Friday, December 29, 2006

Listen to the story

Recently, I've been writing a short story to submit to a publisher for a specialty anthology they'll be publishing in the summer. My first effort is a story I love so much, and the characters are so rich and situation so interesting, I had to rush the end to come in at the correct word count. After considering what I was doing and why, I decided to give that story the shot it wants at a longer version. I've come up with another story that should come in at the correct word count with no problems of the story getting out of control.

So, why should I decide to listen to what the story is telling me and begin writing a new story from scratch to submit instead? Because I'm a firm believer that the characters and situations should be what determine the length of the story, not some arbitrary yard stick we writers put down to measure length by. However, I do have a good idea when I start writing if I'm going to try for a novel, novella or short story. A lot of times I can tell by the ideas themselves if I can squeeze 90K out of it, or barely scrape by at 25K. A lot of times it depends on how intricate I get with subplots and backstory, or how complicated the conflicts. Me...I love a good complicated conflict.
So whether my heroes are slaying their foe to save the beautiful heroine like the Dicksee painting on the right, or traversing the galaxy in search of new worlds I want to give my story the opportunity to shine in whatever length they will best fit.
I'm just the conduit.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

New Schedule of Events for 2007

As a new self-imposed deadline approaches, I've decided I have too many projects open and none of them any closer to being finished. To that end, I've decided to take the time with the first six months of '07 to do what I should have been doing all along—finish the books I've already started before moving on to other.

I'm writing a short hot story for the Samhain "Midsummer Night's Steam" anthology. We'll see if they like it. If not, I have a pretty damn good premise for either a novella or a novel. But I'd really like to see it published by Samhain. For some reason, I've been really digging them lately.

Anyhoo, I have two novellas I promised to send to my publisher at Red Sage after the first of the year that I need to finish. One of them, "Mind Games," is the sequel to "Fatal Error" which is out this month, the other is "Gift Bride." It's the first and only shape shifter story I've attempted, but I've put what I hope is a new spin on an old theme. Then I have to get Corpesetti to Triskelion. With the launch of "Immorati" coming in March, I really need to get the other book written.

Then a sci-fi/fantasy hybrid that I call "The Ward" that I want to get placed somewhere, along with a fantasy called "A Conspiracy of Ravens" that has two heroes and heroines who are sisters. One is a queen whose country is under siege and the other a sorceress who has been sent by her order to infiltrate the enemy's camp. Then I have another sci-fi called "Diplomatic Relations" where old lovers have been reunited after their son is caught in a terrorist blast. Finally, I have "Trail of Stars," another sci-fi that deals with a young farm girl joining the galactic guard to escape the stifling conditions of her homelife, only to find more life than she bargained for among the stars.

I have a whole pile of other novels I want to work on for the last six months of '07 that are romantic suspense...well, contemporary with suspense elements. Those will be under my other name. - So many names. So little time. hehehehehe...

In between all this writing I need to find a good schedule for my promotional time. These book ain't gonna sell themselves.

I'm going to devote a part of each writing session in '07 to networking and promotion. I have to. I need to. I want to.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I Have A Winner....

Thanks Stacy, for coming up with the name for my reincarnation book... It will now be known as Past Lives, Present Dangers.

-- and in other news.

I've been busy lately finishing up my WIP - Fangdango - it didn't end up the way I had planned it. Sometimes it's odd the way your characters will assert their will, when your outline says otherwise. It was my heroine this time that refused to do what I wanted. Ultimately, though, I think that characters acting out like that actually saves us from ourselves. The heroine in this case knew her own mind well enough, and I trusted her enough to let her end the story the way she wanted. I really wanted to see the heroine and hero married at the end. But the heroine says she needs more time...Ok, so I have a sequel in the works that will work well to see the HEA for my original h/h. It will balance out the main h/h from the sequel very nicely, I think.

