My thanks to Richard Schiver for inviting me to be a part of this week’s Next Big Thing blog posting group. The Next Big Thing is a meme trickling through author blogs of numerous genres, with each participant answering the same questions about either a work in progress or a work currently being marketed. Each author then chooses five other authors to keep the chain going. The following is my contribution:
What is the title of your book?
“Mused” is a 10,000-word novelette.
How did you come by the idea?
I wanted to expand upon the concept I had explored in my novel, Finding Poe, only switching to the author’s point of view.
What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters if it were a movie?
I would prefer a cast of talented no-names, which I think would be fitting for a story written by a relatively unknown author.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A writer gets more than she bargains for when she borrows the muses of well-known authors.
Will your book be self-published or traditional?
I currently have the story under consideration by a traditional publisher.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
It took me roughly a month and a half to finish the first draft, slow by my standards, but forgivable given recent health issues.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I can’t think of any books that have tapped into this particular theme. The story is, as far as I know, unique.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The muses inspired me; I wrote this story for and about them.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Readers who enjoyed Finding Poe will not only derive similar pleasure in reading this story, but they might find that it also sheds more light on the mystery behind the main character’s enigmatic identity.
The five authors I’ve chosen to continue the chain on December 18 are:
Blaze McRob (will be posting on December 19)
Back when I was young and naïve, I believed in love at first sight. I was convinced I had experienced the phenomenon when, at the tender age of eighteen, I met the man whom I truly believed was to be the love of my life. Our connection was immediate, although I can’t really say “love” was an actual part of it. We lost touch before we had the chance to date and it would be a number of years before we reconnected, but when we did, we decided very quickly that we were in love. I moved in with him. Within a few months, starting on my birthday of all days, he began to abuse me—physically and emotionally—on a regular basis.
After nearly five years of abuse, I finally left him. With a cracked skull, split lips, and bruises on literally every inch of my body, I was left jaded, broken, and untrusting of all men. Each year when Valentine’s Day would come around, I would have nothing nice to say to all those lovebirds out there who felt the need to celebrate it. I thought romantic love was a delusion … and that Valentine’s Day was nothing but commercial exploit of that delusion.
When I met my husband, it wasn’t love at first sight. Yes, we were attracted to one another, but I had no intention of dating him. I didn’t want another relationship—ever. I was too afraid that he too might turn into a monster once I opened my heart to him. Still, I thought it would be okay for us to be friends, as we genuinely enjoyed one another’s company. I didn’t mean to fall in love with him. It just happened. By the time I finally expressed my feelings for him, he just smiled and replied very matter-of-factly, “I’m glad one of us finally said it.”
When the next Valentine’s Day came around, as taken as I was by having someone to love this time, I found that the holiday still held no meaning for me. Why? Because when one has found love—real love—every day is Valentine’s Day. I found that I didn’t want jewelry or chocolates or flowers to mark the occasion. What I had every day was so much more meaningful.
I still feel that way. Not a day goes by in which I don’t thank whatever fates brought my husband and me together. What I have—companionship, partnership, someone who understands me like no one else and treats me like gold—is the best gift I could ever have asked for. We don’t need a holiday to celebrate that. We celebrate it every day.
Just the same, for all you lovebirds out there out buying jewelry, chocolates, and flowers: Happy Valentine’s Day. May your love be true and your happiness year-round.
It is with great pleasure that I hand over The Cerebral Writer over to author Linnea Sinclair today. As day two of the Out of This World Blog Tour, Linnea will be sharing with us her insightful thoughts on short stories:
COOKIE TIDBITS IN THE LITERARY AISLE OF LIFE, Or Why Reading Anthologies Can Tickle Your Tastebuds
By Linnea Sinclair
I watched an interesting discussion about short stories and anthologies on a reader list the other week, and was surprised by the number of readers—avid, frothing-at-the-mouth-over-characters-and-plots kind of readers—who had either never tried or really disliked reading short stories and anthologies.
I’m an avid reader. Always have been. I’m old enough to remember when kids’ cereal boxes came complete with a miniature picture book glued to the back. (Oh, joy! Oh, rapture!) I’ve been known to read dictionaries, encyclopedias, and, when desperate, the backs of toothpaste tubes. If it’s got words, I want it.
