Thursday, December 30, 2010
Not to say that I don't still have warm fuzzies for my backlist and get giddy when people like The Ghost Shrink, but, well, it's been years and I'm a very forward thinking person. I always say when people ask me which is my favorite book that it's whichever one I'm working on next. The past is past and I'm not inclined to cling to it. But this can be kinda odd when you're doing promo for a print release and you have to think back past the six projects you've worked on in the interim to talk about that long-since-put-to-bed book.
I was working today on some forms for the shifter print release - which is still a long ways off and will feature (among others) Serengeti Storm, which feels like it came out forever ago. It was singularly weird to be talking marketing points on a book that is so far in the rearview mirror it looks like a speck to me. I couldn't help thinking of that Jennifer Crusie interview. I understood it today.
I feel so distant from my "early stuff". Which is comic when you think how new I am to this. I've only been published for two years. Will it be even more extreme as the years go by? I wonder if other authors feel this way. Or if they have a close relationship with all their books.
In a way I'm glad the books I've written in the past fade in my memory. I think it keeps me from getting too worked up about reactions to them - good or bad. The books aren't close to me anymore. They started out inside and worked their way off, growing more and more distant with each passing month. By the time they come out I can barely see them. And, more importantly, the faded memories help me stay hungry for the next project. I continue to be potential energy ready to be converted into kinetic awesomeness (yeah, I just busted out my physics nerddom).
I'm glad I'm not too fixated on the rearview mirror. It's hard to drive forward if you're only looking back. But it can be funny to talk about the books when you feel like you're talking about a milepost you passed three hours ago.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
I tripped across a review the other day where the reviewer stated a character seemed flat and the historical romance would have worked better for her if he'd had a different & more developed background. The reviewer was then attacked in the comments and all but called racist because the book was about an interracial couple and the aggressive commenter believed the reviewer was trying to imply the heroine should have stuck to her own kind.
I didn't see that. I'm inclined to think the reviewer just thought the character was flat. (And having read the book, I tend to agree.) But I don't read interracial romances or their reviews looking for socio-racial commentary. In the same way I don't read romance looking for post-feminist messages.
I can't help but think there will always be people who will get upset with me for the way I handle race in my books. I feel fortunate that a portion of my upbringing was based in Hawaii, where the concept of race is handled differently than it is in the continental US, and the rest of my childhood was spent in Alaska where the sense of being a winter culture is more dominant than attention to racial divisions. I come from a wonderful multi-ethnic family and I don’t think I would worry how my books will be received from a diversity standpoint, except I know some readers are extremely sensitive to racial tones in novels and I don’t particularly want to piss people off with my books. The goal is to make people laugh, you know?
The heroine of The Naked Detective is Chinese-American. She is mistaken for Lucy Liu at one point and the hero even thinks how much she looks like the actress. It's weird that after seeing that reviewer get crucified I feel like I need to point out that he doesn't think that because he is a racist jerk who thinks all Chinese-American women look like Lucy Liu. It's just that my heroine bears a freakish resemblance to Lucy Liu. Like, hardcore spitting image. (I might have been watching Chicago when plotting this book, but I admit to nothing.)
And if she doesn’t seem terribly Chinese to readers, this might be because she was raised by foster parents in New Jersey, so her sense of culture is somewhat warped. She is not meant to be a commentary on Chinese-American women any more than the heroine Lucy of The Ghost Shrink is meant to be a commentary on blonds.
But I have a feeling someone is going to be offended in spite of my intentions. And on this issue it's virtually impossible to tell people they're being oversensitive about without catching even more hell. It's one of those topics I find frustrating with a side of helplessness. What're ya gonna do?
Moral of the story – please don’t take offense. Just laugh. That’s what the book is for.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Merry Christmas, everyone! May your days be merry & bright!
Friday, December 24, 2010
Awesomeness The First: Joyfully Reviewed has selected The Ghost Exterminator as one of their December recommended reads! "This story is as full of surprises as the mischievous ghosts that hijack Wyatt’s orderly world and Ms. Andrews packs in the plot twists with an unflagging wit." I think I might make a pilgrimage to the bookstore today to visit my books and tell them about this lovely review. (That's not weird, is it?)
