Category Archives: The Barbed Rose

Fancy Dress Party

So we went to the party. This is me in one of my new fancy dresses. I like sparklies, and there are sparklies all the way down the front of this dress.

The invitation wasn’t real specific about where the party was–the hotel and convention center is a pretty big place, and we had to hike through the hotel till we found the right ballroom. I actually remembered a few names of people I’d met before, and even recognized who went with who even when they weren’t next to each other. I’ve met a dozen or more women named either Carol, Carolyn, Caroline or Karen… at least it seems that way. Makes it easier to remember names. I can just come out with a Kar–and mumble an ending, and they’ll think I remember. I’m so bad at names, I don’t mind at all being introduced as Grace.

Grace was actually my nickname in college, because I was so good at tripping over cracks in the sidewalk and getting run over by rampaging Weimeraners and losing my balance and falling into people and stuff. If somebody was going to mix my name up, that was probably a pretty good one to stick on me.

So, here’s the fella in his brand new tux. Someone told us at the party that the island is actually a two-tux town. I suspect we’re not rich enough for the two-tux level, but his position is a pretty political one, so we may get that many fancy-dress invitations. We’ll just have to wait and see. The guys were mostly in tuxes, but the ladies were all over the board–some in cocktail dresses, some in fancy dress pants, some in long dresses. I’m just grateful I didn’t drape my sleeves in the food…

And yes, I have to show y’all my shoes. I got really excited about finding a pair of shoes that would actually go onto my feet–and I found them at a Department Store! Usually, department stores don’t carry anything that will fit me, (wide feet, high arches) but I could get my feet into these, they didn’t hurt any more than any other shoe, and they didn’t cost a bazillion bucks. They have sparklies on them too, but the sparkle doesn’t seem to show up in the picture.

While we were at the fancy party, before dinner started (beef wellington and a really great red and yellow tomato salad), we got invited to go on a boat excursion this afternoon, and since we had no other commitments, and we like boats, we jumped on the invite. I’ll try and get back to let y’all know how it went–and I will take the camera for more pictures. I really need to get back to my painting… (Pictures=stuff to paint, so when I think about pictures, I think about painting.)

It sounds like all I’m doing is running around and going to parties–and I’m doing a lot more of that, for sure. There’s lots of stuff to do here. But I am still working on stories and writing. I got quite a bit done yesterday–finished character interviews and re-wrote the opening. Now I need to get it typed in and merged with the rest of chapter one, and ship it off for critique at next weekend’s writers’ retreat. Except I have to go on this boat ride. And tomorrow afternoon, we have tickets to a concert downtown at the Grand Opera House. (Need to try to take a picture of the inside there…) Anyway, this one is a contemporary urban fantasy romance with the various cultural mythologies merged and mixed together. Tentatively titled White Elk Red Sword, but I’m also considering something like The Shaman and the Warrior Princess… anyway.

Beach report: Went walking with the fella this a.m., and since he has no flip-flops and I like to walk IN the water, we drove down to see if Academy was open (wasn’t), and walked from 45th street to about 27th and back, instead of from 61st to 53rd, like I usually do.

Gorgeous weather–not a cloud in the sky, nice breeze, water pretty cool. More shells than rocks on the beach, but not many of either. After we crossed the 3rd jetty, there was a whole lot of seaweed of both kinds (crinkly-leaved floater and big-stemmed with roots). We’re waiting for the first big norther to blow in and push all the water way out so we can really go shell-hunting. Seagulls, pigeons, little bitty sandpiper/pipits. Saw a big sandpiper/stilt (I have Really got to go get my bird book.) with only one leg hopping away from us. And just as we were about the climb the stairs back to the car, we saw an egret fishing. Going to have to break out the long-sleeved shirt and hat and sunscreen for the harbor tour this afternoon…

I really am appreciating all the “Book sighting” reports. I had a sighting! I went across the causeway into town for the RWA meeting last Tuesday (listened to Sharon Mignery do a great workshop on Conflict), and stopped off at the Barnes & Noble, and there they were! THREE copies of The Eternal Rose and one of The Barbed Rose. So I signed them. Didn’t have any stickers…I’ll take some next time I head into town–which might not be until the next meeting, but that’s just the way it is. So. Thanks, y’all. :)

The Books Are Arriving

Commenters have commented here that they have received their books. (Thank you very much. It was good to know folks are getting them.)

