Checking In

Sunday, September 11, 2005

I haven't been in a blogging mood lately, duh, but the guilt has finally gotten to me, so here I am.

I bought a ton of books in the last 2 weeks, so I'll probably list them, covers and all, in the next few days.

I also started and stopped a bunch of the books during that time but only managed to finish one, Cheryl Holt's latest, Too Hot to Handle.

The book was a killer. Did I think the constant stream of internal monologue questions was too much? Why do you ask? Why? And, oh my! The excessive use of exclamation points!! What passion! What emotion! Hot sex! What a hoot! But I enjoyed it, so it's on the keeper shelf. AARs review is here. (Also a hoot.)

Last night I started, Susan Squire's No More Lies a book that's been sitting in the to-be-read pile for about two years. So far, so good. I have a number of her books, seem to be collecting them, yet this is the first one I've read.

I think what attracted me to her work is the fact she seems to experiment, or has the freedom to write a number of different stories/genres, and I also got the sense (from online buzz) that her characters, while not always likeable, had depth. I'm not only a character-driven writer, I'm also a character-driven reader. If the protags of a book don't grab me, my interest in the story/plot nose dives.

Susan is the 'type' of (romance) writer I'd like to be. Most people would want Nora's fame & fortune, but I'd like to write in the experimental way (character, plot, and/or genre) of Susan, or Laura Kinsale--neither of whom seem to not take marketing or trends into their writing consideration.

Can I tell you how much of a killer that writing to market can be sometimes? As a writer it makes me feel hemmed in and pressured. As a reader I find a lot of derivative product out there that no amount of unique takes can make fresh.

Granted, this is probably more about author voice and/or the writing not being able to lift the work beyond a 'passably interesting' level, than it is about originality. I know the trick is to write what you want/like while incorporating hooks and plot twists that make your book attractive to potential buyers (which would include your primary buyer: the publisher.)

I also like Connie Brockway's work in how she goes from writing very 'dark' toned books to very 'light' ones, and does both equally well. (Yeah, yeah, I know, they’re *established* and have the luxury and readership to write as they please. But I do think there’s something to be said for starting the way you mean to go on…. )

I like that Laura takes her time in crafting her books. Even to the point of taking a sabbatical when the writing wasn’t coming the way she wanted/needed it to.

I like that Linda Howard also takes her time (months?)mulling over plot and character, and that she’s published in several sub/genres--from what I can see the books were based on whatever took her fancy and not on what was ‘hot’ at the time).

I'm not saying the quality of these ladies writing is any better than authors who are prolific like Nora or Steven King, just that their 'way' of writing is closer to mine; and it's good to see that a measure of success can be achieved at a slower pace and with some eclecticism.

PBW is the exception to the norm, and proves that being prolific, writing in a wide range (5 genres) and achieving success can all be yours…er, hers. :-P (last part said in Robin Leach voice over)

Yes, as you can see, I'm still angsting over the 'take the time learn your craft now' thing, while resisting the temptation to jump into the 'submission' fray. Plus this slooow pace crap is just that. Crap. Previously I'd work at a pace of 20-30 pages per week. Not super fast, but steady progress.

*sigh* the good old days....

And speaking of submissions.... I won't have any if I don't get back to writing. After this long-winded post, you're all wishing I'd kept up my blog-absence, aren't ya? ;-)

One last thing, Stephanie Rowe has an interview up with Silhouette editor Susan Litman, go have a read.

Oh, one very last thing, I’ve been listening to Kayne West’s latest CD, Late Registration, and loving it. It’s a well crafted hip-hop/rap album. Very cohesive, with a strong narrative connecting thread between all the songs (that’s not to say they all sound alike, they don’t. Just that there’s an overall theme to the album) and the musical influences are fresh ranging from a sampling of Diamonds Are Forever, to blues (Gold-digger) and to gospel. I don’t have his first release, but I’m going to pick it up this week. Uhm, goes without saying there is profanity used in his lyrics. :-P

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raine said...

