Deadline Diaries

Five Romance writers tell all.

Friday, January 12, 2007

So Long, Farewell....


Posted by Christine

Well, this is it--for now, anyway.

We'll miss y'all.


We wish you magic--days of joy and nights full of stars...











And most of all, we wish you....

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

DDers taking a break......


posted by Maureen

Okay, so we're not really going fishing! What we ARE going to do is take a hiatus of sorts.

Actually, Christine is going to do a goodby blog on Friday, but thought I'd give a shout out on my regular day, as well.

We're all hip deep in deadlines--(no pun toward our title intended)--and we've decided to take a little blogging break!

But I personally want to thank all of you for coming by to visit. And to those of you who've taken the time to write to me, THANKS! It means a lot. Our websites are still out there, so come visit. And Kate and I both have our personal blogs up, so feel free to stop by and say howdy! But for now, this is my last DD post.................sniffle.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Reading on the Other Side of the Fence

I forgot to make a big splash over here about the fact that my latest book, Not Another New Year’s, is excerpted in January’s Cosmopolitan magazine! It’s the "Red Hot Read" of the month. Cool, yes? So consider this my big splash, and now I’ll go on to blog about what I really want to blog about.

Every once in a while I pick up a few men’s magazines to get into “guy” head space. When I’m starting a new book (like I am now) I need to figure out my characters and wouldn’t you guess that the women are always easier to flesh out than the dudes. So I find that the “lad mags,” you know, like Esquire, Men’s Health, Maxim, Details, offer me a window into the male world.

I was reading Men’s Health at the gym on the stepmill when one of my sweat buddies, Katherine, joined me on the adjacent machine. I thanked her for giving me someone to chat with and so distract me from the exercising, though I added that the lad mag was pretty distracting in itself. That it was enlightening to see what men were interested in. She glanced over at the glossy pages of beautiful people. “Is it really that different than what women are interested in?”

Yeah.

Guys are interested in cars and gadgets and adventures that other guys take that involve spending blood and/or bullets. This takes up the same space as the articles on the “New Bright Eye” or “How to Look Slimmer in Blue” that show up in or magazines.

Where women read articles about making the time with their children quality time, guys are reading about just making some kind of time for their kids.

Guys want to know how to have more sex. They want to know how to make their wives and girlfriends want more sex. Women’s magazines have articles on how women can get a man to want to take them out to dinner. I see a problem developing.

Magazines catering to men have articles on the very minimum wardrobe a man can get away with. This is a foreign idea to women, and is why you’ll never see a story in Glamour entitled “Why You Don’t Need Seven Pairs of Black Shoes.” Because of course everyone knows you need at least eight.

Both kinds of magazines have Q & A columns, and I always love those. Women ask questions like “Can I date my friend’s brother even though I once didn’t tell her her latest haircut made her look skanky?” The guy magazine I just read had a question like this (no lie): “How do I convince the new woman I’m dating that my DVD collection of over 150 slasher films doesn’t mean I’m weird?” They actually came up with an answer. “Explain that you take them seriously by tossing around some film-critic type phrases.” Um, dudes, don’t bother. Any woman in her right mind has already left the premises and is in a cab speeding away as fast as she can, while at the same time calling Cingular to change her cell phone number.

So, all in all, it’s always an interesting experience when reading on the other side of the fence. Always something new to learn about men. This time, it was about the effect of too much booze on a man’s sexual performance. Who knew it was called “brewer’s droop?”

Do you ever read on the other side of the fence? Men’s magazines or even a male author who writes books that seem particularly male-centric?

Monday, January 08, 2007

A Business Plan for Me!


Posted by Kate

Lately, I’ve read a number of articles written by people I admire, telling me how and why I should create a business plan for my writing career.

So I did it. I wrote a business plan.

I started with a mission statement. You do this by asking yourself questions, like, Why are you a writer? What kind of books do you write? Who’s your intended audience? Why should they read your book when they could be reading someone else’s?

So here’s my mission statement. I write smart, funny books that make people laugh and cry and when they get to the end they smile through their tears and say “Damn, I wish she’d write faster.”

Then I worried that my mission statement wasn’t business-like enough. Maybe I should try to be more profound. Like, maybe I should write books that are thought-provoking and emotionally rich. Maybe my books should stimulate intellectual discourse between the reader and the community.

Or maybe not.

I mean, if somebody reads my book and tells me they laughed and cried all the way through, I'd probably be the happiest writer in the world.

