Sunday, July 19, 2009

i'm not at rwa national, but...

Okay? I'm not there. All you folks in Washington DC, tweeting and blogging and driving the rest of us out of our minds with conference-envy. I'm not there. Hmph.

I'm at home, writing. You guys just keep on talking :)

Check out this Washington Post article for an outsider's view on RWA:

"This is the refreshing thing about romance writers: They resist the shoes. They keep plodding and plotting along. There are no artistes at RWA. There is no insufferable going on about how each sentence is like a precious baby, or self-expression or T.S. Eliot's objective correlative. Nobody calls these books "fictions." There is only story -- chesty, heavy, plump, glistening story."


P.S. Today (Saturday) is your last day to drop over to Vampire Wire for a chance to win a SHADOWFAE ARC.

You do know that I don't even have ARCs yet, right? If you win, you'll likely get one before I do. So get on over there and make me envious.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

why outlines are so great

I might have mentioned I've started a new WIP, the embryonic book #3 SHADOWSONG. Yes?

Well, I'm writing along, see, and I realise the conflict between my hero and a minor villain isn't strong enough. She's standing there twiddling her evil little fingers... well, she's floating, and they're long three-jointed fingers, actually, but... 

So she's forming her nefarious plan. And I decided her plan just wasn't... well... evil enough. Either to carry the scene or to make her interesting, beyond the floating and the spooky finger twiddling.

Oh, noes!! 
I'll have to change some of the plot! Whatever shall I do?

I figure out a few really, truly eeevil ideas that'll make it work. And, because I have an outline... well, it's actually a twenty-page mess of scenes and point of view switches and character motivations and story arcs, but for simplicity's sake, we'll call it an outline...

...because I have an outline, I can see at a glance exactly where those changes have to happen, and how they'll affect the rest of the story.

A few slashes of my red pen -- well, it's a pink pen, actually, and I ask you, how many people have a pink pen?? -- a few pink slashes, and I'm done. Easy peasy. No sweat. Fixed. Ta-da!!

Pantsers, you so don't know what you're missing. Bwahahaha.

So, writers, are you a plotter or a make-it-up-as-you-go-er? How would you approach a silly mistake an important dilemma such as the one above? Forget it, keep writing and go back to fix it later? Go back to first principles? Write the new scene anyway and worry about the consequences later?

Me, I love me them outlines :)

P.S. Drop by Vampire Wire later on today right now!! Marta is interviewing Doug Knipe from SciFiGuy, and he's giving away an ARC of SHADOWFAE!!!

I'd wait for the post so I can give you the proper link, but I have to go to bed sometime tonight :) Okay, so I didn't go to bed yet :) Here's the link to Doug's interview at Vampire Wire. Leave a comment, contribute to the excellence of book blogs and maybe win a copy of SHADOWFAE!!

This is the very first copy of my book on the open market -- complete with free typos!! -- so go on over and see if you can nab it for yourself!

Friday, July 10, 2009

review me

  has posted a lovely review of SHADOWFAE. My favourite sentence: 'Even icky and slimy death is richly colourful.'

This is my very first review and it didn't hurt at all :)

Check it out here. Thanks, Tez!

In other news, I've started writing the new book #3 of the series, entitled SHADOWSONG. Banshees and snakes, oh my!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

first line meme, and zombies

 ...just because it's fun. You're supposed to list the first lines of your manuscripts/works in progress. So here goes:

SHADOWFAE: The dark shape in the bed didn't stir.

SHADOWGLASS: Stolen diamond bracelets glittered on my wrists in the colored nightclub lights, and I laughed, my wings swelling damp in the warm crush of bodies.

SHADOWSONG (WIP): They say that when a banshee sings, someone dies.

RAPIDFIRE (Science fiction WIP): I took a seat before the director's shiny black desk, adjusting my plasma pistol so it wouldn't dig into my ribs.

UF WIP, working title 'the zombie book' (ha ha!): The worst thing about being dead?

Ha. You're just dying to know the answer, aren't you? Of course you are. Well, maybe if you play nice with me, I'll tell you later what my zombie had to say.

Question: if you were a zombie, what would be the worst thing about being dead?

