Awesome Again

Three topics today: contests (as in entering blog contests), contests (as in the writing kind), and writing.

Blog Contests
Well – of all the oddness, I won another contest.  I was a runner up and have won copies of all three of Lydia Dare’s Regency werewolf series.  (Lydia Dare contest).  I was just thinking about this contest last night for some reason and when I checked my email this morning, I got the email.  That’s two contests in two weeks.  That’s freakin’ awesome!

The question was, if your significant other was a werewolf, would you want to know, then why or why not.  I answered:

Absolutely I would want to know if my husband was a werewolf. In the first place, if I might whelp a puppy, rather than a 100% human child, it’d be helpful to know that…before the ultrasound tech passed out at the first check. If werewolves aren’t common knowledge (which as far as I know in this world they are not), then knowing before would keep me from having that check.

In the 2nd – I’d want to know if it were possible to be changed into one. Even if I couldn’t, I’d still love having a were as a husband. Just think – if he and I got into a nasty fight he could literally be sent to the doghouse (and fit!). He would be even nicer to snuggle up to in the winter in front of the fireplace, and I’d never have to worry about being attacked if he and I went out walking late at night. Who’s gonna attack a woman walking with a wolf?

How cool is that?!  The contest.  Not my entry.  I was kind of giddy when I wrote it.

Writing Contests
Yeeks – I should hear in the next day or three whether or not I finaled in the two writing contests that are still floating out there, Celtic Hearts’ Golden Claddagh, and Windy City’s 4 Seasons.  There’s always hope, but we shall see.  I’d love to get my work in front of the publishers that are the finalist judges (there’s also an agent, if memory serves, involved in the 4 Seasons contest).

Writing
This fits surprisingly well with my win in Lydia Dare’s contest because as I may, or may not, have mentioned in prior posts, I kind of like the idea of a paranormal Regency romance series.  Not really connected to most of the characters from my modern paranormal Blood Wars series, but set in the same alternate reality.  I started hatching a plot idea last night and have a couple of characters (new) who I think might do well together.  The idea actually isn’t far off from some of my thoughts in the contest entry above.  But we shall see.  Details anon, if it goes well.

Talk About a Good Week!

At least when it comes to the authorial side of things.

Yesterday I got a full request from an agent who used to work for Penguin as an editor.

Today I got an email from the president of a different agency asking for more information, saying they were interested in Blood Rage.  I hadn’t queried her – I’d queiried one of the other agents and sent the first three chapters to him around the same time I sent the partial to the other agent.

So…wow!  I think I nailed down the problem I had with my first chapter.  In my opinion, Blood Rage gets better (picks up pace/tension/etc) as it goes along, so…maybe, just maybe…I might get an agent some day!

Happy days!

Pure Good Luck!

Okay, let me be the first to admit: I generally do not have good luck when it comes to contest, be they writing ones (although one led to a submission which led to an offer of publication…okay, so maybe luck isn’t that bad), or just general “enter and win a _____”.

However – I do periodically make comments in blog contests, and don’t necessarily pay attention to what the prize is.  I did that last Thursday, when they were talking about a topic that I find rather near and dear to my heart: sex in romance novels (content, I mean).  What I wasn’t necessarily paying attention to (at least I don’t think I noticed at the time when I made my comment) was the prize up for grabs was a ticket to RomCon.

This squib is from a friend of mine who saw my announcement on FB and explained to a confused audience just what RomCon is:

Even though this is their first year, it’s going to be an annual romance readers’ meccha. They’ve organized 80 plus romance writers across all of the genres into coming to Denver so you can mingle with your favs. Some really fun workshops, masquerade ball, author chats, etc. Go to http://www.romconinc/. and check it out.

It’s taking place here in Denver, and thanks to our lovely financial situation I wasn’t going to be able to go (which sucked eggs, when added to the fact that RWA Nationals got moved to Orlando right after I left FL).  One of my favorite paranormal authors is going to be there (love you Christine Feehan), and apparently a couple of ladies I’ve met through assorted writing groups online.

Now…to talk my husband into letting me leave him with the boy for the bulk of the weekend without him wanting to kill me/divorce me for abandonment. 

I’M GOING TO ROM CON!

Good news/bad news sort of day

Bad News
Let’s get this over fast, just like yanking off a band-aid.  I finally heard back from the 4th publisher that I had been waiting on.  Unfortunately it was not the answer I wanted.  ::le sigh::  They didn’t feel it had a strong enough marketing hook.  Blargh.  At least it’s not out there, dangling, tormenting me with possibility, any longer.  So, 50/50 response from publishers.  Way worse odds when you look at my queries to agents.  It’s gotta be my query, but so be it.  I’m probably going to send out a last round of queries this weekend and shelve Blood Rage.  Blood Dreams is next up.

