Thursday, July 12, 2007

Getting things going on the web

I've been busy doing nothing. Well, at least that's what it feels like. I've done a lot, but nothing seems to ever get done. Especially on the computer. I spent all day yesterday cleaning up files, getting the computer sort of set up like it was before it got sick, and in the end, it's still mostly the same. I still didn;t get much else done, and I have a lot of other things to do. I have a cage to finish building (of course I really need a second person to help with that, so that's my excuse for not having done it) I have a Street Faire Saturday to get things done for, and I have my regular chores.

Why is it chores when you have to do it, but housework when someone else does it?

My father used to say "The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get." Yep. That's the feeling. Oh well, all I can do is what I can do.

Now, as far as the web stuff... (see title of this post) I've actually gotten some things done. Not much yet, but some. I haven't figured out how to make a membership area on my website yet. I hate to think I'll have to pay for it (EEK!) but I don't want people just coming onto my site and watching my videos unless they've signed in and left an email address. Yeah, I'm a control freak.

I did open a MySpace page. Its address is See, my every web page name is bursting with originality! No stale sense of sameness here.

I have some pictures of us on there and a really embarrassing profile. Okay, it's not really embarrassing, but something must be wrong with it, since I keep getting "Friend requests" from twenty-something girls that want to meet me and have me go to a party with them. Doesn't the word "married" mean anything anymore?

Anyway, I haven't gotten my FTP program up yet, so I can't really upload a video to the website. I have the Lockpicking one done (and I think it's much better than any of the ones I checked out on YouTube)
Future topics will be:
Bullet proof vests...(featuring my level 3 and possibly some help from a local PD officer
Guns...Okay, I have lots of guns, I'll show you the difference between a pistol and a revolver, and so on.
Under the hood of a car... I'll ID parts and what they do so you can actually write like you've been under the hood of a car before (and I mean on purpose)
Boating (non-gasoline boats)... Featuring my sailboat and possible a canoe.
Animals ... I do wildlife education full time, I'd be pretty stupid not to do this one
Basic handyman stuff for your fix-it characters... There's nothing sadder than reading about a fix-it character from an author that has never fixed anything
Blacksmithing... I'll fire up the forge and make something decorative (no, not a sword, It's only a five minute video!)
Tatting and lace making... Arts and crafts are nice additions to books, and tatting is a classic craft.
Rockcutting and jewelry making... Yeah, I do this too. The last name is Stone, I had to do something with rocks!
Carpentry and wood carving... Different but similar to the handyman one, just more artsy.

So, which ones should I do first? Any othre ideas of videos that I'm qualified for? Feel free to leave your comments.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Wonders on the Web

I've finally done it! I got my lockpicking video back off the damaged disk!

Ha! You didn't even know I made the video did you? Well, guess what? I did. I made it for authors so they could actually describe lockpicking correctly. I made it specifically after I spoke to Stephanie Bond. She was very interested.

So, I'm thinking that I'll make lots of little five minute videos and making a spot on my website where authors can visit and view helpful videos.

I think it will be a really neat idea.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Back up and Running

My limited online time with the Mac is over. She's safely hidden away again, and the PC is back up and running. So, now the Mac is back to being my movie making machine, and the PC is back to being my online machine. It works out pretty good that way, I never have to worry about my expensive software and machine getting infected or my data being taken off it.

But, back to my blog. I did the submission for the e-zine. It was a sort of a chick-lit / comedy story. I had to send in two different submissions since I couldn't decide one was batter. Hopefully I didn't blow it by doing that.

I think insecurity is one of the biggest flaws writers have. We write our stories, and re-read them with great satisfaction. We're proud of our accomplishments, and in love with the entire manuscript, every word and nuance of it.

Then it comes time to submit it to someone else. Suddenly we start to notice flaws. Words seem to rearange themselves to make less sense than they did when it was just us reading it. So we edit it.

We work on it for days, weeks, or even months getting the newfound flaws out of our perfect baby. Once it is totally perfect, we send it in. Whether it's email or Postal service, we send the work out and chew on our fingernails and pull out or hair waiting.

Sometime, usually about a month later, we check out our copy of the manuscript we sent. And then we see it... On the first page... In the first paragraph... Ruining the entire submission... An error. Okay, it's not exactly an error, but it just sounds awkward. It might be the wording, or it might be just to bland a beginning. Whatever it is, it makes us worry.

The more we put out there, the more we worry about. By the time we've checked over all our submissions, we need to check into a mental hospital. Errors errors everywhere, and not a fix in sight!

