Friday, March 31, 2006

Better Than Good Enough

My agent called to let me know he passed Breaking His Rules on to Avon. Just like that. An everyday occurence to him, no doubt. But a huge deal to me. Every submission is hard for me, I doubt constantly if I ran spell check enough or got the pages in the right order. Did I get the right envelope? This time all that anxiety alleviated.

What's better is his support of the story. Garnering an agents interest is hard, because they not only have to like your book, but beleive they can sell it. There's nothing in it for them if they don't. Writing is wrought with rejection which leads to self-doubt. Having a partner in the process is helpful on so many levels - experience, connections, market knowledge - but the psychological boost of knowing your story is better than just good enough is priceless.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Romance Writers Report

I'm in love. I received my first Romance Writers Report, the magazine of Romance Writers of America, which I just joined. This is such an AMAZING resource. It seriously makes me want to make a romance writing freind just to score some back issues! With writing magazines, I often only find half the info aplicable. But I'm halfway through this and already I've posted 3 different odes to RWR in the Romance Divas forum. I'm in love with Deborah Hales Rx for Writers Block. I related to almost all of the creative ailments, and loved the voice she writes with.

Off to finish :)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

FLASHer alert!

I have a new obsession. Flash fiction. Super short short-stories. A point in 500-words or less. What a fun challenge.

In between novels I always try something fun and new. Poetry was last time. Short stories (1K) before that. Recipes, articles. As long as it's different.

Monday, March 27, 2006

What The...

I finished COME FOR DINNER (applause) and started the editing.

I talk weird. I've noticed I don't use contractions for you are (you're) or I would (I'd). Very dangerous when you have a category word count. This book has a lot of 'I' when 'me' would be more natural.

Sometimes, I wonder if I should be writing when on pain meds at all. "Emboldened by the ardor of his intoxicating kiss, she dared to indulge her thirst for mouth-watering naughtiness." Come on now, that's just ridiculous. At least I am editing sober.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Appliance Purgatory

I wonder what will break next. Two weeks ago I paid too much to have the dishwasher I won installed. Then last week the washing machine was leaking. Now? The fridge is on the fritz. That's three, right? So I'm done now? Hear that microwave? Stove? Don't act up. I have a book to edit.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Thursday, March 23, 2006

A Cluttered Mind

By looking around my bedroom you can see I am chasing down the end of a book. How? Well, I write in my bedroom. Sitting on my bed, hunched over my laptop. Someday I will get a desk and an ergonomically correct chair. But that is three sales out. For now, I just type wherever, whenever I can.

But the clutter gets to me. By my too small bookshelf I have stacks of books I've meant to read but have been too busy writing, newspaper and magazine pages that I saved thinking they'd be useful for a story some day, research books like my visual dictionary and thesaurus, notebooks that probably don't contain any notes about this book, but I flip through them whenever I get stuck anyway, socks that I pull off and on depending on the temoerature of the house, catalogs that I use to get a mental picture of the furniture or clothes my characters have, a folder full of all my First Draft in 30 Days worksheets that a rarely open, cookbooks for pictures and menu ideas (heroine is a caterer), diet books because I have a terrible case of writers butt right now, a load of laundry I meant to fold today - make that two loads, magazines I haven;t had time to read but snuck up here to keep my husband from throwing them out.

And that is just the top layer. Here's hoping I finish this book so I can clean this mess up before it gets so deep my dog gets lost in it.

Rolling On A River

I think I've discovered why I hate to plot. It is such a waste of time. I came up with plenty of good material for this latest story, Come For Dinner, when I did the First Draft in 30 Days method. Which gives you an outline, not a draft by the way. But as I write I find out new things about my characters and come up with new ideas for how the story should flow. And then I wonder, my editor like the original synopsis, maybe I should try to write it scene by scene like the outline mandated.