As for plotting other books. Yikes!! I need to get banging on the sequel to Immorati, and get that to the publisher for consideration. I'm on chapter 7 or 8 so that's a pretty good start. I want to have that one wrapped up by February or so. - Plus I'm working on two novellas for Red Sage, actually three. - Busy, busy girl. I don't even know how I'm going to stick the holidays in here. I still have to finish Christmas shopping, which I'll do tomorrow. And one of Dave's presents still haven't arrived. I need to go to the online merchant I bought it from and see what's up with that...I'm getting a little nervous. It's the coolest present on the planet. However, I'm not going to mention it here, on the off chance he actually reads my blog.

For now, I have some crits I promised.


Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Doing the Genre Juggle

I love to read and write in several different genres. I've always been that way, since I first picked up a book and unlocked the mystery of the alphabet. In elementary school I had a vast love for the Brothers Grimm, Nancy Drew, and Barbara Cartland. (Yes, I read Barbara Cartland in elementary school. But come on, by today's standards they had nothing sexy happening on-screen.)

Currently, I'm reading Eragon. I received the book several Christmases ago from a very dear friend and put it on the shelf while I consumed title after title of romance. Now with the movie coming out this month, I thought I should pull it out and read it. I'm reading it with the same interest in which I breezed through Harry Potter. Though I often say that I won't read anything without a romantic subplot, I have to say the occasional foray into YA fantasy is a nice change to cleanse the reading palate. It makes me think of all the fantasy novels I have started and haven't finished. It makes me want to submerge my mind in worlds created in my mind alone.

The walls of my office are adorned in framed maps of worlds I created, and rendered in pen, ink and watercolor by my hubsand. Fantasy is the genre I started writing in when I first sat down to plot a novel. (The first book I actually finished in the long hand version, written in ball point pen and clasped in a three-ring binder.) So, what do you ask made me switch from fantasy to romance?

Glad you asked. Since I don't read the same types of books all the time, I don't think I could ever be one to write the same kind all the time. I don't care how much I love the characters or subject matter - I couldn't do it. I need to variety to keep the ideas fresh and me from feeling stale. My hat goes off to writers who can spend an entire career in the same genre. Now that's staying power. That's also the reason why I write under several psuedonymns. I want to separate the types of books I write as well as the parts of my personality that pens them. Fantasy and paranormal I write under the same name, while erotic romance gets another name, and contemporary with suspense gets yet another.

Usually people will ask me...How do you keep all those storylines straight if you work on projects at the same time? Easily, my books are so least to me, that I couldn't possibly get them confused.

Now, if I could only see great success under all three names, I'll be a very happy woman.


Monday, December 4, 2006

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

When you send off your manuscripts to an agent, editor, publisher it's always hard to mark that calendar for the proposed date you'll hear back. It's one of those things that you look at ...that big red date like a bulls eye...and's never coming to get here. It's like a kid waiting for their birthday or Christmas.

There have been times when I'm pleasantly surprised and hear sooner, be it good or bad news. The not knowing the fate of my blood, sweat and sometimes tears is worse than reading those letters or emails that say...sorry we can't use your project, it isn't what we're looking for, doesn't fit our needs...whatever. I would rather know something so I can switch to plan B, or get up and do the Happy Happy Joy Joy dance, whichever is appropriate at the time.

I find the best way to get through it all is to keep writing and submitting. I work on so many projects that I think eventually, I'll things coming and going on a daily basis. Then my calendar will be filled with red reminders and every day could bring good news.


Sunday, December 3, 2006

****Contest Blog****

The novel is a reincarntion story about a NJ bar owner, named Ian, who is plagued with the spotty nightmares of a beautiful woman who is pulled over a cliff to her death and into the rocky maw of the Delaware River.

For six months, Ian Delaney has tried in vain to find a way to rid his sleep of the nightmarish images of a young woman's death that he is helpless to prevent. If he can just make it to her once, Ian knows he can save her and stop the dreams for good. A foray into past-life regression uncovers the woman was his beloved wife, Adrienne. But the ghosts of past lives are not so easily tamed...

...When he meets her in this life, he knows he must save her from the current threats that are esculating around her or face losing her this time around as he did before.

If you can think of a good solid name for this it in the comments. I'll decide the winner on December 11, 2006. Please, no titles with the word "time" or "love" in them.

