Thursday, March 30, 2006

Tagged Too!

Okay, not sure if I'm supposed to respond on the same blog, but I'll post here and over on the Aphrodisia Blog.

4 movies you would watch over and over
Old School
This is Spinal Tap
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Star Wars

4 places you have lived:
Stanford, CA
Riverside, CT
Wolf, WY
Los Angeles, CA

4 TV shows you love to watch
How can I limit it to 4??
Grey's Anatomy
Southpark
24
Rescue Me (when will the new season start?????!!!!)

4 places you have been on vacation:
St. John, USVI
Italy (twice)
Greece
Bali

4 Websites you visit daily:
www.Smartbitchestrasybooks.com
www.overheardintheoffice.com
www.overheardinnewyork.com
www.eonline.com

4 of your favorite foods:
steak
sushi
burritos
guacamole

4 places you would rather be right now:
Wolf, Wyoming
An all inclusive beach resort with fabulous childcare

Tag 4 Friends you think will respond:
Karin Tabke
Vivi Anna
Candice Hern
Rachelle Chase

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Tagged!

Darlene Marshall tagged me over on her blog, so here goes:

4 movies you would watch over and over
Pretty Woman
Hoosiers
Sound of Music
Superstar

4 places you have lived:
Stanford, CA
Paris, France
Lake Tahoe, CA
wine country, CA

4 TV shows you love to watch
Don't watch TV, but did watch Dancing with the Stars
And really, the only thing on anymore in our house is Baby Einstein

4 places you have been on vacation:
Hawaii
France
New York
England

4 Websites you visit daily:
this one
none really regularly

4 of your favorite foods:
cheese,
cheese,
cheese,
oh wait...um, cherries

4 places you would rather be right now:
somewhere sunny
English countryside
wherever the place is that my synopsis rewrite is done!

Tag 4 Friends you think will respond:
Kate Douglas
Jami Alden
Rae Monet
Jasmine Haynes


;-) Bella Andre
http://www.BellaAndre.com

Monday, March 27, 2006

About the short stuff

RedHotRomance

I've been contemplating how much of a market is out there for shorter erotic romance...it seems there are many, many publishers who not only accept shorter work, that is less than 20K in length, but who welcome the chance to have it.

The question becomes not if a short work can sell, but how many readers actively buy short works and why they do so.

Curious minds want to know.

Monday, March 20, 2006

A little inspiration is all it takes

Jami, my critique partner extraordinaire, called me last Saturday when I was in Hawaii to tell me that she had told her editor about my multi-cultural women's fiction proposal and she wanted to see it.

Have I mentioned I love Jami recently? You see, I've been sitting on some big revisions to this proposal in my head for months...even though an editor at Warner had asked to see it again I haven't done them because it became this big thing in my head.

But one voice mail from Jami and suddenly I was writing like the wind. And I think the brand new kick ass proposal will be ready by the end of the week. Yee-ha!

;-) Bella Andre
http://www.BellaAndre.com

Sunday, March 19, 2006

It's all about semantics...

Okay, so that's a pretty all-encompassing title, but what I was really thinking about is the power of words in erotic romance and the symbolic meaning behind different phrases and descriptions. I've been thinking of this since Geraldo's show about our books when he made a flip comment about "steaming love tunnels" or some such purple prose nonsense. After my first snort, I got to thinking about the way we use words in our stories, the fact that our more graphic language now is essentially what differentiates us from the typical "sweet" romances. All romances, no matter how sexy, are based on building sexual tension between the hero and heroine, but the language and graphic nature of where we go with that tension is what separates us. But (and it's a BIG but!) most of us started out reading romances filled with purple prose. We read those amazing euphemisms--their numbers are legion--but we knew exactly what the author meant when she referred to a "silken sheath, passionate glove, rampant pole or button of womanly delight," (yeah, I HAVE seen all of these...) but because the meaning was clear to us, we reacted as the author intended, experiencing the love and passion through our lusty heroine. Now, however, the language has changed. The descriptions are, in many cases, made up of words we once thought of as crude, vulgar or offensive, but now associate with intimate, loving and passionate scenes between our hero and heroine. So, what's the difference? Obviously, our sex scenes are more graphic and we push a lot of "morality buttons" for many readers, but aren't our graphic words in the same class as those much joked about euphemisms? We're going for the same response but the language has changed. We like to call it honesty, that we're giving our readers "real" language, but is it all that different from the purple prose of old? I'm curious about your opinions...language is, by its very nature, made up of symbolism and open to interpretation. Will our usage of graphic language, at some point, be looked on as the purple prose of the 21st Century? Tell me what you think.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Is rejection always part of a writer's life?

I've received a lot of rejection letters over the years. And it's been a lot of years, let me tell you! I thought I was used to it. But becoming a published writer made me think those years were over. Hah! Not so. I recently got my first rejection as a published author. My proposal was not accepted. They didn't even want me to make changes. They just didn't want it at all. Oh My God! Of course, my first thought was that I've lost it. I'll never sell another book. I'm a has-been before I even really got started! I have no more good ideas. I'll never have another good idea! My life is over.

