Book Slut

After the number of books I’ve read in the past two days, I have come to the complete, and undeniable conclusion, that I am a book slut.  I think since I went to the library on Saturday (around 4p, it’s now Monday 10:30a), I’ve read at least 10 books.  Most of these, mind you, are just the little Harlequin Presents books, but I’ve mixed in a couple of other books too in that time.  It’s not unusual for me to do this either.  I remember when I was a teenager, I would check out paper-grocery-bags worth of the HP books at a time. I think it’s a serious compulsion issue I have.

Don’t get me wrong – I see nothing wrong with reading and I’m hoping to convince my child that the best thing he can do is make friends with his local librarians, but sometimes I have to wonder if it’s a bit obsessive.  My husband won’t buy me books 99% of the time because 1) he’s afraid I might have already read a particular book and/or 2) because I read them so fast it’s not worth the money paid for them.

Case in point: last Sunday, we took turns going to the bookstore.  I went and got there just before 1p and left right around 4p.  In that time I read all of Lincoln Child/Douglas Preston’s newest book, Fever Dance.  I also read one of those hefty-sized romance novels.  Don’t remember which one, but I’d know it if I tried reading it again. 

Maybe I should start keeping a list on this site of everything I read.  Heh.

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Transition from Villain to Hero

In part, I’m writing this because I’m avoiding writing the scenes that would be necessary to get Blood Rage published by those who have offered, and in part because I’m avoiding the fact that I don’t know the characters of Blood Magic well enough to really write about them either.  I knew a blog would be a mistake, but oh well.  It’s a three-day weekend.

Anthony Caldwell.  Somehow (and I still haven’t quite forgiven him for it) he went from the most evil character I ever conceived of (in part thanks to a masterful portrayal of him done by a friend, Sal, in my role-playing days on Prodigy) to one of the quiet knights protecting the innocent that today’s world needs more of.

Evil Anthony
Back, many years ago, he was just human.  Evil to the core, he killed Dara’s brothers and sister.  Somewhere along the lines he became a vampire (an old one, no less) because I needed a villain to play with and the RPG I was involved with took place in the modern world.  And he kept to his lovely evil ways, just like a good, obediant villain is supposed to – he killed her adopted children (it was quite a nasty little death, again thanks to Sal, burned alive while someone video-taped it).  It fit the RPG world I was playing in and then I think someone killed him off.

Then last year Dara popped back into my head with a vengeance, she needed a villain to deal with to cause problems for getting her and her intended (a vampire named Shakir, who was originally her sire in the old RP days) together.  Who better than the bastard who made her life hell to begin with?  So…I tried and tried.  Anthony didn’t want to cooperate and just be the charicature he was supposed to be.  ::grumble::

So – I took a new tactic.  What if he wasn’t really evil, just completely without any ethics whatsoever?  Cold, callous, etc.  Okay, that worked a little better.  Unfortunately, then I started seeing sparks fly between Dara and Anthony where there shouldn’t be.  I mean, c’mon, he killed her little brothers.  Or did he?  She didn’t see him do it – she only ever had his word on the matter, and everyone knew (this was always a feature of his character) he didn’t lie.  So I asked the question: What if he lied?

And then…my problems writing the story evaporated.  Well, sort of.  I still tried to keep him cold and amoral.  It didn’t work.  He refused to let himself be cold and calculating.  Damn him.  Luckily, I had a villain from elsewhere that would suffice.  And let me tell you, when I did the last rewrite, new villain took center stage and (while the original Anthony still is tops in evil) I like him – if one can like a sociopath, knowing full well what he is.

Over the course of three full versions (and very different stories each time), Anthony’s emotional issues worked themselves out.  He’s still a bit of a pompous ass (Dara’s take), can be a stuffed shirt, but he’s got a soft side that refused to let me bury it under the cold, evil one that was supposed to be there.

Yeah – I hate him for not being what he was supposed to be, but he’s now my second favorite hero/villain of all time (at least of the ones I’ve created).  Sorin D’Avignon (from a fantasy story that I’d still like to write) is still tops on my list.