But I don't want to. I may be burning myself. My revisions on the last story were to pull the plotline back towards the original synopsis. But then, I got those revisions wrong, so I decided to take my CPs advice and just have fun. I think she said that because she's tired of me being a crab apple - hey, 3 rejections will do that to a girl.

Back to having fun with Come For Dinner. Almost done. Almost. Should be done by Friday so I can get it to the CP by the weekend, and to the editor early next week.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Burn Baby Burn

I think good tension is better than the sex in romance novels. Too often it seems writers have studied the line and want to put the sex scene at a certain word count instead of staying true to their story. Sex because that's the chapter we're in? Egad, no thanks.

Maybe that's what's missing, why people are thinking category is too formular. I LOVE sexual tension. There is an inevitibility to it, and you know fireworks are coming...not the push button gas fireplace those complaining about category read about - but honest to goodness build the cabin of logs and have the kindling and the paper and woo-hoo, here's a match. Dagnabbit where did that wind come from, oh here use my lighter and then the darned flue is shut, okay wide open, lots of circulation, and FINALLY a roaring flame, sure to burn forever if we tend to it.

THAT is what I want to read. And write.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Tedious & Predictable

I hate when people say romance is boring and formular. Yes, the couple always end up together in the end, but it is the journey that's important. Still, I think there can be some merit to those complaints. At times plotlines can be tedious and predictable...and I agree. Most often these complaints are made about category romance, and I play for the HQ/M&B team, soI know they want fresh and new...but they must not be getting enough of it if they publish a whole box of boring. So...

What do you do to keep your plot from growing stale?

In Just One Spark I challenged myself not to have the heroine say "I love you" and simper the way sometimes happens. And through the whole book...not one I love you from her. Sure she shows him how she feels, but no words. Kept it fresh for me, and hopefully the reader too.

With Breaking His Rules (the agented ST) I reversed the hero and heroine archetypes. I compensated by making him huge and her mini - like Incredible Hulk and Betty Boop. But it's the story of her saving him, she's the one with the backbone.

I was in the mood for romance with If You Say So. I've never read two such romantic characters. Sometimes the romance is what's missing from romance novels.

Now...what about you?

Monday, March 20, 2006

I'm Just Visiting

I'm rambling over at a friend's blog today. http://www.lrmiddleton.com/blog/ It's exciting to be interesting enough to be a gues blogger. Well, maybe I'm not interesting...and she's just nice.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

On Newsstands Now

I'm in the March editions of both Better Homes & Gardens (Prize Tested Recipe Contest winner) and WonderTime (Mother's Day traditions).

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Here I Am!

Welcome to the new home of my quick updates and notes to myself. I think of blogging as a notebook, so be warned. If you have any interest in the posts of the last year, they're at www.jennaallensblog.blogspot.com

So...what's the haps? I'm blogging instead of finishing my latest novel. Time to get over myself!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Q&A's & Workshops - March

Q&A's & Workshops - March

eHarlequinFeb 26-Mar 3 -- Everything You Wanted To Know About Writing" with Katherine Garbera
Mar 13-17: "Head Vs. Heart" with Barbara Hannay
Mar 20-24: Bombshell: "When To Make U-Turns" An Interactive Q&A with Carla Cassidy
Mar 20-24 -- EXPERT Q&A - Doula Details with Paula Reynolds
Mar 27-31: Q&A:"Dropping Clues!" with Kelsey Roberts

Romance Divas
Mar 13-Mar 17 Workshop with Allison Brennon
Mar 25-Apr 1 CREATING COMPELLING CONFLICT with Robyn Dehart
Mar 27-Apr 2 Dave King (Self-Editing For Fiction Writers)
Feb 26-Mar 3 SHOW ME THE LOVE!with Sylvia Day
Best or Needs-Help Snippet Critiquing Workshop/Contest - Submission begins March 20th and ends April 2nd. Contest runs from April 3rd to April 16th

Barnes & Noble University
Mar 5 - Apr 9 Writing Memoir with Gotham Writer's Workshop