started Friday night, when we headed off to see the live version of Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds. I absolutely loved that album when it first came out (27 years ago!) and I have both the vinyl and cd versions to this day. Let me tell you, the live version sounded even better than the album. The music, the singers, the effects --they even had a Martian fighting machine that descended from the ceiling! -- were just brilliant. Original singers blended well with the new, and the computer generated Richard Burton (looking a whole lot younger than he actually was when he did this album) was just great. All in all, a brilliant show.

We also go a new sound system installed on Friday, so most of Saturday and Sunday were spent watching movies. The Bose system is so crystal clear that I've heard sounds in LOTR that I've never noticed before--and you can have it up really, really loud, and it doesn't distort. Good thing we don't have close neighbours, I can tell you :)

So, not a lot of writing was done. I got a couple of pages written of Mercy, but that's about it. Today I've got to finish printing out Riley 6 so I can give that a final read through before sending it on to my editor on Wednesday or Thursday. I'm hoping I won't find too much wrong with it. Then, hopefully, the muse will settle down with one of these stories and I'll be able to get some serious writing done. :)

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Thursday, September 20, 2007


that's what my muse is. She's self-willed and obstinate, and it's damn frustrating right now. Just when I'd decided to settle down and write some of Riley 7, she up and decides that she wants to play with Mercy some more. Of course, flicking from one book to another isn't ideal, because the last thing I need is to get the voices mixed, but when the muse is like this, there's just no reasoning with her. Even chocolate doesn't settle her orneriness (and I have enough weight on my hips as it is, thank you very much.)

So, after scratching out another three pages of Riley 7, I've now written another 5 pages of Mercy and I'm almost at the end of the first chapter. I'm liking the feel of this one, but whether I'll actually get to write the second chapter any time soon is anyones guess. With the muse in this mood, anything could happen. Hell, I might even start a new, let's not even go there.

I think half the problem is that for the first time in almost a year, I haven't got deadlines breathing down my throat. The muse is enjoying the freedom to do as she pleases--and she's fully intending to abuse it. I guess as long as I'm making progress on at least one of the novels, it's not a problem.

Maybe I should take a leaf out of the muse's books, and simply enjoy the rest while I can. :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

the muse...

is playing games. No matter how many times I've settled down to write Mercy Burns over the last couple of days, I get as far as doing a read through of what is already written and then stopping. It's not as if I don't know how the rest of the chapter goes--I do. It's just the muse doesn't want to go there. I thought for a while it might have been because I couldn't pin down the hero's name, but I decided on Mak over the weekend and that hasn't helped at all. The words just refuse to transfer from my brain to my keyboard.

So yesterday, in a fit of annoyance, I opened up a blank page and decided to tackle Riley 7 (currently going by the name Deadly Desire). After a few false starts and lots of word erasing, the muse kicked in, and suddenly I had three pages written in less than half an hour. Which doesn't sound much, but it's probably more than I've written on Mercy in the last week. So, I guess I'll be working on Riley 7 for a while, even if I haven't entirely worked out the bad guys for this one yet.


Friday, September 14, 2007

there's an interesting discussion....

going on over at Smart Bitches at the moment. It was sparked by a blog the marvelous Charlaine Harris made about the writing process on Aug 26th. Part of what Charlaine says is;

I’ve noticed lately that quite a few readers seem angry if books don’t turn out in a way that would have made them happier. That’s an attitude I find hard to understand. (Maybe it’s my age? I don’t know.) The writer is determiner of fate for his or her characters. Writing is a lone pastime, not a group endeavor. It doesn’t take a village to write a book. It takes one person, shut up in a room for hours on end.

I know that readers have every right not to be happy with the way a book ends, or with the way characters meet their fate. But to be angry with the writer? The characters belong to the writer. I know in a certain sense they belong to the reader, too; but the characters live in the writer’s mind and at her/his will.

Certainly I’m not saying that writers are above criticism; certainly I’m not saying that you should buy a book by a writer in whom you no longer have faith. I’m saying that the writer is God, as far as the characters go. The writer’s decisions are final. That’s part of the connection the writer has with her world.

I agree in part with what Charlaine says. The writer is the God of their world, and our characters are ours to do with as we please. However, once we release those books out into the wider world, those characters are no longer wholly ours. They also belonging to the people who buy our books, who love our characters, who believe in our worlds. If we, as writers, (and this is probably a problem more to do with a continuing series than a stand alone novel) take those characters down an unexpected--and unwanted--path, or make them do something that goes totally against previously described character or world rule, then who else is the reader going to blame but the writer? As Charlaine said, we're the Gods of our worlds. Therefore, we are responsible for the grief or anger of a reader who feels betrayed by the path a series has taken.

