Sunday, December 31, 2006

Fess Up Monday!

Did you write? Did you sell? How many words? Tell, tell tell!

The Global Existential Threat Level remains at GUARDED.

Happy New Year to everyone!

This is a milestone year for me, because this is the Year of my First Novel-Length Publication. You can all read BONDS OF DARKNESS from Liquid Silver Books on January 15th, or you can sneak a peak at

But of course, while that's pretty cool, I'm well into two new projects. What are you up to, this first day of 2007? What are your goals? Do you freeze up even thinking about that?

If you want a little hint in setting reasonable, attainable goals, check out FINDING FOCUS: MANAGING YOUR CREATIVITY from last autumn's newsletter. If you set an unreasaonable goal, you're just setting yourself up to fail. And that sucks. A good goal for 2007: avoid the suckage early and often.

On the blog schedule this week:

Tuesday: News 2 Use, everyone's favorite feature.
Thursday: A new Read This, with links to some good speculative romantic short stories available on the web…including MINE!
Friday: Romance and science fiction go out on another date in a new publication dedicated to speculative fiction.
Weekend: A new feature, From Other Shelves – noteable books outside our subgenres.

So I invite you, every Monday, to fess up. Did you write? Did you sell? How many words? Tell, tell, tell! Because if you write just 1,750 words a week, by this time next year, you'll have the first draft of a novel!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Classy, Classy, Classy!

Each week I get an email from the reviews coordinator at Samhain Publishing, letting me know about new speculative romance releases. This makes me smile every single Monday, because as a one-woman shop, I really appreciate the time they take to make my life easier. (Thank you, M, did you know how much I appreciate you?)

Today when I got home from the day job, I found a holiday greeting card from the Samhain Publishing Staff.

I'm telling ya, that's classy.

Happy Holidays, Samhain Publishing!

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Over at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, a call for gossip devolved into a genuine discussion of a favorite topic: what readers expect from paranormal romance.

I wouldn't want to be an editor looking for the next hot read in speculative romantic fiction, because everyone seems to expect a different experience, or bring a different reader need to the bookstore aisle. I think that our subgenre has to work the hardest in any of romance, because of the varied tastes and desires of its fans.

And although this reality too often leads to angry readers demanding to know why a favorite series has turned the corner into something they don't want to read, I think the diversity in speculative romance is a strength.

I'm sure my letter to Speculative Romance Santa is very different from yours, and not just because I'm weird. It's because speculative romance whispers so much to so many, that we must be flexible in our definition of genre, and be understanding that what tosses your confetti might sink somebody else's tugboat.

So share your wish list for 2007 with the Speculative Romance Santa.

Here's mine:

Dear Speculative Romance Santa,

Please forego the diamonds and dark chocolate confections in my stocking this year, and deliver some good specrom reads, like…

Stories so well crafted that the romantic conflict grows directly from the circumstances of the author's speculative vision.

Stories that challenge my emotional boundaries through characters that so move me, I must transcend my "squick" factors to appreciate their love story. Even if it's only for the time it takes to read the book.

Real aliens to fall in love with. Tentacles and everything.

Historical speculative romance.

More stories like early Dean Koontz, but with more speculative content. I'm tired of re-reading Watchers and Lightening, Santa, please?

Love and chills,


Monday, December 04, 2006

Holy Crap Where Did She Go?

It's going to be hit-and-miss until the New Year, folks, but just to keep you thinking...

News 2 Use -- Controversial Issues Edition

Our Brains -- Should We Thank Sexual Outlaws?

The idea of interbreeding with another species gives us instinctual heebie-jeebies. But it seems more and more likely that the key genetic development in the human brain came to us courtesy of interbreeding with Neanderthals.

So…what species can we interbreed with now, to make the next evolutionary jump in your speculative romance? Paranormal creatures like vampires? Mythological remnants of elves and fairies? Aliens? Genetic engineered mixes with animals? Machine intelligence? Go forth and write!

Social Exclusion Actually Hurts Brain Function

Studies measuring the magnetic fields inside the brain show that people who are rejected or excluded from social interaction actually undergo neurological changes, resulting in poor decision-making and impaired learning processes.

So when we socially marginalize and demonize any group -- homosexuals, for example, or romance authors -- we create huge problems. Huge. Measurable. Neurological. When you are creating that near-future setting for your speculative romance, consider how any sexual outcasts you create may act. If your near-future society marginalizes people who sleep with vampires, chances are those people engage in risky, and possibly violent, behavior.

Global Sex Study Reports Dubious View of Women and Sex

A study of sexual practices and habits in 59 countries paints a pretty damn dim picture for women. Incidents of venereal disease and other sex-related health problems are linked less to promiscuity, and more to issues of poverty, mobility and gender equality. And while monogamy remains the basic rule, women are far less likely to have multiple sexual partners than men -- especially where social situations leave women in poverty and inequality. This results in such lovely statistics as these --

  • HIV rates climb rapidly for married women in underdeveloped countries, as they are put at risk by their husbands' behavior and their inability to control their sexual lives in marriage.

  • First sexual experiences remain traumatic and coercive in cultures that value women's sexual purity and therefore marry them off young.

  • In poorer nations, sex is still seen as less of a personal choice and more of a survival strategy.

  • In industrialized nations, where gender equality has resulted in parity of multiple sexual partnerships, women enjoy a higher standard of sexual health.

    The next time you consider the romantic aspects of an alien culture that values virginity, or begin to build the sexual history of your heroine, remember this study. There's nothing romantic about sexual inequality.