Archive for the ‘Blog Entries by James Buchanan’ Category

You get a detail wrong and someone’s going to kill you on it.

With reasonable confidence I can write about the LAPD and the Riverside Police Dept. because 1) I live in Metro Hell, 2) I used to work in the prosecutor’s office (so when you ask whether cops are tatted and pierced…yes if they’re in vice or narc it’s allowed and you wouldn’t believe how they show up to hearings), 3) I have relatives in the RPD and 4) big, metropolitan police departments put everything on-line.

You want to know what the beats are? There are “car maps” and the numbers for which patrol vehicles are assigned. Renovations at the new substation, they’ve blogged it. Google sucks the images in and spits them out by the truckload. You can subscribe to RSS feeds of their departmental press releases. The variations of the 10/11 code and the radio frequencies they use are all posted somewhere.

However, that kind of research only gets you information that is actually on the web. If no one has bothered to upload it, you can’t find it. Me, being me….I’ve decided to set my next cowboy/cop combo in Garfield County Utah. I need the Sherriff’s uniform. The ONLY pic I can find is from an officer down memorial….and he’s in the casual polo and chino’s combo.

My GoggleFu is useless in this case.

Now that may actually be the standard issue for Garfield County, but I don’t know. I do know what the badge looks like – there are forums for badge collectors out there and they have pictures. I mean, I go there every year, but I’ve yet to actually see a sheriff (it’s that big, wide open and rural) No website. The elected official doesn’t even have his picture anywhere. I thought all politicos wanted their picture in the public eye.

But these are details that must be answered. What style hat? Smokey? Brimmed standard police hat? Ball cap? Those all convey different messages. What type of vehicles do they use, colors and paint jobs? What’s their service weapon?

This is the particular hell of writing cop stories, or frankly any story with a specialized profession. You MUST get the details right. Somebody will know and will call you on it.

I’ve seen this in books I’ve read where someone has tried to describe a trial process. There are some things that are jurisdictional, vary from local to local. But the rules of evidence are pretty consistent. They may be common law in one state and codified in another but every state has some form of Hearsay doctrine. The order of trial is ALWAYS the same. It will kick me out of a story if I see these issues fudged.

It comes in play in all sorts of stories. Does a particular rodeo venue allow for Hotshots (and if you’re doing a rodeo story you better know what a Hotshot is). Would a former Army Ranger use the same slang designations as a former Marine? How do you lift a fingerprint? Does a jurisdiction use an actual forensic pathologist as a coroner or is it the local funeral director? When do roses start to bloom in Massachusetts? Are there different types of cactus in New Mexico and Arizona?

The devil is in the details and you’ve got to watch for him.

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We all often forget in the glorious insanity of writing that if you wish to publish, your writing is a business. That means you have to treat it and your interactions with everyone as a business dealing. These are my “rules” that I’ve developed by watching and talking with other writers as well as feeling my way through my own career.

1) Writing “cache” is earned not bestowed.

It is like any other job. Really. You must pay your dues as the new kid on the block before you can start to break the rules. I’ve got seven novels and a slew of short stories out there now. The publishers I work with can bank on my name on a title to bring in a certain amount of sales. Because of that I’ve earned a certain amount of license in how I work.

My first novel, not so much. I got the dreaded: we like it, but can’t take it as is. Do some significant re-writes and we may consider publication. I also got the same on the second novel. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and accept that.

The first one, I queried the editor and politely asked what re-writes. “Chop 2000 words of the front. Expand this relationship. And by the way, your female love interest (a male/male/female triangle) is an absolute raving bitch…tone her down.” Did that bug the hell out of me to have someone critique my baby so bluntly? Hell yes. Did I do the re-writes? Hell yes. And the second set of re-writes they asked for as well. They never did accept that book. But, in the end, I ended up with a much better novel.

The second book, the editor said, “Its great, but to fit our formula, I need the main characters to hate each other by the end of chapter three.” I didn’t do that re-write. It would have changed the entire plot. I politely sent a letter stating that it would require the re-write of the entire plot, but now that I knew what they were looking for, I’d try and write a book geared toward that.

You must sometimes sacrifice your baby to the Gods of Publication. If the second publisher had come back with similar requests to the first, I would have done them. Because, at that time, my name meant nothing to anyone.

2) You’re only as good as your promotion on your last book.

