Monday, May 19, 2008

Guest Excerpt: Treaty of Desire by Cynnara Tregarth

Treaty of Desire Excerpt--- Rated PG
http://www.loose-id.net/detail.aspx?ID=581

A two-year-old was turning from boy to wolf cub and back again as he tried to manipulate the toys in front of him. A dark-haired woman laughed as the boy’s father knelt down to help him. The man glanced up at the leather-clad woman. “Laugh it up, why don’t you? You don’t know how frustrating it is to deal with a child shifter, Taja Marya Drevin.”
Taja laughed. “Byron, because Juren is constantly shifting, it means he’s got to learn control early. Better he learn on his own than have it forced on him. You know the reason is because of the Unseelie blood in us.”
A knock at the door interrupted Byron’s response. Taja jumped up lightly. Quickly, she palmed her dagger and spoke. “Yes?”
“Open up, Taja. This is Reina.”
Taja blinked to let her senses enhance beyond the human range. The woman’s scent was indeed that of her queen. Taja slid her dagger back into its sheath before opening the door. She looked at Reina, who was dressed casually in a leather jerkin and a soft blue linen shirt. “Often dress like a peasant?” she teased. They both knew the value of being underestimated. Sometimes it was best in the long run.
Reina laughed as Taja shut the door behind her. “Not often enough, it seems. I’m glad you were here. The treaty is signed. We are now in alliance with the Seelie court of the fey. And thanks to your personal information about how the courts work, the treaty was easier to achieve than it would’ve been.”
Taja gestured for Reina to take the seat she’d just vacated and arranged herself on the floor next to Juren. The young boy crawled into his aunt’s lap. She kissed his furry face and hugged him close. “Tell me, what are the costs and the benefits of this treaty?”
The were leader quickly listed the requirements of the treaty on both sides. Taja withheld her comments until Reina had finished. “So we’re teaching them the skills they lost, while learning how to use some of their basic magick for defense of our people. Who are you going to con into taking this job? Anyone with brains will step back and run like hell before accepting this asinine assignment.”
Reina looked pointedly at her and Taja got the hint that the answer wouldn’t be one she liked. Taja squeezed her nephew harder while Byron spoke. “Whoever it is, they’re going to be fighting an uphill battle there. The Seelie don’t like interlopers, even if they asked for help. Hell, they’ve not asked for much help from their own Unseelie cousins in centuries.”
Taja nodded as the young cub fell asleep in her lap. “This is true. I know that they’ve got to be concerned about the gateway being opened, if they’ve come to other races.”
Her hands stroked her nephew’s soft fur. She knew what was going to come. Her queen gave her that stern, commanding look only when she wanted her to do something. Taja tried not to think about it. Facing people who would consider her impure or a crossbreed if they knew the truth…it would tear into her. No matter how much time had passed, no matter how much she was truly a sub-queen among her people, she was nothing but a half-breed with ill-gotten abilities among the Seelie. She tried to control her thoughts, hoping that she had misread her queen.
Reina looked quizzically at her friend and confidante. The scent of fear had increased slightly. Taja let out her breath. “Who are you sending to deal with the Seelie court? You need someone strong and able to hold their own, no matter what’s thrown their way. It has to be someone also familiar with their ways and their basic culture.”
The queen’s gaze narrowed. “Who do you recommend, Lady of the Cats? Who knows enough of the policy and procedures of the sidhe, as well as the Seelie court, to not embarrass us?”
Taja lowered her eyes to the sleeping child. Here was a child who could benefit by being able to call the Seelie court friend. Knowing their basic magick for protection could keep him safe while under the influence of the full moon each month. In her heart, Taja knew the decision that had been made by both her laird and herself. It would be tough, but if it meant peace for her nephew and those like him, it didn’t matter the price she paid.
“We both know the only one qualified to do so is me. When do I go to the Seelie court?” Taja asked, while silently forcing her magick to change her nephew back to human form. When it was accomplished, she gently handed him over to his waiting father. Her brother always knew when to leave at the right time.
Byron departed the room. Taja stared at her queen, aware of how her friend’s thought processes worked. Reina broke the quiet first. “There’s no one else who’s qualified. Plus, you’ll be under the guidance of Alterran’s heir. He’s promised you full support for your time there.”
The tone brooked no disobedience. Then, as the were queen shifted from one animal to another, Taja realized just how much power and control this negotiation had taken. Finally, Reina regained her human form, though her eyes were still slightly flat, as if shedding a reptilian nature had been tougher than normal.
Taja snorted, though she was careful not to be too disrespectful. “If you think your evil snake glare will work on me, you’re sadly mistaken. You don’t know how hard it was for me growing up between our realm and my dad’s family.” Her queen’s look didn’t change and the sense of a trap being snapped around her made Taja even more uncomfortable. “Reina, please, you can’t be serious.”
The were leader shifted into a large vulture. “I’m dead serious,” she said mentally. “There is no one else I can trust. Plus, your heritage is a bonus. It’ll help you learn quicker.”
“It won’t show us if a true were can access those abilities.”
“You’ll make it work. I know you will. You’ve done it before with the vampyr. Why would I doubt you?”
Taja scrubbed her face with the back of one hand. There was the rub. Reina had faith in her, where she herself lacked it. What the hell was she supposed to do? Telling her queen that she didn’t want to face the people who shunned her father because he was half sprite and half sidhe was a pretty poor excuse.
She drew herself up straight. “I guess there is no choice. So I’m the guinea pig. Joy.”
The lack of inflection was evident to her, to Reina, and to the returning Byron. He looked from her to Reina, then said, “So the queen of the shifters got you to do it? I’m impressed. I’d thought you’d figure out how to get out of dealing with the people who shunned our father, but kept his parents in their court.”
Taja shrugged while shoving down her emotions. There was too much to think about to let her emotions run the moment. Control first, release later on, perhaps during a run in panther form. “That is the past. Supposedly, the Seelie court is looking to be more accepting and more open. They might not like it, but they’ll entertain crossbreeds during this time before the gateway opens.”
Reina smirked. “Taja, I’ve not told them you’re a crossbreed. No one knows. To them, you’re a full were. I’ve not said anything about you, except that you are the Lady of the Cats in the were realm. The king’s heir will be your teacher and his second son will be one of your protectors. You leave in ten days. That should be enough time to get ready.”http://www.loose-id.net/detail.aspx?ID=581