So it struck me as a tad odd to encounter people who inhale novels yet balk at short stories or novellas.
While I understand the basic tenets of the objections—“I want to spend more time with the characters than a short story allows… There’s not enough for me to get involved in the story…”—I will admit they baffle me a bit.
I mean, if you’re a chocoholic and you’re strolling the cookie aisle in your local grocery store, and there’s that nice little old lady in an apron with tiny paper cups full of chocolate cookie crumbles for you to sample… you’re going to walk on by without grabbing one?My pantry has more than a few boxes of tasty things (as does my freezer) that I’ve tried—taken a chance on—from the apron-wearing saleslady at the grocery store. Delicious little delicacies I might not have ever known about. So I invite those of you a bit skittish about anthologies to think of them as tiny paper cups full of possible delights. A sampling. A temptation. A mini-experience that might lead to something even more grand.Anthologies and short stories are a terrific way to discover a new author, or a new series by an author you already know. Approach them the same way you do that paper cup full of cookie pieces: this isn’t the whole deal but a sampling. Something to whet the appetite. Not a full seven-day vacation in the author’s fantasy realm, but a quick and fun overnight getaway that might make you want to come back for more.
(Or not. The reverse is also true. If you find the author’s style not to your liking, at least you didn’t waste $7.99 on an entire novel you’re not going to want to read.)
With anthologies, you get a store-full of cookie samples in one fat volume. You can try one tasty treat a day. You can sample a story on your lunch hour and have a total experience right there in the middle of your usual pandemonium at work: opening scene, hot conflict, happy resolution. No dragging yourself back to your desk wondering if the character will solve the mystery or save the galaxy. But a complete mini-adventure, all yours.Of course, there’s another reason behind my gentle pleadings on this subject. I have a short story (really, more of a novella) coming out November 2010 in Songs of Love & Death: Tales of Star-Crossed Love. This is a fabulous anthology edited by two of the biggest names in the business: George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. It also contains stories by some other big names in the business: Jim Butcher, Jo Beverly, Carrie Vaughn, M. L. N. Hanover, Cecelia Holland, Melinda M. Snodgrass, Robin Hobb, Neil Gaiman, Marjorie M. Liu, Jacqueline Carey, Lisa Tuttle, Mary Jo Putney, Tanith Lee, Peter S. Beagle, Yasmine Galenorn, and Diana Gabaldon. And, oh yeah, me. A former news reporter and retired private detective, Linnea Sinclair writes fast-paced science fiction romance for Bantam Dell, including the RITA® award-winning Gabriel’s Ghost and her latest bestseller, Rebels and Lovers. When not on duty with some intergalactic fleet—or playing human slave to her spoiled felines—she’s usually on the third barstool from the left at www.linneasinclair.com.
Likely some of you have noticed the mixture of bestselling romance authors and bestselling science fiction and fantasy authors in that list. Yep, Songs of Love & Death is a crossover anthology of SFF and romance—something those of us who write SFR have long been hankering for. I don’t know if this is the first time the two genres have (amicably) gotten together, but it’s a rare enough circumstance that it makes makes this anthology noteworthy.
For romance readers, it’s a chance to sample the exotic flavor of SFF. For SFF readers, it’s a chance to find out that romance isn’t all about bodice-ripping.
= = = = =From “Courting Trouble,” by Linnea Sinclair:What in hell was Serenity Beck doing here? The answer was in her green uniform with its silver star emblem on the sleeve. She was ship’s crew, very likely ship’s pilot.