Really and for true folks. Your publisher watches. Even if you have a big named bank roll behind you, they watch. People who are active about getting their own name out there are money makers for them. I have a friend who writes for Bantam. That is BIG. Her editor told her, this is what we expect you to do to promote your own book. It’s not just the small presses who want you out there stumping. The authors I know who’ve sat on their “my book is wonderful” notions and done nothing, they get dumped. Your publisher wants to know that you are invested in you book as well. They don’t expect you to arrange nation wide book signing tours, but passing out flyers, maybe getting on a speakers panel or arranging a chat date on some reader loop: they watch for that.

3) If I’m reading your blog, so is your potential publisher.

I don’t know why so many people have a problem with that concept. They air their dirty laundry in public. My basic philosophy is: Tout your successes to everyone who will listen. Mourn your defeats in private.

I have been watching a certain new writer tank herself. She has written a short story for a collection and two longer stand alone works. The short story was contracted and the longer works under consideration. This is someone who has “broken in.” She then spent the next two months publicly agonizing over the re-writes in her blog. Blasting all the people who offered to help her with them as “red-liners” and “hack artists.” She turns in a re-write, noting something to the effect that she doesn’t know at all why they wanted her to do them. Gets a second request for more clean up and does a public freak out. Pulls the story from the antho (which she’s allowed to do under that contract), announces that she is doing so because she “just can’t work with editors like that,” and other people have told similar “horror” stories.

The best part: She was surprised when two days later she gets a rejection on the two longer works. I will bet that she gets rejects from a lot of publishers as well. She has not earned the right to act like a prima donna.

It is really demoralizing to have someone be brutally honest about your work that you’ve slaved over, agonized about sometimes for years. But go have your bitch fit in private. I railed for nearly a month with the requests I got. Privately, bending my poor guy’s ear off at length and to a couple of private friends. Not on a public blog post.

4) Everyone you meet has the potential to help or hinder your career.

You never know where the next reviewer, news media persona or publisher is. I’ve gotten invited into anthologies because I met someone (who I don’t remember) at some conference. I’ve gotten major reviews outside my genre because I impressed someone while speaking on a panel at some po-dunk convention, or the nice clerk at the book store…who isn’t the clerk but the manager in charge of setting up signings.

I have a friend, both personal and professional, who is a major freelance writer for some major GLBT publications. I met him at someone else’s reading where we just got to chatting. We went and had a drink afterward. Turned out he had a press pass to an event a few weeks later and didn’t want to go stag so I tagged along. Now, anytime one of his publications needs emergency filler I’m one of five people on the rolodex for the “hey what’s new with you?” interview.

Years of managing law offices has taught me that your best business deals are made in riding up the elevator or in the airport bar after the conference is over.

5) You will take crappier deals when you start out.

You don’t have to once you’re established. Obviously, you don’t want to sign away your complete rights in perpetuity to your work for royalties only. Jumping at the first deal, if it’s incredibly one sided, is not a good idea. But, it may be worth your while to take a contract that doesn’t pay much to get your foot in the door.

Keep an eye on what rights you’ve kept. If you’ve sold electronic rights to a work, but kept the print…you still have something to sell. Your publisher will make decisions based on who sells how much. Sometimes it’s fair for you to wait and sometimes its not. If they wish to take a wait and see before offering to buy more rights, and someone else will do it now…well there’s a lot of weighing of risk and such you should make, but sometimes it’s better to take the other deal.

As you get farther up the food chain you have more leverage to negotiate deals you don’t like. Don’t be afraid of a “take it or leave it” card thrown on the table. If you already know what your value is, sometimes the best negotiation strategy for you is to say, “I’ll leave it.” I, at my level, in my market, have options. Deals I would have taken when I started out (and I don’t have any qualms about having made them) well, sometimes they’re just not good enough any more. I have to look at this as a profit making business.

Now, if I take a shot at the next “tier” up of publishers…I may end up taking a deal that’s not quite as good to get my foot in that door.

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This comes up because of a little incident with one of my publishers. Nothing major, but a little wonky on exactly what day a book was due out. It started a discussion in a few places, a couple readers comments on blogs.

Basically the upshot is: Wishlists and Coming Soon Pages.

They want ’em.

Your publisher (or you if you direct sell) need ’em.

If you’re lucky to have a readership (as I’m gaining one) those readers want to know when to expect your next book. Coming Soon Pages (whether on your own site or the publishers) allow them to browse and plan ahead. They get excited about a book. They love to be teased with a little taste. Then they can set money aside, or put it into the book budget. Let’s face it, books are disposable income purchases. Bills get paid, food gets bought, the kids get clothes on their backs…whatever’s left over you may buy books with.