Awesomeness The Second: Night Owl Reviews have named Winter Wishes a Top Pick and given it four and three quarters stars! "If you’re tired of the some old type of Christmas story, give these a try. There is nothing old or boring about any of them. They take a different look at Christmas and still bring that holiday flavor along. "
But wait! There's more Winter Wishes awesomeness! All About Romance reviewed the anthology and gave it a grade of B and she had such lovely things to say about us! "From the opening line of No Angel, it becomes apparent that readers are in for a treat."
And then, the gooey caramel topping on top of an already luscious Christmas Eve sundae of Awesomesauce, the Romance Studio announced their nominees for the 2011 CAPA awards and what do you suppose should be in the Paranormal Category? Hmmm? The Sexorcist! (Along with a lot of other really awesome books, so there's no way in a demon-infested-hell I'm taking home the award, but wow! Nominated! I'm all aflutter!)
How are your holidays going so far? Hope they are brighter than you could have imagined. Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night, God Bless Us Everyone, and Happy Holidays to you, whatever your celebration preferences.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
So I read this article on genetics, heredity, and the changing scape of what we Know Is True. Cool article. But at the end my reaction was, "Duh." Which I think is probably not the reaction they were going for. Mendelian genetics "facts" have always seemed grossly oversimplified to me, so I'm not even remotely surprised to find they aren't absolute, but my "Duh" extends beyond that - to the very principle of scientific certainty.
I'm fascinated by the evolution of scientific knowledge over the centuries. Everything we Know For A Fact was something we once Knew Couldn't Possibly Be True. New discoveries in our understanding of the universe almost always come from the realization that everything we were sure of was wrong. So why is it that present day scientists are always surprised and resistant when a new theory that flies in the face of accepted facts crops up?
I have a conflicted relationship with science. I love the possibilities, but the idea of concrete knowledge, of fact, seems unscientific in and of itself. Certainty defies the scientific principle of not assuming anything. Hypothesize, test, hypothesize again, test again, exhaust your options & theorize... but then somewhere between the lab and the classroom scientific premises transition from theories to facts. And whenever there is that leap, it is a leap of faith. My sister, a science teacher, has an almost religious relationship with science. It is her certainty. But how do you maintain certainty in the details when the overarching truth is a principle of uncertainty?
For me, science tends to fall into three categories. The stuff we just make up to assign categories to things around us (why do I need to know that genus?), the stuff we take our best guess about to describe the way the world really works (physics! yay!), and all the stuff we don't know yet which is going to be as obvious to us as of course the world is round in a century or two - what this article refers to (metaphorically) as Dark Matter. I love that stuff.
But maybe it mostly appeals to me because Dark Matter is a giant what if - and as a fiction writer, that's my favorite part. Though I can see that if you were a scientist who'd built your life around a certain strain of scientific truth (for example genetic research for disease markers) and you found out that the premise on which your research hinged (Mendelian genetic theory) was flawed, that would be a hard pill to swallow. I wonder if the historic persecution of scientific revolutionaries had anything to do with scientific resistance. Could it instead have been about the human element? Of the simple fact that if that New Truth was accepted, then all the hard work of a lifetime is thrown out the window? It's hard enough to admit you're wrong when it's a small thing... when it's your life's work? Ouch.
Hmm... there's a character in that.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Happy Holidays, boys and girls!
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Also... the Samhain Cafe is having a party! This evening and tomorrow evening as well (4-1opm EST) there will be Holiday goodness from many an author, prizes given away, excerpts shared and much merriness to be had. Come play!
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
I'll be popping into the Carina Forum today, so come on by and say howdy or check out one of the many other rockin' (around the xmas tree... have a happy holiday...) author chats.
Monday, December 13, 2010
And today the party continues! The next stop on our Romance Road Trip for Winter Wishes is the Novel Thoughts blog where all this week we'll be playing around and hosting a little "friends" party where you can win a copy of Winter Wishes or one of the stories it contains not just for yourself, but for two friends of your choice. So come on by and don't forget to bring your friends!