All we can hope for it an editor or agent willing to ignore the tiny flaws for a good story and overall good writing.

In the mean time, we recognize fellow writers by their bitten or fake nails and thinning hair or judicious use of hats. (We won't mention the office chair spread or the ghostly pallor of never getting outside.)

Since I got back the rejection on the Green Haired Beauty Manuscript, I'm now waiting on an agent reviewing Dawn of Blood, one publisher reviewing Magick's Bounty, another publisher reviewing two erotic short stories, and a magazine reviewing an article.


(Extra fun thing, I just saw a cute video cartoon at:
Check it out, but be warned, it is a rant and profanity is involved.)

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Premature Excitation

I'm guilty. I went off too soon. I crowed about how I was online again, and boom, my karma ran over my computer. We got an ugly virus.

Yep, the things been down since my last post. It's still down. I had to do what I didn't want to do, I had to put my Macintosh G4 onine. I love my Mac, but there are no real decent antiviral or protection programs for it, so I don't want it consorting with other computers. You never know what sort of things it can catch; let alone what might happen. (If I'm not careful I might end up with little iPods running around!)

Yeah, My PC is down with a virus, but heck, it's a PC it can take it. I know, It's old fashioned to treat one computer differently than another simply by it's gender, but I've raised my little Mac from a Mac plus, and she's my little desktop diva. She makes better photos and better videos than anyone else (even if I am a proud parent, I know it's true!)

Meanwhile, my PC is getting better, so he'll be online in a day or two. I had to erase the hard drive and go to my back up system files. It's going to take a while to get all the kinks out of it, but he's a tough guy, he'll make it.

Oh, and I've finished the draft of that magazine assignment. Now to let it stew for a day then check it again. I'm never sure with Chick Lit...

Monday, July 2, 2007

Confusion, meet frustration...

As a writer, I try to do my best to submit my work to people in a way that will get me noticed, but not annoy the person I'm submitting it to. That's why it is so important to check out the submission guidelines before I send ot a query letter. I don't want to have the possible agent or editor remember me as the writer who can't follow directions.

My problems arose when I started using the internet to find agent and publishers to submit work to. I subscribed to "The Writers Market Online," and I looked at pages like "" for possible leads.

In doing so I discovered you can really P.O. an agent by looking at these sites, and not double checking their own personal web site. Once I sent a query to an agent via email, and got back an email saying they only take hardcopy submissions. Another time I met an agent at a convention, and when I mentioned reading about her on one of the online writer's pages, she was surprised. She had no idea there was anything about her on the site, and said she had no part in it being there.

It makes me worry. I have enough angst about sending out my manuscript at all. The thought that I could be sending it off just to anger an agent or publisher gives me the heebee jeebees.

I figure between my impatience and the errors from submitting things wrong, I'll soon end up with my face on warning posters in the agent and editors offices with a caption like:
"Beware of S. A. Stone, AKA: Stalking Author Stone. Subject is considered odd and annoying. If seen, go to the opposite side of the convention and hide or seek high ground. Do not approach unless you are wearing a business card proof outfit, have lots of time to waste, and want a reputation for a total lack of taste."

Of course, if and when I get to be a famous writer one day, I probably won't have to worry about those darn posters anymore...Right?

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Odd Opportunities

Sorry I didn't write yesterday. I actually had a weird day. It pretty much started on "Friday night" after midnight, so it was Saturday morning.

When I logged on to check my emial before my weekend started, I found a surprise. An e-zine I had sent a submission into sent back an assignment / request. Since it was a magazine, not a romance novel, I used one of my other email names. What was really cool was that when they had trouble with the email address, they used my web site from the query letter to get to my main email name. They actually had to work to find me after my submission, and they did!

I was pretty flattered, so I worked on the assignment they sent into the wee hours of Friday night. Remember, this is not a romance novel, and I don't even know if this publisher is on te RWA recognized list. But none of that matters if it is a real writing assignment and possibly a continuous opportunity.

Saturday Morning I met with someone who made a very lucrative offer for the wildlife refuge. He offered land for the refuge to use to care for our birds and to make a public visitation area . It is not a large amount of land, but it is good land in a good location. Unfortunately it is a bit far from where I live, making it a 45 minute commute each way forme if we move the refuge there. I spent several hours researching and discussing the possibilities.

Then I had to take care of the birds. I had a rescue bird to pick up and a vet to visit aside from the normal daily animal care work. By the time I had finished work for the day, I had a birthday party to attend. I got home late Saturday evening, and was just too tired to blog.

