Friday, September 30, 2011

The Success Sequence

I analyze everything. And because I'm narcissistic, I especially analyze myself and my reactions to stuff. This week I got some good news (which I will share as soon as the ink is dry...) and I realized I've developed a pattern of reactions to good news and success and whatnot. It's rather boring to be so emotionally predictable, but there it is. And now I share with you, because I can... and because I'm interested if other people have a similar sequence they go through when they get good news.

Reaction the First: Elation. Yep, not surprisingly I am euphoric when something happy-making happens, but what may surprise you is how long this lasts... or doesn't last. For me, it's usually only about twenty minutes to an hour or so. After that, I stop smiling for no reason, randomly bouncing in my chair with glee, and calling folks to share my gushy enthusiasm.

Reaction the Second: Guilt. I know I work hard for the good things that come my way. It's not that I don't think I deserve them. It's not that I don't want them. But I feel bad for getting them - like by being successful I am purposefully screwing over all the other people who want what I have who don't have it yet. I don't feel like this all the time (thank god, because how would you function?), but for about an hour immediately after my elation phase, I feel like a horrible terrible no-good bad dreadful person for getting exactly what I worked for.

What gets me out of this mode?

Reaction the Third: Planning. Hope for the best, plan for the worst, right? So when the best happens, you have to shuffle your plans to accommodate. When is my good thing coming, how will it impact my plans, what do I need to do to prepare, what comes next? I make lists on every available writing surface. I call my parents to tell them about my "New Plan!" I dig into my goals spreadsheet and plug in new data. And then...

Action: Moving On. It's a few hours after I got my news and I'm past it. Focused on implementing my new plan, moving on toward the new shiny goal. I've never been good at wallowing in success, which I think is probably a good thing. If you spend too much time focused on what you did, it can clutter up the path to what you are going to do.

So what about you? How do you react to good news?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Love at First Sight is Lame

I'm over at the Ruby blog yammering about why I think love at first sight is boring in romance novels. Swing on by and argue with me! Tell me why insta-infatuation rocks.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Epic, Dude.

Guess what, boys and girls? The Winter Wishes anthology, featuring my lil Christmas novella No Angel, along with most excellent works by the divine Moira Rogers (Freeze Line) and transcendent Vivian Arend (Tangled Tinsel) has been named as a finalist in the 2012 EPIC Awards. Can I get a woohoo?

Also among the finalists is my good friend, the fabulous Kelli Scott for her novella Stormy Wedding!

Congratulations to all the finalists and good luck!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Make It Golden Contest for Writers

If you are an aspiring writer planning on entering the Golden Heart this year, hie yourself over to the Ruby Blog RIGHT THIS INSTANT. The Make It Golden Contest is now live. No entry fee for the Make It Golden Contest and the prize is a paid Golden Heart entry fee. Only the first 100 entries will be considered, so polish up your first line and scamper over to enter. Don't delay!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Vegas Tally

While in Vegas this week, in a one hour period I saw:

2 Elvises
3 Brides in poofy gowns
4 Ambulances (rushing to the aid of alcohol poisoning victims...)

...and a partridge in a pear treeeeee.

Also, wandering back from admiring the fountains at the Bellagio (love!), a guy handing out nightclub flyers offered unlimited alcohol for women until 5 am "if you can stay standing that long". Yeah... cuz that sounds... awesome. And not at all sketchy. BYOR: Bring Your Own Rohypnol!

Stay classy, Vegas.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ruby Birthday Bash

The Rubies are having our second annual Birthday Bash and you know what that means - PRIZES! GAMES! Yeah, we're nerdy and we love it. There are toddler pictures (including one of yours truly) and random trivia and SCADS of prizes to be won (gift cards, books, you name it). So trot on over to the Ruby Blog and snag yourself up some awesome.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Joyfully Reviewed

Ooh, lookie, you guys! A new review for Serengeti Sunrise! Joyfully Reviewed is full of joy and awesomeness as they chat about Tyler and Zoe HERE.

