Friday, May 28, 2010

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Last Call

"G-man." [Shakes shoulder.]
"What's the problem, baby?"
"We need to go back to the bar."
"No. We don't."
"Yeah, I think we do."
[Eyes narrowing.] "Why?"
"Remember when I went on the run?"
"Like I could forget."
"I'm not sure I was headed in the right direction."
"Could've told you that, Ace."
"You do tell me that, Cole. Every chance you get."
[Smug male smirk.]
"We have to go back, Cole."
"You've been watching too many episodes of 'Lost,' Lara."
"Humor me, G-man."
[Shakes head.] "We've gone too far, baby. Let's wrap it up. Don't you want to get your HEA?"
"Trust me."[Glides hand up forearm and over biceps.]
"Where have I heard that before?"
"My instincts are pretty good. Admit it."
[Capitulates.] "Still angling for a black and tan on the house?"
"Not tonight, Brannigan."
[Raises eyebrow.] "What then, Ace?"
"I think you'd better make it tequila. And keep 'em coming."

Monday, May 24, 2010

Under the gun

"Hurry up and get dressed, baby."
[Stretches, rubbing sleep from eyes.] "What's going on, G-man?"
"Quit dawdling. We've got to get the hell out of here."
"Then let's get the lead out."

Friday, May 21, 2010

Double teaming

       "We've decided you need to give us more space."
       "Yeah. We're sticking together on this."
        Wait a minute. Get back here. What are you two talking about? Word count? Conflict? Separation?
       "Figure it out. That's your job, not ours."
        Do you think it's fair for you guys to gang up on me this way?    
       "Life isn't fair, sweetheart." 
       "And we've got better stuff to do."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Take Five

      Everyone's time has value.
      Everyone has twenty thousand things they absolutely must get done.
      Once I billed for my time.  When you do that, you learn to prioritize. You have to.
      But lately those skills seem to have slipped away from me a little, partially because I love to find new ways to spin my wheels and procrastinate and watch minutes tick away in different and momentarily fascinating ways, but also because I've been making a small effort to try to accommodate people and be more tactful than I normally am.    

      Eh. That's not all it's cracked up to be.
      Bottom line is this: Your time is not more valuable than mine. Don't tell me you can't spare a second when I see you handing out seconds all over the internet as if you're a World War II G.I. giving out Hershey bars and nylons. Or even if I don't.
      If I can spare you a minute of my time, I expect a minute back from you. This goes for anything, whether it's errands and obligations or emailing, Tweeting, blogging or the lost hours I've spent critiquing your tome, only to get the following in return from you: "It's good. I didn't find anything wrong with it."
      My time has a price: It's reciprocity.
      So I intend to become a whole lot scarcer. Here and elsewhere.
      Think I'll take five now. It's time to cull the herd.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


     Over at  Women of Mystery,  they do a weekly feature called "Two Sentence Tuesdays."

      Most of these ladies are from our same neck of the woods and it is my hope that we can convince them to drop by HVRWA and check us out one of these days.

    Maybe we can even do a joint HVRWA/WomenOfMystery/SistersInCrime event of some sort.  That's my dream. And despite unsubtle arm twisting from me, I haven't yet managed to convince my new Twitter pal, Laura Curtis--who lives in my VERY OWN COUNTY--to wade across the Hudson.
    [Hell, if I can zip across the Tappan Zee, anyone .... Oh. Wait. Maybe we shouldn't go there.  ;) ]

    Still, drop by Women of Mystery -- it's a fun site. A few days ago, they had the Dr. Wicked Write or Die bells and whistles challenge, which some of you might like to try.
    On Tuesdays, they encourage commenters to post two sentences the poster wrote, along with two sentences the poster read.
    My two "reads" came from Nalini Singh's Archangel's Kiss.

    And here are my two "writes," in keeping with my new nasty habit of reporting all things Cole and Lara on-line.  Instead of...on the page.
    “What are we doing, Cole?”
    “You really need an answer?”

   And don't forget to drop by Mysteries and Margaritas also. These are the ladies who are currently running a blog contest called "Hook, Line & Sinker," a name very familiar to us since we've been using it 25 years!

   Cole and Lara are hoping to win a tote bag over there.

    Have fun, kids!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Lara Lays It on the Line

 So now that Cole got his shot, it's only fair for Lara to have her turn. She's had a helluva night, though, so it may not be all that easy getting her conscious and coherent.

"Psst. Lara."
"Mmpf. Go away." [Buries head beneath pillow.]
"Wake up, Lara."
[Groans.] "God, you're annoying."
"Seriously, girlfriend.  I think you'd better get up."
"Time is it, anyway?"
"Dawn. Ish. Maybe."
[Burrows under rumpled sheets.] "Lemme sleep, wouldya? Was up all night."
"Good times?"
"Oh, yeah." [Rolls on side, glides arm across satin, inches fingers toward other pillow. Opens one eye a slit.] "Where's G-man?"
"In the living room."
"Don't tell me he's sleeping on the couch."
"Dead to the world?"
"He'd better be cooking me up one helluva breakfast then."
"Uh, no. Living room, not kitchen."
"What's he doing?"
"He's on his laptop, checking out your flash drive."
[Snaps open both eyes. Snatches tangled sheets to chest and bolts upright.] "Sonuvabitch! Where'd he find it?"
"In your bra. Where you left it."
[Glances at clothes on floor, Glock 23 on night table.]
"I don't like what you're thinking, Lara."
[Shrugs.] "I can't use that damn thing, anyway. But I've never seen him without it."
"He's not exactly dressed right now."
"Got him into the spa robe?"
"Promised I would."
"Now tell me how to get my flash drive back."
"You want to wrestle him for it?"
"Hmm. Guess I could, couldn't I? Liking where this is going."
[Heads toward bedroom door.]
"Hey, Lara?"
"You know he's a lot bigger and stronger, right?"
[Smiles.] "Yeah. But I know his weak spots."
"Uh, Lara?"
[Sighs.] "What now?
"Better let him teach you how to use that gun, girlfriend."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Cole Bares All