Friday, December 10, 2010
Now, for those of you who are getting indignant on behalf of my awesome-sauce cover artist, fear not, the scribe of this particular top ten list does not appear to have a problem with fair Natalie. It's the title she objects to - and yes, let's be objective now, the title is ridiculous. But, um, it's kinda supposed to be. Cuz, um, it's a comedy and filled with silliness so shouldn't the title represent that? Aaaaaanyway, this is what Hannah Rose (what a pretty name!) had to say (with my comments in response):
Are you secretly addicted to romance novels?Nope. Not secretly. Openly. Proudly. Waving my freak flag high.
If you are, you have to admit some of them can have pretty hilarious titles and covers (in addition to the actual stories).Oh my gosh, hilarious? Thank you! I love it when readers tell me I made them laugh!
If you don’t read romance novels but love to make fun of them anyway, read on to see our picks for the top 10 worst romance novel covers of all time.Huh. I can't really get behind making fun of something that lots of other people enjoy just because it's an easy target. Especially when you make no effort to see if your prejudice is warranted by, you know, reading one of them.
You’ll realize that the novel you’ve been working on forever has to get published, if a novel such as The Ghost Shrink, The Accidental Gigolo, and The Poltergeist Accountant can get published.Well, sadly, she hasn't read it, because no one in their right mind would call TGSTAG&TPA a novel. It's a novella if you're feeling generous and a short story if not. But the good news is, I'm giving hope to aspiring writers everywhere! If I can get published with that dreck, so can you! That's a message I can get behind. You too can get published. Chase your dream! All you have to do is find an editor with a sense of humor and appreciation for the ridiculous and you're golden.
Honestly, I was hoping for more bite from my first Top Ten Worst list. This one was worth a giggle, but it didn't even sting. How'm I supposed to justify a good mope now? And here I had my lil heart set on a melodramatic laying on the floor and moaning in Italian pity-party.
Oh well. Next time.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Come on by and we will answer any question you have! (And isn't that a loaded gun...)
Visit the Carina Blog today.
Monday, December 6, 2010
I am beyond delighted to be in an ebook collection with Vivian Arend and Moira Rogers, two marvelously talented and just plain marvelous ladies (or technically three since Moira is actually two people). We'll be celebrating our releases over the next few weeks at a variety of venues (and I'll keep you posted as we flit about the interwebz) but today I'm just here to tempt you with the blurby awesomeness of the three stories that compose the Winter Wishes collection.
Tangled Tinsel by Vivian Arend
She's the cat's meow, and he's ready to pounce!
Five miles of leather-clad leg is all it takes to lure Kyle Branegan out from his carefully hidden lifestyle as part of the Cougar Corp, a secret branch of the Shifter Enforcer League. He's hoping for a night of fun and frolic, cat-style, no strings attached. With a sultry swing of her hips, Eloise Scott tangles him up in her ball of tricks, and just when he thinks he's about to get lucky, she cuffs him—naked—to her bed.
An undercover cop in the human police force, El's been given a top-secret mission to keep the big cat under her paw until he's needed to testify in court in the New Year. Her decision to take him home for a quiet Christmas in her sleepy hometown turns out to be far more interesting than she expected. Her parents are suddenly rich, her old boyfriend is sniffing around and all six-feet-plus of sexy cougar male is sleeping in her bed.
And that's before they announce their fake engagement...
No Angel by Vivi Andrews
When Sasha's boyfriend, Jay, is sucked through a fiery vortex to Hell, an angel reveals that Sasha's been chosen as the Champion of Virtue in the battle for his immortal soul. As a perennial offender on Santa's naughty list, Sasha can't believe she's anyone's idea of a girl fighting on the side of the angels. But if she doesn't save Jay, he'll be stuck in Hell forever!
Jay—aka Jevroth—isn't surprised to find himself back in Hell. His visa to visit the mortal plane expired three months ago, but to steal more time with Sasha he's been ignoring his mother's demands that he come home to spend time with his new stepfather: Lucifer.