Good News
Finally, after more than two months, my illustrious husband was able to get the bank to give us the name of a manager in the short-sale department who might be able to help us (we hadn’t heard anything in over two months, not even whether we were approved or not).  She got back to us last night, said that her records showed we had receive approval back in April.  My agent disagrees, but it doesn’t matter.  If everyone busts their tails, we’ll be able to close on the short-sale by month’s end.  FINALLY!  We started the short sale process back in January.  My in-laws started and finished theirs in less than 3 months.  The buyer is paying cash, so financing’s not an issue.  YAY!

Neutral News
I finished my part of the judging in the first writing contest I ever volunteered to judge.  Whew.  Lot of effort goes into those entries, and I have new appreciation for the scores I’ve managed to pull.  Unfortunately, I’m also now more on edge than ever because I have entries in two contests, Celtic Hearts’ Golden Claddagh & Windy City’s 4 Seasons.  Both are supposed to notify finalists by July 1.  Yikes.  I don’t hold out much hope for finaling in GC b/c the synopsis is graded and my synopsis for Blood Rage bites (er, no pun intended, given the subject).  I’d love either one to final though, just so I can say “Hey, I finaled!”  I’m not sure I even really care about winning (although it’s a great way to get your work in front of the ever elusive editors and agents).

New story

Well, it took a couple of weeks of brooding, but I finally managed to write something for a new story.  Not much of a beginning, but it’s still 800+ words this morning that I hadn’t had before.  The scene isn’t at the very begining (as I picture it going), but I needed to get Shakir’s voice cemented, and I think the story line I’ve got for him and Chris is a solid one.  The only thing I’m not feeling/seeing is how a romance will develop between them.  But I figure something will gel over the course of 90,000+ words.

I’ve got a title idea, but I don’t really know if Blood Dreams works.  Yeah – I’m obsessed with that particular line of thought, but can you blame me?  I like to keep things neat, orderly, and figure if I’m writing a series, I should have some sort of link in the titles.  Look at JD Robb’s “In Death” series.  It works for her, and while I’m not nearly as prolific (let alone published) like the great lady, I’d like to think I can build something.

On a different note, I’m still a book slut.  I read another 8-10 Harlequin Presents books over the weekend.  I’m not sure why I’m on such a kick these days but they’re quick and easy reads.  I’ve pretty much worked through all the HP books the closest branch of Denver Public Library has.  Time to move to another branch, I guess.  Not quite as close, but more books good.  Granted, I should probably use the reading time to do more writing, but until today I hadn’t even been able to get anything down on paper (so to speak).  So we’ll see.

Battle Against Depression

Now, I’m not going to denigrate all those people who have clinical, diagnosed depression and say what I feel is just as bad as they get.  I know my mom, at one point, could barely get out of bed because of it.  But I think I verge on true depression much of the time.  I had it, right down to the whole prozac thing, back in high school.  I know right now I feel like I’m sinking close to it again. 

I don’t talk to my hubby about it because he’ll just look at me and say “what do you have to be depressed about?”  I do have circumstances – out of work hubby (almost a year now), like so many out there.  Bills are back to being skipped b/c I’m trying to keep focused on the roof over our head.  The blasted bank refuses to get off its arse and work on our short sale (yeah, we walked away from our house in FL).  Part of me wishes we’d just waited out the HP job in FL instead of moving to Colorado.  Then I never would have tasted the joy that is being out of that state.  At least I’ll have (it looks like) at least a year here before I go back to the south.

I want to be published, have the offers, and yet I can’t make myself accept them quite yet.  Is it really so bad to want better than an e-publisher?  Hubby thinks I should just decline then, but as I said before, I’m afraid I’ll never get another one.  I’m depressed because I can’t get an agent, even with the offers. 

The Silver Lining
I’m (sort of) now convinced I am a good writer, something I didn’t think before I started this whole process last year.  The style I have (the voice I guess it is), which doesn’t sound much like most of the writers I like, appears to be all right.  It doesn’t matter that I don’t sound like other people, or crawl so deeply into my characters’ heads when I write.  I’ve come to accept that it’s just my voice coming through, and that makes me happy to realize one of the things that kept me from writing more than a page here or there was just misunderstanding.  No – I won’t ever write pages upon pages of flowery description, either of scenery or flowing, rippling muscles (big beef of mine with many romance writers – how often they trip merrily along emphasizing appearances -, stupid but true).  But I think I do okay.

Well, at least there’s something to lift my spirits a little.