So here I am, Sunday night around midnight writing my blog to try to catch up...

Friday, June 29, 2007

Back online! WooHoo!

You've probably noticed I haven't added any new blogs since Wednesday. That's because I coudn't. My computer did an automatic update, and guess what? It killed it! Yes, that's right, Windows updated with 66 new changes, and my computer decided it had had enough.


We just got this machine a year ago. I'm lucky. I have a neighbor who does computer work for a living. We sat down at the machine and got it up and running (but not online) and turned off lots of stuff I never knew were on. Did you know that there are like twenty programs that do nothing but keep track of what you are doing so the computer can get there first? So if you go online each day at 4pm, the computer gets your online program ready at 1 minute till 4. It doesn't even ask if you want it to.

So, we turned off all the monitoring stuff, and we turned off lots of manufacturers stuff, and we found the lighted eye floating over the pyramid... Oops, wrong story. Sorry.

Long story long (It really cant be made short anymore). I had to totally dump some programs and reinstall them. I didn't lose any data (Thank God!) but it has taken me since Wednesday to get back here.

So, now I get back online just in time to report another rejection. Yep, it's only my 6th official rejection. Oddly enough it feels no better than my first. Stephen King supposedly had over 700 rejections before he made it big. Gads, no wonder the man writes horror!

When you write your first book and submit it, you can't understand why no one wants it. When you've written several books, and you submit one, you know the chances of it selling are slim to none, but you still hope it will sell. That hope is what keep you together. Each rejection is a bruise on your hope, and each one takes a while to heal.

It's a good thing I have an ego the size of the Hindenburg. Of course the size thing didn't help the Hindenburg that much either... Could that old saying actually apply in romance novels? "It's not the size, it's the technique..."

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Okay, I'm nervous! Not just a little nervous, but dog-gone-it nervous. (Yeah, I'm a bit of a country hick at heart, deal with it.)

I just sent off my two erotic stories to Harlequinn for their "Spice Briefs" line. Now I have 2 partials and 3 full manuscripts out there being read. Not just being read. I have things being read all the time. No, the difference is, these are being read by editors and agents. As in people who can actually get my stuff published.

I have to go back to what Christina Dodd said at the RWA luncheon last year. "Having your first book read is like steping up on stage, pulling down your pants, and waiting for a response."

Well, it's getting a bit drafty up here on stage, and now that so many people are looking at what I've got, it's downright embarrassing too!

So yeah, I'm a bit high strung right about now... Pity any telemarketers who call me right about now...

Monday, June 25, 2007

what's your bag?

I was at the grocery store today, and I realized how odd life must look from a grocer’s view. I was behind a couple buying soy milk, fresh fruit and Cheetos. Alright, they weren’t really buying the Cheetos, but it’s good artistic license. I really did see a twenty-something woman buying a bottle of Harbor Mist (wine) and a large tub of chicken livers.

I thought about the odd combinations of food and supplies people buy and had to laugh. Yeah, there were people there buying beer and chips, but there were just as many buying Jello and toilet paper. (Another combination I’m not really sure about!)

In the grocery store the poor grocer has to keep a straight face when the big burly men pick up a package of tampons, or the prim proper lady grabs a box of Magnum size condoms.

I watched people for a few minutes and realized the items weren’t the only odd things they were doing. I realized people in a grocery store will dress in way they would never dress anywhere else. There was the lady with the immaculate hair and makeup in line with me. She wore a tailored white shirt with a silver necklace and matching earings to enhance her image. But all of it was lost when you got down to her miniskirt that had a hole worn in the backside and flip flops on her feet.

Believe me when I say that there were much worse dressed people there. Some of the people seemed to think they were home and it was okay to wear stretchy or translucent clothes with no undergarments. Eek! Can we say appetite suppressant!

So yeah, I think life from the view of a grocery clerk has got to be hilarious… Hmm, maybe there’s a couple of romance novels in there somewhere… What do you think?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Like pulling teeth...

Well, here we are, a Sunday afternoon, with lots to do, and here I am writing in my blog. The worst part is, I have nothing to say.

Right now I could be outside cleaning the cages for the refuge, or I could be at my church's afternoon get togather. I could even be working on building new cages. But I'm not. I'm sitting inside at the computer typing words into my blog when I have nothing really to say.

