Saturday, June 30, 2012

Serenity 2.0?

So I'm in the mood for some Firefly/Serenity. I was very excited to see earlier in the week that the entire cast of Firefly would be reuniting at Comic-Con for the show's 10 year anniversary... 
Ten years? Surely not! It certainly doesn't seem that long ago since Firefly debuted and then got cruelly cut short by the pitiless execs at Fox.
Time warps aside, the reunion has sparked new rumors of a second Serenity film, even though the original film wasn't such a hit at the box office. The thing that has saved the Firefly/Serenity franchise are the enduring fans (who can be found all over the internet, mostly calling themselves Browncoats) and the steadily increasing DVD sales as this concept gradually became a cult classic. Okay, so it wasn't an instant, overnight success, but Firefly/Serenity will go down as one of the most brilliant TV shows/movies of our generation. Part of this legend might even be because of the circumstances in which Firefly got cancelled in the first place.
I think a second movie will easily outsell the first at the box office, by now there are enough die-hard fans salivating at the idea of another installment to make the dollars more than worthwhile for the interested financial parties. I suppose the bigger question is, will the cast want to do it, will Joss Whedon want to do it, and what exactly will they do without Wash and Shepard Book, who were both killed in the Serenity movie. Personally Wash was one of my favorite characters, and the dynamics likely won't be the same without him. And as for Shepard Book, I always wanted to know what his big secret was... Though apparently this can be discovered in the Serenity graphic novels available.
So while I try not to hope the a second Serenity movie will be forthcoming (because as much as I like the idea, I can't believe it will happen after all this time) I'll take myself off for a Firefly/Serenity re-watch in the meantime.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Atrophy Resurrected!

Its Sunday morning here in Australia, and where I live, we woke up to a gray, rainy morning. Not surprising considering we're smack bang in the middle of winter (oh god, I hate the cold. Bring back summer!). This year, I had taken a vow of rest for Sundays, not because that's what God said, but because I figured I should have at least one day a week where I'm not writing/editing/revising/emailing/internetting/plotting/researching... and all other sundries that go with being a writer. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, like if I'm on a deadline and really need to get the work done.
But yesterday I at last finished the revisions/re-writes I'd been doing for my agent and brought up the subject of Atrophy with her.
For those of you who missed the "Atrophy" period, this was the sci-fi romance manuscript that almost made it, but never did. I won't rehash all the details, but aside from Atrophy nearly selling several times, it was also my one true "baby". Yes, I am attached to all my manuscripts in different ways, but there was always something about Atrophy that I loved more than anything else I'd ever written.
So, my agent is interested in reading it, I suppose being a completed work, it gives her something else to shop around as well as the Necrohunter book I've just finished.
Getting back to my original point, I don't usually work on Sundays, but being a cold rainy day, I can't think of any better way to spend it than reading through Atrophy. I have a few things to fix, after getting some great feedback about this book from Erika Tsang at Avon, from pitching it to her at the RWAus conference last year.
I can tell you, I'm extremely happy to be working on Atrophy again. Not only that, but I'm looking forward to seeing if my agent can find a home for it after all this time!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Guest Author Tamara Gill

Because I've quite obviously been very slack lately about posting regularly, today I've got a guest visiting -- historical romance author Tamara Gill. In my humble opinion, she's been blessed with one of the most gorgeous regency covers I've ever seen. So let's take a look and see what Tamara has been up to...

Welcome! Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about who you are.
Hi Jess, thanks so much for having me on my second blog hop stop. I’m an Aussie author addicted to historical periods. I write Regency and time travel romance.

Please tell us a bit about your book.
A Marriage Made in Mayfair is about a woman who’s looking for love, but it seems in the wrong social sphere. The hero who’s much more haute ton than the heroine doesn’t think so and sets out to win her. You’ll have to read the book to find out anymore. ;p

What was the motivation/idea behind this book/these characters?
I don’t know really. An idea just popped into my mind and I went with it. I liked the idea of a very wealthy woman instead of a very wealthy man. My hero in the novella is near ruin and needs to marry a rich lady. It was fun writing a reverse roll. Most regencies have the hero saving the heroine. A Marriage Made in Mayfair is the opposite.

