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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Playing the WNBA

Last week's post was about romantic thrillers made by Hollywood. As I was re reading the list, it struck me that there were several that wouldn't be considered thrillers in the typical sense. Which struck another chord, this one from my recent panel participation for the local chapter of the WNBA.

No, not the basketball wizards. The Women's National Book Association. This is a really cool association, started in New York in 1917 by a group of women booksellers who were excluded from the all-male Bookseller's League. The only criteria was that members derive part of their income from books. Teachers, librarians, agents, writers, publishers, booksellers, production people, illustrators--all were welcome. Ninety-plus years later the organization is still promoting the role of women in this field through chapters across the country.

What better place to talk about romance--the one genre written (mostly) by women for women?

We had a fun and informative night talking about the history of the romance novel (most scholars credit Richardson's 18th century novel, Pamela, as the first), the subgenres it encompasses, and the future of the form and format (Kindle anyone?).

I was in charge of the subgenre portion and as I look back it's easy to see that there is just as much of a mash up in today's romance novel as there is in Hollywood. Whether it's Jane Austen and zombies or the paranormal Victorian mystery of Soulless, pretty much anything goes. As long as there's that HEA ending--or the implication of one.

Which, as Martha would say, is a good thing.

Anyway, here's a pic from the evening. That's Beth Pattillo on the left, whose new book, Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart, is out this month. I'm in the center, and Jody Wallace--who is the hoot and a half behind meankitty.com, and who writes paranormals and erotica for Samhein--is on the right.

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Cover Up

I got the cover for my October release today. There's my name, nice and big, and--hallelujah!-- they even managed to include the word RITA-Winner below it. I asked them to include that on the last book and my editor balked. To say the least, I was annoyed, hurt, and pissed off.

All is forgiven now. Sort of.

It's the weirdest thing to have your name up there as if everything from cover to cover is yours. It's not, you know. Although the words between the covers are mine, the story would have been very different if it had been left up to me. It wasn't. Same with the cover. The publisher creates it and even if I have other ideas or objections, it's a done deal. Same with the back cover copy.

There was an article about James Patterson in the NY Times magazine this past Sunday. At one point it talks about James and his Giant Entourage meeting with the publisher to discuss marketing his empire. They showed him cover mock-ups to get his input. But that only happens when you reach Pattersonian heights. Otherwise, you get what you get.

Sour grapes?

Hell, yeah.

Okay, so it could be worse. I could have to self publish. Or languish around as I did for years, UNpublished. I should shut up and thank The Powers That Be for what I have.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. And if you come a little closer I'll give you something to be thankful for. Right in the kisser...

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Last week I shared one of two interesting reader emails. Here, in summary, is the other: when is your next book coming out and isn't it a long time between books for a romance writer?

First off--yes, October 2010 IS a loooong time from May 2009, when my current book, One Deadly Sin, came out.

Second--it ain't my fault!!!

Okay, we'll that's not exactly true. I don't set the pub schedule, that's true. The publisher, in this case, Grand Central Publishing, sets the release date. The schedule is based on who they have lined up, how they're going to juggle the available slots (they only release a set amount of books/month), and how fast I can get the manuscript to them.

So some of that I can't control. But the latter--yeah, entirely in my hands.

And I'm afraid my hands just don't type very fast. When it comes to writing, I am not a quick study. I like to tell myself it's because my books are more carefully crafted than some, but you and I both know Nora's books are terrific and she's no slowpoke.

This "crank 'em out" issue is a dilemma. To have a real career in romance, it's an unwritten law. According to the research, romance readers go through piles of books a week, and they're always hungry for more. They want to be able to go back to the bookstore and read another one by a favorite author. What's this stuff about waiting a year for another book? The faster you can write the books, the faster your career moves.

I don't think it's the same with other genres. Michael Connelly doesn't put out more than one book a year, does he? Then again, neither does Susan Elizabeth Phillips. In fact, I once heard her speak at a conference and she said she writes one page a day.

One page!

Of course, it's a damn good page. But still...
I'm struggling with this need for speed. I've got a few ideas for series, but my agent is doubtful I could produce that fast.

Maybe she's right.

Maybe she doesn't know what the hell she's talking about.

In any case, isn't it the turtle who wins the race?

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