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Excerpt and the Buy Link

This is the Marketing Coordinator of Changeling Press and part-time participant in Phoenix Rising Promotions with a small rant.

As you can well imagine, I post a lot of excerpts for other authors. One of my main problems I face on a continual basis is that of buy links. An author will willingly send me an excerpt, but other than the title, I’ll have little to go on. In some cases, I may know the publisher, such as when I work specifically for Changeling Press.

However, even then an excerpt without a buy link included means extra work for me going to find the work, getting the buy link and then including it in the post. How likely am I to work that hard if I have other excerpts that do include the buy link? I’m human, and I don’t want to work any harder than I have to.

This also applies to the readers. If the buy link goes directly to the book and link to purchase said book, are they more likely to buy? You betcha! The readers are even less likely than I am to go searching for that book if they have to click more than a few times with the mouse. The author does him/her-self a favor by making it easy for the reader to buy.

While this is not true with my present publishers, I have worked for a publisher with a very un-user-friendly website. It was difficult to find the author, much less the books unless they were a current release. If the reader wants to explore the author’s backlist, the buy link must provide that information, especially if the book is part of a series.

Make it easy to sell your books. Make it a habit to include the buy link EVERY TIME YOU CREATE AN EXCERPT. Make it a hyperlink to ensure your readers have to do little more than click the link.

Don’t waste the reader’s time –or mine—or they won’t waste time on you.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Awesome Ashlyn Chase

Hey, my friend Ashlyn Chase has an interview! If you haven't read Death by Delilah, you've missed an awesome read.

