Saturday, April 29, 2006

valley of the dolls

if you want to see photos of grown women playing with barbie dolls, check out kathleen eagle's site.

the pictures were taken at a recent meeting at her house.
my barbie had apparently gained weight since she last wore her outfit; it took me about ten minutes to get her boobies covered.

kathleen eagle

(may news -- fun with writer friends.)

click on babs through the ages to see a closeup of dolls. mine is the one in black.

on the stereo


Wowzers. I never get tired of this Galaxie 500 album. It was their last, and many people say their best.
I can't begin to choose a favorite song. Melt Away? Listen, the Snow is Falling? King of Spain? Fourth of July?
The music is haunting, fresh, original, and somehow intimate and personal. Hard to believe it came out in 1990.
Or maybe not so hard to believe.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Moxie press -- new romance publisher set to release first book in june

Anybody know anything about Moxie Press? They are new; their first title comes out in June. They contacted me about possibly epublishing my old romances. Apparently my books are ones readers would like to see reissued.

the contract looks pretty standard and expires after a year.
my concern is that it might negatively impact my current career. the books they are talking about are ANCIENT. the first one is almost 20 years old, the last is 8. i worry they would serve as simply a curiosity. Books that were considered daring and cutting edge will now come across as dated and cliche. But i'm very tempted to try it with one book.

From the website:

Welcome to Moxie Press!

We at Moxie Press currently seek well-written, entertaining romance novels from new and experienced authors all over the world. We are looking to acquire original and out-of-print romance novels from a wide range of authors to publish in electronic form, with plans to publish a selection in paperback in the near future.

Moxie Press

where's my blogaphone?

right now i'm lying on the floor mumbling into my blogaphone while the words magically appear here. cool.

really -- i'm just plain lying, but i wish i had a blogaphone.

some days i have nothing to say; some days too much to be typed.

1) yesterday i attended a Midwest Fiction Writers' meeting where we played with barbie dolls. i hope to have pics later.

2) i came home from playing with barbies to find that my proposal had finally been approved. so Barbie= good luck.

3) i noticed i was having trouble seeing interstate exit signs. got an eye exam. for the first time in my life i need glasses. and not any glasses. bifocals.

4) my good friend ANNE MCALLISTER has a fairly new blog, and now i need the blogaphone to tell you all about that other anne, probably the only blogger i've actually touched and spent the night with. :D i'll write more about her later because it will take gobs of time, but her link is in the template. she's smart. and nice.

did i use lying correctly? i think so.
is the plural of barbie barbies? will matell come after me for not capitalizing barbie? so much to worry about.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

visions of writing spaces dance in my head

off and on for the past ten years i've fantasized about having some kind of bed & breakfast type place for writers. But I know it wouldn't be financially or logistically feasible. but I still find myself thinking about it. Wondering where it would be. How many rooms. What guest might want. I imagine several weekend workshops throughout the year with special guests to help guide and offer advice. at other times rooms would be available for writers who simply need to to get away from home and focus on writing without distractions. Maybe 50 bucks a night rather than the 150 or more other B&Bs charge. Or a weekly writer rate.

Just recently I was thinking about a big Victorian home in Stillwater, MN. Stillwater is located about 30 miles from the Twin Cities, close to an international airport, middle of the country...

What do you think?
What would your dream retreat have to offer?
Who would you like to have as a speaker/guest? And don't say Stephen King. Well, we could invite him....

Saturday, April 22, 2006


over the next few months i plan to post images that are in some way connected to my upcoming September release.

uff da. maybe i should start another blog for that...

a crime takes place at this stone wall overlooking the Wisconsin River. Locals call it Lover's Leap, and many towns across the United States have such dark places where people in pain are invited to end their lives. No one know how many rejected lovers have jumped from this very spot. Someone should be keeping track, maybe put up a sign, but I suppose the numbers would change far too quickly.
This is also the area where Evan Stroud hides from police.

final back-cover copy for Pale Immortal

cover copy:

The sleepy town of Tuonela, Wisconsin, is known for one thing: the killer who stalked its streets one hundred years ago, drinking the blood of his victims. And when the drained corpse of a young girl is found, the citizens fear their past has risen from the grave -- and point their fingers at one man....

Evan Stroud can never see the light of day. The prisoner of a strange and terrible disease, he lives in tragic solitude, taunted for being a "vampire" --until the son he never knew he had shows up in Tuonela, and is drawn into its depraved, vampire-obsessed underworld. Then Evan must rely on his childhood friend, coroner Rachel Burton, for help. But the evil that they face is powerful and elusive -- and about to take them to the very edge of madness.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

short fiction contest at the clarity of night!!

