Monday, March 8, 2010

Spring Has Sprung . . . about damned time.


I know I'm not the only one who is sick of winter and snow, in this country. We were lucky this winter and had breaks from the storms that attacked the eastern half of the states.
Yesterday we got rain instead of snow, the spring birds have returned, and I don't mean just the robins, there were grackles and maybe even the red-winged black birds in our backyard.
I've worked long tireless hours on my book Vampire Ascending, and after contacting Amira Rock Publishing, thinking I had a real chance at having a real book publisher take a look at my book merely because I met the publisher at a book signing last summer--I had a rude awakening. When they contacted me and said that they couldn't take my manuscript the way it was, but offered to edit it at 1 cent/word, I had to scoff. They, of course guaranteed publication with them, if I went with them, instead of going elsewhere. But of course. This had scam written all over it, and I knew it.
I went to check out VampLit, an e-book publisher, and while I was considering them, I had to get my very long manuscript pared down to 90,000 words (I had begun this for the first publisher, and then VampLit because they didn't like anything longer). But after learning that VampLit was based over seas, and I didn't like the language of their contract--which they post right there on their site--and the fact they hadn't been around for even a year yet, I couldn't go with it.
Then I remembered that I had been looking at an American-based e-book publisher back last summer before my phone modem was zapped in a storm. (That it took me months before I could afford a new one, and had to go through frustrations of trying to get the tower open, and when I couldn't I went and bought an exterior modem, which cost more.) Samhain has been around for 5 years, and their publisher is very visible, blogging and such (I was following her blogs and even made some comments there at that time), so I reconsidered them.
Happy that they took manuscripts as long as 120,000 words, I'm now going back and adding the scenes I'd taken out (yeah, don't ever discard or erase your hard work, place it on a separate edit document and save it!!!). As I pared my wonderful book down to 90K, realization shook me. I couldn't live with this watered down version! There was so much detail in there, the building of characters, giving my urban fantasy some meat. I'm happily beefing this book up to par where it needs to be. I hope it finds a home with Samhain.
And speaking of Urban Fantasy, I've just finished Kim Harrison's The Outlaw Demon Wails, and I know I'm 3 behind what she's written, but I've been busy. I drive a bus for a living, so I don't have a lot of time to write, let alone read. I sometimes get a 5 minute break between my runs (bus route), and I read a little then. At night is when I most like to read.
But I want to say that whenever I open Harrison's books, I know that I'll be immediately immersed in Rachel Morgan's world. I'm never disappointed in the story, or Harrison's unique style of writing. She doesn't water anything down, and she's not going to jump you from scene to scene, and yet you read through these tiny details of Rachel's emotions, thoughts and even sneezes--which lately have been summoning a demon.
When I read any fantasy novel I need to be transported to that world. I need to care about the characters, and especially I need to love the main character. A lot goes into the making of that character. I know, I create such characters. For a reader to have empathy for a character, there has to be some mutual thing, some bridge and so your character needs common flaws. I don't want to see a female character so strong that she would scare a man away. She needs to have a feminine side. She should have some soft edges. There's a reason I don't like romance novels because sometimes the main female character is either too bitchy, or too stupid. I don't like either. The other reason I don't like romance is because by the first 5 pages I know who's going to get between the sheets by page 100. In urban fantasy, you don't know if there is going to be sex, but if there is it had better be spectacular, and slightly erotic. I've had my mother-in-law tell me that one of my scenes in my self-published book was "erotic". Coming from her, I guess that's something. I've had male readers nearly blush, and tell me that was their favorite chapter.
I've read Twilight and the following book New Moon, and was disappointed in the later. I realized I didn't like Bella's character. She's a spoiled brat. I won't be buying the 3rd instalment, no matter what I've been told about it. YAWN.
Well, I'm going to get out of my writer's clothes and get into my street clothes and go to town with my wonderful husband of 24 years. I hope to pick up Harrison's White Witch,Black Curse. I'm ready for some more of this urban fantasy writer's magic.

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