Monday, January 30, 2006
Are there places you won't go?
ooh, but I did catch myself in my own hypocrisy there - I'm an avid fan of desperate housewives... Will have to go ponder that.
Are there subjects you won't touch? Are there elements that will ruin a book/movie/tv show, regardless of how entertaining or well written?
Sunday, January 29, 2006
What a week!
Now, if this looks like an "if it's Tuesday it must be Belgium" weekend, you're right. It was. But I got to spend time with Karin Tabke, Rae Monet, Cricket Star, Mardi Ballou and Jasmine Haynes (who wasn't signing but showed up to offer lots of support!) met readers who have actually READ my books and enjoyed them, and talked to a lot of romance fans. I went to half a dozen bookstores and found terrific employees willing to hunt for all the copies of my books they could find so that I could sign them, and that was a hoot! Writing is such a solitary life--just us and our imaginary characters, that getting out to interact with real people is often like a constant shot of adrenaline. This was definitely a worthwhile trip!
Thursday, January 26, 2006
I love the publishing industry
See, I stepped into writing after ten years in the music industry. Now that's some depressing stuff. My husband and I have never watched American Idol until this year, but even the people with the great voices....well, I know for a fact that 99.9% of them will never make any money with their talent. And ask anyone, I'm a *very* positive person. It's just the honest truth.
Whereas I know lots of talented writers. Who are making money and in many, many cases, making a good living via novels. How fantastic is that?
Plus, I ADORE everyone I meet in publishing. Me and my CPs have been meeting with a group of established writers for lunch once a month (check them out at www.fogcitydivas.com) and we have the best time together. The best. No one ever wants to leave the table. And it's always like this--at every RWA meeting, etc.
Off to write!
;-) Bella Andre
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Now, if he'll just vacuum my car at the same time...
Sunday, January 22, 2006
A brand new man...and dayum, he's GOOD!
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Not exactly love at first bite
I laughed quite a bit, sometimes even because it was honestly funny. But a lot of the time I was imagining some of the snarky comments I would make to my hubby as soon as I got out of the theatre. And that was the most fun of all.
My comments weren't anywhere near as snarky as what was in the papers two days later after opening night. Both the Cron and the Mercury News had a field day with Lestat, using the phrases "Fetch the garlic and a wooden stake!", "a toothless act", and "Is simply not quite undead". On the other hand, the reviews also pointed out what was at least in my opinion the biggest problem...the script tries to do too much and as such does almost nothing right.
They have three hours to tell the story of essentially two books. By comparison the far superior Brokeback Mountain was based on a short story...just enough plot to fill a movie with a little room to expand. The result is wonderful.
But Lestat has no room to grow, or to even make room for its musical numbers. In addition to simply being a lot of material, the books are the story of Lestat, Louis, and wicked little Claudia told from two rather different perspectives, both Louis in the first book, and Lestat in the second.
In trying to be true to both books, they have to consolidate the main character's goals into as few words as possible...but he's given too many goals to work with. He is either looking for permanent companions (apparently living with him for thirty years is just too temporary for him) or a meaning to his existence, or the answer to the question "what are vampires anyway?" In trying to resolve all this, the plot grows bogged down by songs that lead no where and scenes that vary between confusing to more confusing. It is just too much information to get across.
Something for all of us to remember when doing our own books.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
When I first came up with the title for my first Jennifer Skully book, Sex and the Serial Killer (which by the way, came to me as I was driving home from an RWA meeting), I had a description of my hero and why he was called a "serial killer." In the small town in which he lived, everyone thought he was a serial killer because he always had dead animals in his yard, he painted like John Wayne Gacy, he'd once starred in a porn film, and he bought rubbermaid containers like the ones Jeffrey Dahmer used to store body parts in. Of course, there were stories behind all of these things, but for me the book was about how incorrect impressions drive people to take action or jump to wrong conclusions. But with a title that had "serial killer" in it, eventually I realized that there MUST be a murder somewhere in the book. See, for me, the title DROVE the action of the book. If I'd called it something like...Wrong Impressions (bad, I know, but I had to come up with something), then I don't know if a murder would have occurred. Much of the book was driven simply by the title and that one long sentence about the hero. Both amused me immensely as I was on my way home.
So, the reason I bring this up is that my Berkley editor wants a new title for my Jasmine Haynes January 2007 release (yes, I have a release date now, yippee!). The first novella in the book was called The Sex Club and was put out by my liquidsilverbooks.com publisher. It fit the concept of the first story. But my editor didn't want to use that title for the new book with two other stories added. The working title for the contract was The Passion Club, but that never really sat well with me. So now, we need something new and provocative. I haven't a clue. Because for me, the title has to tell ME something about the book. So I'm thinking, thinking...