Sasha has until dawn on the twenty-fifth of December to fight the Legions of Hell and rescue Jay, or be trapped there for eternity herself. But now she must decide if the lying son-of-a-demon is even worth saving...
Freeze Line by Moira Rogers
She can't survive in his world; he can't stay sane in hers
A twenty-first century ice age dulls the magic that emanates from the earth. Shane Sullivan is a lone wolf above the freeze line. He has no desire to join the packs that range closer to the border, where feral instincts can turn a man into a monster. Not until the winter solstice, when he stumbles across a dying witch who needs his help to get back to her people—and her magic—in the south.
Nadia is a powerful woman in her own world, but she's been drained by her escape from captivity in a northern lab. She knows it's foolhardy to trust a werewolf, but he's her only chance to survive the vast white wilderness. The farther south they travel, the harder it is for Shane to keep the beast within under control, and as their mutual attraction intensifies, Nadia's no longer sure she wants him to.
Happy Monday, everyone! May this be the start to a fabulous week and the continuation of a fabulous holiday season!
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Tomorrow (so soon!) No Angel, my Christmas paranormal novella, releases in ebook. (And there was much rejoicing!) In celebration of the Winter Wishes collection, I'll be running around all week gushing about the awesome and there will be chances to win, never fear.
And now, to start us off on this week of ALL THINGS ANGELS, I give you a little Christmas Ditty from the combined talents of Feist and Colbert.
Angels we have heard on hold...
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|A Colbert Christmas: Feist Sings|
(If you're having trouble with the video, you can also view it HERE.)
Saturday, December 4, 2010
It's time for the (almost) monthly edition of Raven Movie Snark! However, since it's the holidays, I'm changing it up a bit. Come on by the Raven Happy Hour Blog and share your favorite (or most groan-worthy) holiday flicks. I'm posting my Top Ten Holiday Movies. Will you be shocked by what didn't make the list?
Friday, December 3, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
**UPDATE: Right now the chances of winning are really good!**
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
What do you find attractive in a hero?
Courage, honor, brains, and a willingness to fight for what he believes in and protect those who can’t protect themselves. A sense of humor never hurts, especially an ability to laugh when the world looks grim. (I used to work in a hospital, which teaches you to value graveyard humor.) Men who know their own strength and aren’t intimidated by a woman who’s just as strong. Basically, my favorite heroes as both an author and a reader are warriors, whether literally or metaphorically.
What do you look for in a heroine?
The same kind of traits I value in a hero, but with a twist. Since I write historicals, my heroines live in a time when they had almost no legal and political power. I often write about women learning how to be strong and stand up for themselves in a world that’s trying to keep them down—and then pair them with heroes who love them for their toughness and courage. I don’t like passive protagonists. I want a hero or heroine who keeps fighting no matter how hopeless his or her world looks.
I know you're a military history aficionado. (I'm a bit of history nerd myself.) Do you have a favorite historical military conflict?
I first became interested in military history when my much-older brother left for West Point the same year I started kindergarten. I pretended to lose interest in middle school and high school because girls weren’t supposed to be interested in that kind of thing, and I was trying very hard to be a popular, normal girl.
Then once I hit my 20’s I realized I’d rather be myself than be normal and went back to reading anything I wanted, including military history. It’s not that I love war. But there’s something about war stories that bring out the best and worst of human nature—all the courage, honor, and sacrifice, along with every violence, horror, and brutality we’re capable of as a species. It’s grand material for a storyteller.
I’m especially fascinated by the Napoleonic Wars, which happens to be the time period I write about. Europe was in an almost constant state of war and upheaval 1789-1815, and so much of our modern world was being born then. It’s a 25-year epic that really happened, with so many fascinating characters you’d have to call larger than life if it weren’t for the fact they actually lived. To name just a few, there’s Napoleon whom I love to hate, Wellington whom I just plain love despite disagreeing with a good 90% or more of his political views, and Michel Ney who was just so stalwart and honorable that I can’t help loving him no matter how much I despise the emperor he fought for.
