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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Cover Up

I got the cover for my October release today. There's my name, nice and big, and--hallelujah!-- they even managed to include the word RITA-Winner below it. I asked them to include that on the last book and my editor balked. To say the least, I was annoyed, hurt, and pissed off.

All is forgiven now. Sort of.

It's the weirdest thing to have your name up there as if everything from cover to cover is yours. It's not, you know. Although the words between the covers are mine, the story would have been very different if it had been left up to me. It wasn't. Same with the cover. The publisher creates it and even if I have other ideas or objections, it's a done deal. Same with the back cover copy.

There was an article about James Patterson in the NY Times magazine this past Sunday. At one point it talks about James and his Giant Entourage meeting with the publisher to discuss marketing his empire. They showed him cover mock-ups to get his input. But that only happens when you reach Pattersonian heights. Otherwise, you get what you get.

Sour grapes?

Hell, yeah.

Okay, so it could be worse. I could have to self publish. Or languish around as I did for years, UNpublished. I should shut up and thank The Powers That Be for what I have.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. And if you come a little closer I'll give you something to be thankful for. Right in the kisser...

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Pie in the Face/Feb

The Pie Inspector is sniffing around the Otherworld Diner again.

Check out what she's up to.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Last week I shared one of two interesting reader emails. Here, in summary, is the other: when is your next book coming out and isn't it a long time between books for a romance writer?

First off--yes, October 2010 IS a loooong time from May 2009, when my current book, One Deadly Sin, came out.

Second--it ain't my fault!!!

Okay, we'll that's not exactly true. I don't set the pub schedule, that's true. The publisher, in this case, Grand Central Publishing, sets the release date. The schedule is based on who they have lined up, how they're going to juggle the available slots (they only release a set amount of books/month), and how fast I can get the manuscript to them.

So some of that I can't control. But the latter--yeah, entirely in my hands.

And I'm afraid my hands just don't type very fast. When it comes to writing, I am not a quick study. I like to tell myself it's because my books are more carefully crafted than some, but you and I both know Nora's books are terrific and she's no slowpoke.

This "crank 'em out" issue is a dilemma. To have a real career in romance, it's an unwritten law. According to the research, romance readers go through piles of books a week, and they're always hungry for more. They want to be able to go back to the bookstore and read another one by a favorite author. What's this stuff about waiting a year for another book? The faster you can write the books, the faster your career moves.

I don't think it's the same with other genres. Michael Connelly doesn't put out more than one book a year, does he? Then again, neither does Susan Elizabeth Phillips. In fact, I once heard her speak at a conference and she said she writes one page a day.

One page!

Of course, it's a damn good page. But still...
I'm struggling with this need for speed. I've got a few ideas for series, but my agent is doubtful I could produce that fast.

Maybe she's right.

Maybe she doesn't know what the hell she's talking about.

In any case, isn't it the turtle who wins the race?

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Mail Call

I received a couple of interesting emails from readers over the holiday. Each one sparked some thinking I thought I'd share with you.

First I received a note from a reader named Edie Swann curious about how I came up with the name of my heroine in One Deadly Sin, which was, coincidentally (for her) Edie Swann...

My first reaction was, how cool is that? I "invented" a name that a real person already has!
But then I had to answer the "how" and that got me thinking about character names. The christening of "my" Edie began with the kind of woman she was: a little bit rough and rootless--she does ride a Harley, after all--but not so kick ass that she couldn't yearn for the things she didn't have, like family and home.

Linguistically, the "E" in Edie is a soft sound, but the hard consonant "D" toughens that up. And the "ie" at the end is informal and casual, which is how I imagined my biker chick heroine.

So there was some real method behind the madness, at least when it came to her first name. How I came up with Swann, though, I have no idea. Sometimes I just try out names to see if they "fit."

In fact, I'm having trouble with names in my upcoming book. Two Lethal Lies. For spoiler reasons which I won't go into here, my editor had a problem with my hero's last name. I've spent weeks trying out alternatives and still haven't come up with anything that works.

I just finished Lisa Gardner's Hide and discovered in the Author's Notes at the end, that some of the characters bore the names of people Lisa actually knows. She also runs a contest that gives the winner a chance to name a character in her books.

I've never read a book with a character that had my name. Have you? I wonder if it's weird or wonderful. Maybe it depends on the character?

I did ask my reader if "my" Edie was anything like her, but alas, she declined to respond.

More on reader letters in my next post.

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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Playing Catch Up

My goodness it's been a while.

First there was the holidays, and then there was recovering from the holidays. I don't transition well. This is true in life as well as in writing. I need lots of time between endings, whether it's vacations or chapters or books.

In case you're interested, though, here are the highlights of the past few weeks:

Finished a first pass on the revision of Two Lethal Lies (October 2010)

Went to New York to visit family.

Ate TONS (for which I am paying double at the moment...), including:
  • Hong Kong style crab at the Imperial Palace in Queens
  • The best pizza in the universe at Positano's, Herricks
  • Wonton soup that actually tastes like it at Jade King, Roslyn Heights
  • Portuguese churrasquiera (spit-roasted over wood charcoal) from Barraida, Mineola
  • Ramen noodles and steamed buns at Momofuku
  • And, of course (because how can you go to NY and not) kosher dogs, mustard and kraut at the deli
Sat on my glasses and had to spend the rest of my time in NY with duct tape holding them up so I looked like a total dweeb

Watched lots of snow fall

Saw Up in the Air, which is NOT the feel-good movie the trailers make you think, but is thought-provoking character study that made me glad to be me and not him

Returned home and saw Sherlock Holmes, which was entertaining enough, but just enough

Had a wonderful New Years with friends playing Apples to Apples

Made a second tour of Two Lethal Lies

Sent my 3 proposals to my agent, who hasn't got back to me yet on any of them...

Watched snow flurry (I think it's the same 90 flakes being blown around and around)

Netflixed the movie Snow Walker, which I highly recommend


And now you're all caught up.

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