Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Happy Halloween!

So, my husband took my girls trick-or-treating and it's been dead quiet at my door (hehe) so far, so I thought I'd pop in and wish all you fine folks the happiest of Halloweens.  I hope Halloween brings you lots of treats, i.e.:

 



And, not so many of these:


Thanks for reading, and Happy Halloween!
Laura

Monday, October 25, 2010

Meet an Author Monday! And, On The Ups and Downs

Hi All--blog hop = Monday.  You know the drill by now! ;)

So, whereas a week or two ago I was in the doldrums of writing, today I'm feeling truly buoyed.  And it's so important to revel in these moments so you can remember them and weather the low points.  So, here's some things that have me feeling up, up, up!:

1) Today I finished something I've been procrastinating on for a good two months:  I worked through all the critique comments I received from two different workshops, one back in late July, one from September.  They just felt much bigger than they actually turned out to be, and, honestly, I was dragging my feet.  But, as of today, they're done!
2) Having those done makes the remaining revising work I have to do on the first half of the manuscript feel much more manageable.  So I'm feeling hopeful and rejuvenated, and It's. So. Nice.
3) I know I've shown y'all this before, but I can help but point out that my new cover for Hearts in Darkness is still bringing me all kinds of happiness:
4) We're closer than ever to a release date for Forever Freed.  I'm expecting galleys this week, so we're THIS. CLOSE.

So, just a reminder. Savor the good so you can weather the bed.  I'll remember better, next time. ;)

Thanks for reading,
Laura


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

NEW COVER ART!!! Hearts in Darkness

I am in full-on squee mode here! Just got the cover art for my soon-to-be-released contemporary novella, Hearts in Darkness!  And Trish a.k.a. pickyme (see her facebook photo album of book covers--oh mama!) did a superb job! Thanks Trish!



So, whatdya think???

Thanks for reading,
Laura

Monday, October 18, 2010

Meet an Author Monday!

Happy Monday!  Drop in to some new-to-you authors and say hello and follow along! It's fun!



Thursday, October 14, 2010

On branding, I'm with her!

So, today, I was really influenced by a fellow author's blog post.  Maureen Johnson wrote an anti-branding manifesto. And it really resonated with something I've been thinking a lot about.  The humor in her post was fantastic, so it's worth reading in its entirety, but here's the text of her manifesto statement:

"The internet is made of people. People matter. This includes you. Stop trying to sell everything about yourself to everyone. Don’t just hammer away and repeat and talk at people—talk TO people. It’s organic. Make stuff for the internet that matters to you, even if it seems stupid. Do it because it’s good and feels important. Put up more cat pictures. Make more songs. Show your doodles. Give things away and take things that are free. Look at what other people are doing, not to compete, imitate, or compare . . . but because you enjoy looking at the things other people make. Don’t shove yourself into that tiny, airless box called a brand—tiny, airless boxes are for trinkets and dead people."   ~Maureen Johnson

I like this for these two main reasons:
1) It's easy to forget the people on the other end of Twitter or Facebook or email or chats are PEOPLE. And so we don't always extend the same polite courtesies we would in face-to-face interactions, where we would never just walk up and say "Buy my book!" without at least first asking the person's name, shaking their hand, introducing yourself, and saying "hello." The internet should facilitate the same two-way exchange a conversation would, and not just be a one-way billboard on which we sell ourselves. So, I'm all in favor of anything that creates civility.
2) About her last point: though my writing shares a common theme -- the [I believe] universal search for a place to belong -- I've otherwise been struggling with the idea of branding myself.  I write paranormal romance, but I'm not just a paranormal writer.  I write contemporary romance, but not just contemporary romance. I really enjoy delving into erotic romance, but will never focus on that alone. I'm at work on a women's fiction, but don't seem myself building a career or a brand around just women's fiction.  You see my problem.

Maureen is worth quoting at length again, here: "A personal brand is a little package you make of yourself so you can put yourself on the shelf in the marketplace and people will know what to expect or look for when they come to buy you....I don’t want a brand, because a brand limits me. A brand says I will churn out the same thing over and over. Which I won’t, because I am weird."

I get that, as authors, we don't have full control over our own branding--that is, readers and agents and folks we interact with will put us into little branded boxes whether we want them to or not. But that doesn't mean we have to define ourselves by how others define us.

So, let's hear it for us schizophrenic authors! I understand the potential challenges writing different things poses, but if writing what you love is the surest road to success, I'm hoping I can find a way to make it work if I wear quite a few hats along the way.

And, even more, I'm looking forward to making some lifelong friends and colleagues to join me on my journey. After all, what's success without people to share it?

Thanks for reading,
Laura

Monday, October 11, 2010

Meet an Author Monday! And Eating Crow...

It's Monday so, that's right, I'm hopping. And so should you! Drop in on some of the new-to-you authors below and say hello, follow along, and join in the fun!

So, I'm eating crow today. And boy is it a bitter pill to swallow. (Can I mix those metaphors??) A week ago, my editor on Forever Freed emailed to say, on her latest pass through the manuscript to prepare the galleys, she thought the book needed some tightening here and there. And there. And there. And there.