I have now received my copies. Yes, they are beautiful. I might even read it. I read my very first two books when I got them. (They were short.) I read Compass Rose. I only got about halfway through Barbed Rose. So–given how many times I read Eternal Rose through the revision and re-revision and paring-down-to-size process, I’m not sure I’ll be able to get all the way through it. I might go back and re-read Barbed Rose again.

I have found that when I create characters and a story that I like, I still like them when I go back and look at them again, even if it’s just a fragment I came up with ages ago that has no business even thinking about publication. I usually pick apart the prose when I read back over the story, but I still like the characters and the story. Or at least the intent of the story. What I wanted the story to be…I might realize how the story ought to be better told.

This is kind of what I’m doing now with Thunder. I came up with the idea so, so long ago–but I still like the idea and the characters and the story. I just know more about story-telling now, so maybe I can do them all justice. I hope. I’ve done more research, and I’m having a little trouble reconciling the emotional numbing symptoms of a PTSD sufferer with my character’s need to locate her family…but an overprotectiveness of loved ones is also a symptom, so maybe I can balance it that way. There’s apparently a wide variation in behavior–and given that my character is not so very “post,” I think I can make it work. It’s some of the hardest writing I’ve ever done, though.

Oh, there’s a nice review of The Eternal Rose if you’re interested, and in response to the comment about the bit that left the reviewer scratching her head, let me just say: It’s a fantasy. And leave it at that. :)

Nice slow week this week. Not much experimenting in the kitchen (I made Mediterranean Salmon with white beans last week…pretty good, even if salmon isn’t a Mediterranean fish–is it?). The steaks were awesome though, and we had leftovers. Then I found some sweet corn in the fridge to have with the leftovers, so they were awesome twice.

No beach visits so far this week–my walks have been around the neighborhood–and I’m going to have to get up earlier and get out the door earlier to beat the heat. But if nothing else gets planned–and if it doesn’t rain–I think I want to at least go to the beach to swim for my birthday Saturday. (Dang, but I’m getting old.)

They did call me to interview for the part-time job I applied for, but that’s two weeks away. I think it will be an interesting job, and still leave me time to write. Which I need to get busy and do. I need to earn my charm for September. August turned out to be just impossible. I’m probably 6 pages up right now, but that leaves me with 18 to go. I’m having to do as much thinking and researching as writing though… Have a research book I need to go buy.
Better run…

Writing about Sex

I have a list of things I want to blog about someday. I write them down–the ones I can remember long enough to write down–so I don’t forget them. For instance, I do want to write about the TIME Magazine article “Who killed the love story?” But not today.

And the son, who is home from university this week, found my list and wrote on it: Monkeys in Outer Space bent on destroying zuwieroiyushamnn At least that’s what I think he wrote on it. And I may write a blog about monkeys in outer space bent on destroying…whatever… But not today.

Today, I’m going to blog about sex. Specifically, about writing about sex in novels. See, I got a note on my Shelfari Shelf from a friend who said that she was “unimpressed” by the One Rose books because she didn’t like books that “focus so completely around sex.”

Which took me totally aback, because I certainly didn’t think the books at all focused so completely around sex. I’ve read books that focus completely around sex, and believe me, they have a LOT more sex than the Rose books do.

The Compass Rose has only three fully consummated love scenes in it. It has a few more “sex by magic” (sorta like phone sex, only without the phone) scenes, and the characters talk about sex a lot. Because the books are about men and women who care about each other, who have a relationship–who are married to each other, to be more exact–and who have different understandings from each other about relationships and about sex and how the world works. And I firmly believe that to put people in that kind of situation and NOT address the sex issue would have been nothing less than a flat out lie.

(The Barbed Rose has more sex, as does The Eternal Rose, because in those books, the relationships are on-going and more fully developed. By the time The Eternal Rose begins, seven years have passed since the beginning of The Compass Rose. The characters have been married for that long. Sex is going to be a part of those relationships.)

All those books that have men and women traveling together on a quest for months to retrieve the Magic Hoohah and save the world–and the characters Never Even Think About Sex–are just plain lying, IMO.

People think about sex. They have sex. They screw up their lives because they try to ignore sex and they can’t. Or they screw up their lives because they have sex with anything that moves and never figure out why they’re lonely. Sex is a part of life. It’s a huge part of life, and I think that novelists–in whatever genre they write–should address it, if they’re comfortable with it.