A Wishlist (basically a non purchase shopping cart) allows them to easily earmark the books they want. The process of moving the book from Wishlist to Shopping Cart needs to be pretty seamless. Many of the comments bemoaned how difficult it was to move thier books into actual purchase mode (on several publishers sites).

When I have cover art ahead of time, I’ll go about showing it off (blogs, email –not spam, but relevant ones–, post cards and such). People like the pretty, especially if you give them a small snippet of the book to read. If I get it the same day the book comes out, I’ve lost some of the advanced marketing ability. Yeah, I can put a blurb on my site with a place holder picture…but it’s not the same.

Graphically here: This is the generic place holder I use (a good freind of mine allowed me to use his picture when he was dommed up)
generic place holder

These are the two books cover I just got which I’ll now replace it with:
Inland Empire

Lutin’s Heir

Obviously very different books, you can tell it just by the style and subject matter of the cover art. One’s contemporary, very much gay the other is AU high fantasy. Guess which is which. The covers will draw the type of reader looking for that type of book. I can use them to market to specific subgroups of readers. If I have the full publisher blurb and maybe an advanced reveiw, so much the better. People remember what they hear and see often. That is one of the marketing lessons we, as authors, need to remember.

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I should be writing today…or doing edits or suffering throught he dratted day job.

Instead, here I sit, fondling a book.

My book.

Over and over…to the point of possibly obsessive-compulsive behavior. It might just verge on the obscene. Definitely, I’ve slid into the realm of heavy petting. And frankely who can blame me with that cover. The fixation on an inanimate object with almost sexual attention probably has a DSMRIII diagnosis, if not a common fetish term.

While I publish in the e-book market, and do fairly well there, there is nothing quite as validating as the tangible, physical manifestation with glossy cover and new book smell. It is visceral. Somehow, it signifies, “I’ve made it.” That name is me. On a book. I can go to Amazon and there it is.

We authors are eternally desperate and sometimes shallow about our need for feedback. Most times what we write disappears in to a void. There are professional reviews, but they can be hit or miss (and not just in content…why one of my books gets dozens of reviews and another gets none, never ceases to bewilder me). There are times when you get fan mail. That is probably one of the most cherished happenings. Someone took a bit of time out of their day, found your email and sent you their thoughts.

Still, the rush of opening that box and seeing my five author copies was like nothing I’d previously experienced in writing. Not my first acceptance. Not my first publication. And honestly, not my first print anthology (anthologies are like a bus…everyone’s on it). I keep looking over at the book, Twice the Cowboy, Twice the Ride and I smile. I write a bit, and look back again. Maybe the gloss will wear off in time.

I hope not.

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Coming Together For the Cure — something easy to do to help.

Author Alison Kent, is running a comment “contest” on her blog. Go Comment Now!

For every ten comments she gets she will buy a copy of Coming Together for the Cure and then give them away as prizes. So go and comment. It’s an easy way to help

The book spans the gamut of erotica – Gay, Lesbian, Bi, Het. BDSM, Kink, Vanilla.

At some point, virtually everyone’s life is touched in some way by breast cancer. Whether it’s a friend or family member, or even yourself, the journey is one of courage and compassion. Phaze continues its tradition of fundraising for this cause with Coming Together: For the Cure, an anthology of erotic romance edited by Alessia Brio. Royalties from the sale of this edition of Coming Together will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation

Coming Together has never felt this good!

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Actually have a couple of social issues…

Coming Together for the Cure releases August 13 in e-book and comes out in Print in September.
Cure JPG

The anthology includes my story Angel on the Wall. The book blurb: At some point, virtually everyone’s life is touched in some way by breast cancer. Whether it’s a friend or family member, or even yourself, the journey is one of courage and compassion. Phaze continues its tradition of fundraising for this cause with Coming Together: For the Cure, an anthology of erotic romance edited by Alessia Brio. Royalties from the sale of this edition of Coming Together will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Coming Together has never felt this good !

Next years anthology is currently accepting submissions: Coming Together with Pride. I am assisting Alessia Brio in selecting stories for this antho. All proceeds will benifit HIV/AIDS research. All geners and pairs are accepted… AIDS hits everyone regardless of class, race and sexual orientation. This is my first foray into quazi editorial aspects and Alessia was kind enough to take my suggestion and allow me to be a part of it.

K.M. Fontaine is donating all of the e-book sales from Loved him to Death to Gai Écoute a French-Canadian organization that helps gay teens who have been turned to the streets by thier families.