Death threats he could handle. But Serri Beck was trouble; a seriously unexpected complication. And one that made his chest go tight and his breath hitch. If Nic thought Serri disliked him six years ago, there was no doubt in his mind that she was really going to hate him now. Damned shame he couldn’t return the favor. But six seconds of watching her sprint past him just destroyed six years of his hard-sought sanity. And might well destroy his career.He almost flexed his wrist to contact Leonoso. But he couldn’t—not for thirty-eight hours. Mission rules. Cursing himself silently, he waited for a boxy anti-grav cargo auto-pallet to whirr by before slipping out of the shadows to follow her. Some rules were about to be broken.= = = = =I hope you’ll give Songs of Love & Death a nibble (it will be available in hardcover and ebook). It has zero calories, and is definitely good for your heart and your brain.~Linnea LINKS: http://www.linneasinclair.com/books.htmlhttp://www.borders.com/online/store/TitleDetail?sku=1439150141
Mark your calendars--The New Sensuality has a great lineup of SFR and erotic SFR authors coming up this month:
D. L. Jackson
J. C Hay
More details to come!
My twin sister is a very humble woman. As readers here already know, Erin and her family live on a private mountain. They use solar power and heat their home with a wooden stove, and they don't quite have indoor plumbing. They run a small store at the bottom of their mountain, where they have more facilities, and they also sell some of the wares of their small farm. Erin dresses like someone who lives on a mountain, her daily life consisiting of much more manual labor than that of a typical American. She is an amazing musician, a kind soul, and a generous spirit. When I read the following, my heart sank:
"I went to the KOA on my way out of town like I usually do to fill up gas and propane. There was a line for both, so I opted to wait for the propane first. I parked and unloaded my tanks.
"Anyone who knows me knows that I have to make potty breaks everywhere I go. This is especially true of my last stop before a long drive. I usually go at KOA while they fill my propane. They keep the doors locked, so I always have to ask. I asked the lady filling the propane if I could use their bathroom. She replied that they only let campers use the bathrooms. I told her that I really needed to go and I always use the bathroom, and that I am a regular paying customer. She was very short with me, so I proceeded into the office to find someone I knew. She yelled at me as I walked, "She'll tell you the same thing inside!" I ignored her.
"Inside I said to the cashier, "Are you really not letting customers use the bathroom?" She gave me the same line about the bathroom only being for campers. I asked her to make an exception for a regular customer who really had to go. She agreed to take me to the bathroom and let me in.
"When I went back to my propane tanks, the lady told me to take my tanks elsewhere, that she wouldn't fill them for me. I asked her, "You won't fill my tanks because I needed to use your toilet?" She said it was the way I went about it. She just didn't like that she told me no, but I got to use the bathroom anyway, and she is the owner. She said that it was like "when Mom says no and you go ask Dad." No, not exactly.
"I said, 'You really aren't going to fill my propane tanks?' She told me that if I could come up with a million dollars to buy the place I could have whatever I wanted, but now I needed to leave.
"Then I saw the irony in it all. She turned me away because I drove an old beat up ugly van and was wearing my laundry-day clothes. Yes, I may have looked like someone who would steal a shower or write on the wall, but that is profiling and discriminating which is against the law.
"I will be making my weekly propane and gas stop somewhere else from now on. The lady that owns the KOA is really rude and I would encourage everyone to tell their friends.
"And if you need to use their potty, make sure to drive a BMW in and wear your Sunday best. I would bet a million dollars you would be allowed."
It's such a shame that some people can be so mean to others. When I think about stories such as the one above, all I can ask is why? Does a person wearing dirty jeans merit denying a person use of a public bathroom? Does that imply that she is homeless--or that she might scare away other paying customers in some other terrible way? I've seen my twin sister on a bad day, and she's not that scary....
The New Sensuality Blog Launch Party
The New Sensuality, the blog that covers the erotic side to my writing, is now officially active, and I’m giving away some prizes to celebrate.Here’s the deal: Visit http://newsensuality.blogspot.com between now and April 1 and add yourself to the list of blog followers, and you’ll be eligible to win one of three signed paperback copies of The Darkness and the Night: Blood and Coffee along with a The Darkness and the Night trilogy bookmark, or a $25.00 Amazon gift certificate. Already following? Then you’re already eligible to win. Make sure that I have some way of contacting you, either through your website or an e-mail address.
