Thursday, May 25, 2006

Red Velvet

This pic was taken while we were gluing the flocked wallpaper to my business cards. The designer showed me five different card treatments, but I immediately knew it had to be the hand. It just says it all. It's ghostly and gothic, hints of an invitation to a Victorian boudoir (she's not wearing gloves--oh my!) and is reminiscent of vintage advertising. There's also something slightly strange about it, and for a girl who likes her Edwards Gorey and her Gogols Bordello, it's perfect.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


I suffer from verbosity. Here's an ironic example, an actual line from Confessions:

She tried to prune her words to a bare minimum--the sooner he tired of her dull company, the sooner she could escape the disturbing intensity of his eyes.

Hello!?! "She tried to prune her words to a bare minimum," needs serious trimming. Why not just say, "she pruned her words." Ah, the simplicity.

I have so many ticks. I love to write things like, "she felt his hands begin stroking her thighs," instead of "his hands stroked her thighs," and then there is the dreaded "seemed."

All the years of self-denial, all the elaborate barriers she had constructed to contain her emotions, suddenly seemed like flimsy paper creations that one strong breeze could blow away forever.

All the "she felt" and "she seemed" and "as if's" have got to go. Luckily, I have two amazing critique partners with big sharp shears who aren't afraid to go "snip snip." (I pictured Martyn Jacques from the Tiger Lillie's singing those last two words--god I love him!)

But the hacking and slashing is almost finished and I'm sending it off today or tomorrow. So cross your fingers for me--soon I'll have feedback on Confessions from industry professionals.

It's my poor, long-suffering sweetie's birthday tomorrow, and I haven't even bought him a present yet. I'm a bad girlfriend.

In China related news, my cat got all her shots, and a microchip, in preparation for the journey. I've never taken her with me before. She's going to love it. Guangxi is subtropical and the city I'm going to is right on the ocean so she'll get lots of fresh seafood and real sand in her litterbox.

Monday, May 08, 2006

First Base

Where do I start? The conference was a stomach-churning, nail-biting, delirium-inducing whirlwind of sheer amazingness. I got requests from everyone I pitched to (seven total), which makes me very, very happy. I'm going to take a week to polish the novella until it gleams and then send it off.

Kerensa Brougham, my critique partner and conference roomie, also got requests. We were both so keyed-up, we woke at 5:00 a.m. on Saturday and started pitching to each other before we even brushed our teeth. Nervous energy is such a strange phenomenon. I'm accustomed to being on stage, but nothing could have prepared me for the terror that struck when I realized that in two minutes I would be face to face with a senior editor at Kensington (she was extremely nice by the way). I had my lines carefully rehearsed, but promptly went off script. Luckily, she seemed to like it.

And all that time I spent analyzing what outfit to wear paid off as well. My sweet vintage red shoes with the white piping got lots of compliments, as did my business cards with the plush red wallpaper on the back (thank you, Laura!). I was glad I spent the time to research and create my identity system before the conference.

Julia Quinn taught a very helpful dialogue class. She's funny, honest, and down-to-earth. But my favorite speaker was Stella Cameron. I've never read any of her books, but I'm going to. If she were a guru, I would grasp the hem of her robe and follow her to the ends of the earth. All the speakers shared a common theme: don't let fear hold you back. I needed to hear that.

I've spent too long doubting myself.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

First Pitch

I've been writing historical romance for just over a year. But this weekend I'm actually going to try to sell some at a conference organized by the Romance Writers of America's Silicon Valley chapter. I'll get to meet other authors, go to fun workshops with titles like "Say Goodbye to the Slush Pile," and flirt with agents and editors at the Speed Dating event.

I've practised my pitch ad nauseum (even going so far as to set it to a Cole Porteresque tune -- for my own private amusement, of course). I bought a cute black and white vintage sundress, had a fancy website made, and picked up my fabulous red business cards today. Now I just have to glue flocked velvet wallpaper to the backs of them. They'll scream bordello, but that's appropriate. I am writing gothic Victorian-era romance, after all!

I'll check back in a few days and blog about the conference, and my upcoming journey to China!