Go here!
http://www.theromancestudio.com/blue/who10.php

Lena

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A short note on Self-Discipline

Discipline, discipline, discipline! I had a sticker on my old monitor: BICHOK. It means Butt In Chair Hands On Keyboard. See, it works like this: You can't make money without a book to sell, you can't sell the book without a publisher, you can't get a contract without a manuscript, and you can't have a manuscript until you put fingers to keyboard and type it in.

I have a 3" ring binder so stuffed with ideas it looks like my 6-year-old grandson's school backpack at the end of the week. I see a movie, and I get an idea. I read a book and think, "I'd do that differently." And worst of all, I watch documentaries and come up with entire series. (moan!) Ideas from the Muse are not the problem. I need an intelligent octopus to help me type them all into the computer!

I've given myself carpal tunnel and tendonitis when a story wouldn't let me go. My hands swell up, and I can't even hold a coffee cup without whimpering. So, I'm limited to between 1000 and 2000 words a day. To accomplish this, I have a Power Hour. I shut the door of my office, on which there is a sign: "If you knock, I'd better hear sirens!" and I type what I've already plotted out. Right now, the entire plot for my WIP is up on my bulletin board in the form of plot cards. Each row of cards is a chapter, with the bottom row being the one I'm working on. Yes, I have to move them down to do the next chapter. A nefarious plot on my part (okay, pardon the pun) to refresh my memory on the whole story as I write.

Sometimes I have appropriate music in the background. When I write a Native American tale, I have NA music. When I write magic and mayhem, I play Celtic. When I write about demons, devils, and naughties, I play the CD, "Infernal Violins." You've never heard Danse Macabre until you've heard a violin master do his best to burn his violin with friction! No words. All instrumental. Lyrics interfere with the words in my brain, unless they're in a foreign language like Gregorian chants or opera like "Carmina Burana." Right now I have nature sounds in the CD player, specifically "Rain and Thunder." Finally, I use Christmas CD's to get me in the mood to write holiday stories in July and August. It's nearly impossible to get "in the holiday spirit" otherwise.

Monday, May 12, 2008

THE MANUSCRIPT BINDER

I’m going to assume you read the section on motivation and color coding. If not, go back and read it. I’m not going to repeat myself, and you don’t want to be saying “Huh?” a lot.
Your color-coded binder’s dividers are labeled as follows, and I’ll now go into what each category is for.
1. Premise/Research- Everyone starts with an idea. Often it is nothing more than, “Hey, what would happen if…” Write it down. Your notes on where you want to go could keep you on track later. Also, unless you are an expert on a given setting, time period, occupation, whatever, you will need to do a bit of research. I’m a fairly good scuba diver, but I did make a few notes on the latest equipment and a few other things like how to calculate how long you could stay underwater at a certain depth. Sure as you breathe, some authenticity maven will hammer you if you aren’t sure of your data.
2. Characters- I’ll deal with this more in depth during the Character section of my lessons. Suffice it to say you will need a place to record all the obscure things about your characters. It’s best to name their dog, their favorite food, and all other data as you think of it.
3. Plot- I'll be teaching a compromise between the anal-retentive plotting I personally do, and having no plan at all. There will be at least two worksheets in here.
4. Chapters- As I mentioned, this is where you can put the chapters. I used extra dividers, labeled for each chapter number for easy reference.
5. Synopsis- If you've done what I suggest, The Dreaded Synopsis is a thing of the past. It practically writes itself! One worksheet, plus room for your copies of the three most common synopses.
6. Promotions- Chats, Contests, and all your notes on promotions go here. It's not nice to forget you promised to participate with another author in a recipe promo on her website, or forget where you promised to give away that cool prize. Keep track! When you have a long lead time before release, ideas come and go. Write them down.
7. Submissions- I will provide you with a submissions tracker, so you never forget that you sent a query to 8 agents and 4 editors, no matter how long it takes them to respond. You are going to want to get published, right? You'll need to learn to create the Hook and the Query. Two worksheets.
8. Feedback- This is the section for your fan mail specific to that book, your reviews, and any other clippings or memorabilia.