There is also the Dreams and Desires Anthology from Freya’s which benifits battered women’s shelters.
Okay… and the crappy shit that has me all depressed…

My mom works at Childrens’ Hospital Los Angeles. Tomorrow my spawn are spending the day with her. She has arranged to take them and another child on a field trip via MetroRail.

-The child is 6.

–She is an abandoned foster child.

—She is Afican American, in a wheel chair and cannot walk right now. The doctors say when she has a transplant, she WILL BE NORMAL.

—-She is on dialisis 3x per week.

—–She has LIVED at the hospital since she was 5, because no foster family is willing to make that level of commitment. This will be her fist trip out of the hospital of more than a few blocks in months.

Small stuff foks.

Yeah, we’ve been talking about “could we do a kid in a wheel-chair on Dialisis” talk tonight. And with us, social services might not let it happen and we’re not sure we could give that level of care. My partner grew up with foster kids. 3 of them along with his 4 natural brothers and sisters. I have an adoptive sister… from Mexico, when she was 12 and couldn’t speak English. Both his maternal grandparents were deaf. We’re both upset.

But, there’s something else small…My mom walks by the “Visit Board” every day… “Please visit with this child, they’ve had no visitors in x months…” insert your poison.. three, six, eight in some cases. The teenagers sometimes go for a year.

I am reminded of an act of my brother’s friends. One of them was diagnosed with kidney failure. Only about 1/2 of his “good friends” showed up to be tested. The “Bitch” that everyone hated, tolerated in thier group… she got tested. She was a perfect match (no relation, wrong ethnicity… 1 in 100 million chance) and they told her. She showed up, let hersefl be cut in half (and the surgery for dontation is FAR more drastic then the person who gets it). 1/2 his GOOD FRIENDS couldn’t be bothered… and she went the distance.

I can get a TB test and background test to read a lonely 10 year old Harry Potter. I can arrange so that my 9 year old does pathetic Majic Shows for cancer kids with my SexyGuy. I can make a small difference in a child’s life…

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Disclaimer. I am a lawyer under my real name, but I don’t practice bankruptcy (although I did practice creditor’s rights at one time and thus have a general understanding of the BK process and rights to assets) and I probably don’t practice in your state. By reading this, there is no attorney client relationship created and take anything you get for free with a grain of salt. I am tackling this subject in the interest of informing authors of something to be aware of… but this is not the definitive answer on the subject. If you find yourself in this situation, seek the advice of a competent Bankruptcy attorney.

Triskelion Publishing has gone Bankrupt… formally, having filed Chapter 7 in their home state of Arizona. Now, that’s not a big blip outside the romance industry. Triskelion was predominately a romance e-publisher. However, they did take books to print and had them shelved at various nationwide booksellers. They were Romance Writers of America Certified . While RWA’s standards merely indicate that the publisher pays royalties, is not a subsidy or vanity press, has been in business a minimum of 1 year and has sold at least 1500 hardcover or trade paperback or 5,000 in any other format of a single title, it is not a guarantee of the publisher. What it does tend to show is Triskelion was not a fly-by-night operation. They had a decent showing of authors. Their authors had decent sales numbers.

Why are we here? Because it brings to light something that authors rarely think about… what happens if your publisher goes bankrupt?

Most publishers have a clause in their contract that deals with what happens if a publisher becomes insolvent and files for bankruptcy. Usually, they state something along the line of if the publisher becomes insolvent and files for bankruptcy protection all rights revert to the author. Now neither of the publishers I deal with have this clause in their contracts. Know why?

Because it damn near meaningless.

That type of clause is known as an Ipso Facto clause and generally held to be invalid by 11 U.S.C. §541(c)(1)(B) and §351(e) . In limited situations these clauses can be upheld. However, as illustrated in In re Southern Pacific Funding Corp., 268 F.3d 712, 716 (9th Cir. 2001) these clauses are ineffectual at protecting authors’ rights.

In re Avalon Software, Inc., 209 B.R. 517 (Bankr. D. Ariz. 1997) is illustrative. The Author of the Software program lost all their rights to the program in the bankruptcy court because their copyright was not protected. The bankruptcy clause in the contract was considered null and void and the bankruptcy trustee was allowed to seize control of the asset in order to create the biggest “pool” of assets for the secured creditors. And while software is not books, it is instructive of how much control and deference the Trustee has.