Did you enjoy writing this book, or did you have some tough times with it?
I had a very tough time. In fact, I wanted to throw it in the bin a few times. I fell pregnant and my muse disappeared and wouldn’t come back. It wasn’t until after I had my daughter that my muse returned. She hasn’t left my side since. ;p

When / Where / How do you write?
Sporadically in my office or I may edit watching TV with the hubs at night. I try and fit it in between nappy changes, sleeping times and school drop off and pick up’s. Not to mention the kids sports…Gosh, I wonder when I get the time at all reading that!

Do you have some other qualification/interest/something else you do besides being a writer?
Not really. I like to read and travel. I’m planning a trip back to England. I want to take my kids there, but that’s a couple of years away yet.

  What book/s are you reading at the moment?
Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. I know, not an historical but I’m enjoying it. It’s something different and fresh. Also on my bedside table is Gena Showalter’s The Darkest Seduction. Hello Paris mmmm.

  What are you working on right now?
I’m editing a manuscript Penguin Australia have asked for, I have until the end of the month to get it back to them. I’m also waiting on edits for my Regency time travel, A Stolen Season and Medieval time travel, Defiant Surrender due any day. I have editing coming out of my ears. When I get a chance, I work on my paranormal novella titled Banished about a goddess and druid. It’s quite different from what I’ve written before but it’s a lot of fun.

Do you have any other books out you'd like to mention?
To Sin with Scandal – Naughty Regency nibble
A Captain’s Order – A Duke’s Command – Regency Novella

Both of these titles are available through Noble Romance Publishing and online stores.

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by!

Miss Suzanna March wished for one thing: the elusive, rakish charmer, Lord Danning. But after a frightful first season such dreams are impossible. That is until she returns to London, a new woman, and one who will not let the ton's dislike of her stand in her way of gaining what she wants: revenge on the Lord who gave her the cut direct…

Lord Danning, unbeknown to his peers, is in financial strife and desperate to marry an heiress. Such luck would have it Miss Suzanna March fits all his credentials and seduction in his plan of action. Yes, the woman who returned from Paris is stronger, defiant, and a little argumentative, but it does not stop Lord Danning finding himself in awe and protective of her.

But will Suzanna fall for such pretty words from a charmer? Or will Lord Danning prove to Suzanna and himself that she is more than his ticket out of debtor's prison...?

“Suzanna, I do apologize. Here,” Royce said, leaning down and pulling her to stand. “I would never have barged in had I known you were standing behind the door.” He watched her right her clothes as best she could before she turned, sauntered over to a basin of water, and tried to wipe the remains of her dinner from her gown.
Suzanna glared at him over her shoulder as a blob of sauce dropped and splattered onto the floor. “My clothes are already soiled, so landing on the floor for a second time this evening will not matter.”
His eyes stole over her ruined apparel and the sad, unsure woman he had known last year stared back at him across the room. An ache settled in his chest at the dishevelled picture she made. All of which was his fault. Had he not tried to fluster her by touching her leg, she would not have suffered such humiliation.
“I apologize if my actions earlier this night upset you to the point you spilled—”
“My drink. All over the table before falling on my backside in front of the dinner guests I was trying to impress. Since,” she walked over to him and poked his chest with a finger, “the society I had initially graced wanted naught to do with me and all because of a certain pompous, arrogant, high-in-the-instep lord.”
Royce sighed. Her tone did not bode well for his plan to win Suzanna and make her his wife. “Like I said, I apologize. Perhaps for me to make amends, you would agree to a ride in the park tomorrow. I believe the weather is to be congenial.”
“Unlike the company,” she stated, with a narrow, piercing stare that could have turned him to ash on the Aubusson rug beneath his boots.
“There's no need to be….” Her eyes narrowed further as Royce cut off what he was about to say. He doubted his suggestion that she should be polite would place her in a more pleasant mood.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Exposing My Writing Weakness - Impossible Simultaneous Action