All of this is a dilemma for me...
Love the idea of writing what I want when I want, & taking as long as I need to do whatever I need...

But also realize I'm IMPATIENT. And getting OLD.

And if I die with all my story ideas in my head, I'm coming back to haunt YOU, Jaye. ;-)

Jaye said...

:-P lol. Raine. This is my cross to bear. I'll work it out. Although I am getting older, I'm not impatient. Yet.... ;-)

Sasha White said...

I did read your post. I did...but I just have to say I LOVE THE PENQUINS!!!

Jordan Summers said...

It is a dilemma ALL writers face, how to balance creativity with a career. I have friends that are doing it by saying to themselves that they don't want to write as a career. That takes a lot of the pressure off speed production and market worries. I wish I could do that...sometimes. Problem is, I WANT the career in writing.

I don't think you can follow the market, but I think you have to be aware of it. Finding that balance is the difficult part. Until then, we just have to keep plugging along.

If you do manage to find balance, please let me know how you achieved it. ;-)

Brooke said...

I know what you mean. I'm still putting my gormless little toe into the water of marketability. I have no clue how to go about it, either. It's a bit daunting, and I wish I knew how the pros did it.

I can't write a book I don't feel, and forcing a plot because it'll sell just doesn't work with me. I think I must be missing some crucial middle path, here.

Danica said...

Wow, great stuff. You know, I'm so there... I actually finally came up with a great "brand" for myself, summing up me as a writer, and then I realized I just blew that all to shreds with my latest book. Ah well, I guess I can just be unpredictable. Which makes building up a fan base initially really hard. Sigh. Of course, we'll have to see what gets bought first, right?

Canadian Dude said...

I don't know how you find the time to hold down a job, read so many books and be an author. It makes me tired just thinking about it.

Amie Stuart said...

Georgia I hear you. Two of my CP's *g* write paranormal --or at least with paranormal elements (and Jaye you have craft down to an art form that excuse no longer washes aHEM)--I wish I could because I love to read it (and suspense) but I can't write either.

Dee said...

Hey Jaye, lol, girl when you make up for lost time, you don't mess around.

I have to admit, it's almost comforting reading that everyone else feels as crappy about their writing as I do. The waiting is sucking. The writing isn't happening. The edits aren't working and dammit, why hasn't someone passed the cake yet???

I don't remember any of the last seven years being this rough, but I bet I say that next year too.

Hugs babe!

Diana Peterfreund said...

neither of whom seem to not take marketing or trends into their writing consideration

I adore Susan Squires books, but I don't agree with this statement. Susan's current series is regency vampire. Regency. Vampire. Both hot trends. I know she wrote stories in this series a while ago, but I think this may be a case of her timing being right and being able to capitalize on one of her amazing books.

I think that's how following the market should work. You find what it is that you love to write and match it to what is popular in the market now. I think Squires has experimented and then found a niche that voila, landed her on the NYT.

Love her books. I'm glad she's finally getting the recognition she deserves.

Jaye said...

Sorry. Work is killing me this week. I'll be back with proper responses to comments later. :-(

Jaye said...

So I lied, I don't have proper responses. lol. I'm still recouperating. :-P

I *think* I love writing for the magic and craft of it. But there's just so much else that comes into play with publishing. And as someone who is all for a 'steady paycheck' I know the odds are not in favor of this. So my very pragmatic side is at war with my dreamer side. And, I rather have 'my' dream, if you see what I mean.

I think you're sort of agreeing with me Diana. While Susan is taking advantage of the market wants right now, she wrote those books when there was no market for them (or not much of one.) She wrote what interested her.

Dude, there's two of me. The 'good' Jaye does all the work. Her eeeevil twin hangs out on blogger....

Georgia, I think this is the first time I've seen you here. Welcome, and post again any ole time. :-)

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