But I’ll also read anything about the American Revolution or Civil War, and being married to a Classics minor I’ve developed an interest in ancient history and wars, but especially the Greco-Persian wars. One of these days I’m going to write an Athenian who fights at Marathon as a very young man and then at Salamis ten years later.
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be? (Note: this does not have to be your day job if you have one; it can be anything from flapper to astronaut to crime-solving paleontologist.)
I haven’t reached the magical “quit my day job” point yet in my writing career, so by day I’m a grants manager for a university research team.
But if I could have any non-writing job in the world…I’d be a MythBuster. I can’t count how many times I’ve watched an episode of that show and turned to my husband and said, “They have the best job in the world.” Yes, I’m fully aware that their work must have tons of boring bits that never make it onto the TV screen, but STILL. Imagine getting to spend your life making bulls run through china shops, shooting frozen chickens at airplane windshields, and destroying cars.
History geek that I am, I especially enjoy the episodes where the MythBusters test Confederate rockets, the efficacy of firing arrows from horseback, and pretty much anything involving black powder, swords, or pirates. I’ve even toyed trying to contact Grant and Adam, who are both active on Twitter, to ask whether some ideas I’m planning for my flintlock-punkish historical fantasy WIP would really work with black powder technology. I haven’t quite got up the nerve to do it yet, but, really, who else has more practical experience with what you can do with a 19th century cannon or rifle?
Who was the last author whose writing wowed you?
Can I cheat and name two? I just finished Caridad Ferrer’s YA romance When the Stars Go Blue, which is set in the world of competitive drum and bugle corps and is, among other things, a love letter to musical performance. I’m a musician myself (very amateur, but I did high school band and have been in choirs almost continuously since I was 9), and Ferrer just brings to life that moment when you’re poised waiting for the conductor to cue you in, or when the performance is going perfectly and the music is so much bigger than you and you’re just a conduit for all that power and beauty.
The second author is Lois McMaster Bujold. I’d read and loved her fantasy before, but I’ve just started working my way through her Miles Vorkosigan science fiction series. I fell hard for Miles somewhere around p. 40 of The Warrior’s Apprentice, and I can’t read her books fast enough.
If you could be a character and live through any book (yours or someone else’s), which would you choose and why?
I would be Harriet Vane in Dorothy Sayers’ Have His Carcase, Gaudy Night, and Busman’s Honeymoon, because I’d get to be wooed, won, and honeymooned by Lord Peter Wimsey. (Lord Peter’s fans will note that I left out Strong Poison. I love the book, but I don’t think I’d enjoy being Harriet at that point. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, go read Strong Poison, and then the other three I named. Not to mention Murder Must Advertise and most of the other Lord Peter books. Wonderful Golden Age mysteries.)
What’s next for you/what are you working on now?
My next Carina release, A Marriage of Inconvenience, comes out in April 2011 and is a prequel to The Sergeant’s Lady. I’m also working on a novella with a secondary character from Marriage as a heroine, set during the run-up to Waterloo, and a Napoleonic-era historical fantasy set in 1810-11 that I’m hoping will be first of a trilogy.
Thank you so much for being here today, Susanna! Best wishes for The Sergeant's Lady and all your future books!
Highborn Anna Arrington has been "following the drum," obeying the wishes of her cold, controlling cavalry officer husband. When he dies, all she wants is to leave life with Wellington's army in Spain behind her and go home to her family's castle in Scotland.
Sergeant Will Atkins ran away from home to join the army in a fit of boyish enthusiasm. He is a natural born soldier, popular with officers and men alike, uncommonly brave and chivalrous, and educated and well-read despite his common birth.
As Anna journeys home with a convoy of wounded soldiers, she forms an unlikely friendship with Will. When the convoy is ambushed and their fellow soldiers captured, they become fugitives—together. The attraction between them is strong—but even if they can escape the threat of death at the hands of the French, is love strong enough to bridge the gap between a viscount's daughter and an innkeeper's son?