Good Luck,


Friday, December 1, 2006

Crossing the Finish Line

Why are some endings like pulling the ever-elusive hen's teeth and others flow so naturally you're amazed at your ability and grace to make it happen?

I'm struggling with the ending of my current WIP at the moment. I know what I want to happen. I even know where the action is to take's getting my characters to the final showdown in a logical fashion I'm having problems with.

I don't remember ever having such trouble wending my way to the showdown before. It's the only place I can have it since we're talking about an alchemist run amuck, so his laboratory is going to be in his home...there is no other alternative. Except maybe his Manhattan office...hmmmm...wait, that's a possibility...but not logical either.

Jamblammit!!! (A sound of frustration and not the opposite of Eureka)

It's funny, but the closer I get to the end of the novel, story, novella the more I drag my feet. Is it because I don't want the story to end, or I'm afraid of disappoint readers in the end. Not being able to keep up my part of the bargin? With this book, more so than others I've written, I'm afraid that the promises at the beginning may not be supported in the rest of the novel. That the problem with get too close to the project and can no longer judge it adequately. I trust my critique partners to let me know when I'm flubbing up the middle or end of a story. Lord above knows I can't be trusted.

I know when I've made a good ending and when the action doesn't disappoint. It's the ones, I'm not so sure of that make me scratch my head. And how much action in a novel is over the top? We've all seen Hollywood blockbuster blow-em-up movies. Things generally are bigger on the big screen, but do we need big screen endings in our novels like the final explosion of the Death Star in the good Star Wars?

I sure as hell hope so...because I'm going for it... well, maybe not the explosion via ILM, but I'm definately going to have a hot time in the old laboratory.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Way of the Warrior - Or Keeping a Stout Heart

I've come to the conclusion over the long years of publication that along with talent, drive and wonderful ideas, it takes a stout heart to succeed in writing.

How many times have I read a rejection letter and thought I'd chuck it all in and never write again? Too many to count. Now, on the eve of my first novella's release (I know it's in December just not the exact date...) I am so thankful that I stuck with it and kept pushing myself even if it seemed like all I would see were doors slammed in my face.

I see myself as a warrior of words. I had to train long and hard, wear the blood of hacked pages and the gore of red ink on my hands, building callouses on my self-esteem until I could reach that ultimate goal of publication.

It took nearly 15 years to get that first sale.

I began getting serious about writing in '92. But I don't know if I can really count that year, since I didn't send anything out then. I don't believe I started sending out for publication until about '94 or '95. All that time, I wrote and worked on craft. But perhaps I should count from the first time I began to query agents and publishers. - If you take into account and subtract the years since I had my first short story published in Writers' Journal Magazine, in Jan/Feb of '05 then it decreases the time to 10 years. Oh...I like this math system. I don't sound like near the failure I thought at first. Hehehehehhee.

The first time I sent something to a publisher, I sent to DAW. I had read just about everything in their catalog. Being a lover of fantasy and sci-fi and doing a search through my bookshelf of who published most of the books I read and owned, I decided they had the majority vote, so I'd try. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Though they ultimately passed on the book, the letter I got along with my returned manuscript was lovely. The editor said he couldn't use the book, but liked my writing and would like to see something else from me. The year was '97 and I didn't have anything else. I switched to more of romantic flavored books after that since I've always loved and read romances, but I've kept the letter ever since.

I think for a first effort that was a great response, considering I look at that version of the book now and I cringe. Literally. I look like I've been sucking on a pound of lemons. I would definately send something to DAW in the future.

I remember opening the box with the manuscript inside and reading the letter. Both elation and disappointment warred inside me...but the bigger slice definately elation. Someone, somewhere with the power to say yea or nay to my dream had actually saw something he liked in my writing. Enough to invite me to submit something else. Now, though I was early in my writing career I wasn't green enough not to realize he'd given me a gift. Editors and smaller houses are too busy to invite an author to submit more material if they didn't see something there they liked. (If you know differently, don't tell me!!! You'll burst my bubble in retrospect).

