For a few days, to be with a friend who lost her Dad today and take care of some career stuff. Everything's okay, I'm just needed elsewhere. See you all next week.
Our bashing critic pal Gary Westfahl has manfully decided
not to blame us SF writers for SARS. How refreshing. He is still feeling a bit peevish, though:
"To the disappointment of many, I must report that I did not contract Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and thus remain healthy and capable of writing."
Gee, you think a critic would be able to handle criticism, huh? Tsk, tsk. You know that old saying about heat and the kitchen, Gary -- maybe you should look for another job. And why we would want you to contract a lethal contagion? I bet you're an incredibly warm, sensitive, thoughtful human being. When you're not spitting on the freshly-burned bodies of astronauts and blaming SF authors for their deaths, that is.
But . . .But . . .
A mag writer/editor somehow got my unlisted, highly-guarded phone number (and heads will roll for this, I swear) and called me this morning to do a phone interview. I was tempted to pretend (again) to be Rosa, the doan-speek-Eengleesh housekeeper, but I figured, what the heck -- we're both grownups, and professionals, and I could just politely say "Thanks" and "No" and that would be the end of it.
That wasn't the end of it.
She badgered and cajoled me, cited her excellent track record with her magazine and how important this could be for me. I thanked her, said I was flattered, but I don't give interviews. Then she started asking me questions anyway, and went from "Why did you change your romance pseudonym?" to "Don't you care about your books?"
I told her she could contact my agent or one of my publishers -- a couple of times -- but she simply would not
back off. Her voice kept getting higher and louder, like she was working herself up to something nasty, so I decided to be rude and simply hung up on her. She called back, really pissed, but before she could hurl another question I hung up and blocked her from calling in again.
This will probably result in another hatchet-job article, but I kind of enjoyed it. The utter disbelief over my bad attitude is always amusing. I hope I won't have to change my phone number again, though.
FM Community Offline:
Something went kablooey during the latest install and our regular community is down. Until whatever is broke is fixed, members can check in at the backup community here.
As of this moment, Phoenix Chat is working and can be accessed here.
More Good News:
"The Steel Caress" made top pick in Romantic Times May issue, with 4-1/2 stars. TY, RT. :)
More Title Collisions:
This August I have "Blade Dancer" and "The Kissing Blades" being released simultaneously; now it looks like I'll also have "Into the Fire" and my AH story in the Baen anthology "The Ring of Fire" hitting the shelves at the same time in January. "Antiques in the Attic" is currently undergoing a title change, and since that debuts in January as well I think I'd better steer clear of any reference to fire.
Negotiations are now pending for a new contract with NAL/Onyx for the next two Fire books. Nothing chiseled in stone yet but it's safe to say it's a pretty sure thing. Which will bring my total novels sold to a nice even 20. Twenty novels in four years, I can live with that. :)
Are in for "Into the Fire", in a three-page letter from my romance editor. She starts off with "I love this story" and ends with "I'm so impressed by you" with much sage editing in between. It's a real pleasure to work with someone who makes my skull swell like this while managing to zero in on all my flaws and present them with no-nonsense, no-ego-involved practical solutions. If I ever (strangling sound) become an editor, I want to be like her.
Seriously, it's nice to have hard work appreciated -- I not only threw out the original version of ITF and busted my ass through Christmas to get the new version finished, I worked hard on getting the voice right this time. Voice is everything, and I think I've finally nailed it. I knew when I made that radical shift in voice with Raven's character that I could integrate it into the total work -- it's just letting go of all the misconceptions and wannabes in my brain, and being myself, and telling the story my way instead of the way I subconsciously assume it has to be told. You'd think after fifty books I'd have figured this out, but romance has always been the hardest genre for me. There are so many romance authors I respect and admire and who I will never be. Now, hopefully, I can go on and be myself.
If you don't like to be stung, you'll probably want to stay away from Titusville Florida for a few days, until the swarm of 80 million bees
released during a truck accident is caught or disperses.
Publishers Weekly has an article
on the final 2002 numbers for the major chains, and some gloomier articles on cutbacks and job losses. Overall the booksellers did better than most retailers, but I'm sure definitely not to plan. Pushing customer discount club cards is not going to make people buy more books or bail out the industry. Forgetting the hard sell and returning to traditional handselling and customer service might, hint, hint.
On a happier note, e-books and University presses are doing quite well, according to this article
in the Library Journal. As traditional publishing slots diminish and the majors drift toward print on demand, I think we'll see more growth among the small presses and electronic publishers. There are already too many established midlist authors searching for someplace to call home. E-books have still not caught on enough with the general reading public to make a big dent in the industry, but they may follow in the wake of the majors drift and take advantage of what's being passed over.
I am not supposed to be working on Terri and Cort's book, not until I get my editor's revision notes from book one, but . . . okay, I found the song. The
song I've been hunting for weeks, to help me "see" this book in my head.
It wasn't on purpose. I've been methodically trying out all of my old casette tapes to see if they still work (I'm into nostalgia this spring) and turns out Eddie Money's "Take Me Home Tonight" is the
song. I've always been able to see Terri in my head but this song finally let me flash on Cort and bring him into the cerebral picture. Of course I'm hopelessly stuck in the 80's, but it's a good song for simmering undercurrents -- and that's Terri and Cort.
Moriah and Caine (book three) are also waiting in the wings, but since they're the nitro of this trilogy, I'm deliberately blocking any thoughts about them until I'm done with book two. Caine will get even with me for it; he's going to be damn near impossible to tame into a hero, I can already tell. But if I could make a hero out of Sean Delaney -- and I did -- I can make one out of Caine.
Daylight Savings Time:
Good Morning America, that's right, it's not 3:46 a.m., it's 4:46
a.m. Now everyone go and set your clocks ahead one hour and say Thank You For Reminding Me, Sheila.
Easy way to remember DSL without having to check the calendar: it starts on the first Sunday in April and ends on the last Sunday in October. Oh, but not everyone has to change their clocks, some places in the U.S. don't observe daylight time, like Arizona, Hawaii, and most of Indiana. Which means Kane
can go back to bed. :)