Now, I don't care if you use a hanging file folder with manila folders inside, or any other sort of paper-holding device as long as you use one and it is color-coded. This is important! Even hanging file folders and manila files can be bought in colors or labeled with a red dot.

Let's assume that you've decided that, since this is a vampire story, you wish to use red as the color code because red makes you think of blood. Go buy a red binder, red smiley and star stickers, red diskettes, or CDs, a red permanent marker such as Sharpie, and red dots to color code files as well as anything else you can't buy as red.

Use the label maker and label everything. I do mean everything. Even the CD's/diskettes. There's nothing worse than finding a piece of paper or diskette buried under your papers and not know what all those notes are for! It wastes time, and possibly means lost data. Each worksheet can even have a red dot to make sure you know where it goes.

Now you are set to write, and you won't lose anything. You are now ready.

Friday, May 9, 2008

ORGANIZED WRITING FOR THE TERMINALLY DISORGANIZED

Okay, let’s get a few things straight, right in the beginning. First and foremost, I’m assuming you are looking at this page because you want to be published and professional. You’ve probably had ideas for stories or articles since adolescence you’ve kept hidden from the public like a secret vice. Go dig them out. You’ll be needing them shortly.
I’m also assuming a certain skill with MS Word and other word processing programs. If you are not a touch typist, don’t go and get a hair shirt, okay? Just go buy one of the Dummies or Idiot’s books for your particular software program and actually read it. My Idiot’s Guide of MS Office is still my best friend. While you are at the bookstore, go get a good dictionary and a thesaurus. (You knew that was coming, didn’t you?)
I’m also assuming you are willing to clean up and get organized. Yes, I’ll be asking you to spend some money. Your wallet won’t do more than squeak, unless you decide to spend more than I recommend is necessary. Think cheap, for now. You can get fancy later. Here’s a short shopping list. I’ll explain some of the weirder items later.

1. A shoe organizer. The kind that hangs on the back of the door, with pockets for shoes. Go as cheap as possible, but make sure it has at least ten pockets. This is for your tax deduction receipts. Ask your tax consultant for a list of the deductions you may claim.
2. At least one 3” ring binder, and eight dividers for each story you want to tell, plus one set for your educational materials.
3. Stickers- I myself use iridescent colored happy faces and stars. Use what trips your trigger, but keep the sizes reasonable. These must fit on your calendar.
4. Calendar. I use the large wipe-off wall calendars made by At-A-Glance. My schedule is flexible, so wipe-off is necessary. Just be aware that you will be writing on your calendar, and you must be able to read it in a hurry.
5. Bell timer
6. Printout of the plot cards
7. Binder clips in small, medium, and large. Optional for now, but you will need them when your manuscript is done.
8. Small labeling machine. I use the Brother P-Touch, but you can even go with the hand-held labeling gun if your budget won’t allow for more. A labeling machine will save you a lot of frustration. Don’t skip this.
9. Colored diskettes/CD’s or at least colored labels for same. If you own a read/write CD drive, you are ahead of the game, but plain old diskettes and colored labels will do in a pinch if your wallet is whimpering.
10. A pack of colored sharpies and a pack of colored wipe-off markers. Try to use the primary and secondary colors, no matter how tempted you are to get all those cool colors. Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, and Black will do. Don't go overboard, here.