After I joined RWA, I started noticing all these contests listed in the back of the RWA, and I joined some group loops for the special interest chapters and heard about the Tampa Area Romance Authors unpublished writer's contest. They were extending the deadline that year to give people more time to send in entries. (I think they must have not had enough for a particular category). I looked at the call for entries, and thought....Why the hell not? I hurried....hurried and wrote the first three chapters of a book. I had already outlined it, so I knew where it was going and basically the structure. Imagine my surprise when I finaled with that hastily written partial. Imagine my further surprise when I got a call telling me I'd actually won!! - The award hangs on the wall in my office so I can see it when I write. It's confirmation that someone else believed in me. Quite a few someone elses if you know anything about how contests are judged.

After that the sales started to come. I'd finally found the lucky star I wanted to stand under all along. But my journey is not complete and the warrior in me is still ready to do battle with plot and characters who refuse to do my bidding. - Even with the sales, I've still gotten handed a few rejections for other projects. I don't let them get me down near as much as I used to. Because I know, in my heart that perhaps that particular project just hasn't gotten into the right hands yet...and if it doesn't...well, I've got an entire stable of projects to send out. I'm never in want of an idea.

So... when you feel as if you're not getting any place, or you've just gotten a rejection...remember no warrior comes to a battle without a few scars in their past. It's what separates the casualities from the survivors.


Sunday, November 26, 2006

A Break in Routine

Don't you just hate it when you have a certain routine and suddenly one day...for no reason other than over sleeping, you break it?

That's what happened to me yesterday.

I'm such a creature of habit that if I don't do the same thing everyday at precisely the same time I start having a minor freak out. (La Freak, Say Chic...)

Perfect example: My shift starts at 7pm. I have about a 40 minute commute, so I always try to leave the house by 6 because you never know in Jersey when there's going to be a bad traffic tie-up. Generally, I wake up between 3-4 in the afternoon and sit at the computer, writing or critiquing, answering emails, ect. Well, yesterday I woke up at about 4:30 - totally threw me off. I still had to cook dinner to take with me, grab a shower, iron my uniform...the whole sheebang.
Needless to say, I was sucking the hind tit (my mother's expression for running late...swear to God. She's said it all my life.) before I ever left the house. Threw my entire night off.

I'm pretty much that neurotic when I sit down to write as well. I will turn on the computer and usually go make coffee or heat up water for tea before I actually sit down. Then if I have a critique to do, I'll read that, or I'll print stuff to read at work. I don't like having my routine disrupted. I find much comfort in that routine and it soothes me before walking into a hectic night of saving lives. I find, one or two days away from writing and I'm climbing the walls. However, this past summer when Dave and I went to Gettysburg and Hershey, I didn't write a word for a week and I was just fine. Granted, I would fall into bed exhausted at night from walking. - If you want to loose weight, go on a vacation to Gettysburg. All the attractions (just about) are outside and cover miles and miles of terrain. We had a great time!!! - but I digress.

Now, today I am back into my routine and feeling much more comfortable about my world. It's funny, but I do try to break the cycle every once in a while just to prove to myself I can. All the while telling myself it's all right...I don't HAVE to do things the same way, and at the same time. The stars won't fall from the sky, the seas won't boil, and there will still be air available for me to breathe.

Today...I'm shaking up my routine by not packing my lunch before work. Gasp!!!

Tomorrow. Who knows? I may run with scissors.


Friday, November 24, 2006

One File Too Far

Oh boy! Dontcha' just hate it when you're editing a story. Streamlining for word count and clarity, and all of a sudden you realize...somewhere along the way that you've been editing a much older version of the file? Happened to me the other day. I wanted to scream, and curse and jump around in a circle gnashing my teeth and pulling at my hair. Yes, it was that bad. I was halfway through a 100,000 plus manuscript when I noticed some of the scenes I had added long paragraphs of explanation to were gone.

What could have happened to them? Did the computer troll come and eat away at my file? Have a woken in some alternate universe in the moderately-recent past? Could I have been halucinating and not written such profound words at all? - No, I merely pulled up the wrong file and started working on it like the nimrod I am. So, what did I do, you ask? Well, it was a simple solution, but one that made me a little nervous. I cut off the last half of the file I'd been working diligently on and erased it from memory, then pasted the back end of the more recent file onto it. I'll have to cut and paste several other smaller scenes, but essentially it's fixed. Not fun. Not fun at all. Anything so I wouldn't have had to do the damn thing all over again.
Speaking of which I should probably get back to working on that one file and then finished my WIP.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

And the Rush is On....