"Two Lights" Short Fiction Contest going on at Jason Evans' wonderful blog

The Clarity of Night

cut and pasted from Jason's blog:

My friends, I'm very pleased to announce the opening of The "Two Lights" Short Fiction Contest!

The challenge is simple. Using the photograph above for inspiration, compose a short fiction piece of no more than 250 words. All genres are welcome.

The prizes are:

--1st Place, a $25 Amazon gift certificate + a signed 8x10 print of the "Two Lights" photo or any other photo from [the Gallery]
--2nd Place, a $10 Amazon gift certificate + a signed 8x10 print (see above)
--3rd Place (if I get at least 10 entries), a signed 8x10 print (see above)

I will judge the entries and announce the winners on Friday evening, April 28th.

of hairs and hares and origins of stuff we say

i'm trying to concentrate on writing this week, but i came upon something of extreme interest that must be shared.

do you have a wild hair up your butt?

or a wild hare?

i always thought it was hair, but i did a google search and some sources say it's HARE. explanation: if you had a hare in your colon, you'd be hopping all over the place.

on another subject: pollen count. i wonder if they make a pollen count meter for blog templates... i'm sure i could waste a few hours looking for one. pollen count here is over 2000. i think it was 3000 two days ago. 900 is considered extreme. i'm high on actifed, so simply keep walking if this makes no sense.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

still no green light

In case you noticed my progress meter -- I'm still waiting for official approval of the second book in my contract, but i've gone ahead and started writing it.

anyway, i'm hoping to have 100 pages done by the end of april, so i've been a bit absent here.

5 pages a day. 25 pages a week. 100 pages a month.

Friday, April 14, 2006

a tale of two covers

i wasn't exactly thrilled with this cover. absolutely LOVE the image at the bottom, but the guy baffled me. anyway, apparently some people at the publishing house weren't crazy about the guy either, so the cover was changed to this:

this is the new, finished cover. I think the concept for the new cover was solid, but... I actually think the original is the better cover simply because the artwork in the second is...well.... i keep looking at it, thinking maybe my eyes are playing tricks on me and i'm simply not seeing what's supposed to be seen. i see an actual
1/4 inch gap between the head and "neck" where the overlays didn't match up.
i've learned another lesson here.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

the year of living whorishly

i started my blog last april. I can't believe i've been whoring myself for a year now. this bowie quote pretty much sums up my feelings about whoring:

If you're going to work in a whorehouse, you'd better be the best whore in it." - Bowie (1991)

I don't really consider my blog as whoring, although it is to some degree. some days i'm more of a whore than other days. But before last april, the only thing i did to whore myself was a website. i didn't promote in any way. didn't go to conferences, rarely did book signings, rarely went to any kind of event that had anything to do with writing or writers. i'd actually tried self-promotion years ago, decided it was a huge waste of time and money, and quit. but last year i thought i'd give it another try. the blog. leave the cave more often. (i don't think that counts.) the book video. maybe a magazine ad. volunteering. local chapters. networking. GCC. message boards. lists. donations. book signings and conferences. thrillerfest and agreeing to be a judge. those 150 books. agreeing to speak at both thrillerfest and bouchercon even though sometimes speaking makes me pass out and crack my chin open. more on that later.

all this in hopes of raising my profile (or some such biz jargon.)

come september i should know if my whoring has paid off. my goal is to make the USA Today list. if that doesn't happen, i will quit the conferences and ads and book videos and all that stuff and go back in my cave, reclaim my life such as it is. although i will probably continue to blog. but not in a whorey way. whory. whorie.

countdown: 5 months

here are more nice whore quotes:

"We used to laugh at Grandpa when he'd head off and go fishing. But we wouldn't be laughing that evening when he'd come back with some whore he picked up in town."
Jack Handy

"I've gone from saint to whore and back to saint again, all in one lifetime."
Ingrid Bergman

"There is a time to stop reading, there is a time to STOP trying to WRITE, there is a time to kick the whole bloated sensation of ART out on its whore-ass."
Charles Bukowski

"Cinema is an old whore, like circus and variety, who knows how to give many kinds of pleasure. Besides, you can't teach old fleas new dogs."
Federico Fellini

"There once was a whore in a cave,
Her friends continued to rave,
If her book doesn't sell,
She will say, "what the hell,"
And seclusion again she will crave."
Jeff Neale

Sunday, April 09, 2006

POV -- mixing viewpoints

i've used both first person and third person in the same book, and this year i read several books with mixed viewpoints. normally the first-person viewpoint is the main character, and sometimes that viewpoint shifts to third person later in the book. or sometimes the main character is always written in first person, everybody else in third.

here's my problem:

i have a character who seems to want to be written in first person. Her story always unfolds in first person in my head and i have to translate it to third. i'm tired of fighting it, and wonder how weird it would be to give her first-person POV.

this book is a sequel. the character is new to this book. She's a main character, but not THE main character. so i'm afraid writing her in first person would be confusing to the reader and jarring. i'm also concerned that it's just self-indulgent on my part.