The BK trustee can accept, reject or modify any agreement effectively causing one creditor – and an author owed royalties is a creditor – to bear a heavier burden. This is where I have dealt with the bankruptcy courts. I used to have to petition, routinely, for my clients to be allowed to retrieve the property they had leased (rented) to a bankrupt company. By extrapolation an author is, in effect, leasing the right to use their work for the publisher’s and author’s benefit. There were several hurdles that had to be jumped in order for property to be returned. One of them was: if the property was material to the continued operation of the debtor in possession (the bankrupt entity) the bankruptcy court with the advice of the trustee had the discretion to not allow the property to revert to the owner. Basically, the bankrupt entity could continue to use the property most times rent free (or at a reduced rent at the trustee’s calculation) until such time as the company either came out of BK or was dissolved by the bankruptcy court, not necessarily the term of the contract. Now, I dealt with tangibles (like simi-trucks) but the way the law reads, it applies both to tangible and intangible assets. The intangible right to sell your books (or the back-stock of printed material) are pretty much the only assets held by a publisher.

What advice can you take away from this? Maybe that you’re not as protected as you think. Even the best publishers can fail, locking your work up in court.

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There’s a certain knack to writing erotica. A lot of people write a mechanical piece, insert tab A into slot B (or C or D) with a lot of grunting and shoving of anatomy. That’s not erotica – and in some cases it doesn’t even get to porn. Strong erotica requires the same writing skills as any other piece. It is not the bastard step child of the writing world as some would have you believe. A published romance writer I know once quipped that the hardest thing she’d ever tried to write was a pure erotic piece.

Sexuality: You must be relatively comfortable with both your own and your characters to write decent erotica. That does not require you to have done everything you character has done. You can be happily married to your first partner. I know one writer of romance with an erotic bent and some pure erotica who is self defined as A-Sexual: neither wanting, nor requiring, a personal sexual relationship. Because she can understand the desire others have, she can give that to her characters.

If your character is a virgin he/she will react differently to a sexual situation than a jaded hooker. A bisexual who leans more heavily to guys is in a sexual situation with a gal will not respond like the bisexual who’s more into women. Homophobic heterosexual female, wantonly gay man, closet lesbian, do anything and anybody M2F non-surgical transsexual you have to know who your characters are sexually.

Know the fetish you’re writing as well. I write rope bondage. I know it. I understand the appeal of it. I don’t write S&M because I don’t understand the appeal of that. Domination, I get. Pain, I don’t get. Does that mean you can’t write in a sexual fetish you don’t have? No. But you have to understand it. You have to research it – there are cue words and situations in fetish fiction that don’t appear anywhere else. Example: handcuff fetish. The work is not about the ultimate sexual act. You must sexualize the restraints. Maybe half the piece will focus on describing the handcuffs and the characters reaction to the handcuffs.

Sensuality: You have to pay a great deal of attention within erotica to all five of the senses. The richer the description the more delectable your piece will be. To that end, forgo numbers. I, and the reader, could care less if your heroin has a 34DD chest. In writing that’s a speed bump: two thumps of your brain and you’ve put it behind you.

If the writer takes time to really describe that person, the reader will connect better. Tell me why I should care and more importantly why the characters care. I’ve read works that pushed the boundaries of my “squick” factor which were incredibly hot. Why? Because the author got me quickly and entirely into the head of the character who cared about that fetish. They wove that tapestry so richly that I moved past my own personal issues and got into it.

You will have to get familiar with the names both proper and vulgar for all sections of anatomy. Whether you use them or not is a personal choice. It becomes painfully obvious in a work when a writer is avoiding the use of slang identifiers and hiding behind the proper nouns. There are words we all end up using or not using… that’s preference. But to make erotica work you have to be get comfortable using multiple terms for male and female anatomy. Be careful because the line between sensual and silly can be one word.

Sensuality pervades everything in erotica. Like pixels in a computer photo the more filled in the richer the color, the more lifelike the expressions, the more pleasant overall the image becomes. That means if a guy’s pulling it out, you need to describe what he looks like. No two people look the same. No two people react the same to how someone looks.

Emotions: Erotica is porn without emotions. This is my opinion of course, but reader and reviewer comments seem to back up my less than empirically tested theory. They like the pieces where the writer lets them into the character’s head. If I don’t know why someone is doing something, I’m not going to care about them. It’ll be just stroke fic.

The reader has to get into the characters head. Why does he/she want this person, this act, at this moment? What is special about this situation? Does the character like sex? Emotions are the spices in an erotic dish. They take a work to the next level.

