Saturday, August 26, 2006

Bella wonders where other erotic romance writers first sex scenes land?

I'd love to hear from the rest of the red hot ladies on this one--and of course any other writers checking in: Where does the first sex scene in your book always end up?

I'm asking because I've come to learn that everyone has their own style and that, more of than not, we tend to use the same plotting/character pattern for each one of our books--even when everything else about them is completely different.

For example, remember how every single romance used to have the first sex scene at 200 pages and then maybe another one at 250?

In my books, I've found that my characters always relate to each other sexually within the first 20 to 30 pages. Not because I feel compelled to start my books off with a sex scene, but just because that's the initial driving element of their relationship. If they already know each other from their pasts, they tend to reunite many years later in bed (althought rarely in a bed!). If they have just met then it's possible that one of them is using the sex with a stranger thing to deal (poorly, of course) with some crisis in her or his life.

And for readers: Do you care where the first sex scene happens? In the beginning? Middle? End?

;-) Bella

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Unexpected

Yesterday as I was taking my daily walk, I met a friend along the way I haven't seen in a while. Linda's a writing friend. I met her eight years ago when we both joined Sisters in Crime as newbies. Of the 90 people on that newbie loop, we discovered we actually lived only a block from each other. Now my little town only has about 3000 residents so the odds of that were absolutely astronomical and we became good friends.

Linda has since moved on to be a loan broker and she loves her job, loves working with people, especially those who come to her looking to consolidate their finances in the hopes of achieving financial freedom so they can live the life they've always wanted. She asked if she could write about me in her client newsletter, as an example of someone who simplified her life and now has the full-time writing career she always wanted. What an honor! And of course, I agreed. In addition, what an unexpected bit of promotion for me.

I'd love to hear about stories from you about unexpected and wondrous things that have happened to you lately. Please share!

And since Linda is promoting me, I'll promote her, it's only fair. Linda Murphy, American Home Mortgage, (831) 469-4800.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Externally motivated?

In one of the hundreds of education courses I took, one of the classifications we discussed was whether students are externally vs. internally motivated. Applying those same criteria to myself as a writer, I find myself to be externally motivated -- and wish like hell I could figure out how to switch to the internal type.

For example, today I went to my post office box. There were two pieces of mail. One was a rejection, which would ordinarily bum me out and ruin my day, possibly my week. However, as rejections go, this one wasn't bad. In addition to its not being a form letter, it came from an agent I'd considered a real long-shot in lots of ways -- so I didn't go into too deep a funk. The second envelope contained a royalty check that was bigger than anticipated. My husband always tells me lowering expectations is a good way to avoid unhappiness, and I suppose this unexpected check is a case in point. It made my day.

Reviews can make or break my day. Sometimes even communication with one of my editors can do the same.

Question: For those of you who are internally motivated, how do you do it? How do you manage to not let the vicissitudes of the externals make you ecstatic or drive you nuts? Inquiring minds want to know...

Monday, August 14, 2006

Bella ponders the issue of How To Deal

I missed the RWA National conference this year (being about 1,000 months pregnant will do that to a girl) and after hearing about some of the workshops and keynote speeches, I'm waiting very impatiently for the conference tapes. Evidently between Christina Dodd's talk about walking the sidewalk of success and Susan Elizabeth Phillips "big mistake! huge" talk there was plenty of inspiration to go around.

The thing is, most writers don't talk about the hard times in their careers. Sure, we know that Stephen King was rejected a bazillion times before he finally sold Carrie and that Sherrilyn Kenyon was told to pack up and go home before she ever sold a Dark Hunter book. But what about the mid-career lulls? What about when you've sold a stack of books and then....the black hole of publishing sucks you in and it's rejection, rejection, rejection?

I find it invaluable to know that incredibly successful writers like SEP, Ms. Dodd, and Barbara Freethy hit huge potholes in their careers. Years in after great sales numbers and big deals where everything stalled. It's hard to believe now that SEP's agent held an auction for her Chicago Stars books and NOBODY CAME!! My lord those are good books, but I digress.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that hopefully the shared wisdom of the stars of our business will help goad us all on to writing and submitting more books and proposals in every stage of our careers, no matter how quickly or slowly they are snapped up.