"Vivi Andrew’s Serengeti Sunrise is a sexy smashing shifter love story!"

Doesn't it just make you all warm and fuzzy to hear that? And the word "smashing" is one of my personal favorites, so I'm doubly giddy. I'm gonna wander around today calling everything I see "Smashing!" A practice I highly recommend.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Random Musings from the Road

I'm in travel mode at the moment, gallivanting without much in the way of direction across these United States. As I'm drifting, certain snippets always strike me as ridiculous funny. Today, I share with you my random (and at times somewhat inappropriate and/or mildly offensive) Musings from the Road!
  • I love staying in casino hotels. I don't gamble (and I seriously do not understand the appeal of slot machines) but I flat out love the fact that random strangers wish you luck in the elevator. It makes me feel so warm and fuzzy. I might just start wishing random passersby good luck regardless of where I am, but I'm thinking outside of a casino atmosphere it might seem creepy or mildly threatening. Good luck in context: Yay! Good luck out of context: What do you know? Why do I need luck? What's that supposed to mean? So maybe I won't take it up as my greeting of choice.
  • In lovely West Texas, I saw the following billboard: "'We need to talk.' -God"
    Now, I don't know about you, but my first response was. "WTF? God's breaking up with me?" Because, dude, I have never before seen such classic break-up words used as a come-to-Jesus. He was probably cheating on me with that slutty Vishnu with all her extra arms...
  • Religious billboards in general crack me up. Especially the ones that are like those Burma Shave ones from Ye Olden Tymes where they ask you a perfectly interesting thought provoking question ("Where will you spend eternity?") only to follow it up a few miles down the road with HELL IS REAL or some other deeply cheery PSA. I seriously wonder how many people take up religion from a Burma-Shave ambush billboard. Kinda like I wonder how effective people who stand on street corners banging Bibles and screaming verse at passing cars actually think they are.
  • And in unreligious news... In Arizona, this little gem was on a ginormous billboard: "Indian City. Blankets: $5" Blankets for five bucks, you guys! Small pox included! (Okay, I know, it's a cringey joke. Too soon?)
  • And last, but certainly not least, I found Radiator Springs! (From Cars, for those of you without Pixar-addicted children in your life.) In Holbrook, Arizona, I tripped across the actual Cozy Cone (though they called it the Wigwam Motel), but seriously! There's Mater too! Look! (I was waaaay too excited by this discovery. Feel free to mock me for my giddyness.)

And that's all for now folks. Now you all know what it's like to go on a road trip with me - only without the vaguely tuneful belting along with the radio.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Selective Memory Loss

I was chatting with my dad last night about the World's Greatest Sport (we're both baseball junkies). We were watching the 49ers win (a few thousand miles apart but still able to enjoy the game together - don't you just love technology?) and complaining that football has officially taken over the airwaves and overshadowed the pennant races as it does every September. The conversation wandered through coaching and mental toughness when my dad brought up one of my favorite jokes on Major League Relief Pitching.

"What's a reliever's best friend? A short memory."

You can't fixate on yesterday's shelling. Or yesterday's success. You have to enter each game as a blank slate.

Today, on one of my writer loops, there is a conversation about bad reviews. I mean nasty, awful, dreadful, worst-book-ever-written style reviews. The kind that actually make us laugh they are so over-the-top vitriolic. A bunch of authors were posting clips of their worst reviews (and they were jaw-droppingly horrible). Now, I'm not immune. I've gotten some whoppers. But I realized I couldn't jump into the Worst Review Ever competition. Why?

Selective memory loss.

I remember that I got shelled, but in a vague, yep-that-happened kind of way. The words themselves blurred.

Even though I could easily have looked up those one-star gems to refresh my memory, I decided not to. The good it might do (of giving me something to laugh about on the loop) couldn't compare to the harm it might do (of undermining my confidence when I'm trying to plow through The Book That Will Not Die).

Writers are like relief pitchers. We need that blank slate. That short memory. And a certain amount of tunnel-vision.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Wolfie World Tour!