Sometimes I just have to be lazy like that. In all honesty, I work 7 days a week most weeks, and I just have to stop and do nothing occasionally. Even then, I still have about 2-3 hours worth of things I absolutely have to do each day. Oddly enough, the animals I care for insist on eating every day. Imagine that! The ones in my hospital get upset if I don't keep up with their medicines or special care. Such attitudes! So, even when I say "I'm not doin' nothin' today," I'm still doin' some.

I went out on 2 rescues yesterday and had to work those around a wedding. Typical day this time of year. Baby season has finally started to wind down, so I'm only getting 3-5 rescue calls each day now. The vet is tired of seeing me. I've probably seen them more than I have any of my friends in the past few months. Now that the season is changing, I might get a little break.

Nah. If it's not one thing it's another...

But I'm still here in front of the computer writing a blog. Why?

It's pretty simple really. When I decided to start my blog, I made myself a promise. I promised to write something in it every day unless there is a specific reason not to. Not feeling like working isn't a good reason. A hospital visit , the power being down, or other things like that are reasons for not writing.

So, here I am. Nothing to say, but writing in my blog anyway, because I always do what I promise. Even if actually writing down anything is like pulling teeth...

Saturday, June 23, 2007

To Edit or not to Edit, That is the question...

When I finish a book, I look at it and smile. I usually jump up and do the victory fist in the air (sort of) at a job well done. But is it done?

No, Like I said in an earlier post, I edit my completed books at least 3 times before I even think about submitting them. On top of those three, I send the books out to critique partners.
Leslie Nuccio caught some things in my book Green Haired Beauty that made major changes in the novel. Tricia Bell has consistantly called me on stupid errors and subtle nuances that I just plain miss. After they critique, I have to redit the book again.

But the question comes after I've edited the book 3 times, had it critiqued, and redited. Am I done? I thought so, but I've found that's not always the case. I read through the book just before I submit it to be sure the editor will see it at it's best, and lo and behold, there are huge glaring errors jumping out at me. What the heck happened to my wonderful perfect novel?

I re-edit it once more then send it out. Now I'm done...Right? (Heavy sigh...) Nope. Two months later, when i've bitten my fingernails to the quick and pulled out clumps of hair waiting for some response from the publisher, I glance over my submission. And there is it... On the first page... In the middle of the page... Another stupid glaring error!

I sent in this garbage? How could I have possibly missed the difference between "from" and "form?" How could I have forgotten that critical comma? How could I have put that long paragraph in the beginning of the book when it clearly should be two separate paragraphs.

So, now I have a flawed manuscript in with a submission editor, no fingernails, decorative bald spots on my head, and I still hope I'll get published.

I've only written the book and checked over it 6 times already! How many times do I need to rewrite the thing? It's enough to make me tear out my hair... Oops, can't do that anymore... Maybe I can bite my... No? Darn. Where's that blasted chocolate when you need it?

Friday, June 22, 2007

Sometime I feel like a voice in the wilderness...

Each day people like me write our hearts out. In the writing clubs I'm a member of, there are at least 4-500 people that di justlikeI do. They work on their novels each day, they write blogs and websites, and they put out part of themself for everyone to see.

I'm unique, just like the rest of them.

It's funny, I read my own work, and I love it. I laugh at the humor and I get misty at the sad parts, but all in all, I like to think I have a unique voice. My writing is me, but it's also something I'll never be. It's something from inside me that is more than I am and more than I understand.

Okay I'm a writer, I should be able to describe this better... Lets see... When I work on a book, it becomes a thing unto itself. The characters become as real to me as the people I meet at my other job. They refuse to let me do things they simply wouldn't do. They go into the story kicking and screaming to be treated with respect.

The story itself won't let me know too much either. I can start with an idea, or I can start with an outline. Either way, the story will develop the way it wants to. What's the old saying, "Man makes plans, God laughs." My writing is like that. I'll start out with a full outline, and while I'm writing something will shift the entire focus of the book. Sometimes it's the world I've built, other times it's a character that's just plain not going to allow me to do something.

That's right, my books bully me. But in the end, the new storyline is always better than the old idea. Is it my own creative voice arguing with me, or is it just that I hate to follow the rules? Look at my books, you'll see what I mean. Everyone wants the basic alpha hero, I write and Alpha Prime Hero and the Alpha heroine.

Alpha Prime heroes are powerful, but secure in their strength. They let people do what they think they want, and don't play the 'overpower and control' games. They just do things behind the scenes and fix what needs to be fixed without the "in your face" garbage. In a way they are a more devious character, but they never force a woman to do something she doesn't want to.

