Monthly Archives: April 2005

Hamilton V. Laurens

I’ve written (um, wait–I have to count and math is just NOT my thing) 18 pages so far this week, but I did not write a lick or a promise yesterday. This is because the brand new Laurell K. Hamilton book in the Meredith Gentry series, Stroke of Midnight, came out on Tuesday, my day in Amarillo, and I was able to go by Barnes & Noble and buy it.

I took it with me to my doctor’s appointment to read in the waiting and exam room during all that waiting one always winds up doing, and to Dairy Queen for a reward after, and made myself leave it in the car while I went to art class, then came home and finished it. Wednesday (yesterday), I picked the book up and read it all over again. I gobbled it down so fast on Tuesday, I had to read it again just to be sure I got all the good stuff.

I realize that there are a lot of readers out there who do not like Hamilton’s sidhe series and don’t much like the direction the Anita Blake series has taken, the last few books, but I’m not one of them. I love the books. Every single, blessed one of them. And I too (like Hamilton in her essay) find it funny that more people get all squidgy over the sex than the extreme violence.

Anyway, I got to thinking about these books which are just floating away on sex, and I got to thinking about another author, Stephanie Laurens, whose historical romances are also heavily laden with sex (though somewhat less kinky, she said in great understatement) which–well, leave me flat. I’ve read a number of them, and always wind up skipping huge chunks of the love scenes. So why do I love Hamilton’s books and not Laurens’s?

And after a fair amount of thought, I have decided that the difference is what those love scenes do, the purpose behind them. In Laurens’s books, they seem to be part of a layering process to show the hero seducing the heroine love scene by love scene into doing what he wants. The problem for me is that after the first one or two, it becomes overkill. “Oh geez, are they doing it again?” The love scenes stop adding to the story, or at least that’s how it feels to me. I’m sure there are plenty of others who disagree with me.

But in the Hamilton books, every love scene does something. It may create metaphysical bonds between vampire, human and shapeshifter, or awaken new magic in a sidhe lord whose magic is long dormant, or even “merely” deepen the relationship between two characters. In the latter case, Hamilton usually just gives us the one love scene and doesn’t repeat it again and again and again. At least not in the same book. Then again, it could be that each love scene lately seems to be with somebody different and that’s what I love about them. It is one of the things I like–but I don’t think it’s the main one. Again, lots of you will probably disagree with me, which is fine. Nobody has to like the same things I like. But I really do like Stroke of Midnight, and I’m glad Ms. Hamilton will have lots more coming. (And I’ve read it a third time since yesterday. I know, I know. But I did.)

Excitement, and thoughts on blogging

I’m all excited because my friend got a call from an editor she’d pitched to at a conference in San Antonio–at the appointment, the editor wouldn’t even let her run ideas by her because of a protocol matter–but the editor thought about her all weekend, went back to the office, looked up her previous proposal, looked at her sales numbers (she sold 3 books to Silhouette Romance, then didn’t sell anything else for over three years), cleared up the protocol issue, and now she wants her to submit something to a different line that we’ve all thought my friend was a better fit for than Sil. Romance. After so long feeling like she was butting her head against a brick wall, she’s so excited, she’s practically hyperventilating.

So, see? Even if you’ve been published once, or twice or three times, that’s no guarantee that you’ll get published again. Depressing thought, isn’t it?

I’ve been reading a lot of other blogs, and it seems that so many of them involve outrageous opinions that result in a lot of insults getting thrown around–or a lot of people agreeing with the outrageous opinion. So I thought I might try to make my blog more exciting, outrageous, or at least interesting. (My life is so BORING) The problem is, I’m not sure any of my opinions are outrageous, nor am I fond of arguments.

I can do conflict in my books. I HATE it in real life. I go far, far, FAR out of my way to avoid conflict. It’s the “peacemaker” in me. I’m an Enneagram 9. (I use the enneagram in character development, and of course, knowing oneself always helps in that–more about that another time.) Anyway, we shall see how things progress. I do have opinions. I’m just not sure how outrageous they are.

My books? Yes. They’re pretty outrageous. At least some might think so. The Compass Rose did get a mention on someone’s blog. I’m still not sure whether this is a good thing or bad. But at least one person did mention picking up a Luna. ‘Twould be nice if she picked up MY Luna…

Trips to Dallas, Starting Books and Other Sundry Stuff

So last weekend (not the one that today is part of), I went to Dallas for the Dallas Area Romance Authors and the North Texas RWA’s Dreamin’ in Dallas conference. This has been a very good conference every time I’ve gone (met my agent at an appointment there) and this year was no different.

I left home extra early so I could slither into Dallas a) ahead of Friday Afternoon rush hour traffic and b) in time to see a movie that probably won’t be playing in Amarillo, which is the closest place I can go see movies even if it’s still 60 miles away. Dear Frankie is a wonderful, non-sentimental but very sweet and tender movie about a deaf boy who writes letters to his father sailing the world on a merchant ship. Except that his mother made up this sailor father because Frankie’s real father is abusive, and now the “dad’s” ship is docking in town, and she can’t bring herself to confess her deception, so she hires someone to play the father. It’s just a fabulous movie. If you can’t see it, rent it when it comes out on video.

So, after I went to the movie, I wound up having to drive in bad traffic anyway, but at least this time I didn’t have to go over a nosebleed-high highway ramp. I do not like those things. I met up with the roommates and scarfed down some free appetizers during happy hour, cause I didn’t think I’d have time to go anywhere else and eat before the book signing. I of course dropped something on my T-shirt, but was smart enough not to change into my signing clothes before I ate.

The book signing was very good–I was rather intimidated to begin with, because the stacks of my books on the center table (for convenience in shopping) were VERY high. But by the end of everything, there were only seven (7) copies of The Compass Rose left. Quite a few people came by to tell me things like “I don’t usually read fantasy, but I want to read your book.” Hope that extends to a larger audience.

And Saturday night, after the conference was over, we did our brainstorming thing. I got some good ideas, figured out how to make the ideas I had work and fit together–probably ought to check with the editor and make sure she approves before I get too much farther into it.

So, instead of starting the writing immediately, Monday morning, I wrote down the plotline as I thought it ought to go, stuck in whatever seemed needful. I did some character work, mostly involving Tarot readings for the characters. A “horoscope” layout can bring a lot of insight. And I did a plot arc reading. And on Thursday, I finally actually began the writing. I wrote one page. Then I wrote it again.

I kept the opening line, and the 2nd paragraph was all right. After that, it needed some work, though I changed less than I thought I would have to. Still, one page, twice, isn’t going to get me far if that pace keeps up. Fortunately, on Friday, things came unstuck, and I got six pages. Whether they’re good or not remains to be seen, but they’re down on paper. So…

On to greater things (hopefully) next week. I have a full week of not much but writing to do. The next week, the son’s one-act play will go to regional competition. Last hurdle before going to State, so of course, we’re going to go watch. But that’s a few days away.