Monday, April 30, 2007

Oh, the horror.... I must write a synopsis!

What's scarier than a blood-thirsty vampire or a ghoul looking for meat? Well, for most writers, it's the synopsis.

It sure is for me! When it comes to writing a story, I'm a certified pantser (plot by the seat of my pants). Oh I have a general idea where the story is going to end when I'm done, but the journey getting there is as much as a mystery to me as to my characters. So when I'm told I need to come up with a synopsis, I start to sweat and shake. No, really!

Also, I am always writing my synopsis after the fact. Once I've finished my story, I try to write out the plot line so I can share it with others (like agents or editors). Now if that isn't scary, what is??

So I write out what happens as best I can and either include way too much (so the thing is ten pages long - single spaced) or leave out way too much so I might as well be describing some generic romance instead of MY story. I wish I could figure this out! I hear people say "Oh, make sure to inject your voice into the synopsis." Um.... How do I do that when I'm instructed to outline a novel length plot (100,000 words) in about five pages, double spaced.

HELP!!! Please, help me guys! Freddy Krueger is chasing me and he's asking where his synopsis is!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Why I love Alpha Males!

What is it that draws romance readers and writers alike to the Alpha Hero?
Let me throw a few words your way...

Intensity... Passion... Honor... Chivalry...

All this and more is what I love about an Alpha male, whether I'm reading a romance or writing one. An Alpha male will die for the heroine and not bat an eyelash at the sacrifice.

But you may argue, he's a control freak. He's bossy. He always has to win. Uh huh. Until the irrestistable force (hero) meets the immovable object - of his affections (the heroine).

Another argument I've heard.... He's the representation of the paternalistic society oppressing women. Yup - until he meets the heroine. Romance is about feminine empowerment because the heroine is the one in control of the relationship.

Is that what really draws us? Naw, we like alpha males cause they're hot. When they want a woman, they chase her down like prey and there's an inherent excitement in a man being that fascinated. And no, I'm not talking "real world" stalkers. They are scummy bastards that deserve to be jailed as soon as possible. I'm talking about the fantasy - which is what romance is after all. When an alpha male wants, he chases. When he falls in love, he's brought to his knees.

What a heady power trip for any heroine, reader, or writer. Time to start writing now... I'm stoked!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Champagne Rules and so does Susan Lyons

I loved this book.

Trust me, I don't say this about every book I read. I was judging a contest - never mind which one - and this book arrived in my mailbox. So I knew I HAD to read it, but it sounded good so I saved it for last. You know - best for last kind of thing. Or give myself a treat at the end... Well, I liked all the books I read, but I loved this one.

Now, I enjoy erotic romance anyway (at least when it's well written). But I am picky. I've read books where I wanted to kill the hero or heroine cause they did stupid things or kept secrets for lousy reasons, etc. None of that crap here.

This story is about two strangers, Suzanne and Jaxon, who make love while vacationing in Greece and meet again years later and reconnect, but they decide to keep it light and play by Champagne Rules. But they keep breaking their own rules because they want to know one another better. It's cool to find characters who want hot sex, but want more from their lover, too. Susan Lyons has written a well paced story that is hot, funny and moving. The main characters are well rounded and complex. The secondary characters have personality without stealing the show. In fact, I'm sure Susan will write more about Suzanne's friends, and when she does I want to read them. Hot in Here is the second book in this series and is currently available. I'll be shopping for it soon.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Measure of a Man - Happy Birthday, Dad!

Today is my dad's birthday. Unfortunately, I'd have to visit the cemetary to celebrate with him. He would have been 81 years old. He and I fought like cats and dogs when he was alive, but I still miss him. Weird huh?

Dad was one of those people who measured success by the paycheck. Maybe that's a guy thing, I don't know. But he never made the big bucks, so he didn't think he was a success. He felt like a failure and I wish he hadn't felt that way. I think he was a success and I'll tell you why I think so.

My dad survived teasing as the "fat boy" when he was a teen. (Having been the "fat girl" I know what this is like.) Instead of letting it get him down, he focused on things he did well. He joined the drum & bugle corps and played bugle and coronet. He was good, too. As a sixteen year old, he got his parents' permission to enter the Navy. He served as a radioman aboard a cargo ship in the South Pacific during World War II. He rarely talked about his experiences, but they colored him for the whole of his life.

After the war, he went to college and earned a geology degree. That's also where he met my mom. I will say the smartest thing he did was snag her and not let go once he found her. After they married, they traveled a lot following his job. Oh, I forgot. Mom said he was good in bed. Hey, you make your woman happy in bed, you're a success! Now granted, I really didn't want to know about their lunchtime quickies, but it's nice to know they were horny newlyweds just like everyone else.

Back to the career thing, once they settled in Iowa, Dad was a well respected geologist. He was active in professional organizations and did a good job for the companies he worked for. He even did lapidary work and made some gorgeous jewelry. I have some which I still wear. More important than the outward success, he stuck with his family.

