Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Confession Time

It's confession time.  I have a potty mouth.  It isn't an ingrained habit, and yes, I know better, but it's a part of my off-beat charm.  My father disapproved but ignored it--unless I came out with something really bad--and my mother really disapproved to the point where she would reprimand me just by speaking my given name, "SU-san!"

Marriage created my potty mouth, and many years of living with someone who needed a good cussing out honed my abilities.  It also really helped that I have my grandaddy's ear.  He was a player, in the truest sense of the word.  A real SOB who could play any musical instrument he lay hands on, and all without reading a note.  I write with that same finely tuned ear.  AND I swear with it.  Proudly.

Because I had years of practice, I learned that certain four-letter words fit together, and others don't.  Kind of like the way Antonio Banderas and I compliment one another.  Or would, if I were younger, and he more desperate.  For example Dumb SOB is a symphony of complimentary cussing.  M-F'N SOB also rolls off the tongue like melted butter, only you must accent the last four words heavily as in son-of-a-bitch!  I'll leave it at that, though I am thinking of writing a companion booklet for those people out there who want to swear fluently, just like me.

Why am I talking about swearing in this blog?  Because I didn't think to add a warning label on my book ROUGH AND TENDER, which is available at Amazon for Kindle right now.  Today.  Run right over there and buy yo'self a M-F-N copy.  My language is really not that bad in the historicals, but in my romantic suspense titles, I really kick ass.  So, be forewarned.

I will say that my dogs are better behaved than me, and hardly ever drop the F-bomb.  Except when Boo gets caught stealing the last slice of pizza, and then he turns the air a little blue.  He even makes me blush, and believe me, it takes a lot.

ROUGH AND TENDER <new and improved> funny, charming, endearing... and with a few f-bombs.  SK

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The evolution of writer and character

It's always interesting to look back from a new vantage point, and to trace our journey--whether it's life we are looking at, or our growth as writers.  My journey is at present, twenty-seven years in the making, and in some ways, I am just getting started.  I like to think I have improved along the way--there's no disputing that I've changed.  Yet the interesting thing as far as I am concerned is how the changes in me--my values, views, and personality--have changed my characters and my writing in general.

Take Eben St. Claire, for instance.  Eben was the male protagonist of Rough And Tender, and very acceptable for the time in which he appeared in print.  I liked him.  So acceptable that the book was awarded "Best First Western Historical" by Romantic Times Magazine.  But time went on, and I improved as a writer, and changed as a person.  I've never been one to read my own work after it's finished, and I was especially reticent to look back on that first effort--until January of 2012 when I decided to offer it for sale at Amazon.

Frugality being a necessity, I decided to retype the original text--an arduous task that has taken me a number of weeks, but a very good thing, because as I started to read, I started to gag.  Eben, I soon discovered, was an arrogant, puffed-up boor, and a humorless bully, and the text and dialogue was stilted.  In my defense, I will remind the reader that we were fresh out of the "Bodice-ripper" stage in publishing at the time this was written, and Eben was tame by those standards, and my ability and style damned good.  Thankfully, times have changed mightily, society's values have evolved, and so have I.

In rewriting Rough And Tender (available this month from Amazon for Kindle) I was able to re-present Eben as a diamond in the rough.  The bully is largely gone, and a clueless male has taken his place.  Eben is an ass, and he knows it.  What he hasn't a clue about is how to deal with Raven, a lover who is a great deal younger, and more tender than any he's had thus far.  The end result--I hope--is a more acceptable version of the story that garnered a lot of praise back in the day.

Though he still can be quite the clueless ass, I find I like Eben more today than I did.  He's a hard-nosed man, but he's human, something we can all relate to--except for my dogs, of course.  They do tend to bark along as I laugh my ass off, but god knows what they're saying.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Butt-sniffing dogs

You may be wondering what this has to do with writing, and actually, I'm wondering that, too.  Dogs are a part of this blog, however, and a very big part of my life.  All of my friends are dog-people.  In fact, if someone reacts badly to my dogs, they aren't going to receive an open invitation to my home.  I really don't trust people who don't like dogs.

We always had dogs when I was a kid.  The first dog I can recall was Babo.  To claim him, I painted him pink.  I must have been three at the time, and God knows how I got my chubby little hands on that paint brush.  Babo was a good dog.  But, like all dogs, from mutts to pedigrees do, he did a lot of butt-sniffing. 

My mom, bless her, provided an explanation for that strange behavior that I will pass on to you this morning.  I have no idea where it originated, so I can't give the proper credit.  Some reader may be able to clue me in.

As it turns out, there was a party one night, and all dogs were invited.  As they entered the house, they hung up their tails by the door, and went off to do dog things. At some point that evening, the house caught fire, and the building was evacuated, everyone grabbed a tail and ran out to safety.  So, when butt-sniffing occurs, its a sort of ID thing.  "Do you have my tail?"

As to how this little folktale pertains to writing, that last paragraph would make a damn good hook.  So sue me.  It's the best I can do on a Sunday morning.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

After an extended hiatus from the world of writing and publishing, I've started an all-out sprint to get my backlist published digitally.  It took an awful lot to convince me this was a positive step, but when I bought my Kindle last Christmas, I fell in love faster than Middle-aged Desperate in a kareoke bar. 

I buy a ton of books.  Used books, new books,  fiction, non-fiction, spiritual, metaphysical and self-help.  And I spend a ton of money on those books.  The last Koontz novel I bought cost me the biggest portion of a ten-dollar bill, and worth every penny.  But I can get the same book for less on Kindle, and not have to find shelf-space for it.  I like that.  I also love the fact that my library travels with me.

Digital publishing for Kindle and other e-readers is also VERY intriguing.  I've been an observer of the ins and outs of traditional publishing for twenty years, and I can tell you that there have been times when mansucripts I considered really good were turned down flat.  While I could also understand why--it's all about the money--there was a lot of really good fiction that was passed over because of the earning prospectus not outweighing initial investment to publish.  And, some of those good books were mine.

Thanks to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other digital publishers, I not only get to choose what I read, but what I write--and that excites me.

And the techno aspect of digital is definitely cool.  Even my dogs love gadgets... though I gotta tell you, they aren't thrilled that I'm writing again.  Have you ever watched someone write?  It's scary.  Given that they can read my thoughts and follow along with the text that is forming in my brain, it's doubly scary for them.  They watch me suspiciously a lot.  They exchange looks of alarm.  And Frazer?  Well, Frazer waits for food.  If there's food envolved, he's all in.  If there's no food, he'll grab a nap.