The always fabulous Vivian Arend is hosting me at her blog today and we're talking about A Cop & A Feel. Ever wonder what Matt would take on vacation or where the happy couple would go for a special anniversary? Swing by for the scoop and stay for the awesomeness that is the ever-awesome Vivian Arend! (And comment for a chance to score an e-copy of any of the Karmic stories!)

And don't miss Black Gold, her latest yummy werewolf romance, coming next week from Samhain!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Specifically Set

I happen to be on another of my road-trips at the moment. My little car is fast approaching 100,000 miles as I tool through the Southwest. As I'm driving through the vast, largely empty expanses of West Texas for the first time since I wrote the Serengeti Shifters series that takes place there, I find myself: 1) relieved that I'd remembered it accurately enough that I am not cringing at every mile over the mistakes I made (though I'm sure I made plenty) and 2) ruminating on setting specificity.

Do you like books that take place in very specific locations or do you prefer the generic Anytown, USA settings?

The benefit of the first is that you get a strong sense of place, but there be landmines in specificity.

I have a hard time reading books that take place in Alaska or Hawaii because I know enough about the uniqueness of those places that any little wobble will throw me out of the story. I had to put down a book by a Beyond Awesome Author because she used a combination of phrases to describe an Alaskan location that made no sense to me because of the slang we use to describe our regions. (Southeast & Interior are two very different regions and to combine them... dude, I have no idea where you are talking about - but if you had said the southeast of the interior, it would have made total sense. It's a tiny little word that no one would care about except someone from my big ole state.)

But how many people would notice or care about those wobbles? To everyone else the specificity of place will provide atmosphere and enrich the setting. So should you only write about settings you know like the back of your hand?

Kristan Higgins writes about the Northeast - largely Maine and Massachusetts. Jennifer Crusie's books tend to take place in Ohio. Keri Arthur's books live in Melbourne. Do we, as authors, need to regionalize ourselves?

What do you prefer to read?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Endings that End

I like resolution. There, I said it. Although, to be perfectly honest, my feelings for resolution are a bit more passionate than mere liking. I yearn for resolution. I long for it. I pine. Obsession, thy name is resolution.

This is why I prefer movies to TV. TV is all about stringing the viewer along, giving us just enough resolution to keep us from turning away in disgusted frustration while agonizing us with cliffhanger after cliffhanger.

So I wait until the shows are canceled and get every season to watch back-to-back on DVD, but sometimes even that is unsatisfying because the talented television writers who excel at spinning out a series and stringing you along for three or four years tend to suck at tying up loose ends.

Give me a romance novel any day, where I know I will get my satisfying resolution as payment for my time and emotional investment. Or a good fantasy epic series... which has an ending. For years, no matter how many recommendations I received, I avoided The Wheel of Time & Game of Thrones books because they were incomplete series and I knew it would make me climbing-the-walls-with-my-fingernails insane if they cliffhangered me.

I have temporarily stopped reading Stephanie Plum. Not because Janet Evanovich stopped being awesome, but because the episodic resolution at the end of each book just seemed to get less and less satisfying. Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series doesn't even have a passing flirtation with resolution anymore. I realize these ladies are rockstar goddesses, but why do they have to do this to me? And why do I let them? Why am I so masochistic that I keep reading them anyway, knowing there will be no resolution?

I recently got sucked into the Karen Marie Moning Fever series. And book three went flying across the room when she cliffhangered me. There might have been shrieking and a temper tantrum worthy of a two year old, but I confess to nothing. I would have gone right out and bought books four and five - except for one fact. A friend who knew I was reading them said, "Did you know she just got a contract to write three more?" to which my response was "Noooooooo." Not because they aren't awesome or I wish her anything but the epic success she deserves, but because I want my ending and I will never get it until she is forced to stop the series!

Moning. Briggs. Hamilton. Evanovich. Why? Why? Why? Why?

Why do writers with such an exquisite ability to get us to invest in their characters and suck us into their worlds have to torture us with unsatisfying endings? And why can't I quit them?