Tuesday, May 27, 2014

have you taken the picture yet? now?

 I need a picture for an article and rather than have the reporter haul out to my house, we agreed that I could try. Linda could try, that meant.  Which of them works as a promo shot?
best-selling author!

Here's my old promo shot. But it's from 2004 so that won't work.

I sure looked nice then. Fewer pounds, lots more hair, more subtle wrinkles. This was professionally done.

Fast forward ten years. Linda took these this morning at Barnes and Noble. Thanks, Linda!

foofy hair!

your favorite kindergarten teacher!
forehead wrinkles!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

On Meeting a Stranger

No matter what the circumstances, everyone must have a touch of uncertainty that flashes, perhaps unconsciously, through them. Why are we bothering? What will this person want from me? What do I want from her? Will this meeting matter in the long run? Does it make a difference in the short? 

There might be excitement in that initial instant, maybe interest that is sometimes even sexual. But this second of impact—less than a second, sometimes longer—is intrusion into the solitude.

Chances are you'll soon be thinking of the next meeting, or the next words you’ll say, or which way to the bathroom, or what shall I eat for lunch

BUT for a tick at that first meeting, perhaps a heartbeat in length, instinct is there and it cuts through the rules and civilization to make one a apprehensive animal. 
where did this picture come from?
I don't know.

No wonder social fear rules some people’s lives.

Sometimes that flash is looking into the abyss and realizing how alone we are in these meat suits. At best it’s interesting brush with the unknown, meeting up with potential: here is someone who can hurt you, give you pleasure, ignore you, bore you, and you must be prepared to meet any one of these possibilities without the fine communication sources animals have. 

Too bad the internal animal that rears up for these moments doesn't provide more help. A hand shake or a nod or rote words of greeting aren’t as honest or informative as a butt sniff, but they're all we have to go by.

Friday, May 23, 2014


Chickens are smarter than I suspected and they have definite personalities. This is bad news for me because I really love their meat. But the more creatures I meet and get to know.....sigh.

I wonder why more back-yard farmers don't end up vegetarians. I'm talking about the people who name their critters and hang out with them one on one. Big factory farms--not so much. I bet you push any creature into a large enough herd and there aren't individuals any more so they stop being real. The creatures all together turns into something that makes noise, poops and moves, a walking unharvested crop--horror novel time here because that probably includes people. (Mmm. New York lunch crowd takes on a more sinister meaning.)

And what about all those words like "harvesting" and "culling"?  The military has nothing on farming for the euphemisms.

Oh. My. God.

Not only am I turning into a vegetarian, I'm apparently turning into one of those sorts. EEeeiiiiii!!! I better go eat a steak or something.

In that last post I was Author C by the way. People have asked me who author B was and man, I'd tell you all, but Author A said it was bad enough that I put this out there, she didn't want any more information to go out. Not my secret and I've done enough.

Why did I write that? A fit of temper. Maybe Author B will recognize herself and be ashamed? I sure hope so.

A's argument was that B must be very busy and can't see to everything herself.

My answer is hogwash.

I might buy that she's busy but I've actually met some successful authors and I can say bullshit (or hogwash) with emphasis and a sneer.

For instance I've met a few authors who has reached greater success than B, but still manage to say "yay" and "congrats!" to people or even help them out. I'm thinking of someone like Kristan Higgins who actually is friendly even when it's not necessary. She hasn't adopted that Gracious Grand Dame manner that authors occasionally acquire when they meet success and move in with it for a few years.

I don't mind the Gracious GD manner, btw, but it is pretty funny to run into when you knew the author before.

I've met K H a few times, maybe six, but she still knows who I am (although not getting names or faces isn't really something I should be sneering about since I can barely recognize the people I live with). She doesn't owe me any favors, not like B owes A. I didn't know her before she became successful. But I know without a doubt that if I asked her for help and she turned me down, she would do it personally and maybe even with style.

And yeah, being really busy is a side-effect of success and I expect those people don't have time. But plenty of big names have manners and as far as I'm concerned that's defined as being nice--perhaps even going out of your way on occasion--with people who can't do anything for you and have no power over you.

