March 29th, 2006
Ten Things I’ve Learned About Writing

This was a meme going around. These are things I’ve learned about writing. They might not be true for everyone. Accept at will.

1. Writers Write to be Read.
I don’t know why, but they do. Most writers don’t write manuscripts and then hide them under their beds or only let their relatives and friends read the book. Writers want to give their words exposure. I’m no exhibitionist…er, actually, let me rephrase…I’m pretty shy and introverted and would never want to be a celebrity or anything, but I want my words read. I want to share my characters and my worlds with others. That’s a strong motivator for me.

2. Write What You Love, Not for Market.
I know it’s a cliche, but it’s true. It’s always one of those things that women writers are told, (along with a condescending pat on the head), more than male writers are told. I do think to some extent a writer should be looking at the market, but within that parameter they should write something they love. I’ve watched writers trudge away at a book in a genre they don’t enjoy, just because they think it will sell. The problem is that their lack of enthusiasm comes out in the writing. That’s going to be a No Go no matter what, eventually.

3. Being Able to Butcher Your Baby Look at Your Writing Objectively is a Good Thing.
I have developed the ability to stand back (well, okay, mostly) and look at my book when it’s done and then say, “Oh! Lookee! That book should begin on page 50! That thar is a false beginning!” and then cut the first 50 pages out with a nary a blink of my eye. (Okay, I might blink, and I definitely wouldn’t use so many exclamation points.) It’s easy to get so attached to your work that you can’t cut text, or delete unnecessary subplots or characters. Eventually you have to learn to do it because sometimes cutting out some of your precious words makes the work stronger.

4. Crit and Be Critted.
Join a crit group or find a good crit partner. Although, caveat…it may take you a few times to find one you fit with. I learned so much by critting and being critted. Not only does it allow you to glean and share crafty-type knowledge and learn from the writerly travesties and triumphs of others, it toughens up your skin. You need to have a few callouses built up before you try and publish, and you *really* need them after you’ve published.

5. Make Friends With Other Writers.
So important. Only another writers know and understand common writerly angst. There is SO MUCH writerly angst. Plus, the sharing of knowledge is good — which houses and editors are acquiring, ect. Joining RWA as an unpubbed writer was one of the best moves I ever made.

6. Develop a Writing Habit.
Set aside time to write no matter what. If the muse isn’t working with you, if the words aren’t flowing, write anyway. Shite can be revised. You can’t wait for inspiration all the time. Sometimes that’s a long wait for a train don’t come, (2 pts for anyone who can name the movie I took that from). Sometimes you have put your ass in the chair and just write. “BICHOK” say the category romance authors — Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard.

7. You Can Always “Deepen” Your Character(s).

I have found I can always go back to a manuscript and find new ways to bring depth to my characters, whether it’s in the characterization or in their overall development. There’s always somehow I can make my characters more “real,” or show the changes they’ve undergone a little better. Always.

8. The Publishing Industry is about Money and Marketability, Not About “Art”.
The publishing industry is not an industry filled with fluffy bunnies. Editors are looking at the bottom line. They’re looking at marketability. That’s how badly written books make the bestseller list and some well written books never see print. It’s just a fact.

9. You Must Put Yourself Out There.
Over and over and over. Initially it’s sending your stuff out to be critted. Then it’s sending your stuff out to be assessed by editors and agents. Finally, it’s with the readers. Every day I throw myself out there, whether it’s socializing on my loop, posting excerpts, or arranging chats. I throw myself out there knowing that sometimes I won’t get responses, my excerpts will be ignored, ect… It’s just something a writer has to do. Throw ourselves out there and know we might be rejected. Over and over and over, and in many different ways.

10. I’m never happy with the finished product.
I’m never happy with my finished work. I can always go back and find flaws and things I’d like to change. I actually try very hard to never read my work after it’s been published because of this. If I must, I do it through my fingers (you know, like how some people watch a horror movie?). I’m extremely critical of my work. I’m probably my own worst critic, in fact.

March 27th, 2006
Of Booksignings & Bugs

Recap of my mini cross-country booksigning spree.

Elizabethtown, KY is MUCH bigger than they protrayed in that movie. Misrepresentation! We didn’t have a problem finding the bookstore, but were amazed the town was as big as it is. The booksigning went well. It consisted of me, Shiloh Walker, Veronica Chadwick and Heather Grothaus.

I know Shi, but it was the first time I’d met Veronica and Heather. Veronica is extremely warm and friendly. I liked her instantly. The same with the lovely and personable Heather. All of us nattered throughout the whole booksigning. Oh, I started reading Heather’s book last night and it’s GOOD. I used to read historicals all the time, but stopped for some reason. Her book may herald a return. (She has a gorgeous husband, by the way.)

Three of my friends drove down for the signing and bought books. Hee. They raffled off two beautiful gift baskets crammed with books and other goodies and two of my friends won them! I swear it wasn’t rigged. I didn’t even pull the names.