You get the picture.

To be honest, I alternated between crushed, outraged, indignant, frustrated, and overwhelmed for a good forty-eight hours before I got over myself. While I wish she had identified these issues earlier, I've spent the day editing and am about half way through the manuscript.  And, she was right.

A-a-a-ahem. That is to say, she was right.

So, thanks to my editor for not taking the easy road and just pushing on to production despite a gut feeling about some weaknesses in the manuscript. It's going to be all the better for it. It's nice to know someone's got your back and knows what you need even when you don't.

Thanks for reading,
Laura


Review of Lisa Desrochers, Personal Demons

Personal Demons (Personal Demons, #1)Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I enjoyed this book and read it quickly over the course of two days. Here are the things that stood out to me.

Things I enjoyed about this book:
--Starting with the basics: holy hot cover! Great, enticing, promising of a boiling hot love triangle full of all the supernatural elements I enjoy in a book
--Great premise: to me, it's somewhat more unique than just good and evil fight over an ordinary girl, because the girl's really not so ordinary--she has some major-league latent powers on the order of Moses and Hitler, and her influence on the world could be that big.
--Frannie's powers work for me in that she's not some weak, clumsy teenage girl the way so many YA heroines are.  She can hold her own against these guys, and against other demons who come to claim her. She even has the Archangel Michael quaking in his angelic boots.
--There's some good humor at spots--most of it comes out of Luc's mouth. His line about going over to her house with her Mom, Dad, and sisters Mary, Mary, Mary, and Mary left me laughing out loud (all her sisters' first names are Mary, so they go by their middle names).
--The author skillfully made the "evil" demon the most likeable character in the book.  Even when he was still working on behalf of the Big Guy Downstairs and attempting his evil agenda, he was likeable.
--The book is a good study in how to avoid info dumping at the beginning, as the author skillfully doles out backstory only when it's relevant to moving the plot forward.
--Sex is handled realistically and tactfully for the YA audience.

Things that could've been better:
--The love triangle never felt fully developed to me. Too many of the supposedly seductive scenes happened over English textbooks and lab reports (YA authors need to find a new way to get their characters together!). That Luc had her to himself in English and Gabe had her to himself in physics felt contrived and convenient. Too many of her interactions with either of them were motivated entirely around the fact that she had an English paper or a lab report due, and so Frannie HAD to see one or the other of them. That allowed the author to avoid creating real, meaningful motivation for their relationships to develop. For me, there was also too much back and forth on Frannie's part (including her making out with one in front of the other, which made her less likeable). I like the idea of her being torn, and the guys were certainly hot enough to justify it, but by the time Gabe enters the picture, her relationship with Luc is already in progress, and Gabe NEVER catches up, in my opinion. It just seems like, all of a sudden he's there and she's digging him but we don't really know why, given how much more she knows Luc. It never really seemed like a contest to me, though she kept insisting it was. Even Gabe seemed resigned pretty early.
--Point of view: a couple of things here. First, the alternating first person points of view took me a bit to get used to, but I did. But I'm not sure the voices were distinct enough to justify it. Luc's a 7000-year-old demon, yet he speaks very much like a regular teenage guy most of the time, and sometimes not even very teenage-guyish (commenting on the school secretary's neatly tucked in blouse and polyester pants--really?).
     An even bigger issue with the POVs is that Gabe doesn't get one. If ever there was a cue that one of the two guys wasn't as important, this was it. To me, his lack of POV, which I kept waiting for--by the way, was a complete giveaway that Gabe wasn't winning their contest over Frannie. It therefore took the tension out of the plot, out of that final "who will she pick" moment. The very structure of the book revealed the answer prematurely.
--Frannie's character development--While Luc had a more true character arc, Frannie didn't so much, for me. The big thing she has to do is forgive herself for a childhood accident she's made herself believe was her fault. Not only is this her "personal demon," but it's also the thing that prevents Gabe from "tagging" her soul for heaven. The resolution on this part of the plot rang hollow to me--she goes from "my fault, my fault, my fault" to "okay, all better now" when it finally HAS to happen.
     And, while his return had a nice emotional feel to it, her brother Matt being assigned as her guardian angel was a little convenient. Who gets everything they want? Frannie ends up with her brother's company in angelic form, the attention of not only the two supernaturals but quite a few other HHS guys, the guy she loves free from his demonhood (who she miraculously wills to good health after an attack), the power to fend off evil, the ability to maintain her own will against the angels, and still gets to go off to UCLA, with her boyfriend (who she can safely have sex with), in the fall. Frannie doesn't have to sacrifice anything, so it doesn't seem like enough is at stake.
--Additionally, about Frannie, most of the time when she chides herself for treating one or both of the guys unfairly, she's right. Even Frannie seems to acknowledge the moments when she's less likeable. And there are more than a few of them.

Definitely glad to have read and enjoyed. Those who enjoy YA paranormal romance will like this book.




View all my reviews

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Danger, danger!

The Problem:
 The Solution:

I'll let you know if it helps.

Thanks for reading [ ;-/ ],
Laura