Clearly that goes double for people whom you knew before and who helped you back when they weren't so powerless. Freaking ladder climbers are one thing, pushing away the people who propped that ladder up for you? Gah.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Wasn't this the plot of a movie starring Joan Crawford?

No, I'm wrong. It's Bette Davis. Thanks for the title, Edie and Denise. The rest of you, guess the movie this vaguely echoes. Careers and roles aren't actively stolen....but still reminiscent, okay?

Let us say that a few years back, Author A got a note from a fan who wrote about how much she enjoyed the author's work. There's some back and forth and the fan asks author to look at her manuscript.

The author did read it and made some suggestions--quite a few as she recalls, although the manuscript was pretty freaking good and the author said so in reviews she left everywhere once the book was published.

She got a chance to beta-read another of the fan's manuscript, that one needed more work. By the third manuscript, however, the fan had an editor and an agent and didn't need more feedback. She was also now Author B.

That was the end, except for a congrats note here and there, liking posts on facebook--that sort of thing. They were supposed to meet up at a convention but Author B doesn't have a minute available on her schedule and they just don't do more than wave and blow kisses at that conference or the next.

Author B's dance card is full because now she is a big name author, getting bigger all the time.  She hits the lists.

Author A is puttering along, not doing badly but not hitting any lists. She decides to take her career more seriously and this means PROMO HELL. She writes a note to Author B asking her if she would be willing to read an Author A book and perhaps give her a pull quote. Or if that's a nuisance, remember how she wrote that note saying she liked Author A's book? Author A was self pubbing it now. So maybe she could provide a quote about that one?

She gets a form letter back from Author B's assistant about how the Author B doesn't have time to read or provide quotes. Author A sends another note a "wow, an assistant! glad you're doing well!" note (or so it's reported) and gets no response . . . other than an unfriending on facebook.

Two days later, Author A gets a newsletter from Author B asking for her fans to be sure to write reviews if they love her latest book.

"Were you tempted to hit the two-star review thing over at Goodreads?" Author C asks.
"Of course not. I would never do that. I might not buy the book though."

She's a vengeful type....not buying the book, forsooth. Author C simmers a while then asks,
"Can I call her out? Or ask her about it? I remember you helping her, so I know this hap--"
"Well, when she wins a big award, we can sit at a table and glower at her, a la Bette Davis at the end of All About Eve

It's a date. 

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Me too!

Sandrine tagged me. (and now I'm reading a description of her latest book -- oooo la la!)

I signed up to be part of the How Do You Work blog tour.

1) What am I working on right now?

Bonnie and I are working on another m/m historical and it's my turn to write a chapter. This one has scenes set in early 2oth century Paris so that'll take some research. I just searched for old photos of Parisian rooftops. Mmm. Pretty.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre? 

I asked someone what I should say about this. "Your books are better," she said. "Or, no, wait. Maybe you should say it's more character driven."
"More character driven than...?"
"Than whatever they're reading right now."
"They're reading this blog."
"Fine, then stick with 'my books are better.'"

3) Why do I write what I do?

Because it's often a lot of fun and I can't think of anything better to do.

4) How does my writing process work?

I whine a lot, play a game of solitaire, and eventually I write words.  Two days a week I go to a cafe and sit across from someone else who's a freelance type. We keep each other from too much websurfing. 

 Here's a picture of her with an oven mitt. I took it because that day she was wearing two pairs of glasses. I'm not sure why the mitt is there -- and like I said, I took the picture. The phone added it--Barnes and Noble's cafe doesn't have mitts floating in the air. The glasses are just one two of those things that happened. Or so she said.

She's about to stop playing Farmville to work. I'm opening my document and off we go. WORKING.

Most of the time I work on the couch in my house. Here are my coworkers there:

AND NOW !!!!! I've tagged Jamie Schmidt and the often-tagged Anna Bowling.

Learn about Jamie K Schmidt's writing process here. And here's her book that will be out the 27th of May.

Anna's article is here. And here's her cover!!