As writers, none of us are perfect. We all have our little quirks, our Achilles heel, I suppose you could say, of technical stuff we always have to go back and fix once the first draft is written. As newbie writers, its often hard to see what these issues are, and most likely the problems won't be seen until someone points them out to you.
Over the years, working with various people -- my critique partner, several different editors at Noble and now my agent, I've slowly come to know some of my own 'quirks' and can tidy them up before the world at large sees them. However, I'm still learning myself. What I know is just the tip of the iceberg. As the years go on, I'm sure there will be other style/technical issues I'll need to learn to straighten out.
So I thought I'd start sharing my writing issues, giving examples of what they are and how they can be fixed...
Today, we'll be starting with ISA -- Impossible Simultaneous Action.
Sounds complicated already, right?
Instead of explaining, let me write an example:
"Jeff sat up, shoving on his boots and patting down his messy hair." 
Initially you might say, there's nothing wrong with that and I have written many such sentences, still often do when I'm in the writing zone and not thinking about technical mumbo-jumbo. However, if you read the sentence carefully, you'll realize that there's nothing separating the actions. Therefore, technically Jeff is sitting up, putting on his boots and patting his hair all at the same time. And, let's face it, unless Jeff is an octopus, its impossible for him to do that.
In this case, to fix, a few extra words will break things up:
"Jeff sat up and then shoved on his boots, before patting down his messy hair."
This is perhaps not the most eloquent sentence, but you get the idea. Personally I might be inclined to fix it with some addition information, to give more depth:
"Jeff sat up with a groan for his aching head. What the hell did I do last night? He shoved his feet into his boots with more force than necessary and then ran a hand over his hair, grimacing at the tousled mess."
I suppose this kind of bleeds into the whole "showing, not telling" thing. At first, we have a bland sentence about someone getting out of bed, but by the end, using the same base actions, we are given more insight into the character and his situation. With any luck, this will leave the reader wondering "what did he do last night?" and wanting to read on to find out.
Well, it was a short lesson, but that's all I have time for today. I've got revisions to finish and many sentences like this in need of fixing! When I get some time, I'll be tackling some more of my writing quirks, including more about showing, not telling, filter words, use of "that" and "was", and at some stage when I'm feeling really brave, passive writing, which I have constant issues with.

Monday, June 4, 2012

When Life Gets in the Way

Blog post have been few and far between the last few months, and I think this is also being reflected in the amount of time I'm spending on my manuscript.
In a way, this is fortuitous, because I'll be attending and presenting at this year's RWA Claytons Conference, the online conference available to members who can't attend the actual conference on the Gold Coast in August. I'll be doing a workshop entitled Why We Write, along with some other, as yet unconfirmed authors. Part of this topic will be focusing on how to stay motivated or achieve some level of writing output when life seems to be getting in the way.
I know part of my personal problem at the moment comes from the fact that its winter here, it gets darker earlier and its that time of year when the kids will catch any germs that happen by. In the last few weeks we've had stomach bugs, basic colds, and chest infections. If I don't happen to catch these germs myself, I'm still having night after night of interrupted sleep.
The reason I mention this is because traditionally I've gotten most of my work done between 7:30pm to 10:30pm after the kids are in bed. However, they're getting older now and somehow bedtime has pushed out to 8pm - 8:30pm. By the time I get them settled, I'm about ready to go to bed myself and am in no way motivated to do any work.
Some people might say "well, that's easy, just get up early and do some work!" But I am extremely NOT a morning person and since my kids usually wake up between 6am to 6:30 am, I'd need to be up at 5am to get an hour of work in... sorry, but 5am is still the middle of the night in my world!
So I am going to spend the next few days/weeks finding ways to motivate myself and come up with different time frames to work in that I've never tried before. On one hand, this is going to help my own output (because I really need to get back into my old habit of doing at least 1000 words a day) and at the same time help me prepare for the workshop in August.
Also, I've been thinking about doing a series of blog posts, the A to Z of writing. I know a lot of other authors have been doing this and I think it looks fun. I figure though I'm poaching the idea, I'm putting my own spin on it, so that might be interesting...
Anyway, I actually have a quiet hour in my house right now to get some work done, so I should go do that!

Incident Report IBC-726A-39

FORMAL INCIDENT REPORT SECTION ONE Incident Date:___ 25 th August 2436 __ Incident Time:___ 22 :30 hours approx ___ Incident...