Starting a Second Blog or How to go Crazy in Less than a Week

 

infinite monkey theorem wiki

infinite monkey theorem wikiNeglecting this blog has left me with an uncomfortable feeling,

…like a woman who’s cheats on her man,

… or like a mother who substitutes cake for carrots in her child’s lunch.

I’ve been bad and I feel I owe you, my regular audience who I love dearly, an explanation.

How it Started

Less than a week ago I read an article in the RWR (ie., the Romance Writers of America magazine) about the importance of cross-promotion in the crumbling and evolving publishing world. None of the ideas were new to me, but for some reason they struck my noggin harder than usual and I decided to start a group blog. My plan was simple. I’d gather a few people who write suspense and we’d create a destination blog, a newsletter, and … The list went on.

I mentioned it to four friends and boom, we gathered fifteen like-minded writers in a couple of days.

The group is amazing. I’ve never worked with such energetic, creative and talented people. Everyone  jumped in and volunteered to do whatever they could to move our project further. In less than a week we have developed an exceptional, collective blog, Sisters of Suspense , SoS for short, and are on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. A couple posts have been put up, an enormous giveaway is being collected and a newsletter is being developed. Like I said: amazing.

Who are my Sisters? sisters twitter

Alphabetically:

Pat Amsden, Sister of Romance and Mystery

Sarah Andre, Sister of Riveting Suspense

Vicki Batman, Sister of Sassy Writing

Jacqui Biggar, Sister of Romantic Suspense with Attitude

Sam Bradley, Sister of medical Romantic Suspense

Jo-Ann Carson, Sister of Smart ‘n Sexy Suspense

Veronica Forand, Sister of Heart Stopping Suspense

Joanne Guidoccio, Sister of Reinvention

Jeannie Hall, Sister of Dark, Angsty Suspense

Kathryn Jane, Sister

Melissa Keir, Sister of Small Town Suspense

Marian Lanouette, Sister

Jacqui Nelson, Sister of Wild West Suspense

S.A. Taylor, Sister

Marsha R West, Sister of Second Chances

 

What’s the Crazy Part?

I hardly slept.

I love the SoS blog format. It’s got really cool features. Working on it is like driving a Cadillac instead of a rusty old scooter, but some of those shiny additions aren’t easy to set up and it has taken me timeIMG_20140222_201928 to figure them out. But it’s up and running. And she’s beautiful.

The same week I was working through theses cyber-kinks, I  struggled with formatting issues for the print version of my novella Lovin’ Danger which launches in two weeks, made final tweaks on the ebook version and tried to live a normal life.

Yeah, it wasn’t normal.

But ooooh, it was fun. The only thing more exciting than starting a new venture that you know, you just know in your bones is the-right-thing-at-the-right-time, is doing it with a group of friends. It’s been a rush.

What About This Blog?

I’m back. I’ll be blogging here as usual in my random but regular way. My focus will continue to be about me and my life as a writer, publisher and entrepreneur. Occasionally I will reblog posts from the other blog.

 

RWA12 Countdown…

I leave tomorrow for the RWA conference (i.e., Romance Writers of America) in California. Think 2,000 people, writers, editors, and agents swarming around a hotel talking Romance.

The waiting is …excruciating.

Christine Ashworth, in her blog post said she could spot newbies (my word) by the, “…glazed look of panic in their eyes.” I’m there, baby, I’m sooo there.

I have:

sort of packed. (check)

endless lists. (check)

some sanity left. (check)

But …I don’t have my Daphne finalist ribbon which I would love to have for the Death by Chocolate event. The glorious Canadian postal service has one day left to deliver. What do you think the odds are?

Uh huh.

Not an easy person to live with at the moment. Kinda jumpy. Watched fireworks in the harbor from my balcony Saturday night, but not even whizzing, popping, colorful arrays of light could take my mind away from California.

So much to see, so many people to meet…so much to learn. Will I ever get my pitch right in my mind? Blah…blah…blah…blah…

I’ve been trying to write, but my word count is abysmal.

Am I rambling? Yup.

Twitter

To soothe my nerves I follow the twitter about the conference (#rwa12 and #rwatips). There are great tweets out there that reassure me that I’m as crazy as every one else. Everything from packing glitter shoes, heads falling off, pathological aversions and of course courage and confidence are alluded to in the short messages. My favorite was the suggestion by Dakota Cassidy, “Poke your head under bathroom stalls and play ‘find the editor/agent/uber author’ with your friends. It’s good clean fun.'”  Too funny.