Friday, April 07, 2006

on the stereo

ah, sonic youth.
sometime i forget how great they are.
i saw sonic youth, along with stereolab, a few years ago in the minneapolis outdoor sculpture garden at walker art center.

i love the way they go off on a tangent of abrasive noise, but under it is a light, airy melody that continues to build. the sound is haunting and mysterious. they have so many releases -- i haven't kept up with them all, but here are two of my favorites:

daydream nation

washing machine

Thursday, April 06, 2006

agents and blogging

got this from lee goldberg's blog. and speaking of lee -- he wrote a delightful book called MAN WITH THE IRON-ON BADGE.

why (smart) agents don't blog

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

brain food

several years ago someone conducted a study on the brain-boosting power of flax. grade school children were fed flax (I think in some kind of cracker/cookie) at a certain time every day, and the conclusion was that it increased their test scores. flax became the darling for a while, but later people grumbled and pointed out that any nutritional snack would have done the same thing.

a lot of food makes me sluggish and stupid. eat a baked potato for lunch? i'm an idiot until evening.

my current darling is spelt bread. no peaks, no crashes.

what do you eat to keep your brain from getting sluggish during the day?
what do you avoid?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

three things

Static has been added to the crime spot aggregator here:

crime spot

Bethany at Word Nerd is now featuring mini-interviews with writers. My interview went up this week. Also check out J. A. Konrath's from last week.

word nerd Thanks, Bethany!

Tribe blogs about something called New Weird that I found extremely interesting.


Monday, April 03, 2006

Crapo Park in Burlington, Iowa, is famous for a lot of things. Its breathtaking beauty. The way it's situated on a bluff overlooking the mighty Mississippi. Chief Black Hawk hung out there. It also used to be famous for flashers. The first time I was flashed was along this path. If you follow the trail to the right -- that's where it was. Right around the corner and off the image. The guy's probably still there. Another girl was with me. We were about sixteen. And you can bet we did a lot of screaming and scrambling --

--through heavy vegetation that looked like this:

So this whole ridiculous introduction is to say I'm flashing again. At Kelly's place.
fictional musings
This is my last one. I swear. Really. I'm quitting. This is it. I'll be standing in line at the methadone clinic tomorrow.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

proposal update

Part 1:
As I've mentioned too many times, I sent in a proposal for book 2 in September. Contractually my publisher couldn't accept it at that time. But I sent it anyway, hoping for a hint of their feelings.

This looks like something we will want. Or even: This looks like something we MIGHT want.

The total silence was another kind of hint. It told me this: We will be asking for something different when the times comes.

But without an outright NO, I still clung to a small amount of hope that they would accept the proposal, which is a sequel to Pale Immortal. Without a YES, and with a strong hint of NO, I didn't want to begin working on the sequel.

Part 2:
I'm now working with a new editor. She recently asked for an expanded synopsis. Completely understandable. My previous editor preferred no more than a five-page synopsis, so I'd originally sent five pages and a 2 short chapters.

So I sent an expanded synopsis and my new editor has asked for some clarifications and made a couple of suggestions that I totally agree with.

Going back to the core story.

I've said this before, but it seems I always end up back at the beginning. My initial idea is usually best. My agent read the proposal and worried that a character - Isobel - from book 1 was absent in book 2. I'd had the same concern, so when he also mentioned it I returned to the synopsis, shifted things around, and added her to the story. This severely diminished another character's role, and my editor picked up on that. So I went back in and removed poor Isobel who is now out of the country. Some readers will miss her, but the story is stronger with her gone.

So... the latest synopsis is done and it's beginning to look as if they are going to accept the sequel, although you never know until it's officially approved.

Part 3:
YOU MOVE ME. Ain't gonna happen. Not this summer anyway. My plan was to have the first draft of book 2 done by now, and I haven't even started it. There is no way I can write a book this summer and also sell my house and move. So the house goes on the back burner. I'm hoping I can get away next winter for a month, which would be very nice. That's the tentative plan at this point.