I'm a bit of a melodramatic drama queen, as you can tell. It's one of my failings, but maybe it's also part of what makes me a writer. After all, without a bit of drama, a book isn't exactly interesting. So, I'm regrouping. It wasn't actually a bad proposal. It just wasn't right for the publisher. I thought it was funny, but then my humor isn't always mainstream. And once I started saying those kinds of things to myself (instead of the really melodramatic stuff), lo and behold, another idea has come. I've pitched that one and they liked it! Now I just have to figure out the complete story, but it is coming to me. I'm not going to let rejection get me down. It didn't stop me before I was published and I won't let it stop me now. Of course, it didn't hurt that I got news yesterday that I'm a double finalist in the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence contest for both Sex and the Serial Killer and Double the Pleasure (from Twin Peaks).

So I guess, whether one is published or not, a writer's life is always going to have rejection in it. But it's also going to have triumphs as well. I think I'll concentrate on the triumphs instead of beating myself up with the rejections.
Jasmine
http://www.skullybuzz.com

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Snowed in in California?

Today I should have been in Berkley with other members of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of Romance Writers of America. I actually rejoined the chapter specifically to attend this meeting because I was so looking forward to seeing Hilary Sares speak about the new Aphrodisia line -- the one I write for. Well, it snowed on Thursday. Then again on Friday. Not just a little bit of snow but a whole LOT of snow. We live at the bottom of a hill. You have to drive up over the hill then WAY down the other side to get to the main road, which is little more than a narrow two-lane rural highway. My husband entertained himself last night and this morning watching cars start up the hill, then slide down it backwards, sideways and everything in between. (Men find great humor in situations such as this!) No way was I going to shovel my little Nissan Sentra out of the snow drift it's been sitting in, then attempt to drive up a hill that was outwitting big honkin' 4WD SUVs and pickups! Instead, resigned to missing a chance to hang with other writers and enjoy the company of people who are every bit as comfortably neurotic as I am, I ended up staying home watching the snow melt. There is still quite a bit of it out there and it's beautiful, which is really quite a nice consolation prize. I still wish I could have gone. Who would have expected SNOW in the middle of March? This is California, for goodness sake!!! Wonder what's in store for me when the next meeting comes up in April? Hurricanes? Tornadoes? I don't imagine I'll have to worry about snow. Do hope all of you who made it to the meeting had a wonderful time.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Goodwill!

I realized that I hadn't had a day off since the beginning of February. So today, I decided to take a little break. My husband and I went to a few of the local thrift stores. Lo and behold, on the bookshelves, there was a copy of my Jennifer Skully book, Sex and the Serial Killer. My husband was horrified. Someone actually gave my book away! I, however, was tickled just to see it there, almost like seeing it on the book shelf at Borders. I have to say that as a reader I find new authors by buying cheaply at thrift stores like Goodwill and The Salvation Army. Once I'm hooked on a writer, then I start buying new because I can't wait for it to finally (years later sometimes) arrive at a thrift shop. So, I figure that having my book at a thrift store is a good thing. Someone who's never read my stuff might find me, then have to go out and buy all my other books new! Guess I'm hopeful.

As readers and writers, what do you think? Some of my friends are as horrified as my husband was to find their books at a used store.
Jasmine
http://www.skullybuzz.com

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The winner is

I didn't watch the Oscars. If fact, the only best picture nominee I saw was Crash. I liked the movie. I don't know how it stacked up against the other nominees, but I'm curious about what you think.

Was Brokeback Mountain "the movie of the year"?

I like movies to entertain me and I love a good story. I don't care if the the lead actor did an amazing job - if the story sucked - the movie sucked!

My other question - is Crash as good the recent winners?

Million Dollar Baby
Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
Chicago
Beautiful Mind
Gladiator
Titanic

If you have an opinion, post it.

BJ McCall

Monday, March 06, 2006

Ripped from the Pages of Real Life!

I've been struggling these past few months with a linked anthology and single title idea. Two of the novellas and the single title have been brewing for several months now, but I've been at a loss to figure out a third novella to close out the anthology. Until Saturday night, when a conversation with a colleague of my husband's sparked something. On the drive home from the city, a comment she made kept echoing through my brain, and Sunday morning I woke up with that tiny sprout that I hope will grow into a full blown idea. Fortunately, I think I can write it such that she won't recognize herself (assuming someone likes it enough to buy it :)).

How about you all? When do you get your creative sparks? When is the last time you were in mid conversation with someone and had to stop yourself from saying "Let me get a pen. Mind if I use that in my next book?"

And the corollary to this is, have you ever been busted for using something from real life or having a character that hit a little too close to home with someone?

Sunday, March 05, 2006

I'm in love with food

Shocking, since I'm female, I know...But what I'm really in love with is the Jamie Oliver cooking DVD I got from Netflix last week. There I was, flat on the couch with a cold, husband and son away at brother in law's house, when I popped in Oliver's Twist. Instant love. He's no sex symbol, certainly, but the way he cooks! Oh my. {must stop to fan myself}

But I suppose it's fitting for me to have this particular obsession right now since the book I'm working on--Constant Cravings (Pocket, June 2007)--has a famous chef hero. Mine's in Napa Valley, not England, but food is food.

And boy do I love it all!
;-) Bella
http://www.BellaAndre.com

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