My heroines are more the alpha characters. They follow the basic 'tough girl' mentality. Yeah, it's romance, so they had something bad happen to them, but you will NEVER see a heroine in my book get raped and suddenly fall in love with her rapist. That kind of cr*p is just that.

But, back to my voice. (clears throat) I've read a lot of romance books. I would say that I probably have over a thousand of my own, and I've read all but ten of them. I average 2 books a day over the last 3 years (which includes days of just reading where I have gone through as many as 6 books, and other days where I haven't finished one full book) Do the math 2 x 3 x 365 = 2190 books. I read to learn. I can tell you who the bad guy is before I get to the ad in the center of each book. I can usually tell you what compromise the hero and heroine are going to have to make to be happy. I can also tell you if I'll ever buy another of that author's books again.

Some authors always have a twist that gets me though. Lori Foster always has something highly emotional in her books that makes you need to see her characters get together. Candy Halliday always has something highly visual in her books that makes you just want to fall out of your seat laughing. Carly Phillips always has a feel good about yourself angle in her books. These are the author's voice coming out.

That's voice. It's just as important as a "brand" A brand is something like Vicky Lewis Thompson's use of "Nerds" in all her books.

Publishers love brands. I just love good books. I've read enough to know how many truly talented people there are out there.

When I look around at all the great authors, I have to realize how hard it is to be heard... Out here in the wilderness of unpublished writers.

Is anyone out there?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Frustrating delays

I'd like to think I'm a patient person. I honestly don't rush too many things in life, and I can usually wait as long as I need to for most anything. But I've gotten pretty nervous about how long publishers take to let you know whether they want to publish my books.

Don't get me wrong, I understand the delays. I know that for every winner they get, they have to read through hundreds of books that are just not what they want. On top of the problems of reading through the new submissions, they also have to work on the books they have agreed to publish. They don't call them readers, they call them submission editors because they have to go over the books and edit them before printing.

I was told by a published author that it can take up to 2 years from when they get the submission to when the book actually goes to print.

I think I'll be insane by then! Most publishers say their submission response is at least 8 bweeks. Of the three publishers I have submissions in to, one says 1-12 months response time, one says 4 weeks, but if you don't hear within 8 weeks you can email, but don't call. The third has a 3 month backlog (at least) according to their web page.

On top of the normal delays, the RWA national Conference is coming up. Most of the publisers send editors to the conference to hear pitches. They get literally thousands of submissions between July 15th and August 15th.

One agent sent me an apology because she hadn't even gotten to read my submission for 6 months! It just shows the number of submissions they each get every day.

But I will be published. I know I will. One of my novels will be on the desk in front of the right person at the right time, and I will get that call...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Secret Lives

I've been sitting here answering my emails with a TV on in the background. The TV has been playing "The Secret Lives of Women." It's pretty amazing how many ... different, yeah that's the way to say it... different, people are out there. I watch some of them and realize the lifestyle is pretty cool, but some of them are just... Scary.

I'm not old fashioned, and I have been interested in sex for many years, but sometimes you have to have limits. That's part of the problem with romance writing too; limits. What is the limit of what you can write? How can you tell the difference between erotic sex scenes and pornography? It's one fo the biggest problems I've had with romance.

Now the romance publishers are asking for more course language and for things that were previously taboo. Bondage and Kink are on many epubs, and some are going in mainstream. My little seductive scenes, while scandalous a few years ago, are not as risky and hot as many of the mainline series.

So, How do we tell what is to hot and what is too cold for today's market? I wish I knew the secret...

Monday, June 18, 2007

Count to three...

Last night I had a new experience. I went to a professional wrestling match.

Now, I'm not much of one for sports. That's putting it mildly. I rarely know who's playing in the superbowl until my one of my friends looks at me oddly and tells me a day or so before the game.

Anyway, the company the love of my life works for owns a skybox at the RBC Center, so they often have tickets to give away to employees. Of course, my sports loving other half grabbed 2 tickets to the event of the season...WWE Smackdown.

Unfortunately, none of our friends were available to go, so I was the second ticket. Together, my love and I headed to a smackdown. Is this ever a good statement?

We were in a skybox at the RBC center looking over a small square and tiny people. It was like watching action figures fighting. They started out small, and get bigger and bigger as the show went along.

Of course there was a break in the enlargement process as the women took the ring. The champion with white leggins with strategic windows in the sides, and a "local favorite" from Virginia wearing black martial arts pants. They both wore sports bras that never moved or shifted no matter what the action...(How did they do that?)