Motivation is perhaps the most difficult things a writer must do. Whether you’ve quit your day job and write full-time, or pound keyboard after a hard day at the office, it takes motivation to put your butt in the chair and type. BICHOK, some authors call it. Butt In Chair, Hands on Keyboard. It’s true. There are several methods, including gunpoint, to get you in the chair. Simply, it comes down to finding out what time of day you write best in, setting that bell timer, and typing for at least one hour a day, even if what comes out of your fingertips is the worst drivel you’ve ever seen. You got the idea down, and saved it from being lost in the ether of your dreams that never came true. You can turn it into pretty words later.
Congratulate yourself, and take one of the stickers. It may seem terribly childish, but giving yourself a sticker to put on today’s date on the calendar gives you a visual reminder of what you have accomplished. You’ll soon see you have a pattern develop of what days you work best on. For me, it is weekday mornings. The family has gone off on their own pursuits by 9 AM, and I’ve luxurious hours alone with my keyboard. Oh, and stick that calendar right where you can see it every day. When you see that calendar festooned with bright stickers, you can’t help but be cheered and motivated. I took it a step further, but you don’t have to do this. I mark The Black X’s of Shame on the days where I accomplish nothing. Weekends don’t count. For me, Guilt Works.
And now for that binder. Let me state up front that I’m one of those anal-retentive types with AADD (Adult Attention Deficit Disorder). If I don’t keep things this organized, I’ll go off on tangents. My favorite tangent is another story than the one I’m supposed to be working on! Therefore, I have my binders (and everything associated with one story) color coded. The binder, diskettes, stickers, -literally everything!- must match. That way, if I find a red diskette on my desk, I don’t have to stop and open the files within to find out what story it goes to. The red color lets me know exactly where it goes; in the red binder, of course. You can find diskette holders that fit in binders in any of the chain office supply stores. But that’s purely optional.
What’s not optional is good labeling. Unless your handwriting would impress the Queen, use a labeling machine. These handy devices are worth their weight in gold. Label everything! Every disk, every binder, and every binder divider. Here are the divider labels I use, however you are welcome to come up with your own.
1. Premise/Research
2. Characters
3. Plot
4. Chapters (these may be subdivided with more divider inserts, numbered according to chapters, but this is optional)
5. Synopsis
6. Promotions- Ideas come and go, but some will be specific to the story. Write down where you found those cool Egyptian pens, seven for $20. Another author wants to share a recipe promo with you, and there's a contest coming up you'd like to play in. Someone remind me to upload the promo sheet, okay?
7. Submissions- I'll give you a one page submissions tracker later
8. Feedback- Reviews, fan mail, and even what the proofer said can go here.

I’ll go into each one of the categories in another document, and what they are for.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

How to Write: How do you eat an Elephant?

Someone asked me the "secret" of how I write so much, and get it published. I'll tell you my "secret". It's no secret, really. It all starts with the simple joke, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!"

I make myself write at least 1000 words a day, every weekday. Think about it. If you assume there are about 20 weekdays in a month, it is theoretically possible to write 20K or more a month. Now, it doesn't work out like that, but it comes reasonably close.

Don't have a heart attack, now. The reason I can write 1000 words a day is simple: planning. I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a pantser. I'm a plotter. I have a plot plan and a wipe-off storyboard. Until I can tell you the story, scene by scene, off my storyboard, I don't sit down at the keyboard.

Here's how it goes: Let's say I have this nebulous idea following Sharon Mignerey's (http://www.sharonmignerey.com/) 5 steps: A character, in a situation, who wants something, and there's something that stands in their way of achieving that want, which will result in a catastrophe if the want is not achieved. Okay, got that. That's my premise.
Another method is Morgan Hawke's system. (http://darkerotica.net) That's just as effective, but a bit harder to learn. I like it because it is geared specifically to writing erotic romance. We'll go over it later, but suffice it to say I do plan my plot, step by step, to guarantee the biggest emotional roller coaster ride I can provide.


Now I take that sheet of paper and go to my big wipe-off storyboard. This is a simple, cardboard-backed wipe-off display board you can buy in OfficeMax. I grab up my collection of colored wipe-off markers and take the thing out to the dining room table. I divided it up into 25 squares long ago, using permanent Sharpies, so I have a max of 25 main scenes, to match the Plot list. I fill in the blanks off my Plot Planner in black wipe-off marker.