I know it’s important to have goals and the determination to meet them, but I’m not sure if a business plan will help me accomplish them any more than a vivid imagination and a good calendar with clearly marked deadlines can. To each her own business plan, I guess.

Just to be sure, I solicited another opinion and asked a published author friend about her business plan and mission statement. After she finished mocking me, she had to hang up because she had to finish writing her book.

So after much deliberation, I have determined that my Business Plan for 2007 will consist of the following:

* A good calendar (for marking deadlines and fun stuff)

* Daily affirmations repeated over and over until I believe them (I am an award-winning writer with dozens of fabulous story ideas)

* Visualizations (Hefty checks arrive weekly in my mailbox and Rabid fans are clamoring for my next book)

* I will chant skyclad once a month under the full moon

Seriously, if you want to learn the right way to create a business plan, see Mary Castillo’s article in this month’s Orange Blossom newsletter, or you can visit Stephanie Bond’s website, which has lots of good articles dealing with the business of writing.

So what’s your plan for 2007? Do you believe in affirmations? And when was the last time you danced skyclad under the full moon?

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Will These Do?


Christine is away for the weekend and I thought I'd step up to the plate. Hah! But this man photo thing is harder than it looks. I googled "handsome men" and it recommended internet dating sites. "Sexy" men took me in another direction as well...let's just say I was afraid to click on some of those links.

Then, somehow I found them! The Carlson twins. They're not wet like the Saturday guys Chris often shows us, but they're on the beach, they look a little sweaty (or is that suntan oil that some lucky woman has just applied) and there's TWO of them!

So go ahead and enjoy.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Curses!

All right, enough of the holiday fun. It’s time to get serious here. It’s time to get serious about swear words.

I spent time in my early 20s working on a Navy base with current and retired Navy personnel. Working with men. Men who swore. I worked with women who swore too, and just as you’d expect, this previous Ivory girl (99-44/100% pure) started picking up the lingo.

That was okay, until I was a mother and didn’t want to teach my little darlings to say a notorious four-letter word before they were four years old. So I switched back to “shoot” and “fudge” and “darn me.” That’s still how I speak (okay, most of the time) and I do cringe when I hear people loudly (and frequently it seems in public these days) roll swear words off their tongue as easily as I lap up ice cream.

When I started writing romance for Silhouette Books, there were certain words I knew not to use and I had no problem with that. As one of my writer buddies once said, in many Harlequin/Silhouette romances there’s a certain filmy gauze over the grittier aspects of real life. Then I started writing single title romance and there were less limits (at least in my own mind). And as our heroines became more kick-ass and the heroes as likely to drink your blood as to drink white wine, language in our novels developed a harder edge as well.

So my fictional guys do swear out loud. More often, they swear in their head. My heroines will at times too. I’m not talking about a heroine using “bad” language in front of her child. I’m talking about adults in adult situations using adult language. Do we consider the slang forms of body parts swearing? Because I use those, too.

Those, however, don’t seem to bother my readers so much. As a matter of fact, no one has ever called me on any of my language choices until I received two letters in the last month from readers who condemned my use of the “f-word” (they’d read two different books, by the way). One said she wanted to wash my mouth out with soap (Ivory?).

Though that last letter was a little weird, it did get me thinking. Should I tone down my language?

I don’t think I will. I’m writing sexy, fast-paced romances about contemporary characters in contemporary circumstances. Lately I’ve been thinking of my books as “reality-based reading” and contemporary language and its usage are going to remain part of my single title books. While I hate to offend anyone and don’t go out of my way to do so, I’m going to stand by what I’ve written. And when word choices come up in my next manuscript, I’m going to think about what my characters would say under the particular circumstances and not what these particular readers would like. They are certainly entitled to their opinions, but those opinions on this subject do not match mine.

So what are your thoughts on swear words in books? Do certain words shock you or turn you off altogether?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

My life is poop!


Posted by Susan

My life is poop. I don’t mean that as a metaphor—my life is actually fine. Unfortunately, lately, it seems defined by poop.

I have three pets, all of whom, go to the bathroom indoors. Nikki, possibly the world’s cutest dog, uses puppy pads. In Seattle, this is a good thing. Trust me, when it’s 38 degrees, windy and raining, you don’t want to be walking a dog. She has a couple of “bathrooms” and is very good about using them. Come poop time, I pick it up and flush it.

I also have two indoor cats who use a litter box. They’re both 14 and have never had an accident. Recently, I thought I’d reached a new high (or low—depending on your point of view) when Jake developed irritable bowel. Who knew cats could get it?? Apparently he’s become allergic to protein. When one is a cat, this is a problem.