Well, tomorrow is Black Friday and what will I be doing? After I finish at the lawyer's office, (signing the papers for our refinance), I'll be going home and sleeping. Yes, that's right...because I have to work tonight I will not be in the crowded stores, I will not be singing Jingle Bells as I buy presents, I will not be wishing people Merrily....oh...wait...I hate crowds.

I'll do like I do every year and sit at my computer and buy online. This is truly a godsend for me, considering agoraphobia runs rampant in my family and didn't skip me. Every since I started doing my holiday shopping online I've been liberated by the feeling I can purchase everything I need in the comfort of my own home and not have to worry about finding parking, or wearing full hockey gear in order to get to the really good sales.

Some people really love to shop during the holidays, my sister for one. I just don't understand the logic or need behind getting out in public and fighting with other shoppers for everything from a parking space way out in the boondocks to the last bit of breathable air inside the mall. (I'm breaking out in hives just thinking about it).

This year, Dave and I are even making our own cards with pictures of his Jet-Pak Penguin character on it. Hey, what says Happy Holidays better than a penguin in goggles and a jet pack?

The only question am I going to get all those cards to the post office without going outside?????


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Livin' Large

No, this isn't about guilt after stuffing myself on turkey and pumpkin pie last night. I was really rather disciplined in the meal and only had one plate of yummy goodness. Passed out somewhere between the stuffing and pie, to the strains of Gene Hackmen's rendition of Lex Luthor. (We were watching Superman.) - This blog is about expanding your range of writing experiences.

I started my writing journey with fantasy ficiton. Large, big opuses (or is it opi hehehehehe) that span half centuries and have casts of thousands. After beating my head against a brick wall of rejections for years - coming close with DAW once (said they couldn't use the project I'd sent, but liked my style and wanted to see more - unfortunately I didn't have anything at the time.) - I switched genres. Since my novels had romantic elements anyhow, I figured I'd add more of that and start targeting romance lines. I've always read romances, since that first Barbara Cartland in elementary school. I fell in love with falling in love. HEA's were my cup of tea. There is just something so wonderful and uplifting about the power of love everlasting. With so much horror happening in the world on a daily basis - the evening news filled with stories of murder, mayhem and corruption - it's nice to be able to sit with a book, or in front of the computer and read about people who are beating the odds to be together.

Now for the living large portion: Over the last few days, I've dusted off one of my fantasy series and polished it, streamlined it and submitted it for consideration at another publisher. This one hasn't made the rounds as much as my other one, but I gotta try. I think my characters deserve to see the light of day. I think as a writer I would stifle my creativity if I stayed to just one genre. I love to read all different types of books, so I want to write all different genres.

I've had people ask me how I can keep track of all the different stories and genres I write (most of which I write simultaneously). I tell them it's easy. They are all so different that I don't get them confused.

Write what you know...hmmmm...don't necessarily agree with that. If I only wrote what I knew, I wouldn't be expanding my horizons, stretching my imagination, and learning from my research. I say...write what you don't know, learn something along the way, and most of all live it large!


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Early Turkey Trot

Well, it's that time of year again. When we stuff ourselves full of triptaphan and pretend we're not sacked out on the sofa while our spouses are trying to talk to us. I ate so much turkey last year, I actually don't remember much of the Thanksgiving weekend. I spent it horizontal on the couch with strains of "A Christmas Story" playing in the background.

I'm off to the grocery store soon to buy the gobbler for tonight. Dave and I will be celebrating it tonight instead of Thursday, since duty calls for me the next two nights. (They made me an offer I couldn't refuse...and who am I to say no to cash?)

I remember holidays being a huge deal when I was a kid. Not so much now. It's usually just Dave and I, with the cat camped out at the foot of my double ovens eyes glazed over waiting for the bird to come out of the oven. She's addicted to fowl of any sort. It's really very sad the way she carries on at the holidays.