I was amazed at the difference in fighting styles. While the men did nice fake wrestling moves, telegraphed punches, and jumped into each other's arms for body slams. the women kicked each others butts. I saw karate katas, side kicks that actually connected, and real martial arts. I was amazed. This was no cat fight, this was combat.

So, the champion beat the challenger, and the next set of men dwarfed the Barbies from the previous round. Back to overacting and posturing. Now don't get me wrong, this is not stuff you or I could do. You have to be a hell of an athelete to hold a 200+ pound man over your shoulder and control his fall to the mat. In its own way it was all amazing. But it was like watching a magic show where you know the secret to all the tricks. It's a great performance, but not my thing.

All in all it was a good thing there was a lighted area in the skybox. I watched about 2 minutes of each match, until it just seemed silly, then I went across the box and sat by the light to read. (except for the ninja girls. I watched about ten minutes of them, but left when they started doing the wrap up using the wrestling moves.) Needless to say, I read quite a bit. In the 3.5 hours I was there I finished Candy Halliday's "Dinner First, Me Later," and read 175 pages of Rachel Vincent's "Stray."

So, I didn't do any work Sunday, just like I said (except volunteer at church, clean 22 cages, feed 36 birds, medicate 3 hawks ...) and I did get to read a bit. it was a good day, even if it ended with a smackdown!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Idle hands are the devil's playground.

I sat down at the computer today to check my emails and felt like I was done with everything I was working on.


Sometimes I wonder about my creative processes. I have 4 books that are deep in process, one that's at an editor as a partial that I really want to re-edit, and 2 submissions that are almost ready to go. Aditionally, I have 14 injured birds I'm caring for, and the paerwork part of that is way behind. Yet here I am thinking I'm done. What's with that?

I set up the blog wondering if I was ever going to be able to keep up to date. I'm glad I've been able to write something in it everyday, even if it isn't funny stuff. I guess a blog is the cheapest therapy money can't buy.

But bottom line, it's hard to work 7 days a week, yet all of us seem to have to do it. Parents get no break from their kids needs. All the reast of us tend to get teh stuff we missed during work done on our days off. That's still work. Even different work is work.

So, here it is father's day, and even though I'm not a father, I aint workin on nothin'! So there!

See you tomorrow

Saturday, June 16, 2007

To sleep, Perchance to dream

well, 10:45 is still morning, but it sure seems like a totally different day than 3am.

I woke early today. I had some problems sleeping. Pizza at 10pm isn't good for old people, remember that for when / if you grow up. One problem with being a writer and eating funky foods late at night is the dreams.

Now I'm not saying that all dreams are bad. You'd think as an erotic writer I'd have lots of hot sexy dreams, wake up ready, and attack my spouse. Nope, sorry. Doesn't happen. Besides, if I woke up You Know Who from a sound sleep on a worknight; well, lets just say the house better be on fire. Almost 20 years of marriage, and lots of job stresses make a really good night sleep very important.

But no, as a writer, my dreams are usually, sadly enough, about the book I'm reading at the time. That can be nice, but it can be particularly depressing. My dreams when I read the Thomas Covanant Series By Stephen R. Donaldson weren't just depressing, they were near suicide inducing.

Laural K. Hamilton set up some nice action packed dreams. Her Kick butt character Anita Blake had just the right amount of attitude and gunplay to make for some real REM actionfests. Some of her early books really brought me hours of alternative dream scenarios. None of them worked out like the books did, but hay, that just means I got two stories for the price of one.

Michael Resnick had some pretty neat dream stories too. I loved "Santiago", but I didn't dream about it until I finished the book! It was pretty cool; I continued the story from where he left off. Of course mine had a much happier ending...

The same thing happened after Harry Turtledove's Adventure of the Toxic Spell Dump. I had such vivid and wonderful dreams for that one, I even wrote him and asked if I could write a sequel using his characters / world. He said no.

I wasn't surprised. All writers are protective of their work. Most of them even sue to keep you from writing things based on their characters. (Except Gene Roddenberry: he loved fan fiction, as long as you didn't sell it you were fine...).

But Harry Turtledove said something in his reply that I took to heart. He told me to make my own version of that fantasy world and write the story from there. I thought about it for a couple days. Alright, I brooded and sulked... But finally, I did what he said. I wrote it down. The story I wrote became "Fleeing the Night." It's a story about a working class stiff in a world where physics to them is what mystical knowledge is to us; legendary, but not really blatantly effective. In this story, his world gets rocked by the discovery of a complex machine and a government conspiracy to keep magic in power over physics.