Now, whose scene is it? His? Hers? Both? Who has the most angst, the most to lose? For instance, in the Black Moment, the heroine is dying and the hero must get her to medical care. Obviously, it's his scene. I pick up the blue wipe off marker, and circle that notation in blue. If it were hers, it would be circled in red. After all the main scenes are marked, I look for color balance. Too much blue? Well, go back and add some notes for her thoughts, feelings, etc. How about my love scenes? I circle the whole scene box in pink. Hey, waitaminit.... there's 3 or 4 chapters where there seems to be no pink. Not good! Make a note to add some tenderness/sex/fantasy in there. Note locations/settings in green. Hey! How did I get them from that picturesque French village into the local Abbey? Note to make a bridge scene.

My crit partners and I will often get together at this point. If I can go over the whole story with them, scene by scene, we usually find plot twists or bad judgment on my part. (Hey, Lena! It's HER scene, not his! She's the one panicky, right?) Erase, change. Now it's perfect.

Now, here's where things change. I'm published and established. I make my synopsis off the storyboard and send it to my editor for approval. If they have any changes or suggestions, I want them now. You can make your synopsis now, or wait. Note there's no "dreaded synopsis" syndrome.

After my editor has had her say, I make my plot cards. I've created my own set, mostly based off what Tami Cowden taught in her class, "Anatomy of a Scene". I've changed a few things to suit my style, but the basic stuff remains the same. What's going on, what do they have to overcome to get through the scene, why, day/date, time, location, whose POV, (and my own addition) a list of the five senses. (I always forget smell or something!) They get numbered like so: Chapter 3, scene 1 is marked as C3.1. I've dropped my cards before, and that was a mess!

All this planning and preparation can take up to a week. However, for me, it works. When I finally sit down to type or use Dragon NaturallySpeaking, I'm now ready. The story, start to finish, is firmly planted in my mind. I know what I have to do, and when. I may have remembered a cute or sassy phrasing, and that's on the plot card. The rest, I have to now write. It's a plan, like a roadmap. I can deviate, if the characters "tell" me to, but if I want to get from Denver to Dallas, I'll get back on the main road eventually.

I'm not prolific. I'm a plotter. I don't have writer's block, because I have a plan. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. That's how I write. One bite at a time.

All you have to do is set your "bites" to what you can chew. You have a day job. Maybe 1000 words a weekday is too much for you. Okay, so make it 500, 250, or 100. You know what you can reasonably accomplish in a day. Plan, then plant your butt in the chair, and do it, every day. Those bites add up. Even at 250 words a day, 5000 words a month, you can write a full-length novel of 60K or more in a year. Double that to 500 words a weekday, and you can write two full-length novels in a year. Think about it. That's an average of 2-3 pages a day. I write about 5 pages a day.

That's it. That's my secret. It's no secret. I'm going to go over my steps, one bite at a time. A process which ensures as little writers block and stress as possible, because you build a solid foundation, one building block at a time.

I'm not going to lie. Very few people have the over-organized system I do. That's fine. Feel free to modify. However, I urge you to do each step at least once. Try it. If you don't want to use a binder, try a simple manila file folder, for instance.

Warning: I have UNBREAKABLE RULES. They'll be noted and explained.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Last Minute Lucy

Want to annoy me? Be late. I hate late. Once in awhile, we're all delayed, but have you ever noticed some people seem to make a habit of it? Then, suddenly they make it your problem too. You're on time to be with them, and they aren't ready, so now you're both late to an event. I had a friend who considered it a point of pride to arrive at the exact moment or up to ten minutes late to everything, even her own wedding. She tried pulling that rudeness on me twice. The third time, I drove off and left her still putting on her mascara. I'd said I'd drive off at 7, and I meant it. You have to draw the line, and I put a big old black Sharpie line on the sidewalk at making me late. Funny thing, after that I could guarantee my friend would be ready on time for me.