Show Don’t Tell: This is the same for all writing, but particularly important in Erotica. It is the only way to bring out the true richness of erotic writing. Bland, broad statements leave you flat. In order to pick up all the topics above, you have to become a master of Showing not Telling.

If what you write is:

Alessia nervously glanced at the man seated next to her, worrying what people would think

then you’ve missed a chance to speak to her desire, wants and needs.

Alessia glanced at the man seated next to her. The three day growth of stubble and black leather jacket sent a thrill from her shoulders to her hips. Subtle hints of motor oil mixed with spicy cologne and wormed under her skin. Bad Boy, it screamed to her. James Dean and Johnnie Depp and a thousand screen stars… all unapproachable. No bad boy would want Miss Mouse. She wiggled in her seat trying to catch a glimpse of him without being obvious. He couldn’t know she was looking. Only bad girls stared at guys.

If you want, try this erotic writing exercise: in three paragraphs, describe someone enjoying eating a chocolate covered strawberry. You have to use all three paragraphs. Taste, touch, smell, sight and sound all must be included. Then go back and write it from the point of view of someone who hates chocolate covered strawberries, and then from angry, sad, etc. You quickly will find that it only takes one or two words to completely skew the thrust of the work. As with sex, there are only so many physical actions involved in eating a strawberry.

That’s the quick and dirty of it.

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For those who missed it, Monday was International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant day. It was an uprising, for lack of a better word, against a rant by Dr Hendrix as he left the SFWA. The gist: any professional writer who give away their work is a Pixel-Stained Technopeasant.

I am a Pixel-Stained Technopeasant.

Giving away ones work can actually benefit a writer. I have free stories posted on several sites as well as my own web site and *cough* a few fan-fiction archives. I’m a regular contributer to an on-line slash zine with a large readership. As my StatCounter shows me, people surf in from those stories. The stories on my own site are hit off of key words searches (the most interesting being “throbbing alabaster cobra.”) Do those hits translate to sales? I can’t be certain. However, I get as many hits in a month off the free material as off the ads I’ve placed on sites – and I didn’t have to pay to put them there.

Stories, ficklets, poems; just because you don’t feel it’s marketable, doesn’t mean that isn’t valuable to you. As writers, it’s one of the biggest assets we have. There’s no reason not to see it as a marketing tool as well. Why PAY for advertising, when you can write a better “ad” than a 150×150 pixel cover ad slot.

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I am currently going through the insanity of over commitment and my muse has rebelled.

When you’re first struggling to get published, it seems like forever. No one wants your stuff. You feel like you’re writing in a vacuum. No one likes you. You become inured to the inevitable rejection letter. And then you get your first sale. After that the terror brews… can I do it again?

Now, I certainly don’t want to go back to those days, however a little less insanity might help. I have, to my delight and chagrin, become known as a “can do” writer. My editors come to me and say… hey someone dropped out of this anthology can you get us something. This is a sweet and seductive trap. How can I say no? My editor LOVES me. “Sure,” I say, “I’ll pitch in.”

I look up from my desk at my day job… because this writing addiction doesn’t pay the bills by a long shot… and peruse the Work In Progress sheet. So I have two weeks to write 12-20k, no special theme (my editor will take pretty much anything at this point). Shouldn’t be horrid, I tell myself. Let’s see, its April. I have a 5k short due by the end of April and a 10k short due by 5/31. Oh and there are those two half done novels that my editors want by 7/1 – 30k a piece on them. No problemo. I crack open a blank word document to jot some notes and work out how I’m going to make it all work.

The muse at that point packs his bags and takes a walk. I’ve left my dirty underwear on the floor one too many times at this point. He cannot deal with the constant demands of another story. The spontaneity is gone from our relationship and he’s pretty P.O.’d at me.

Right now I’m attempting to woo him back with promises of Were-Scorpion porn. Empty air rattles around my brain. Or maybe that boss/intern piece we’ve been toying with. Bondage, you know you like it, I whisper. Dead silence. Okay, we can pull out that file of cop cos-play Reb sent us, you and me and half dressed guys with badges… that would be fun right? No answer.

So far I think he’s moved in with my fellow author Mychael Black’s muse, but that hasn’t been confirmed ye. So now I’m trying to get back on track. I know I can do it. I’ll sit down and crank out something. I will suffer through it. And when I’ve put a dent the exact size of my head into the surface of my desk, the muse will come slinking back and I’ll hear a snickered, “no we don’t want to write that, scorpions aren’t dead sexy without…” buzz inside my head, and I’ll know he’s back

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