Since then, several of my stories have heavy dream influences. In "Coming Home," the entire first two chapters are adapted from a dream. Especially the wonderful 'mystical grove' on the path near Dani's house. At least half of "Green Haired Beauty" is from dreams. "We had such hopes for you Jack" is 100% from the land of REM.

Pretty much all of my books have parts that came to me in dreams. None of the words ended up exactly like the original dream, but the sleeper is a definite part of my process.

So, I guess that means' "To sleep perchance to dream..." is only part of it. For me you have to ad: "To Dream perhaps to write... To write perhaps to create..."

What a novel idea! (Sorry, I had to get a bad pun in there, it was getting way too philosophical.)

What light thru yonder window breaks?

What lousy window breaks when light hits it? It must be a backwoods window, who else uses the word 'yonder.' Hmm, I never thought of Shakespeare as a redneck, maybe that's why he wears that huge collar!

But I'm finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. That's a good thing, right? I've heard sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is an exit; other times it's an oncoming train. Could it be both?

In the last few weeks I've had more possibilities of being published than ever before. I've had an agent request a full manuscript, a publisher looking over another story for longer than their normal rejection time. (How do I know their normal rejection time? This is my 4th submission to them.) I had a specific request of interest in another novel from an editor who loves the premise of the book. And I had a strong suggestion from a trusted friend about some short story submissions.

So the light at the end of the tunnel might be an entrance into the next station. It might be an oncoming train here to give me a ride out of the darkness. Heck it might be my flashlight reflected on a glass ceiling. I don't know.

Oooh, how's that for some sappy philosophy? I guess I'm pretty happy now, so it shows in my blogs. I've finally gotten that *&%$ synopsis done, critiqued, double checked, and sent off with the submission! Happy Happy Joy Joy (Although Dawn makes a better dishsoap than Joy, and it helps wildlife too...)

So, now I only have 2 submissions to finish, and 8 novels to go back over and get ready to submit.. Hey, wait, I thought I was done! This is too much like work!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Good Night Sweet Prince!

It's 12:30 on Thursday Night/ Friday Morning, and I finally got the first draft of the synopsis done!

(insert fireworks, gun salutes, flag waving, champaign, and party horns here!)

I've been working on this submission for almost a month. I started on the 20th of last month. I had a novel that had been through 3 edits, and I had to edit it again. I had to remake the blurb and do the high concept. So, think about this... I had a third draft of a novel, and it still took a month to get it ready to submit!

When I started writing I didn't even know about all this stuff. I thought an author writes books, and then he or she is done. Silly ignorant me. Now I know better.

First you have to get the idea in a salable format. That means you need a tagline, a logline, a high concept, a pitch line and a blurb.

What does all that mean? It means no one wants your darn book, you have to get them to want it by showing them something to catch their interest.

A high concept is putting the book in terms anyone familier with modern media will recognize. for example, The High concept for Dawn of Blood, is : "The Queen of the Damned" falls in love with "Van Helsing". The High concept for Magick's Bounty is: "Die Hard" in the world of the tv show "Bewitched "

A blurb is what you see on the back cover or the inner flap of a book.

A tagline and pitch line are single sentances that make people need to read your book.
This is a tagline: "When a simple human bounty hunter finds herself accidentally married to the prince of the witches, she becomes the only barrier between the human world and a dangerous world of Olympian Gods and witches gone mad."

The sad thing is, all these single sentances are harder to do than a full chapter of text. I finished re-editing the manuscript in just a couple days, It's taken me a long time to come up with the lines.

So, as a writer, I have all this stuff to do before submitting the novel. Then I have to do a synopsis. I have to take the entire story and put it on 5 pages or less. and even worse I have to still make it interesting! Not just a facts listing, but a mini version of the story that still shows my "voice"

Debbie Macomber said "Submitting your book is like standing up on stage, dropping your pants and waiting for a response."

I think she missed the fact that half the audience have bolt cutters, and the other half have speculums..

So I did it. I got the draft done. I can sleep now.

Nite nite.

Another day another submission part 2

Well, I just finished the submission I was working on all night last night. So, it's done.


Unfortunately all my writing is supposed to be preofessional grade. That means I have to have it checked. My critique partner reads it over and I have either my spouse or a friend who is an English major look it over.

Of course the first draft is always perfect. I just use the critique partner and all the others to tell me what they as imperfect beings would call wrong with the works. Yeah right. I have to say if it wasn't for spell check, I'd look like a complete idiot half the time.