Then my husband and I drove to Nashville. We chilled out Saturday night, went to dinner and soaked in the hotel spa. Before the signing the next day we met a writerly friend of mine, her husband and her cutie kid for lunch at the Rainforest Cafe. I think her child was *very* impressed with the animatronics and the thunderstorms. The visit was too short, though. I need to spend more time on the next visit.

Authors at the Nashville signing besides me were: Phyllis B. Williams, Lani Aames, Shiloh Walker, Veronica Chadwick and Heather Grothaus. I didn’t get to talk very much with Phyllis and Lani, which was a pity.

Connie, a reader, made little gifts for some of the authors! So sweet! If you’re reading this, thanks again, Connie!! I love it!!! She has a delightful and attentive husband, too. Lucky girl.

After the signing, my husband and I high-tailed it home and slept like two big fur-covered rocks (the cats, you see). This morning I wake up to find one of my cats playing with a CENTIPEDE in the hallway. *shudder* Okay, I’m not squeamish about bugs. I’m fascinated by spiders and refuse to kill them (I trap them and put them outside). I don’t mind snakes. I think they’re cool. But centipedes give me the heebies like nobody’s business. I pounded that sucker into the floor with a shoe before it could BLLLLLLLLLLLAAAAAARRRRRGGGGG scurry away on all those little legs.

Now I’m freaked out that there could be MORE. If there’s one, there must be…..*shudder*….MORE.


March 22nd, 2006
New Contract!!

Tempted by Moonlight has been accepted at Ellora’s Cave. It’s another menage a trois, the sequel to Seduced in Twilight.

I have to think up different titles, though. Apparently “moonlight” is used too often.

March 22nd, 2006
Back from Las Vegas!!

I went to Las Vegas with the Maverick Authors (and a friend) this past weekend. Much fun was had!

Here are a few pictures:

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Here is Lauren Dane, Moi, Megan Hart and Julie, (a friend). Did you know Megan Hart just sold a THREE BOOK DEAL to Harlequin Spice!! We are so excited for her!

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Here’s me and Megan.

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Megan and Lauren making their trademark “devil horns”.

Did I mention that we saw Thunder From Down Under while we there? No? Oh, baby…gorgeous Aussie men flaunting themselves in front a bunch of screaming, crazy women. It was something to behold. If you’re ever in Vegas, I recommend going to see the show.

March 12th, 2006
Bunny Love

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Meet Velveteen and Fawn. Aren’t they cute? They have the run of our screened-in porch and are, believe it or not, buds with the cats.

So today, writing. I’m also very productive on Sundays. Don’t know why, but I am.

March 10th, 2006
WINNER of “Searching for the Miraculous”

You ALL made such breathtaking entries. I kept tearing up. Wonderful. Beautiful. I’m so happy I hosted this contest. I wish all of you could win something.

But, since I haven’t won the lottery yet….

By random drawing, the winner is: Marcy.

Congrats, Marcy!!! I’ll be broadcasting this all over the place since I don’t have your email address. Please email me at anya (at) so we can arrange things.

March 8th, 2006

Shiloh Walker and I will be signing books at 1001 Paperbacks (7405 Fegenbush Lane Louisville, Kentucky) on Saturday, March 11th from 10am to 12pm.

If you’re in the area, stop by and say hi!

Other signings coming up:

Shiloh and I, plus many other great authors, will be signing on Saturday, March 25th from 2-4 pm at the Barnes and Noble in Elizabethtown, Kentucky (1980 South Dixie Highway, Elizabethtown, Kentucky). The famous EC tour bus will be in attendance.

I’ll be signing at the Barnes & Noble in Nashville, TN (515 Opry Mills Drive 37214) on Sunday, March 26th from 2-4PM with a group of as-yet-to-be-determined EC authors. The tour bus will be present for this signing too.

March 6th, 2006
Searching for the Miraculous in Everyday Life

Recently I started my very first non-paranormal romance. It’s a BDSM romance, actually, but there is not a STITCH of a paranormal element anywhere in it. So, let’s see, all told I’ve written…*counting*…fifteen novels and a handful of novellas. This is the first one that is set completely in reality.

Since there is no fantastical element, I’ve found myself casting about for the mirculous in everyday life. I do this in my real life, so I must be able to do to in my non-paranormal fiction, right? I’ve found I can. 🙂 Pretty cool.

So, tell me about something beautiful or amazing from your everyday life. It could be something from your past, something from this morning, whatever. Just give me beauty from the ordinary.

Post your item of ordinary fantasticalness (yes, I made that word up) and I’ll enter you in a contest to win a bottle of Bastet from The Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, an autograghed paperback and a box of delicious chocolates.

Here’s an example from my life to start you off. This happened a while back.

Every morning on the way to my day job I pass this bus stop with a bench. Every morning there’s two people there waiting for the bus–a man and a woman. At first one is standing and the other is sitting. The next day they’re both sitting. A couple days later they’re sitting a little closer. A few days after that they’re sitting together very close and talking intimately.

They’re never there anymore. I imagine they’ve moved into together and bought a car. 🙂

Give me beauty, people. It can be anything at all. 🙂 Anything you find magical, amazing, fantastical or miraculous about living in mundane reality every day.

This contest ends on Thursday, March 9th.