(Note: I stole the title of this blog from a movie made a couple of years ago from two of Sarah Dessen's books. They're YA, but not particularly young in tone. I highly recommend her books, and the movie too, because Mandy Moore is so cute in it. Love her. Want her to play the heroine of the movie of one of my books one day.)

My question for you is: What's the best inspiration story you've heard from another writer? Please share it with us. I'd love to hear it (and so would many other writers, I suspect)!

;-) Bella Andre

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The pinnacle of my career!

I can now consider myself a true erotic romance writer. I received my first fan mail from a prison inmate. He said he thought my erotica was the best, the absolute best he's ever read. And he indicated he'd read a lot of erotica. I'm not sure how they come by these books in prison. Does the prison library carry them? After I read the letter to him, my husband looked at me and gravely said, "I think you should feel honored. He's not just a prison inmate, he's a person, too."

So here's to hitting the pinnacle! Oh, the other pinnacle is that Jennifer Skully, that other writer inside me, won first place for single title in the Daphne Du Maurier Award for "Sex and the Serial Killer." Another pinnacle. Since I joined RWA and the Kiss of Death mystery chapter, it has been a dream of mine to win as a published writer (I won an unpublished category with "Dead to the Max," written by yet another multiple personality lurking inside me). And I made it!

Wow, two pinnacles in two short weeks. What more could a girl ask for?

Monday, August 07, 2006

My Golden Heart night

I reposted this up front here with a photo of "the moment"

Thanks, Kate. Being able to make that speech, sharing it with so many people, was the highlight of the night, not to mention the award itself. It was like a Fairy Tale evening. It happened as if in slow motion. Karin and I were sitting there, clutching hands, and Sherrilyn Kenyon read the nominees, then the envelope came her way. I think all she got out was Blood before Karin started screaming, and after we hugged each other, I fumbled around in my purse for the words I had so hastily written down on a tiny piece of paper. I made my way to the podium, got a big hug from Sherrilyn, and went up to give my speech. After the fact, I wish I would have thanked way more people, but you know how it is… when you finish, you always think of more to say.

Here’s what I said, in a nutshell. It started with a resounding “WOW.” and a deep breath ;)

“Most of you know me as Rae Monet. I want to thank RWA and the judges of the Golden Heart contest. I’d also like to thank my best friend, Karin Tabke, and my critique partner, Edie Ramer. Thank you to my publishers, Red Sage and Liquid Silver books. For me, Blood Squad has been a journey back from a nearly crippling diagnosis of MS. Despite the fact there is no cure for my disease, Blood Squad has shown me, there is hope. Thank you.”

Oh at least I think it was something like that, LOL. When I returned to my seat, Karin and I did another hug, sat through the rest of a very nice ceremony in a blur with huge smiles, then went for the chocolate.

After that, the night was full of many hugs and congrats. I was in a happy haze and still am. I couldn't have asked for a better evening.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Watching Rae win the Golden Heart

I was hoping Rae Monet would have a chance to blog about winning the Golden Heart at RWA Nationals in Atlanta last week, but I imagine she's one busy girl and hasn't had the chance. SO, I decided to write about WATCHING Rae win it. You see, Rae's win was very special to me. She's in the early stages of MS--and multiple sclerosis is a disease that changes everything in your life. I know, because I was diagnosed in 1985 when I was just 35 years old. When she gave her acceptance speech, she talked about her diagnosis and how she had poured so much of her anger and heartbreak (my words, not hers) into her book after learning what she had. Damn but I can relate to that, and I sat there listening to her short but heartfelt speech with tears running down my face and thinking, "You go GIRL!" The thing is, I was sitting there with my agent, feeling on top of the world because, after so many years of struggle in this very tough business, not only is my MS in full remission, I'm finally published and my books are doing well, something I dreamed of for all those years and yet never expected. That's what writing is, actually. A profession where we put our dreams down on paper for the world to see and criticize, so it's really gratifying to see one of our own take the podium as a winner. Rae, you are so talented and have such a wonderful life ahead of you. Even though that should have been a RITA they handed to you, your Golden Heart was very much deserved. Congratulations and write on!

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