One of the hardest things to learn as a professional writer is the fine line between being right and being wrong. There are no real hard and fast rules, so what you want to say might work, but it might make you undesirable.

I'll give you an example. In my book Green Haired Beauty, I wrote a scene that was meant to be misleading. I had my main character, who is dressed as a clown entertaining at a kids party. In writing it I left out enough information that it seemed like I was talking about a stripper at an adult party. It wasn't until 3 pages later that you realized the truth.

I loved the scene. My friends all loved the scene. I sent it to contests and each and every one of them hated it. I had a couple of published writers look over it and they said they felt like it was a joke at the readers expense, and they hated it. I eventually rewrote the scene.

So even if I don't agree with what the people say about my books, I always let my critique partner and any of my frinde who are willing read and check the text, then I'm ready to submit.

But I still haven't done that *&%$ synopsis!

Another day another submission

Good Morning.

Yeah, like 11:15 is morning. Well, when you stay up until 5:30am to work on a submission, I guess 11:15 is considered morning. Now, I need to figure out if I'm bragging or complaining.

I got quite a bit done. This time of year creates lots of obstacles for my writing.
1- I get more injured birds each month between February and July than I do for the entire rest of the year.
2- Thunderstorms hit almost every day, making me have to use my alphasmart instead of my computer. (I can't afford to let my computer get zapped!)
3- Schools want to have me bring the eagle out for their end of year presentations, so I'm doing bird shows until mid June.
4- It's summer out there, and I want to be out in it, not sitting at a desk pecking at a keyboard.

So, the alternative is to get behind the keyboard at night. Like last night. So I worked. But not on the synopsis. No, that's what I was supposed to be doing, so naturally I didn't do it. No I had something else I had to do.

My Critique partner, Tricia emailed me and told me about a line that would be great for some of my writiing. I checked out the web site and looked at the writing she mentioned. It was too short for the guidelines, but there were ways to expand it fairly easily. So, from 9pm until 5am, I wrote, edited, and prepped. Now I have 2 submissions for the line. The submisssions are some of my older work modified to fit the publisher's guidelines. I'll send them out tomorrow...

So, my big thing for this morning is staying up all night writing...And I still don't have that &*%# synopsis done!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

what makes a good writer?

Well, I have to wonder about the world we live in. I mean, we work ourselves to death doing things we don't like so we can get that job we do like. Then when we get it, we wonder why we wanted to ruin a perfectly good hobby that relaxed us and made us feel good about ourselves by making it a job.

Kathy Guisewhite (I probably spelled her name wrong) once said she loved doing the "Kathy" comic strip when it was just a hobby. It was her way of relaxing after a stressful day. Now that the strip is her job, it doesn't relax her like it used to.

Now that writing is both a career and a calling, I still have to write, but I just don't really feel like writing the stuff I'm supposed to. It seems like cheating somehow to make money off your passion, and maybe that's why I tend to block myself when I have to get something done that brings in money.

Right now I'm supposed to be writing a synopsis for one of my novels for an editor. I really want the editor to look at the novel, but I really don't want to write the synopsis. It's kind of a catch 22. Every time I sit down with the synopsis in front of me, another book I'm working on pushes itself forward and blocks me from thinking about the synopsis.

Most writers call that a discipline problem. I guess they're right. Even at my best I always have at least 2 or 3 books in progress at the same time. I was brought up doing more than one thing at once, so it translates in my concentration.

So, here's the question... Is a good writer a writer who can write interesting stuff, or is it a writer who can make themself write about what they want to write about when they want to? I know I've seen some of the local bestselling authors struggle with a page a day when they aren't in the mood to write the novel, but they still do it. (yeah there are bestselling authors in Raleigh. I know of at least 3 in my romance writers group alone!).

Well, I for one am not sure the answer. If the ability to write interesting stuff makes you a good writer, then i like to think I'm a good writer. If the ability to make yourself write things you don't want to when you don't want to do it is what it takes, then I'm a pretty lousy writer.

But either way, I have toget back to the synopsis, and now that I have this blog set up, that's one less thing on my mind to distract me.

SAStoneRomance New Blog Site

Hi, and welcome to my new Blog site.

As a writer I've been frustrated by the probelms of time, money and blogging. I'm always ready to blog, even if i'm blocked from writing my books, but life tends to take away the time I have and the money I need to buy good blog software.

So, here I am trying to see if I can work it along side my web site. Since it's free, and It's not a pain to set up, I'll see if I can keep it up and write something everyday.

So, welcome.