Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Rumors of My Demise

...have been greatly exaggerated.

Yes, I know, it's been a week and a half since I last blogged, but you'll be pleased to know I haven't been killed, arrested or committed to a mental institution (not for lack of trying, though--three squares a day, all the valium you can eat, and no kids hollering at you? I'll take it!).

I've been spending the last while ignoring my backyard, despite several days of sun, but today I have vowed to cut the six or eight inches of winter growth off my lawn and maybe weed the front flower bed. I even bought gas for my lawn mower this morning as an act of good faith. I've also been fighting the bi-annual war of attrition with my walking hair factory. My new dog, George, may be less than half the size of the late, lamented Slip, but she generates fur like it's going out of style. Another week, and I'll have enough raw materials to build a whole new dog--better, stronger, faster than the old one, and hopefully quieter too.

I finally got my taxes filed, too. All right, I brought them to the magical tax lady, who also brews wine for me, and she did them for me. And due to the fact that I'm now making money off my writing, and can claim all kinds of expenses I'd never even thought I could claim, I'm getting money back. Not a lot, but considering the fact that had I done my own return this year I probably would have ended up owing, I'm overjoyed. Gotta love a woman who can conjure money out of thin air and keep you supplied in booze. :)

I've also been jumping in and getting all up close and personal in several online discussions of f/f love and eroticism in the romance genre, which, considering my WIP, is a subject that looms large in my mind at the moment. Last week, it seemed there was a new post every other day dealing with the issue, and in a rare departure from the norm, they've pretty much managed to maintain a civil and respectful tone with nary a "girl parts are icky" to be found. My blogging buddy, Leah, will be posting a link round-up on LVLM in the next day or two, including some cool posts from a year or two ago that anyone interested in female bisexuality and the fluidity of attraction and arousal might find useful.

I've also been plugging along with Lianon and Rhianna's story, adding 1000+ words/day. It's now sitting at almost the halfway point (unless I decide to up the final word count, which could very well happen, considering it's taken more than 17000 words just to get Lianon's hand up Rhianna's skirt. I know, for the queen of Page One Sex, this may seem unusual, but I think it works. At least I hope it does. Granted, there is sex before that--but it's not between the hero[ine] and the heroine).

I am, however, in a bit of a quandary regarding the title of this tome. The story, which involves Lianon leaving a fulfilling but fairly casual m/f relationship to pursue another woman, will end in her giving up the business of hired thuggery in favor of a more mundane lifestyle. Several titles have come to mind, but liberally laced with puntastic cheese and lame double entendres, they're right up there with Two Scabbards, One Sword (the cheesetacular working title of Bound by Steel).

Giving Up the Sword? Um, maybe not.

Sheathing the Sword? Yikes.

Sword and Satin? Blurgh.

Anyway, if any of you all have some ideas that don't involve thinly veiled phallic/vaginal symbolism, I'd be much obliged if you'd suggest them in the comments. :)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A teeny update

First off, I'm in the midst of second round edits on Chancellor's Bride, and I've come to a shameful realization. I am addicted to adverbs. No, not the standard -ly adverbs that are the bane of so many writers' existence. Nope, I'm a slave to "up", "down", and "back". I also seem to have an unhealthy attachment to the word "so" in all its forms. Luckily, my editor Bethany is there with a huge vial of verbal methodone to help me kick the habit, and I think my writing is a lot stronger for her ruthless but fair application of the dreaded red pen.

Second, I just got the cover art comp for C'sB, and damn! I can't show you all until Crissy approves the final version, but holy crapweasels, it is smokin'! I can't gush enough about Mandy Roth AKA Natalie Winters, who also did the cover for Bound by Steel. That woman definitely knows sexy.

Third, I am currently kind of stymied concerning the tagline for the book--the one or two sentences that encapsulate the story. I hammered one out that wasn't precisely spectacular, and the blurb editor came back with a second option that I'm also not in love with. I mean, it's good, but I don't want to marry it or anything. Perhaps I should come up with a few possibilities and let you guys vote for which one you like best, or even make suggestions on how to improve it? I could make a contest out of it or something...

Lastly, I had a nice IM chat with Bethany last night, and was reminded yet again that she's the absolute best, most amazingly supportive editor evah!!!1! I honestly could not ask for anyone more enthusiastic about my work, and the fact that she's been willing to take chances on stuff other editors might not touch with a ten-foot pole just makes me feel so very fortunate to have her. And all I have to do to keep her happy is not kill off any small, furry animals. So I just want to give her a shout-out here: Bethany Morgan, you're my hero. :)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Something Smells Rank

...and it's Amazon.