If you’re interested in increasing the odds in your favor, you can—in addition to the above—do one or more of the following for additional entries:ReadersGo to my home website, at http://www.cerebralwriter.com, find the page on which my novel, Love in Space, can be found, and then send me the link through my contact page: http://www.cerebralwriter.com/contact.html.Read my free short story, “One Night Stand,” which can be found at http://www.cerebralwriter.com/erotic.html, and then (at the same above contact page) send me the answer to the following question: What does each vampire dress up as for Halloween?Sign up to review any of my published books or short stories. For a list of what I have available, you can go here: http://www.cerebralwriter.com/erotic.html and here: http://www.cerebralwriter.com/new-releases.htmlAuthors, Artists, Etc.Sign up to guest blog at this site (erotica and romance), or at the Cerebral Writer (literary, horror, and speculative science fiction). Send all guest blog inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.Add the Cerebral Writer and/or the New Sensuality to your blog roll (one entry for each link added, up to two entries max).AnyoneShare the link to this contest at your blog, website, and/or social networking venues (one entry per venue, up to five entries max); make sure to let me know where I can find the shared links by leaving them below.Thanks for stopping by—and good luck!Lisa
Last night, I watched a show about a canine hero who, in the traditional “Lassie” fashion, sought out and brought help to his desperate human companion. The woman had fallen down a ledge in the middle of the Utah wilderness, had broken her pelvis, and had been unable to get to help herself. The dog was able to lead the search and rescue crew to her after three days of enduring dehydration and freezing temperatures. This made me wonder: How many attributes, such as high levels of compassion and intelligence, do people wrongly attribute to be typically “human,” but “unusual” or “amazing” in their pets?
Kitty (door) and Kadie (in pearls)
I have two cats, Kitty and Kadie. They once warned me of an attempted home invasion in the middle of the night, when my then-fiancé was out of town. The apartment above me had flooded, and my complex had hired a man to vacuum my bedroom carpet and leave a dehumidifier. He had closed the sliding glass door behind him when he had left—leaving it unlocked. Of course, I had gone right behind him and locked it after he was gone, but it is clear that he had not counted on that (and that he had also counted on my leaving the loud dehumidifier on all night, which was keeping me awake and, luckily, I had opted to turn off so I could sleep). I woke to the sound of the sliding door being tugged on—with Kadie standing suddenly, fluffing up, and growling angrily and Kitty rushing across the apartment, to the sliding door. He crashed into the blinds, and a moment later my would-be intruder crashed over my patio ledge and ran off into the night. The next day, the same man tried to let himself into my apartment: that morning, he had taken my apartment key from the management office and went to my apartment. Already on high alert, I was able to stop him before he got in, send him away, and notify the management of his actions. Management apologized profusely for letting such an oversight occur; they had no idea that he had taken my key.
Were Kitty and Kadie just reacting to an outside noise, or were they defending me and our property? Given that Kitty ran to the sliding glass door and Kadie stayed right at my side, growling until the man had gone, I tend to believe that the latter is the case.
Do you have any neat and/or “amazing” stories about your furred, feathered, or scaled friends? I’d love to hear about it.
As the clock ticks down to 2010, I have much to reflect upon from this past year and many hopes for the next. Instead of writing about them all, I decided to break down my list to five positive events from 2009 and five resolutions for 2010:
Positive Highlights of 2009
1. I received thirteen 4-, 4.5- and 5-star reviews for my various published books.
2. One of my books was handpicked to be among three exclusive six-book collections sold through the Home Shopping Network.
3. I returned to college fulltime, after nearly a decade-long hiatus, and received straight A’s.
4. I wrote four new novels, several short stories, and a screenplay adaptation.
5. Through various social networking sites, I have been able to connect with fans and reconnect with friends I had lost touch with over the years.
Resolutions for 2010
1. I resolve to finish my YA fantasy novel, redraft the literary sci-fi works that have been simmering on the back burner, and write the comedy screenplay that has been building in my mind for the past two years.
2. I resolve to earn straight A’s again in the coming two semesters.
3. I resolve to promote my work more—both published and unpublished novels, as well as my short stories and screenplays.
4. I resolve to weight train every two to three days and continue working toward my second-degree black belt in Shurin Ryu karate.
5. I resolve to set the bar even higher for my writing, using what I’ve learned to improve upon the foundation I’ve laid for myself.
What are your highlights and resolutions? I’d love to hear from you. Here’s to a great 2010—Happy New Year!