About Sex

I mentioned in my prior posts that I had offers to publish Blood Rage.  This is all well and good, but both are contingent on revisions.  One wants as many sex scenes as will fit, the other just has requested at least one (but wouldn’t object to more than that).  On a moral level, I don’t have a problem with this.  After all, my characters are having sex and I currently fade to black on those scenes. 

Like a great many women, I like reading sex scenes in romance novels.  Writing them…that’s a different matter.  Luckily, at least one of the two have said I can use euphemisms rather than the down and dirty language some would use.  Unfortunately, I don’t know if I want to write them.  Oh, I know what the couple does but actually writing it down…I’d really like my mother to be able to read my book some day.  I’m not sure I could let her, if I put these scenes in.  And I have friends and family I want to read it.  Adding these scenes won’t (I don’t think) make my book fall into the “erotic romance” category, but still…

Anyway, that’s my dilemma.  Any of you (not that I have many readers as yet) have similar dilemmas?

Inaugural Post

Wow – my very first blog post ever! Scary, but kind of exciting in a way. I can’t help but feel a little pretentious also. Who knows though, I might gain some followers which is part of the point since I’m trying to start building my platform.

Who am I?
Tory Michaels is my intended pen-name when I get published. I have a little boy who just turned four, a husband and a beautiful Siberian Husky named Mika. We live in Denver for now, but given hubby’s wandering tendencies, who knows how long that will last. All I know is we need to be settled (semi)permanently before my little man starts real school in 2011.

I work in an old, well-established law firm that focuses on corporate securities. After three months, I’m still trying to get the hang of things. I came from a background of five+ years working in personal injury and community association law.

I’m mostly done with my Master’s Degree in Public Administration. Unfortunately, I allowed myself to get distracted from school with writing a novel and now I have to summon the motivation (quickly) to write my capstone paper so I don’t waste all the money we put into getting the degree. Hubby’s gonna kill me if I don’t do anything with the degree, much less fail to finish it. Sounds like it should be simple enough to finish – right?

Wrong! Instead of being able to focus just on that, I find myself far more interested in my family, writing and just about anything else that pops up (blast you, Facebook!). Amusingly, I pulled a plot point from my degree for the (I hope) series I’m working on: The Bureau of Non-Human Affairs.

My Writing
I’ve been writing for as long as I remember. Once, when clearing out an old filing cabinet of my mother’s, I came across a bunch of papers stapled together, that grey stuff they use in elementary school to help you practice writing (half page of blank area to draw in and a couple of lines to print/write on), and found my very first story about a turnip that wanted to become human. Stupid, but now I sort of wish I hadn’t tossed it out of embarrassment.

I finished my very first novel (Obsession) when I was 15 (I’m 33 now), and I vaguely remember even sending a query letter on it back then. Got a rejection letter too! Didn’t keep either – I eventually tossed Obsession out of embarrassment. That book got me into some trouble with my fellow students – not that I didn’t deserve it, mind you.

Anyway, I wrote non-stop, never completing anything, but I did a lot of writing in the form of forum-type role-playing posts on various chat servers (Prodigy, etc.) up through the time I got together with my husband back in 2003. Around then, the creative urge seemed to wither. Until last year, I thought it might just be I used writing to combat loneliness and depression (a therapist-type kinda pointed me in that direction), and that I neither had talent nor real inclination to be a published author. Yet, I remember wanting to be just that throughout my teen years, though I never got serious about it.

That brings me to last year when an old cast of characters plopped themselves down in my head and refused to leave me alone (I’ll do a separate post on that later). I toyed with a few ideas, made a few false starts and then dashed out Draft One of the book tentatively called Choices. Draft two got retitled Love and Lies somewhere along the line. I felt pretty good about it, started sending queries. Got a couple of requests from literary agents to see the full, and got rejected.

A brief email conversation with the second one got me thinking and, just as a third agent asked for a full, I decided to do a full rewrite. I tossed almost the entire original plotline (keeping the main characters) and rewrote in six weeks. I’ve submitted the new version, now called Blood Rage to the agent who requested the full (she agreed to wait) and four publishers.

I have received two offers to publish Blood Rage and am waiting to hear back from the third before making a final decision.

I think that’s enough for this first blog post.   More, anon!