And that brings me to my question for all of you. How do titles work for you? Does the title drive the book, as it does for me? Do you have to have a title first before you even begin writing? Do you decide on the title at the end after the book is written?
Monday, January 16, 2006
the romance of a romance writer's life
I fed my son breakfast--most of which he flung onto my pants--and then I took him for a walk--during which he fussed loudly and said, "Night Night,"--but then when I put him to bed he only slept a 1/2 hour--at which point I got him to end his screaming from the crib and wiped the poop from his butt--buckled him in the minivan and drove to the post office to mail off the bookmarks I'd promised reader's since late December (sorry!! i love you all!!)--finished writing twelve pages today--(hooray!!!)--and now I'm paying bills.
It's all good, of course, albeit the polar opposite of glamour. ;-) Tell me, how do you spend your oh-so-glamorous day?
;-) Bella Andre
Sunday, January 15, 2006
My amazing critique partners...or, it takes a village.
I could smack George Eliot
For everybody else, did you want to throttle George Eliot when you came to the end of the book? I've actually been a George Eliot fan since the ninth grade (a long time ago), when I read Silas Marner. Over the years, I've, with pleasure, dipped into her oeuvre, but somehow had never experienced Mill. As I was going through the book recently, I once again appreciated Eliot's skill in writing. Yeah, the book is overlong, fine for nineteenth-century standards, more of a challenge to stick with in our ADD era. But underneath the excess, I could see Eliot working her craft. Raise the stakes. Torture your characters. Man, she kept doing that.
But, for some reason (maybe denial), I anticipated the HEA (happily ever after) ending that I've come to regard as normal (even though I've just sold a story where it's hard to view the ending as an HEA in the traditional sense). Heck, I craved for Mill to have an HEA because the characters I'd come to care about deserved it. I wasn't exactly sure how Eliot was going to pull that rabbit out of the hat she'd created, but that's part of what kept me reading.
Eliot's ending hit me in the face with the force of a slap, and I howled. It was definitely not an HEA for the characters I was rooting for. George Eliot, or rather Mary Ann Evans, or whatever the heck you want to be called, come back and explain yourself! Why'd you end the story the way you did (sniffle, whine)?
It's a good day when
I’ve always responded with a chuckle at their joke until one day a few years ago.
Secrets had made a deal with Doubleday Book Club. Two volumes of the Secrets anthologies would be printed in hardback. Since I was in Volume 3 and in Volume 5 that meant two hardback Doubleday printings.
Wow. I wasn’t just in paperback, now I was in hardback along with Angela Knight and Mary Janice Davidson. Cool!
I ordered the books. When I received the hardback with Volumes 5 & 6 I was as thrilled as when I’d received Volumes 3 & 4. Eagerly, I tore open the cardboard mailing box and plucked out the book. When you’re in hardback, you're allowed a yahoo.
Secrets prints a section before the story called To My Reader giving the author the opportunity to address the reader. At the end of the story, Secrets prints a short paragraph about the author.
And there it was in print.
About the author:
B.J. McCall lived in Southern California, but recently passed away.
Holy crap! Not a good day!
My publisher had written my obituary and we all know if it’s in print or on the internet, it’s true!!!
Thankfully, this misprint is limited to the Doubleday printing and not the paperback edition. So periodically I pick up the book, flip through the pages to my obit and grin. I've beaten the grim reaper once again.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Second Chance Romance
My newest HQN I'm working on (proposal due at the end of the month) is a second chance at love tale. Second chance meaning doing it all over again with your ex-spouse. I mentioned this setup to a friend of mine who said she didn't like second chance tales involving divorced couples. Once you've blown it, you've blown it and there are no second chances. But I happen to love these kind of stories. People with a painful history who made big mistakes the first time around, but learned something in the ensuing years, figuring out where they went wrong and somehow finding a way to get past it. For me, that's the stuff of fantasy. It's like remembering your first love (assuming you didn't stay with your first love) and seeing how you could have changed the outcome. What would your life be like if you'd done "this" instead of "that." Okay, maybe you're extremely glad you did "that" instead of "this," because you wouldn't want that dweeb in your life for anything. Personally, that's me. I know it was a good thing I ditched him (or was it the other way around?). But what if you still think about him sometimes...and wonder.
Anyway, that's my question for all of you. What do you think of second chance romance tales? And if you're very brave, you can share a personal experience.
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
I Love Good Train Wreck
Every season, I say I won't watch it. That I can't stand another 12 weeks of watching overly made up, starved to the point of angry psychosis women frolic in a hot tub with a single, unworthy suitor. And yet, on my tivo this morning, there it was.