I'll use Embraced by Darkness as an example. I've been getting a huge amount of emails about the ending of the book. More so than any other book in the series. Some people just wanted to make sure there was a sixth book coming (there's actually another 4 planned) but a lot of people actually hated how I ended it, and they let me know in no uncertain terms. And yes, some of them even went as far as saying they hated me. And you know what? I'm okay with that because the ending was unexpected. I wrote that end scene fully aware that some readers were going to be upset. But it didn't go against character or worldbuilding, and I'm hoping that the readers who were so disappointed will trust me enough to follow the rest of Riley's journey. Because it is a journey, and it's not over yet.

Writing may be a lone pastime, but most writers write to sell. And if we're writing a series, then we can't do so in a vacuum. We owe it to our readers to at least be aware of their thoughts and opinions. Does that mean writers should blindly follow what the reader wants? Of course not. A writer has to be true to her world and her vision first and foremost. But they just need to be aware of the readers that have made the series possible in the first place.

And they should be prepared for not only anger, but for the reader never to pick up a book of theirs again if they break the reader's trust.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

stage one...

of the Darkest Kiss edits has been completed. And I have to say, the novel wasn't the total mess that I thought it would be. I'm still a little worried by sections of the story though, but I've sent it off to Robyn and Miriam for an opinion and I'll wait to see what they say about it. Once I get their thoughts, I'll print it off, do another edit run-through, and it's basically ready to be sent off to Bantam. Then it'll be a matter of keeping my fingers crossed that I don't have to do a massive amount of edits on it. Though, with the way my luck with edits has been going of late, I'll probably have to rewrite every single word. (don't get me wrong--I know edits are important, I know they make the book so much stronger, and I know I wouldn't be where I am today without my editor's quest for perfection. It doesn't mean I can't whinge about them, though! lol.)

Anyway, with the first lot of edits done, I'm now free to work on Mercy Burns. Or the next Riley book--whichever takes the muse's fancy. My next deadline isn't until March next year, so I actually have plenty of time to write for a change. Maybe that's why the muse is dithering over which book to write--for the first time in ages, it actually isn't under pressure to write. I think its forgotten what that feels like :)

Friday, September 07, 2007

slow progress...

I'm slowly getting there with the edits for The Darkest Kiss. Right now, it's simply a matter of rearranging sentences and taking out extra words. I suspect, however, things might get a little more arduous once I get further into the book. For some reason, my first few chapters of a story always seem to be okay. It's the latter half of the book where things get messy and the plot goes to hell (as proven by Destiny Kills.) One thing is certain though--this book isn't going to get into Miriam's hands by the end of today. I'm now aiming for Monday.

I haven't done anything on Mercy Burns, but I have decided the hero's name (Luke) just isn't working for me. He just doesn't seem like a Luke. I been searching through just about every baby name site google can throw up, and nothing is catching. I have names like Wilder, Damon, Blake, Blade, Trask, and Kai, and while I like them, it's just not firing the muse. Maybe it's the muse's way of saying, nope, sorry, not ready to work on this one anytime soon. Right now, I'm leaning towards Mac. Simple, but strong. However, I might change my mind once I have another cuppa tea. Yep, my muse is that contrary right now

Monday, September 03, 2007

for writers...

if you're a writer and thinking about going the e-publishing route, there's a really interesting discussion going on over at Dear Author. The two Ja(y)nes, with a little help from Angie of Samhain, have provided a list of things to look out for when considering an offer from an e-publisher or small press. And read the comments below it, because some of them are really insightful.

Writing wise, not a whole lot has been happening. I couldn't concentrate on Saturday--it just felt too stuffy inside--so I took myself out with the alphie into the sunshine and managed to get five pages done. I don't think they're brilliant, but this is not only first draft, but the first chapter, and I'm still feeling my way into the character. Yesterday was father's day, so not much was done, and today I was running around seeing doctors and making appointments for the annual check-up. I'll probably start editing The Darkest Kiss tomorrow, simply because I want to get it off to Miriam by the end of the week. Kiss needs to be handed over to Bantam by the end of the month, so I need to leave Miriam time enough to read it, and me time enough to correct the mistakes she'll probably find. :)