Websites I found:

Lauren Dean RWA National Tips

Christine Ashworth Gearing Up…

..and so the waiting continues.

I finalled in the Daphne!

It was Saturday morning and I was writing in a local Starbucks. My cell phone made a noise. I looked down, a message from my husband. Yippee, maybe he’ll join me for coffee. I read the words as they scroll across the top of my phone: “Hi Hon You’re a FINALIST in the Daphne contest. Love …”

WTH. It couldn’t be. It simply couldn’t be. I’m not that good. I never, in my wildest dreams, imagined finalling with my first entry. I was looking for feedback, nothing more. I take a deep breath. It would be so nice to believe this message.

My fingers dial home.  He picks up. “Are you serious?” I ask. The harshness in my voice draws looks from nearby coffee drinkers.

“Yes,” he says. He tells me about his conversation with a woman  from the Kiss of Death Chapter. Tears stream down my cheeks. I tremble with every word he says. Could this really be happening? He must have it wrong, but the thing is he doesn’t know words like Daphne and Kiss of Death. They are words that belong to me and my writing world. He tells me she plans to phone back.

I pack up, with  tears, I cannot stop, streaming down my face, and head for the door.  I cry all the way home, hug my husband, and make him repeat his story–  a hundred times. Then the phone rings. It’s the lady from Carolina. I soak in her information like a gift from the universe, thank her profusely and start to wave my arms wildly in the air, because I don’t know what else to do. It’s true — I finalled in the Daphne.

Some moments in  life hit you hard, and this was one of them, for me.

***

How about you? Do you have a special moment that hit you like a hammer in the night?

Picture:  Daphne Du Maurier (1907-1987), British author and playwright of Romantic Suspense

“Many of her works have been adapted into films, including the novels Rebecca (which won the Best Picture Oscar in 1941) and Jamaica Inn and the short stories “The Birds” and “Don’t Look Now“. The first three were directed by Alfred Hitchcock.” (Wikipedia)

What is Appropriate?

How far can we go?

My reflections on  life this week:

Valentine’s Luncheon with the Ladies: Our local RWA chapter held their annual Valentine’s luncheon last weekend and it was a blast. It’s a warm, supportive group of writers who share everything (even their rejections).

Reality Bites: Ugggh. I pulled out a manuscript I was letting rest. The tone is so inconsistent it makes the plot non-nonsensical. It slides from humour one moment to gritty tension the next like Janet Evanovich meets Hitchcock. My heroine bobs like a cork on a sea of emotions. Oh well, I’m learning and that’s my main goal. Bad writing doesn’t improve with age like wine,  it improves with work.  I’m pushing up my sleeves and settling in, dreaming of a day when I can read this manuscript and say, “Yeah, yeah, that’s the story I wanted.”

What is Appropriate? I read a line in a newspaper this weekend (I think it was the Vancouver Sun) that talked about the people behind Two and a Half Men liking the fact that what is deemed “appropriate” on TV has become a moving target. That got me wondering, first, what is appropriate and second, does “it” or should “it” move?

Is there no longer a line in the sand, a line no writer would want to cross, in fear of offending her audience?

For me there is. For example I stopped watching a popular TV drama (NCIS) when they showed a scene of a woman licking heroine from the open intestines of her dead brother, because she was a junky. For me, that was going too far. I blocked an individual on Google+ author’s circle last week, because she chose to put up a photo of a woman in bondage. Sorry, too far.

But…does my having a “line in the sand” mean that there exists, or needs to exist, a cultural line. After all, people like breaking taboos, and what is considered a taboo in society changes. Hmmm. Does being  PC (politically correct) mean that we have to adhere to a belief in “moral relativity”? That would mean that a subject is appropriate as long as someone in the world believes it is. Hmm

I tossed that around for awhile, and decided that I believe that there are some things which society needs to keep on the other side of the line, specifically the things which can hurt others, like child pornography … Whether someone farts in a story doesn’t matter to me, but if someone does something to hurt a part of society, that is another matter.

And…I have to say it. I hate it when writers fall back on breaking the latest taboo breakable subject to get attention. Remember when the taboo subject was gays? child sexual abuse? transmission of AIDS?  How cliche now. A good story should rely on something more than that.

UH..and I’m still learning what.

What do you think?