“They’re bringin’ me down, man”

Thanks to Jane for bravely using the contact form to comment! For those who missed it, here’s my reply to her on what happened to the comments:

“The comments thing is really a bummer. Spammers were hammering my little site mercilessly and sucking up my bandwidth in the process. Since my webhost has a habit of shutting down your site if you exceed your bandwidth limit, I had to take drastic action. But I miss the comments, so thank you for using the contact form!”

Those spammers. They’re bringin’ me down, man. I’m actually thinking it may be time to put a forum on the site for discussion, instead. If users are required to register to post, that should prevent spamming on any large scale.

Meanwhile, please feel free to comment via the Contact tab. Unless you want to tell me I’m going to burn in hell for crimes against literature. In which case please don’t, because for the last two days I’ve had the voice of Mike Myers ringing in my head. (Yes, I probably watched “So I Married an Ax Murderer” one too many times.) “Eeeee-villl. The froo-its of the de-villll.” And you know, once that happens you’re on the slippery slope to referring to somebody’s head as a planetoid and breaking into juvenile sniggers.

By the way, if you’ve never seen “So I Married an Ax Murderer”, you’re missing out on a classic. It’s got everything; bad poetry, true love, and tabloid journalism. Hysterically funny.

We’re having a blustery day here, actually one more of many. Tree limbs down and so on. Good day to stay in and write a book! Happy Thursday, all.

April release confirmed for Dangerous Games!

It’s official, Dangerous Games will be on sale April 27th. Yay! I’ve got the ISBN and all that other stuff to update the front page with. I can’t wait to see the cover. It’s got the generic “coming soon” cover art on Ellora’s Cave’s coming soon page right now.

Have I blathered enough about how exciting this is to me? Probably not. Probably I need to blather some more about how much I love this book and can’t wait to see what readers think of it. Drake is my favorite hero so far.

Working on my current story, still not sure of the end length, but it’s taking shape. The first scene I wrote was pretty intense but now I’m working on a lighter one. I think it’ll be a good balance of humor and action when it’s all done.

Haircut and heretics and writing

I have a new haircut. This isn’t big news since I change my hairstyle and color about as often as Cher has plastic surgery, but yesterday’s trip to the clippers came with philosophy. I was having a Really Bad No Good Terrible Day and I thought, “I need to do one thing to make my world a better place. One thing. I know, I’ll get a haircut.” (My hair had reached the point where it resembled a shrub in dire need of pruning, one of the downsides to life with natural curls.)

It was the right move. I felt better the instant I made the appointment, and by the time the clippers had done their work, I felt reborn. (Yes, Mom, I’m back to the Annie Lenox spikes and I might go bright red again, too!)

Along with doing just one thing to move forward, sometimes you need to take control and change just one thing. It can change your perspective and help affirm that you are in control of your life. If you’re unsatisfied with something, you can change it. Starting with a simple phone call, maybe. Yes, hair is easier to change than a lot of other things, but you have to start somewhere and an easy success makes a good springboard to bigger things.

Heretics; Shannon Stacy has my unending admiration for today’s RTB column. RWA is a secular organization. Aside from a separate opt-out category for erotic romance, those members who cannot set aside their prejudices to read a Desire, Temptation, etc. should abstain from judging altogether. Although they’ll miss out on some great books. One of the best category romances I’ve read in recent years was “Barely Mistaken” by Jennifer LaBrecque, a Temptation.

Writing: I’ve been fairly unproductive on the writing front lately but the 7th month of pregnancy is supposed to bring a surge of energy with it and I’m prepared to capitalize on that. I have many projects ready to go when I can stay awake long enough to write ’em. It takes a deceptive amount of energy to write. Just sitting in a chair shouldn’t be that tiring, right? Ah, but it’s so much more. And so much of my energy seems to be going into making this future gymnastics star.

But anyway, at least my hair looks good. : D

Wimbledon, Dream On,

This weekend, I watched a good movie and read a good book. Two things I haven’t had much time for lately!

Wimbledon really surprised me. I wasn’t orginally interested because, well, tennis. I mean, how exciting could that be? Pretty exciting as it turns out. By the end I was completely engrossed in the final match and hanging on the edge of my seat over the outcome! It’s not about a ball going back and forth, it’s about life. It’s an engaging romance with the kind of snappy dialog that comes along far too rarely, a great cast of characters, a truly gripping conflict, and very well-done physical comedy. Highly recommend it!

In contrast to Wimbledon’s laughs, Dream on by Jaci Burton made me cry. It’s been so long since a book made me cry I can’t even remember what the last one was; probably “Where the Red Fern Grows”. It’s about grief, faith, hope, and finding your way back to happily ever after when it gets lost along the way. A very good story.

“The rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

Now how’s that for an appropriate Easter title! It’s all about renewal, represented to different people by different things, but renewed life is the common theme.

It’s also my take on the romance genre. The death of romance, pah. What’s down? Sales of mass market paperbacks. But what’s up? Sales of trade paperbacks and ebooks! I don’t believe for a minute that romance is in a downward trend. I think people’s buying habits have shifted to different formats, but it’s still romance that’s selling in trade and ebook. Um, and hardcover. Let’s not forget that one.

I hear all these grumbles about how this, that and the other thing is “killing” the genre. Romance doesn’t die easily. It’s about something central to who we are as human beings, the need to love and be loved. And it’s also about faith in the future, the “happily ever after”, the idea that life can be good and the future can be good. Not gloom and doom. So all this gloom and doom mumbo jumbo is just, well, anti-romance!

Yes, it’s hard to find a really, really good romance. It’s hard to find excellence in ANY field, which is why it’s sought after by consumers and strived for by the worker. In the case of romance, the worker is the author striving to get it right, to deliver the goods and achieve excellence and the consumer is the reader who wants the promises inherent in a romance to be fulfilled. There are awards and so on to recognize excellence in every field of human endeavor precisely because it isn’t the norm. The norm is “pretty good”. (And frankly, I find even a bad romance more enjoyable than two hours of TV or a bad book in any other genre. The last bad SF book I read made me foam at the mouth.)

I believe in love, and happily ever after, and that the future is a good one, because we have the power to change both the present and the future. As for me, I’ll just keep striving for excellence. Even if I never achieve it, it’s a worthwhile way to spend my time here on Planet Earth while I enjoy being married to my hero. That’s my happily ever after! I wish you all renewal and your own happily ever after on this Easter.