Monday, August 30, 2010

Sleepy Hollow Dreams

   Dream Voyager is no more. 

   Ryck's and Katy's steamy paranormal love story is now Sleepy Hollow Dreams.

   Contract sent. Manuscript info sheet sent. Author info sheet sent. Promo info sheet sent.

   Check. Check. Check. Check.


   Not sent.


  Stay tuned!


Friday, August 27, 2010

Dream on

So okay... y'all remember Ryck (the former Rafe) and Katy?

Ryck's the original Dream Voyager.

He started life as a figment...intended to spice up a very short Halloweeny story, based loosely, shall we say, (oh. yeah. very. very. loosely.) on Rip Van Winkle. (Some of you might even remember playing the name game here.)

Some steamy bits of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow thrown in.

(Rip. Rafe. Ryck. Surely, you see the progression?)

But of course, things morphed.  As they tend to do in my hands.

Come on, kids. Have you met me yesterday? Short is not exactly my middle name.

So now Ryck and Katy are all hot, lathered and bothered, fired up and good to go.

To The Wild Rose Press's Scarlet Rose Line to be exact.

Maybe by pumpkin time.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Second Opinions

         Last year, while having dinner on Main Street in Nyack prior to the start of a critique group session, I ended up with a $50 ticket because my New York State inspection sticker was one day past its expiration date. At the time, it was $50 I could ill afford to light a match to.
         So this year, when my 85-year-old father -- of all people -- noticed that one of the bulbs of my front headlight array was out, I zoomed into the shop at the crack of dawn on my first free Saturday -- ten days before inspection sticker shock -- to get both taken care of.
        "No problem," the guy says. "Forty minutes."
        "In that case, I'll just go on over to Starbucks and wait."
        Sits outside on Starbuck's back terrace sipping a venti iced coffee, savoring an asiago bagel and devouring Nalini Singh's Caressed by Ice, Book 3 in the Psy-Changeling series, on my Sony Pocket Reader.
         This is the life, I think. Coffee, bagel, fabulous summer morning, great read. Pistons pink. All systems go.

         Vibrate. Ring.
        "Ready?" I say.
       "Well..." he says.
       This'll be good, I think.
       "You need a front light bulb," he says.
       "And windshield wipers."
       "And an air filter."
       (Sigh.) "Okay."
       "And I need you to come in so I can show you something."
       Ding-ding-ding!  Alarm! Alarm! Danger, Will Robinson!
      "Um, just tell me, since I won't know what you're showing me anyway."
      "Well, you've got an oil leak and we need to replace your (names oil gizmo of some sort)."
        "And that costs...?"
        (But wait! He's not done yet!)
       "And your front struts (whatever they are) should have been replaced at 50,000 miles and you need rear struts (whatever they are)...and (something or other, perhaps struts, because my mind has already blanked out at this point, while, on another level, it is also considering that struts is an excellent verb choice) is cracked" and a bunch of double-talking gobbledygook then ensues, at which point dollar signs begin to flicker past like the per gallon price on the gas pump.
       "And the bottom line is..."
       "$795 plus labor."
       "Did you do these things already?" (Shrieks. Starbuck's denizens out on the terrace with me crush their newspapers in shock, knock over their lattes. Babies in strollers cry and wail.) I just came in for a light bulb!"
      "No, it'll take three hours. Come in so we can show you."
     "No, don't show me. Don't touch my car. I'm coming in."
     Tosses suddenly very, very bitter dregs of venti iced coffee in trash. Hoofs it to gas station. Upon arrival, Mr. Mechanic Man insists on showing me. Displaying, actually. Exhibits A.  B.  C.  Etc. More gobbledygook. This time while standing under my car, squinting up at a jungle of sooty metal. Frowning.
    Yeah.Sure.Whatever.  "Can you just put the light bulb in? Thank you."
    More gobbledygook about the state inspection. Whoa. This guy does not take "NO!!!!!!" for an answer.
    "How much will the light bulb be, please?"
   Hands over credit card, takes car, drives two blocks to next station. (Both stations have worked on my car before, I should note. I'm in their computer. I buy gas from them. They recognize me.)
    "I need a state inspection, please."
    "Sure. One hour."
   "Great. I'm just going to walk up the hill to CVS."  (Picks up prescription, sits on bench in teensy parklet outside and continues reading Nalini Singh's Caressed by Ice. Still entranced with story. Wonderfulness of summer morning wanes, now two hours later, enrapture not so much. Trudges down hill back to gas station. Car sits outside. Done. Less than an hour. New NYS sticker affixed to windshield. )
    "We replaced the left rear parking light."
    (Shuts eyes. Of the litany of busted things reeled off by gas station No. 1, a rear parking light was not on the list.) "How much?"
  Holy crap!
  (Plus $37 for inspection, $.76 for "hazardous materials" that I decide not to inquire about and $.79 tax. But still. Grand total: $48.50.)
    Beats $795 plus labor any day of the week.