Oh my lord…

Okay, I don’t usually link to anything, or rave too much about other people (yeah, I’m egotistical, so would rather talk about myself).  However, in my Google Read blogs today, I came across a “book trailer” from Tessa Dare (she writes lovely Regency Romances).  I nearly fell out of my chair laughing at the trailer.  The books (her Stud Club Trilogy, the first of which comes out this month) are probably going to be great.  But…Just follow the link.  I love her ingenuity with coming up with the trailer.

I can’t wait for this trilogy!

http://bordersblog.com/trueromance/2010/06/07/guest-author-tessa-dare-giveaway/

Proliferation of Ideas

Well spit – now I’ve got a plethora (yay – I used that word in a sentence) of concepts/characters I’d like to use and not sure where to start on any of them.

In the Blood Wars Saga
Blood Magic
Meant to be the tale of a vampire and mage getting together, winding further into the Race Wars plot kicked off with Blood Rage.

Blood Song
I have a title and know who the heroine of it would be, but absolutely no idea what sort of relationship to form.

Unknown Title
An old character who hasn’t quite left my thoughts, an ancient vampire named Shakir, born in the time of Akhenaton of Egypt.  Goes with my recent post about sheiks.

Regency-ish Paranormal SeriesTentatively considered “Aristocrat Hunts”
I like the idea of going back to the 1820’s or so, when a small cadre of vampires terrorized the non-human segments of Europe and a small group of vampires finally moved to eradicate them.  I have three characters that I know were involved in those hunts, but if I went this route, I don’t really see it being a romance-based series.  I’d also have to do a heck of a lot of research on the period.  Blech.  And try to take a loud-mouthed, modern era favorite character and dump her back into the REgency period, and I have to figure out how to make her still be the same brash woman, but playing within the rules of the ever-popular Polite Society.

Okay – obviously I’m stuck on one small alternate reality world.  Some would say I’m crazy, considering I haven’t even sold the first book in this world.  I like another friend’s take on it: I’m an optimist!  And, as she further pointed out, I’ve got offers to publish.  So that’s something anyway.

Update on Attempts to Get Published
Heard back from a publisher, got rejected.  So, of the four publishers I directly queried (3 e-pubs, 1 traditional), 2 offers, 1 rejection and 1 outstanding as yet.

I’ve got two partials floating with agents (yay for that second request a couple days ago), and a full from someone who didn’t even acknowledge when I sent her an update, letting her konw there was interest from a publisher.  I’m pretty sure she’s forgotten about me by now.  If not – well, I’ll continue to update her until something definitive happens (someone offers representation or otherwise) or she officially rejects me.

Have a great day!

Finally! And other topics

Okay, yay, I finally managed to put something down that approximated a sex scene.  Whether it’s any good…okay, well, it let me get a few things out about Anthony that I’ve been trying to do for some time, so that’s all to the good.  And, best of all, I did it without any alcohol at all or inspiration drawn from another book/author to prompt me on my way.  So yay me!

Onto another, somewhat related, topic.  Harlequin Presents books have changed a lot in the (oh my lord, I feel old now) 20+ years I’ve been reading them.  Oh, not the basic plot, because really, there’s only so much you can do with the “boy meets girl, girl tricks/lies/deceives boy somehow, they break up, they make up” plot.  But now it’s absolutely routine that teh hero/heroine go to bed before they get married.  Before, perhaps a few lingering kisses before the wedding night, but that was it.  Oh, a few still wait until the happy day, but the scenes get a heck of a lot steamier than they ever did.

And would anyone like to explain the current “sheik” fad going on in these books?  Granted, I took a major hiatus from reading the HP books simply because I was still trying to hide my romance-novel reading habits from my hubby (and at college the library there didn’t have many, if any at all).  But now, seems to be very popular. 

A friend and I were discussing the idea of a vampire sheik which somehow (okay, not surprising since she just finished reading Blood Rage) evolved out of our reluctant admissions that we might both, in some depraved corner of our minds, want to see Sex in the City 2, despite having seen neither SitC 1 or the series itself.  Because, yup you got it, there’s deserts and the possibility of sheiks!  Since that conversation, I’ve come to think the idea has some merit.  However, it might be very difficult, depending on which kind of vampire you create.  Vampires from Daybreakers, I would think, would be pretty scared to be out in the desert, with all that blazing sunlight, and only (until recent years) the meager fabric of a tent to keep from going POOF.  My vampires, at least for the first century or two, might thrive since daylight only slowly, over the course of time, lose their ability to walk in the day time.

I may have to give serious consideration to a vampire sheik popping up somewhere along the line.  It would definitely give me another major alpha male to play with.  To date, Christian (in Blood Magic) just doesn’t strike me as alpha as Anthony.