For me, I think it'd be the poor digestion. I love eating, but meat tends to disagree with me. All those brains... yech.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

guest author: alex bledsoe

Yesterday, I mentioned I was happy about this book. So here it is:

The Sword-Edged Blonde
by Alex Bledsoe

A princess is missing, and typically a king would be willing to pay in gold for her return. But before he realises it, sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse is swept up in a web of mystery and deceit involving a brutally murdered royal heir, a queen accused of an unspeakable crime, and the tragic past he thought he'd left behind.

In order to uncover the answers he seeks, Eddie must delve into the dark underbelly of society while digging deep into his own private history, drawing past and present together. Vast conspiracies, women both beautiful and deadly, and a centuries-old revenge scheme are only a few of the pieces in a lethal puzzle.

A starred review from Publishers Weekly: "Bledsoe's genre-bending first novel is both stylish and self-assured: Raymond Chandler meets Raymond E. Feist."

Alex's website is
here, and his blog is here. You can look at the book on Amazon here.

Full disclosure: Alex and I have the same agent. So it's kinda my job to read his book :) but it's not my job to like it so much. 

The hero, Eddie, is a fantasy private detective. And no, I don't mean an urban fantasy private detective. This is old-school fantasy, with all the boring bits left out. Mysterious murders, evil dwarves, vengeful goddesses and lashings of hot swashbuckling. 

How cool is that?

The Sword-Edged Blonde reminded me of The Lies of Locke Lamora, but more character-focused.

So without further gushi
ng, please welcome Alex Bledsoe, author of The Sword-Edged Blonde, released today from Tor. Yay!

The Friends of Eddie LaCrosse
by Alex Bledsoe

I created Eddie LaCrosse, the protagonist of The Sword-Edged Blonde, more years ago than I like to think about. He was the hero of a story I wrote while a high school senior to impress the new, young, sexy teacher; of course, I never found the nerve to actually show it to her. Back then he was known as "Devareaux LaCrosse," for no good reason that I can recall. But even in that earliest draft he was a "have sword, will travel" kind of guy and he crossed paths with a femme fatale named Rhiannon.

Over the intervening years, he developed into his final version thanks to my own reading tastes. And despite the fact that the novel is undeniably high fantasy, the influences on the main character came from an entirely different genre.

Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe, the original smart-ass detective, was a huge influence. Marlowe had a quip for all occasions, even if he sometimes kept them to himself. He also had a rigid moral code that helped him navigate the ambiguous mean streets he prowled. While Bogart was the definitive film Marlowe in The Big Sleep, the one most like Eddie was played by Elliot Gould in Robert Altman's film version of The Long Goodbye. This Marlowe's refrain is, "It's okay with me" -- until it's not.

Ross Macdonald's Lew Archer was a more human and connected version of Marlowe. He lacked the wit, but he made up for it in his ability to ferret out the emotional reasons people did horrible things. That skill -- to quickly and accurately judge people -- is probably the quality of Archer, and Eddie, that I envy most. And unlike the other characters on this list, Archer also tried and failed to have a normal life. Eddie, in his young adulthood, went through a similar experience.

Andrew Vachss' Burke gave me the idea of having a dark period in Eddie's past where he did questionable things before acknowledging his own conscience. Burke, a product of foster homes and state institutions, spent time as a mercenary and compensated for his lack of biological family by connecting with a group of similarly isolated outcasts he knew he could trust. Eddie had a similar dark period, and he's also slowly built up a network of people he trusts, even if no one else does. His secret goes back to the Archer effect: he is able to understand why people do what they do.

And finally, the biggest influence of all was Robert B. Parker's Spenser. Witty, well-read, tough yet vulnerable, he became my favorite literary character from the moment I finished Pale Kings and Princes. I gave my youngest son the middle name Spenser; I gave Eddie the character’s insistent wit (unlike Philip Marlowe, Spenser hardly ever keeps his ironic comments to himself) and willingness to find the best solutions in the gray area between good and evil. Spenser also isn't a womanizer. He has a steady romantic partner through most of the series. While I don't want to give anything away about future stories, Eddie has also outgrown the need to chase every peasant blouse that passes before him.

When I write about Eddie LaCrosse now, I no longer see these pieces. He's come alive in my imagination, and the longer I work with him, the more he departs from his influences. But these sources can't be denied, and I would never try. Instead, if you find you like Eddie in The Sword-Edged Blonde, I'd point you toward the characters listed above. They each have their own worlds, but you'll find traces of them in Eddie's.