Thursday, October 30, 2008

Blogs, Critiques, Chapters - What's A Struggling Writer To Do?

Get back into it - that's what. I rediscovered the truth of the Nike slogan "just do it" today, by jumping full swing into everything. So I'm finishing off my critiques, preparing blog entries, or writing one in this case and working on my chapters. What sparked this sudden burst of creative energy? I have no idea if it's guilt, desparation or both, but I'm loving it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Supply vs. Demand - Why Otherwise Good Writers Struggle To Become Published

I belong to three critique groups, with writers at varying levels of skill. Some have multiple publishing credits while authors (like me) are just waiting for that day when they can act the fool in a bookstore and get hauled off by the cops screaming, "That's my book! That's my book! I'm published. Yeah me!" Okay, well maybe that's just my plan.

Anyway, I'm reading the works of writers in the groups so I can offer my critiques. Which I haven't done in two months. More on why some other time (the blog has nothing to do with it). After all this reading, I have come to the inescapable conclusion: there's too many of us. How else can I explain that there are so many good writers out there and they struggle for so long to reach the goal of publication? Between competing with each other for markets in historical fiction, other writers of fiction, non-fiction authors, the occasional celebrity tell-all tale and let's not forget, Oprah's pick of the month, writers are a dime a dozen. Publishers have too many writers to choose among. It's a common theme among fellow writers; how do I make my work stand out in the crowd? I know some who've made it but for many of us, the supply of authors far exceeds the demand for books. Still we try, because if we weren't writers, what else would we be?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"You're Reading What?"

Commuting to my job each day is usually a three-hours-in-total nightmare. So I like it when I get to spice things up a little.

Like the morning, when I'm minding my own business, eyes glued to my copy of the Kama Sutra. The what?! Well, if you're going to write about the author of the Kama Sutra, as I am in writing Rule of Love, you may as well know what he was talking about in full detail. So I purchased a TEXT-ONLY copy of the Kama Sutra and have delved into it. This particular copy, compiled by Alain Danielou, is wonderful for being a detailed translation and providing information about the life and times of the Kama Sutra's elusive author. While graphic in detail, the Kama Sutra is more than a manual of sexual positions. No, I'm not making that up - all those modern Kama Sutras in the bookstores have very little in common with the goal of the traditional Indian text (though that is a little titillating too). The Kama Sutra contains rules to regulate behavior and morality and teaches about the path to spiritual enlightenment. The theory goes that unless your basic wants are fulfilled -food, money and of course, sex - you can't concentrate on seeking a spiritual path. Makes perfect sense to me.

But of course, to the easily frazzled lady and her teenage daughter sitting next to me, the Kama Sutra is just a dirty book. So when the daughter is trying to peer over my shoulder as discreetly as she can (and failing miserably), I do my best to ignore her (and fail miserably) and read my TEXT. The mother catches her and sharply barks, "That's rude, don't read over other people." This is until she catches a glimpse of the book's title.

The look of horror that overcame this woman was beyond priceless. My response upon catching the look and the hurried gesture she made for her daughter to move closer to her? "Don't worry ma'am; there aren't any pictures."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Just What I Needed: Another Excuse To Avoid Writing

Thanks to my wonderful writing friend Anita Davison, who hosts the Disorganized Author blog, I finally have a personal blog. I'm a little late but as they say, better late than never. Anita, you are a dear. Thanks again for setting me on the path to another excuse to avoid writing my chapters!

So, a bit about me; I'm a writer of historical fiction and historical romances. My favorite time period is medieval, but Roman history and ancient Egypt also interest me. What do I like to write? Historicals mainly. How many projects am I working on? Lots of them, all at varying stages.

Completed: Bound by Blood is set in 11th century Normandy and England. Sultana -The Legacy is a historical fiction novel, set in 13th century Moorish Spain.

Works In Progress: Renegade is a mainstream historical set in the 16th century, about a Dutch privateer turned Barbary pirate, which I have begun. I continue to research and write for the project. Rule of Love is a mainstream historical set in 5th century India, exploring the origins of the Kama Sutra's author - it's been great fun to research and even more to write. The Burning Candle is a mainstream historical set in the 11th century. The enigmatic Isabel de Vermandois is the heroine; she was the wife and mistress of two English earls and is a fun character to research and write about.

Very prolific, huh? Not really, since I've been writing part time while working full time for the past sixteen years. And now that I've got this blog...

Time flies when you're having fun, or writing novels.

It's been a tremendous twelve months. A new job and health issues have impacted my writing time, but I'm still at it, trying to wrap...