Descriptions for heat levels in book list

------holding hands, perhaps a gentle kiss
♥♥ ---- more kisses but no tongue-- no foreplay
♥♥♥ ---kissing, tongue, caressing, foreplay & pillow talk
♥♥♥♥ --all of above, full sexual experience including climax
♥♥♥♥♥ -all of above including coarser language and sex more frequent

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Looking at a body of work

Many times I mention the two sides of writing and of life itself. 

The rose with the thorn. 
The love with the loss. 
The yin with the yang. 
The dark side completing the light side. 
Joy completed by pain. 
Winning and losing.

As humans we don't want to think that we must accept and expect what we call the dark side of life. We want it all to be what we consider light, but there are always two sides-- whether we are aware of them at the time or not.

After a summer of what I can only call hard work, I have a mix of emotions, which suit the dichotomy of the writing life. I put in a lot of hours, but I also got to look at my stories, plots, characters, dialogue, and see it as a body of work.

I have never been more proud of that body of work.
I wish I had not put that work out until it was at this place.
I love what I wrote, my plots and characters.
My craft is better today than yesterday.

It's hard not to wish I had been this good at the craft of writing when I brought them out. But I know, what has made them this good, has come from the demands of putting them out. That is what forced me to keep looking at them. As I wrote new work, I couldn't let go of looking again and again at the old. 

This is why I say again and again how important it is to write and keep writing. You don't get better by thinking about it. You get ideas for characters, plots and dialogue by thinking about it, but you get better at writing by writing.

Eventually my recent binge of editing has taught me a lot-- but later than I might wish. These are not typos, spelling errors, the kind of thing Word catches, but instead, better ways of saying something. It wasn't that what I had was wrong (although on a few books it was), but more that it could be improved.

Fortunately, where it comes to eBooks, the books can be re-downloaded by anyone who bought them; but it'd have been better if they had been in this shape in 2012 when they first came out. Or if I had known then all I know now... except I learned what I did by bringing them out. It is kind of a catch-22.

This is where someone usually says you should have hired an editor and that would have resolved this. I am one of those who merges the practical with my dreams. I have 17 published manuscripts (with one more combining three novellas which means it's also out there but the original work was the novellas.) Let's assume I went to someone who was not charging over $1000 per manuscript. Let's assume I found a talented editor for say $400 (definitely not a given that it could be done), that still would mean $7000. There is no way I could assume these books could ever repay that and the question would be-- who would loan it to me?! Since I am not into crowd funding-- not that I think it would have worked in this case-- nobody would loan it to me. And if they had, I would not have accepted the debt.

One thing I have come to realize about my stories, after looking at so many of them, one right after another. I don't write romances so much as novels about people. My love stories are about sensuality, passion, and even danger, but they are about real people caught in something bigger than they expected. They are about what feels like very real relationships set in situations most of us would just as soon never encounter. They have another difference that real life does not give us-- a happily ever after. Read the newspaper and you see the other side over and over.

In each of mine, exploring love is the glue that holds the story together. It is why each couple's story is one book and not fifteen-- which is what describing a lifetime relationship would be. Well, the Outlander series so far has only eight books to tell the story of one couple's relationship; so maybe it wouldn't take fifteen.

A love story starts at the beginning with we're attracted, but can this work? (which might also be two people who have come to the edge of divorce). It ends when they reach the happily ever after point (and before the nitty gritty of daily living cuts in-- although sometimes there is an epilogue). 

More on this topic coming next blog-- which by the way will now be on two-a-week schedule on a Sunday and Wednesday. My life is about to get busier, and I think I can do a better job keeping this blog active and vital if I drop back in frequency. I enjoy writing about writing, far more than I expected, but I am hoping when I finish the last of the 'edited' books (with I might add some new covers), I finally can get back to the fourth Oregon historical. 
'George Banks and all he stands for will be saved. Maybe not in life, but in imagination. Because that's what we storytellers do. We restore order with imagination. We instill hope again and again and again.'       from Saving Mr. Banks