Well, proving once again that even the irresistible marketing force that is Amazon is prone to hubris and hypocrisy equal to any soulless government bureaucracy, Amazon's PTB have rejiggered their sales ranking system to exclude what it deems "adult content".

By Amazon's definition, "adult content" = books on parenting for gays and lesbians, YA fiction with sex or gay characters, erotica, GLBT romance (even the sweet variety), dozens of Aphrodisia and HQ Blaze novels (and mine, I would assume), and Lady Chatterly's Lover.

By Amazon's definition, "all-ages content" = Mein Kampf, books on dogfighting, Playboy: Wet and Wild Complete Collection, Playboy: The Complete Centerfolds, graphic novels depicting incest orgies, the memoirs of porn stars, and American Psycho.

Clearly, their first concern is the moral well-being of the children. We must think of the children!

Why is this a problem, you ask? Because Amazon's sales ranking system and search engine are symbiotic. Exclusion from the sales ranking means your book will not turn up on the search engine--or in those stupid emails they're still sending me (after buying ONE book from them) suggesting that because I bought Stacia Kane's Personal Demons, I might like every other urban fantasy ever written. It's the brick and mortar equivalent of a bookstore removing your book from the shelves and making readers go to customer service to request it by name.

It also means (oh, the irony) that when gay and lesbian parents looking for info on raising kids enter the keywords "homosexual" and "parenting" into the search engine, it will spit out A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality.

I'd laugh if it wasn't so stupid.

But there are things that can be done. You can sign a petition here.

You can write a nasty email addressed to ecr@amazon.com or phone them at 1-800-201-7575.

And the Smart Bitches have a cunning (and winningly bitchtastic) plan to mess with Amazon's Google presence. All you gotta do is stick this link: Amazon Rank somewhere conspicuous and encourage people to click on it. A lot. As the number of clicks increases, that post will creep up the Google ranking, and eventually, when people google Amazon Rank, they'll be directed first to the awesome new definition the SBs have come up with.

So, go on, have at them. Do your worst.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Ooooh, shiny!

My new website, that is. After many trials and tribulations (which almost culminated in me seeing just how many billion pieces I could smash my new Vista-powered laptop into when it flat-out refused to unzip a zipped folder) I have built a new Wordpress website.

Well, actually, Elle Media designed it. And my fellow Diva and new favorite person evah, Jeannie Lin, whose book Butterfly Swords recently finaled in RWA's Golden Heart contest, went into the bowels of my webhost's FTP and actually got it up where it's supposed to be. Suffice to say, I now dream of Jeannie with the dark brown hair, her slender, gracefully tapered fingers stroking her keyboard and lovingly caressing my website into submission--much more effective than my standard bash-with-hammer-see-what-falls-out method.

This new site is not as graphics-heavy as the old one (not many nekkid pictures for y'all, sorry), but it will be super-amazingly easy to update. My old sitebuilder required me to have a huge program installed on my computer, to make any changes on that computer, then save them, then publish them to the project, then log onto my host and upload the altered file. I had to do this whether making a whole new page, or changing one typo.

Plus, there was no way to update from another computer, unless I wanted to go in and rewrite code onsite--and you can probably imagine how THAT would have turned out. Not long ago, I added a page (my Purple Panties story *ahem*), and it made all the content on my Kaemon & Egraen story pages disappear. I couldn't even figure out what had happened, let alone how to fix it.

Now, I can log on from anywhere, and make whatever changes I want in about three minutes, yay!

So with this new, easy-peasy to update site, what can you all expect? More news. More free reads. More ME! Hooray!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

What, me worry?

Okay, so about 11:30 last night, I formatted my manuscript, tossed off a quick email and hit "send". And felt like I was gonna puke my guts out. Not only has this book put me through a meat grinder, but I was anticipating a wait of up to a month before I heard a yea or nay--and I wasn't looking forward to it AT ALL.

So imagine my surprise when I looked in my inbox around 10 this morning to find an enthusiastic email from my editor. She loved it, and wanted to know if a July release date was cool with me. Of course, that would mean we'd have to blast through edits in less than a month, but between us, that is totally doable. Once I confirmed it was not an April Fool's Day joke (hey, I'm paranoid, so sue me), I happily accepted. Contract arrived less than an hour later, and we're set to get this puppy done by the end of the month.

Of course, that means I won't be working on Lianon and Rhianna's story for a while. But on the bright side, you all won't have long to wait to read The Chancellor's Bride. Yay! :)