So I was tempted to throw another book at the wall today. I was in the mood for romance, but unfortunately this tale of a widow seduced turned out just to be another case of "virgin's ahoy." You see, her newly deceased husband was a cold fish who couldn't keep it an up and she had never gotten a chance to do the happy-happy. Why didn't she take a lover? Because women of her time didn't do such things. I'll buy that I guess. Except as soon as she meets the inappopriate Duke of Something, she can't wait to do the happy-happy all over the place out of wedlock.
Ack! I don't do virgins.
Wait...that sounds nasty. I don't write about innocent virginal characters in either my romances or mysteries and prefer not to read about them. I'm a sucker for two world weary types who find one another. It isn't their first time at the happy-happy rodeo, but hopefully it's their HEA. (Actually, since I've been married for almost sixteen years, I truly DON'T do virgins. But that's another post and TMI.)
What is it with romance novels and virgins? I just don't get it. What is supposed to be so damn sexy about deflowering a virgin? And the virgins in these novels don't behave the way I remember. Maybe it's because my memory (admittedly a bit faded) of early happy-happy wasn't OMGHOT!, but more like ow! and where does this go? Now what? I remember it as awkward fumbling, not exactly the transcendant experience of romance literature.
And the virginal heroine is always paired with a rakish hero who had been around the block a time or twenty. I guess somebody has to know what goes where. Maybe I should write about a virginal hero who was trapped in a loveless marriage but is quickly seduced by an older hot to trot...oh wait...Hello, Mrs. Robinson. Are you trying to seduce me? Maybe not.
I like my characters to have some rough edges and enough experience to recognize when they have found something worthwhile. Sex needs to be so much more than "insert tab A into slot B" and for my money, virgins are too much about trying to remember what goes where. I'm casting characters for a short story right now. No virgins need apply.
Well, I'm back. The cruise was good fun (no thanks to that bitch Dolly). How was the weather? Let me tell you all about it. The first part of my trip sucked. Sucked, sucked, sucked. Ten foot waves. I'll repeat that so you know it wasn't a typo. Ten. Foot. Waves. Seriously. They kept men with buckets and mops scurrying around to clean up all the puke.
People took to their cabins and hid for the first two days. The pools and decks were closed due to the hazards and it rained and stormed. Fortunately my family proved to be good little sailors (I was the only one who got queasy and some dramamine and rum fixed that nicely). Suffice to say that this was not my image of a "fun day at sea" as promised in the brochures, but once we got to closer to Mexico, the weather cleared.
Actually, it was rather exciting to sit and watch the stormy seas. I discovered a new place to write. All along the upper decks were enormous glas windows with huge padded window seats. Across the deck was a coffee bar with amazing mochachinos. Bliss! I'm still processing all the writing I did on the trip. Wow. If I had my very own personal cruise ship, I bet I could write a book a month. You know, assuming the crew tended to my every need: cleaned my cabin, fed me gourmet food, plied me with alcohol and caffiene, etc...
So how did going naked turn out? Fabulous. I loved it. I had so much fun perching on deck at night (when the weather improved) or in the window seats that I almost didn't want to go ashore for the excursions. It was that lovely.
Now I'm wondering if I could write a mystery set aboard a cruise ship. I'm sure it has been done, but it's a lovely contained setting. Glamour! Intrigue! Shuffleboard! The possibilities are endless. Maybe I could even claim the cruise on my taxes. Research, right? K mebbe not.
Anyway, the vacation was amazing and the writing was good. Now if you will excuse me, I have a notebook to go type up.
The blog will be dark over the next week because I'm going on a cruise. Yipee! I really need this vacation.
Of course, being a crazy writer type, I'm all atwitter about the chance to write without the daily distractions of ordinary life. Yes, I'll have the distractions of a cruise (booze, beaches, and duty-free shopping), but they will be different and I'm really rolling on this book.
I've decided that I'm going on this trip naked. No, NOT sans clothes. It isn't that type of cruise. Gutterminds! I've decided that I'm leaving my electronics at home. No laptop. No email checking. I resolve to stay out of the internet cafe they have on board. Naked.
This is very scary for me. I always take along my toys, but I've decided to only take pens and paper. I do write in short bursts on paper--say a couple of pages--and then transfer to my computer later, but never for this long. It's scary and exhilarating at the same time. Naturally I'm also taking paperbacks (including some of my favorite crack. I bought the Evanovich book. Yes, I'm weak.)
But I'm looking forward to laying (lying? My brain is already on vacation) by the pool with my trusty notebook and scribbling away without electronic distractions or dirty laundry taunting me. How sick is that? When I get back, I'll give you all the lurid details of my naked vacation. Unless I have writer's cramp that is.
Yesterday was a roller coaster ride. Multiple rejects. Sad. Partial request. Happy. And Flopsy the duckling is no more. Big sad. Poor little guy. He tried so hard, but he just couldn't make it.
Writing? I got nothing done. I did however get quite a bit of thinking done. I thought about a lot things. Life. The Universe. God. Sex. Death. Love. And why good authors turn bad.
You know it's true. I'm talking about the authors you love so much that their books are like crack. You need the fix. You reread them until the next release. Books one, two and three in the series are magicky, special crack just for you. Each new release is a happy sigh and an excuse to call in sick to work. Just you, the couch, the chocolate, and your magicky, special crack.