    On the other hand, am I now driving around in a newly-inspected, stickered, well-lit bucket of bolts that is about to become totally unhinged at 65 mph?

    And you thought second opinions were just for surgeons wanting to rip your guts out!
       Kind of like writing and critiques.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Waiting Redux

No, I won't bore you with more of my household woes.

I won't even bore you with my trip today to Staten Island. (In my entire life, I had not been to Staten Island even once, and now, in the space of weeks, I've been three times. )

But today I learned a piece of news that is probably not news to anyone at all. Still, considering my former lack of interest in Staten Island, it came as a newsflash to me: You can't take your car on the ferry anymore. 

Shucks. I so had the Carly Simon soundtrack of Let the River Run looping through my brain.  You know, the one from Working Girl: "Let the river run, let all the dreamers, wake the nation..." 

I did pass right by the ferry, though. In my car. And considering it was a bar fight that had brought me to Staten Island, visions of big hair, and Tess and Cyn were clogging my thoughts. ("Sometimes I sing and dance around the house in my underwear. Doesn't make me Madonna. Never will.")

 But I said I wouldn't bore you, and of course, I have and, as usual, I digress.

Here's the real news:  While crossing the Verrazano on my way back to the Battery Tunnel (lots of bridges and tunnels today!), I stole a glance at the BlackBerry and discovered that Ryck and Katy and Dream Voyager have cleared another hurdle on their way up the ladder.  One step further away from the dreamscape...and into the real world.  Where the waiting ends.

And the Giants beat the Jets.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Is there anything worse in the world than waiting?

(Well, of course there is. We all know that. Just play along, 'kay?)

There is the hopeful, excited, pins and needles sort of waiting when a new baby is arriving in the world (literally or figuratively). And the hopeful, wary, let's-not-jinx-things, bargaining, superstitious sort of waiting when you're waiting to hear about a new job. Or when you've sent a piece of your heart (your fiction) out in the ether.

There's the half-nervous, half-fearful, half-impatient, half-pained (What? You only have two halves? Make some more up!) totally bored waiting in the dentist's office (unless, of course, you're a diligent flosser and your teeth are well-enamelled and your gums are not going berserk and your nerves are not throbbing and you've got a lovely book on your e-reader).

But there's nothing quite so dead and useless as waiting for the cable guy or the repairman or the plumber or a furniture delivery.

Today, for me, it's the phone company. My land lines have been deader than zombie doornails since the weekend. The jacks were pretty ancient and wobbly to begin with, and any knock of the Swifter or vacuum against them would make them go all wobbly and weird (not unlike that throbbing tooth that might have sent you to the dentist's waiting room), causing the lines that feed them to panic like cholesterol-laden arteries.

First, the static. Then, the copper and/or coaxial infarction. And death.

Oh, yeah. I'm sure my recent flood didn't help.

So today, the Verizon man (or woman) cometh.

Anywhere from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Well, that narrows it right down.

Can't leave. Can't really get involved in anything of any importance.

Have a great excuse to fiddle with the computer all day, though!

Someone please entertain me. But don't call.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Characters Welcome

You know that catch-phrase for the USA Network's shows --"Characters welcome"?

It's something I've been thinking a lot about lately. How to make your characters distinct from one another and how to give them their own voices.

I think I managed this pretty well with Aidon and Stephanie in Pomegranate Seeds, which remains one of the books of my heart. At least, I think I managed that at first. Their voices were completely different in the beginning.

But when Steph travelled to the Underworld and had to take on Aidon's responsibilities there, she began to sound more and more like him. After all, she couldn't very well remain the flightly girl she was Above after going Below.

Readers seemed confused about who they were, nevertheless. Perhaps the first person present tense made it difficult, but more likely, it was that I didn't truly introduce who they were and why they were and where they were and what they were.

We live, we learn.

It's very easy -- especially in a romance -- to just push your characters around, move them from scene to scene and bit of dialogue to another bit of dialogue without giving them true depth or purpose.

Focusing on their goals and motivations has never been the fun part for me. One of the reasons why I sometimes let them speak out here! (Also because that's fun for me. And allows me to procrastinate and pretend I'm working.)I hear their voices, learn what they want.

In Pomegranate Seeds, we don't learn who Aidon really is until his memory is wiped away and bits begin to return in odd splotches Steph can't decipher. Far too late.

But in Healing Hearts, Adam, a veteran of combat on the Peninsula, and Emma, who has lost her brother to battle, think in terms flavored with the smoke and thunder and weapons of war.

In Dream Voyager, Ryck, who has been closed off from sensory perception for years on the dreamscape, becomes dazzled and addicted to the scents and flavors of the modern world.

And ... Lara and Cole? Newspapers, guns, bad guys and scoops.

It's a way to texture the characters, to tell us who they are, to ground them, and to set them apart.

It's a work in progress.