Generally, Dave and I will get a bottle of the bubbly and toast what we're thankful for in the previous year. This year I have much to be thankful for. I've sold 3 manuscripts since last Thanksgiving and Dave has gotten his website up and started school. We've been both moving forward on our creative endeavors and with some marked success. We are both relatively healthy and we seem to be making our bills on time. That in itself is a major accomplishment.

Speaking of which, I better go and get the bird so we have something to eat this evening.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Now I Have A Headache!

Geez Louise --

It's taken me about an hour to figure out how to get back to where I can post another blog. I screwed up when I did my screen name yesterday and couldn't find the dashboard. Only after I started to scrap this blog and create a new one did I realize what I had done wrong. Now, if I can only figure out how I got back here next time I go to publish a post I'll be swimmin' in gold.

Me and techonology are not very good friends. We agree to disagree most of the time. Even my spellcheck has contemp for me. You know you're a bad speller when the letters "WTF" pop up instead of suggestions. Hey, I never claimed to be a good speller. This amazes my friends at work. They are constantly coming to me..."Hey Kat, how do you spell...?" This question usually garners a look from me and the answer..."I don't know." The stock answer from them is: "But you're a writer." Why does it follow that because you're a writer you can spell? I think if you're a writer you just have unlimited resources on where to find the correct spellings. I have become a better speller due to my writing, but it wasn't a natural ability for me. Some people are just better spellers, as some are more inclined to pick up different languages with ease. - I'm not good at that either. I've often joked that I speak convincing Redneck from spending so many years in the Deep South. And when I get mad I can hear the Southern creeping back into my voice. I'll say something like..."I'm fixin' to get my Southern on." - I've cleared rooms with that phrase. Hehehehehehehehe...which brings me back to today's topic. Technology headaches....

Why is it that the very things that are supposed to make our lives easier, are the things we spend the most time cursing and damning to all the hells? Example:

My husband recently went back to school to learn 3D animation. He's trained in 2D, but to be competitive in today's market he really needed to learn the skills required to do Photoshop, Illustrator, Quark and Flash. On most days the air in our house is painted blue by his colorful expletives directed at the computer. The cat looks at me and says, "You let him kiss you with that mouth?" What can I do? I shrug. It's nothing I haven't said to my computer about a million times.


Sunday, November 19, 2006


Hello, and welcome to my blog.

I've resisted opening up my own personal blog space because I know how I am about keeping up on correspondances...(I'm not very good at it. I spend most of my time writing books and reading research materials.)

I'll start by telling you a little bit about myself. I live and work in NJ with my husband Dave and our cat Kittygirl. When I'm not writing, I work in the healthcare industry. In addition to writing, I enjoy movies, books, art and cross-stitch. History is a favorite obsession of mine, if there is a documentary on television dealing with almost any period of history you can believe, I'll have my nose stuck in it soaking it all up. - Though to be honest, any and all documentaries capture my attention. I'm pretty much a documentary junkie and have often wondered if there are twelve step programs to help me quit the addiction.

My husband, Dave, is a kick-but cartoonist, who's created "Digby and Bernard" and "Jet-Pak Penguin" daily strips. They are both all ages comics, so don't hesitate to let your kids see them. You can check them out at

He's also busily working on his newest creation, Roxy Brimstone. Roxy will also be an all ages strip. For those of you who like comics with a big more grit to them he's working on his vigilante graphic novels, "Tales of the Motor City" and "The Return of Buster Crash."

Now a bit about living in NJ. I know this state has a reputation for being the bastard brother of New York, but I tell you that it's a state that you can't really appreciate until you've taken time to notice all the varying landscapes we have here. Trust me, there are mountains, cities, the Shore, and Atlantic City. For that reason a majority of my novels are set here. Or Florida. I spent 14 years living in Florida and it's kind of hard to leave that behind. Not when there are so many possibilities for story ideas to be had there.

So, that's enough about me for now. Thanks for stopping by. Drop me an email, or wonder over to my website by clicking on the prompt. You can read blurbs from my books and see the covers, or read some short stories.