Some editors I had long ago had that problem. If I turn in a finished manuscript three months or more in advance, I expect the courtesy of an edit within a reasonable period of time before release. What if there are needed changes? What if the edits arrive when I'm about to leave for a weekend getaway with my DH? Uh, sorry. He's more important in my life.

Right now, I have the best editor in KK, my editor at Changeling Press. I adore her. She's strong enough in her skills to kick my butt and make me like it. My work is always stronger after she's done and I've been a good girl enough to do as she said. This week is all about the edits she gave me last week. I'm working my butt off for her because she's earned my respect. She's also rarely late. Often she's early, bless her hardworking fingers.

Why am I praising her right now? Because I'm sure my work on Faux Paws is better because of her. It releases in late June, and I already have my edits in hand. Now that's efficient.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Inter-racial Genre Controversy

I do not intend to start a hate-filled debate. I'm hoping to mend fences. I saw on another blog that some --not all, by any means-- writers of interracial romance resent white authors who write interracial. Was I shocked? Not really.

I do disagree that all white authors who write interracial get a "break" somehow. I don't. I've only written two interracials, and both were by accident. The first, "Sex World 1: Guardian" had a m/m plus menage theme. It did well in its day, but I'd say that was because it was m/m and had nothing to do with one of the heroes being dark-skinned. Frankly, since it was never intended to be I/R, I was content to let that slip under the radar.

My second I/R was deliberately written with a black female and her white husband. Set in the future, I wished to convey that in the time of "Bonds of Matrimony" race issues were deader than moon dust. I wanted to show how beauty comes in many colors and forms. Millicent Devereaux was successful because of her own hard work, but she'd gotten lost in her stressful job. She recognized her failing and wanted to save her marriage. Did all this have to do with her skin color? No. Perhaps that's why no one cared it was I/R. Sales have been okay, but I don't think I got special privileges because I am white. In fact, I think it hurt me.

So what's my point? I/R sells because of its specific cultural framework. The heroines are products of today's present black culture. I don't think the color of the skin of the author matters so much as correctly portraying the characters and their situation. Black authors who live the culture probably have a leg up on white authors like me who have to be taught the culture. I bow to their expertise.

To me, this is just another real life example of "write what you know." It's no different than the huge amount of research I did on Ancient Egypt to write "The God's Wife." If I put forth the effort to learn, I should be able to write based on my research. Again, I think this has to do more with expertise than skin color. I'll have to work twice as hard to get half the credit. Challenge accepted.

Simplifying One's Life isn't Simple

The time has come. I suddenly realized over the weekend how stressed I was trying to manage SEVEN blogs. Seven! All I did was cut and paste the same messages in three places for three different parts of my life. I maintained three "professional" blogs, two pagan blogs, one Martha Stewart-ish blog, and one anonymous blog for when I needed to fuss. How ridiculous is that?

Worse, I was also frustrated with my website. My domain name registry was up for renewal, which is also my reminder that I'd soon get a $70 bill from my web host. $90 a year for a website I can't even maintain on my own, and have to prevail upon the good will of more knowledgeable persons to even update. The only reason I kept it was because it was searchable, and blogs aren't.

Or, so I thought. I've since learned there is an alternative to all this insane mess: WordPress. Moreover, this system can link via RSS feeds to Blogger. How convenient! Thanks to Celia Kyle, WordPress guru and cool author, I'll soon have a one-stop shopping website that is searchable as long as I keep my domain name. That, I can do!

So, I'm dropping MySpace, LiveJournal, and Yahoo360 and going purely to Blogger and WordPress. Simple and easy to update without having to have special programs or understand the arcane language of HTML. I can hardly wait.

Lena

Welcome to my Blog!

Thanks for popping by! Don't sit on the whipping horse unless you want to find out how it's used. I speak my mind and annoy many people, but all of it is meant in good spirit. Feel free to argue with me. I like it.

Best way to reach me is by email: voiceomt2002@yahoo.com

Lena