Book four comes along. You still like it. It's not as good as the first three, but you love the characters and you have to find out what happens next.
Book five. Book six. Your crack is no longer magicky and special. It's just crack. The characters haven't grown. (koff:Janet Evanovich:koff) The plot has wandered all over hither and yon. (koff:Terry Goodkind:koff) Will this freaking quest ever end? (koff:Robert Jordan:koff) Will we get a new plot or just rehash the same one over and over? (koff:Mary Higgins Clark:koff). Or the author has just plain jumped the shark with their plot. (koff:Laurell K Hamilton:koff).
You know you should quit reading. You know they aren't good anymore. Is it pressure to keep cranking out books one after the other? Did they only have so many stories to tell? Did they get too full of themselves? IDK, but either way, you can't quit. It's your crack.
You swear that you won't buy the next one. The last one is still freakin' embedded in the wall from where you threw it after the last preposterous twist. EVIL TWIN? GAH! NEVER AGAIN! But it happens. You go to the bookstore, weak from having nothing to read in days and there, face out, in hardcover, on the bestseller shelf it sits, taunting you with it's shiny fresh cover. You finger trails the spine longingly. You are weak. It is your crack. The big red sticker promises that this copy is 30% off the cover price.
Yes, I am still ruled by ducks and particularly an inept and hopeless little duckling. Flopsy still can't walk. But he's just as perky and determined as ever. Add to my worries that I'm leaving for 10 next saturday which means I'll have to persuade my crusty old farmer father to come over and hand feed a duckling 3 times a day. But Dad is a sucker for an underdog and hopefully in this case an underduck.
Back to the writing. Yesterday was awesome. My story again caught fire and it was so much fun. Writing is like dating and I was afraid that I had already passed from the first blush of infatuation into the dreaded routine, but--Ah sweet majesty of life! Love for my characters again took hold and romance has bloomed anew. In other words, I worked out my plot kinks and off we go!
Queries? I'm done for now. I'll let these come back to me and see if I get any feedback.
My but a week can make a difference. This week I've welcomed new baby ducklings and guinea keets. Boy has that been a roller coaster and more on that one later.
I've also sent my first batch of queries. 84 of them. Yes, that is eighty-four. Not four. I know. I'm clearly off my rocker. This flies in the face of conventional wisdom that says query and tweak. Query and tweak based on feedback. I've done that before. This time I'm doing things differently. This time I wrote my query based on my own voice, not what I think the agent wants to hear. My theory is that the right agent will "get" me based on this. That remains to be seen.
Never fear, there are lots more agents to be queried. I'll just sit on this batch and watch the reactions roll in (or maybe I should say the REJECTIONS roll in. heh.)
Back to the birdies. There has been some attrition which always happens with hatchlings, but the oddest development has been the duckling that wouldn't die. Flopsy (it's bad when you name one) is just too onery to die. Flopsy can't walk. I don't know what is wrong with him. Both legs work, but he simply flops onto his back. He's learned to right himself and scoot, roll, and scrabble his way around. I have to keep him seperated from the others so they don't trample him. He has his own box which he scoots around happily.
Other than an inability to walk, he's bright-eyed and enthusiastic about everything. Several times a day, I take him out and hold him at the waterer so he can drink and take him to the feed so he can eat. Sometimes I hold him in the water and let him splash around which makes him very happy.
That's his hallmark in life. Flopsy is the happiest critter you've ever seen. I hold him around the others so he can have contact with them and he receives their pecks and dishes out his own. I probably should have let him die the first day when it was clear he couldn't fend for himself, but he was just so determined to live that he's now made me his slave. If he isn't able to become mobile enough to be safe outside, I may have acquired a house duck. For those keeping track, that means two cats, two bunnies, and a duck in my house.
I'm am now officially a slave to fuzzy yellow duckling.
Cause it's a very good place to start. I've sent the first queries. I sent 25 yesterday and I'm going to send another 25 today. This is an about face from my previous cautious attempts at querying and is more than just a new attitude. It's indicative of how strongly I feel about this project. I'm going to sell this one. I can feel it.
I've gotten my first two rejects. For some reason, this hasn't kicked me in the gut like projects past. I still fell really positive. Catch me again on rejection number 50 and I may have a different feeling, but for now it's all roses and hearts and happy-happy joy-joy.
Speaking of hearts and roses, I'm still writing the romance, but it's erotic romance now and I'm loving this project--really loving it. The characters interest me. It's fantasy and the world building intrigues me. I'm thinking it will best be served as a novella, but I'm flexible. This is virgin territory for me and I'll just see where it takes me. For now I'm going to enjoy the ride.
The beginning had been rewritten. The query, polished. The synopsis, smoothed. Today I will send the first queries off. Yay! I'm going to send them off in smallish batches starting with some of the agents I think are best suited for my work. I haven't sent off queries for anything in months and I'm a tad bit nervous.
On the exhilarating side, I've also started a new project, something completely different. Psst. Come closer and I'll whisper. It isn't a mystery.
Gasp! Shock! Horror!
Okay, so it's romantic suspense and there will a dead body or two littering the pages. And lots of sex. So far, it's been lots of fun to write. They're always fun in the beginning, like a new boyfriend before you discover that he leaves towels on the bathroom floor, won't put the seat down, and flirts with your friends behind your back. But right now? I'm loving the book.