I’ve seen an x-ray of his intestines and they are not a pretty place. So he’s on a special diet and an antibiotic and a steroid and he gets a vitamin B12 shot once a week. He seems to be improving. Speaking as the person to who is scooping the results of his irritable bowel several times a day, I can’t wait for things to pick up, so to speak.

His sister, Callie, was also having issues and we discovered she has a thyroid problem. Rather than give her a pill twice a day for the rest of her life—a process she seriously resists—she’s getting a special treatment that zaps her thyroid and heals her in one easy step. There’s something with radioactive isotopes. I’m not clear on the whole procedure. But this is what I do know…I’m going to be dealing with radioactive poop.

Uh huh…it’s in the post-op instructions. I have to collect her poop, store it in a covered container for two weeks, then hold it for 80 days before tossing it.

I guess this means her poop now has a half life. And as I can’t tell the difference between her poop and Jake’s, I’ll be collecting all of it. Did I mention Jake has irritable bowel? That there are days when he poops six or seven times? Now I not only get to scoop it up, I get to keep it. Like a treasure. There are absolutely no words to describe my joy.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Hurry! Hurry!

you
posted by Maureen

You know that old saying, the hurrier you go the behinder you get??

That describes my life lately.

Had the best of intentions. I was going to stick like glue to the latest schedule that Susan helped me pull together. Then...Worldus Interruptus happened again.

What with the holidays and deadlines and family and another deadline and oh another holiday and still one more deadline... Not that I’m complaining about the deadlines, mind you. I LOVE being employed!!

Still, it’s tempting to just slow it all down once in awhile, isn’t it? Like my little friend there in the picture, I sort of think that slowing down might be the answer.

Maybe I’ll give it a try. After this deadline. Oh, and plot group this weekend. But once I get home, I’ll have two proposals and then another book to write...

Okay, Summer. I’ll try for Summer. After the Fourth of July and family, of course. Oh and then there’s the RWA conference and a deadline right after that.

So maybe Fall. That’d be good. But then there’s football season and family and the holidays again...

Okay. Maybe the answer isn’t how fast or slow you go. But how much you enjoy the journey.

You think?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Woo Hoo!!!!!!!!


posted by FanGirl

Let's hear it for our DD girls, Susan and Christie!!

Susan's book, Sizzling is number 5 on Walden's Bestseller List!!

And Christie's book, Not Another New Year's is number 9 on Walden's Bestseller list!!

Way to go you guys!!!

Things I Hate Today...

Posted by Christine

Should I have a better attitude? You bet. Here it is day two of 2007. A fresh start, time to be thinkin’ positive. Right?

Oh, yeah. Sure. Until I begin pondering my upcoming plane trip to Vegas to plot (books, people—not murder. Honest.) with Susan, Maureen and Terry Southwick. I can’t wait to get there.

But that’s the hitch: getting there.

I have to fly to get there. Flying nowadays is the closest an ordinary, law-abiding American woman is going to get to being in prison. I believe Dave Berry just said that in a recent column. I’m with Dave. You can’t even take water on a plane anymore.

Now, yes, I know. National Security is a top priority these days and things could be worse. Can’t they always?

After all, since the last time I flew, you can now take your lipstick on the plane with you. Oh, I am so relieved. Dehydrated, but with fine, glossy lips, I’ll arrive in Las Vegas. I’ll keep my mind on that, I guess. Lookin’ good is something, after all.

And beyond the not-so-friendly friendly skies, I also hate that for a writer, a book takes so long to be “done.” I did finally type The End on my latest. Now I have to go through and clean that puppy up before I can drop it in the chute to wing its happy way to Manhattan. And after the manuscript goes in? It comes back. For line edits and later for galleys. I do like that I get a couple more passes at it. I want it to be as good as I can make it when it arrives on the shelves where readers will be putting down their hard-earned cash for it. So I suppose I need to focus on that, on excellence as a way of life, on how I always want to write the very best book I can-- rather than gritching on how manuscripts are like boomerangs: they won’t stop coming back.

What else? Frankly, a thousand things. But for today, the flying and the boomerang books are enough.

What about you? Hate anything today? Come on, you know you do…

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!!!

Posted by Kate

It was a wonderful 2006, but I have it on good authority that 2007 will be even better!

So, here's to good health, good times, good advances (according to Publisher's Marketplace, that means six figures, right?!!), good friends, good vibes, good books, good food, good wine...stop me!!

Happy New Year, everyone!!!