         Let me brag on myself.  Eight smokin' HOT pages.  No big deal to most of you but considering my typical glacial pace...zippity-doo-dah!
          Consider also that these same eight pages comprise a love scene that's been mostly in my head, perhaps a page of which has been on paper, for five freakin' weeks.
          This is not to say I've been doing nothing during all that time. What I've been doing is ... well, my usual, well, ah...tweaking.  Tweaking that this time caused the manuscript to double in size. Not that it was that big to begin with. But dialogue eats up a lot more of the screen than you might expect. Also word count.
          So how did this happen?  Zoe Winters, an indie writer I know from Twitter and Facebook and her novella, Kept, posted a funny interview with her hero,  Cole, on her web page.  He's a lot different from my Cole. For one thing, he's a werewolf. But I thought I'd give it a try.
          Before he could pencil me in for the interview, Cole had to have a talk with his boss.  Scary. Gave me new insight and perspective. Gave Cole a whole new angle, also a shorter fuse.
         "I don't answer reporter girl's questions, why should I answer yours?"
         "You want to get into her pants, Cole?"
          "Your noncommittal grunts don't really translate well in this format."
          Turns out Cole did have a few things to say about the percolating, but going- nowhere-fast, sex scene.
         "You're putting me in a spa robe? That'll be the day, sister."
         "We want to get a good look at your manly chest."
         "And what? That's the best you can do?"
         "Come on,  Cole. I gave you Timberlands before."
         "The next time I slide that glass door open and step onto that deck, I'm barefoot, baby."
         "Right. Barefoot. Spa robe. See how that works?"
         "See how that DOESN'T work?"
         "Well, um, no. That's why it's been hanging me up for, like, five freakin' weeks!"
          "Robe drops. And?"
          "What do you suggest?"
          He whistles a little David Rose ditty made famous in a long ago Noxzema shaving cream commercial.
          "That is so not you, Cole."
          "Sure about that?"
           "What if I'm after something?"
          "You mean besides sex?"
          "Hmm. Okay. Jeans, flannel shirt. Got it."
          "And lose the champagne bucket.  That's so not me, either."

        But here's the interesting thing about the scene now.  It's not just about the sex. Both characters have goals and those goals conflict. Even though they move closer, tension remains. And, of course, sex complicates everything. Which moves us forward. At last.
         Yay! Onto the next scene.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Doing the Right Thing

     You've all heard by now that RWA has moved the national conference to Orlando, due to the horrendous flooding in Nashville.
     Agents, editors and authors from across different genres also have been moved to help that beleaguered city, through a blog auction offering great prizes and services, such as books, critiques, pitches and chats, called "Do The Write Thing For Nashville."
     Check it out:

And here are some freelance artists selling T-shirts to benefit the relief effort:

Monday, May 3, 2010

The AK-47 Over the Mantel

        In a story I'm working on, the heroine takes off a ring to wash her hands and leaves it on a sink.
        The first time one of my critique partners heard this she said, "that ring better show up again."

        Well, it does.  A whole plot point hinges on it, in fact.  But a recent news story made clear to me that there were more realistic ways to deal with the dilemma. Still, I like that ring. Tells us something about the characters and how they interact with each other, even if it's no longer entirely necessary to set them in motion.
        After hearing the pesky news story, I had to go back to a scene in the beginning of my story and add another little bit of business to explain why "they can't just do that."  Because this is a romance, damn it, and a forgotten ring is more fun and juicy than  a paper trail.
        Maybe they'll both work out. Maybe they won't.  It's still a work in progress.

        So where'd this notion come from, anyway, that you can plant evidence but not props?

       Anton Chekhov, apparently.   In an 1889 letter he wrote,  "One must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it."
       He became so enamored of the line, he used it at least twice more: "If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don't put it there" [1904] and, "If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it's not going to be fired, it shouldn't be hanging there." [1911]

       I used to agree.  But you know what?  I'm not so sure anymore.  Chekhov was a Russian.  He should know all about misdirection and red herrings, right?
      I mean, there's nothing I hate worse than a deus ex machina ending or learning that Miss Peacock has an evil twin on the last page. I'd rather have my attention misdirected to the gun on the wall, even if it IS misleading. I'd rather suspect all along that Col. Mustard did it, even if it turns out that Miss Peacock conked someone in the conservatory with a potted fern (as long as we'd walked by that potted fern half a dozen times), rather than  have Professor Plum bumble in at the eleventh hour and confess he burned the victim to death with a magnifying glass, when you didn't even know academics had been invited to the house party.

        So I'm keeping my blasted ring for now.  Until I figure something else out.