And after last season's debacle with that buffoon Charlie O'Connell, I think ABC has picked a winner. Why?
a) the bachelor is totally hot, in a burly, brawny, cornfed all American kind of way. Like if poetry spewing
b) the chicks are already going psycho, like the 33 year old doctor who told him she was ready to “reproduce,” and then flipped out when he didn’t pick her. Then she proceeded to grill a hapless production assistant on why he thought the bachelor didn't pick her.
But every time I watch, I get a little nauseated, watching these women regress back to junior high, channeling the most evil incarnation of their inner 13 year olds. But I can’t stop. Instead I sit on the couch in smug superiority at their antics, amused and horrified that these (for the most part) attractive, successful, otherwise normal women would embarrass themselves on national television and convince themselves they’re madly in love with some joker after only a handful of dates.
And yet I write in a genre where couples fall in love at madly accelerated rates, are engaged to one another within weeks, and sometimes days of meeting each other. Maybe it’s our fault, perpetuating the romantic myth for these women to buy into, causing them to abandon all dignity and sense of self for a chance to land the so-called perfect man as defined by ABC television. Maybe…
Sunday, January 08, 2006
High School Reunion from Hell
Fast forward twenty years and my foray to a high school reunion I wasn’t going to go to until the last minute: My sixteen-year marriage had blown to hell, I had a crummy job selling shoes at Macy’s, but I looked great. Against my better judgment I went to (crashed) my reunion, in part to connect with an old friend who hated high school as much as I did. Connected instead with a very wrong guy, left the reunion with him, had the worst night of my life (too nasty to talk about) and pretty much lost my friend (deserved).
Fast forward many more years: Sour attitude to high school and reunions has fossilized into solid bedrock. I turned my feelings into a fantasy—Réunions Dangereuses, my Ellora’s Cave Quickie coming out Weds. (1/11).
Do you want to share your high school reunion experiences or fantasies here? Nasty ones very welcome. Okay, so if you have a nice cheery one, you can post it, too. Hey, I’m broadminded.
The wonderful community of authors...
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
And the Time Suck Website of the day is...
It's a website for facial recognition software, and you can upload a photo of yourself, have it scanned, and it will tell you what celebrity you most resemble, with both flattering and horrifying results. For example, I either look like Katie Holmes (ew!), Isabella Rosselini (maybe a better fit), or Julia Roberts (not even close!). My husband, on the other hand, allegedly looks like Jeff Bridges (not bad if you think of him in the Star Man days), Tom Cruise (oh my god, I think I just threw up in my mouth a little), or.... drum roll please.... Chelsea Clinton!
Oh my God, I could have fun with this for hours....
For all we do...
So today, for all I do, I'm going to have my nails done. And enjoy a good gossipfest. And I'll pick up the pizza on the way home.
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
For the first time in several years I had enough vacation left over at the end of the year to actually take the entire time off between Christmas and New Years and so was actually off for eleven days straight. So, what did I do?
I wrote. My WIP, a sequel to All Night Inn, is now nearly 30K words, which makes me pretty happy. But now I'm back at the day job, which isn't so bad, but does tie up quite a bit of my day. Good thing I've got nights and weekends or the rest of the book would never get finished.
Bella goes to Church
I can't believe I almost forgot to blog about my brush with the church last month....You see, my Chiropractor is Mormon. Really mormom. Like takes a day a week to counsel the congregation, had the Book of M on both coffee tables in the waiting room (so annoying...but whatever). When I told him about my books, he was surprisingly cool about it all. Said something to the effect of, "Wow, those sound steamy. I'll have to make sure my wife picks up a copy."
So then, I did an interview with our small town paper about my book. Like usual, the writer asked about people's responses to erotic romance. I told him, honestly, that every single person I've told has been supportive. Even, and I quote, my Mormon Chiro.
Well, can you blame him, the writer loved that and it went into the article. I had a good laugh when I read it, Jami had a good laugh when I read it to her, and then I went in for an appt a week later.
Mr. Chiro opens with, "You got me into a little hot water last week," and me being me, I'm all like (see I am a born and bred Cali girl--I say "all like" in regular conversation!), "Huh?"
Turns out The Mormon Church called him. (Had to put it in italics because I'm not really sure what that means. But I'm thinking it's not good.) Hunted him down, actually. Went through every Mormon chiro in our town (how many are there you might ask? evidently lots...) and asked if I was their patient until they narrowed it down to him.
He fessed up. Hadn't read the article. Had it read to him in firey tones from the pulpit. Trouble ensued. Backpedaling on his part. Burning at the stake, or something like that...
Still, I think he should have come to my booksigning like he'd promised, don't you think?
;-) Bella Andre