In speculative fiction, like fantasy and science fiction, it’s possible to explore a greater range of “what ifs” than in novels set in contemporary or historical times, and exploration is a good thing, I think. If I’m ever able to write more books set in the One Rose universe, I can see Kallista’s children complaining that it’s hard enough to find one person willing to put up with your faults–

I do understand that sex is a private part of life and that some people are uncomfortable with a discussion, or even a portrayal of something so intensely private and intimate. I understand that some people have moral issues with reading about sex. Personal opinions are just that. Personal opinions. And everyone’s entitled to have them. Which is why I left the note up on my Shelfari page and didn’t delete it. Tanis has every right to not like books with much sex in them, and every right to express her opinion.

But I did want to explain why I wrote the books the way I did, and why I write about sex, and there’s not a way to respond to a note on one’s own page, and I didn’t want to stick a note on her page without any context, so I came here to share my philosophy of writing about sex with the world–or at least as much of the world as comes by to read my blog.

I’m still waiting for my copies of The Eternal Rose… Sigh.

And Summer Goes Slipping By…

I have been scolded for not getting a post up. It’s not my fault–or not so much. I’ve been away. And I’m about to go away again. But I’m here now and so I shall attempt to get up a quick post.

You may recall from earlier posts (like the one just previous) that I had the grandboys for a week plus. We had lots of fun, going to summer reading at the library and such. Spent more time that I liked hunting for a) video tapes borrowed from the library and/or b) the boxes said videos came in. I had to get out a left-behind golf club and fish one of the boxes out from under the TV stand. One of the boxes I still can’t find–but the nice ladies at the library said to bring it on back anyway. (the video, not the box, since I don’t know where the box is, so I can’t bring it back. But the orange video is sitting on the end table in the den.)

Then their granddaddy left town to go start his new job. (For some reason he thought that was important.) That wasn’t so bad, but then the son–the little boys’ daddy–didn’t make it to town till about a day later than we’d hoped. (Me and the little guys.) We did fine, but we sure were glad to see their daddy.

Then I took them all home, and drove down to Austin to see the parents and the sister & B-i-L who were down from the far northland to see my niece graduate from Air Force bootcamp. That was an adventure and a half, but we don’t want to make this blogpost too long. The picture here is of the niece getting her Coin the day before the official graduation. She was an honor grad, but I blurred most of those pictures. (sigh) Anyway, it was a lot of fun to get to go and see all the ceremony, where she lived, all that stuff, and to visit with the family.

I took Mama & Daddy home before the rest of them came back up, because they couldn’t keep up too well with all the “young folks.” We had a nice time shopping and “resting up.” Then it was time to go to Dallas for RWA.

That was an experience and a half. And I took Absolutely NO pictures while I was at conference. I don’t know why, except that I just didn’t feel like dragging the camera around. So I didn’t. I didn’t even get a picture of me with my Prism award.

Yeah, I won the Prism Award in the fantasy category, which is a pretty nifty and well-respected award for fantasy and paranormal (like vampires and stuff) romance, presented by the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal chapter of RWA, for The Barbed Rose.

The Prism is given each year for the best published novel in several fantasy/SF/etc. categories (of the books that are entered, anyway). The other two finalists in the fantasy category were also LUNA authors, and I honestly never expected to win, which meant that when I did, and they asked me to say a few words, I had to fumble to come up with something. I sincerely hope I didn’t make an idiot of myself. I was absolutely thrilled–I’ve wanted one of these babies since I got to rub the one Robin Owens won…in Reno, I think it was. The award is a beautiful crystal…prism. It’s a pyramid engraved with the award name, the category, and the book title and author (me!), and it turns all sorts of lovely glowy colors depending on what angle you look at it. It’s sitting right on top of my desk (in one of the cleared off spots.)

I’ll write more about conference when I recover a little more. I danced a lot at the Harlequin party, and I’m still sore from that. A few of us tried to teach all the Yankees about the Cotton-eyed Joe, but I’m not sure how well it worked. Oh well. And then there was all the REST of the dancing.

I intend to post at least one more blog before I head down to the island for the weekend to look at houses. We shall see if I make it. I’m trying to write 25 pages on the World War II novel (working title: Thunder in a Cloudless Sky–because that’s what artillery firing sounds like…) by Saturday this week, so I can earn this month’s charm. It’s 25 pages for the month, and I haven’t written anything at all so far this month. (First boys, then out of town.) It’s looking pretty good. I’m up to 16.5 so far. Of course, I haven’t done a THING toward moving… except unpack the suitcases and divvy up the give-away books from conference.

Okay, done. I’m ending this too-long blog. Really. Now. I’m quitting.