His parents were verbally and physically abusive to him when he was young, yet he didn't abandon them when they were old and needed him. His dad had to be taken to doctors a lot due to a long chronic disease. My father took time off from work to get him there. My grandmother lived with us until her death after she contracted Alzheimer's disease.

That's the measure of a man, for me. Can he be counted on when the chips are down? My dad was that kind of man.

Mom called Dad her "teddy bear." She was scared of thunderstorms and if he was home, she was fine. If not, she was a jittery mess. If she heard a noise in the night - guess who got to investigate? Yup. He did. More importantly, he got out of bed, put on his robe, picked up a flashlight and some sort of weapon and checked on the noise. Usually it was a racoon going after the garbage.

For all our disagreements - and they were many and legendary - I counted on him too. If I had a flat tire (which I never learned to change), I called Dad. He might grumble when I needed him, but he showed up. He showed up for my sister, too. Even if he had to drive a couple of hours to get to us, he'd still come if we called.

There's a line spoken by Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings, "If by my life, or death, I can protect you - I will." That says it all. For all his faults, my dad could have uttered that line and not had anyone burst into laughter. That's the measure of a man, and Daddy ya had it in spades.

Happy Birthday!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Improv Nite...

I stayed up way too late last night. Why?
Improv Nite.

Now, I'm a shy person and I have a terror of public speaking. This is not super unusual, but I know that when I start selling more of my novels, I'm going to have to get out there and make presentations. AS AN AUTHOR! How scary is that? Huge. Just...Huge.... But I want to do it. I need to do it.

So when a friend mentioned she had a small improv group that met at her house, did I want to come? Well, I said sure. Count me in. I need to work on that phobia of mine so I can handle public speaking without a panic attack. Plus, I LOVE Whose Line is it Anyway- both the US and UK versions.

Well, I was nervous but I had a blast. We did some of our own improv things and even pulled a few from Whose Line - like If ya know what I mean and the Press Conference. That one was scary because I was one of the people sent out of the room while they concocted who I was. Turns out I was Paris Hilton and my dog died - but I actually guessed it! I'm so tickled I figured it out! We are going to meet again next month and I'll be there and ready to make up some fun stuff with my friends!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

It's not just about shushing@ your library!

Happy National Library Week everybody!

Why is this a big deal? Well, first of all, I'm a librarian, so it's a big deal for me. I love libraries and I always have. I spent a lot of time in libraries as a kid and young adult. As I grew up, I found new parts of the library to enjoy.

Why is is a big deal for everyone else? In a library you can find tons of great reading material and it's all free, as long as you return it on time. You can read best sellers, do research, pick up audiobooks to listen to while driving, ask reference questions, use public internet computers.... the list goes on.

Not only that, but libraries (and especially librarians) fight for your right to choose what you want to read and not have that choice made by someone else. It's one reason we commemorate Banned Books Week in the fall. We don't want books banned, we want you to decide for yourself while your neighbor decides for him/herself. We lobby to prevent the government from taking away our right to choose and our freedom to read.

Libraries are also community hubs. They are places to hang out with friends, have book discussions, attend library programs, and take your children to story time. So take a minute this week to stop into your local library and check out a book. Say "hi" to your librarian and thank him/her for encouraging literacy and lifelong learning in your community. They'll give you a great big smile - and they WON'T shush you. I promise. Trust me, I'm a librarian!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

I'm a FINALIST!!!!!!!

My Friday the 13th was a very lucky one this month. I received a message that my currently unpublished novel, Crime of Passion was a finalist in the Paranormal/Time Travel category of the Stroke of Midnight contest. Stroke of Midnight is organized by Passionate Ink, a chapter of Romance Writers of America.
I am so thrilled and surprised. It feels WONDERFUL! I know, it's not a publishing contract...yet. But it shows that someone other than me likes my story. I've had friends say, "Cesca, I like this." But friends are supposed to say that. After all, that's why they're friends. But the judges were objective and anonymous, so if they'd hated it they could have said so. I'm all floaty right now - without any alcohol or narcotic substances! I'll come back down soon, because I need to get editing...just in case. For tonight, just let me bask in the glow. happy sigh.....

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Monday, April 2, 2007


TMI. Normally TMI means "too much information." But for me... Well, lately, it's meant "too many ideas." You wouldn't think having tons of creative ideas hitting you would be a bad thing. I mean, consider the possibilities. But it's also like that scene in The Empire Strikes Back where Luke is getting bombarded by metal objects flying at him from all directions. Poor Luke reacts just a hair too slowly to keep from being overwhelmed and repeatedly beaten up without Vader laying a hand on him.

Sometimes, having too many ideas is just like that. You get a great idea for a story. Then another one, then another one. Yes, you get them written down, but before you can actually DO anything about one, you are struck by another one. Now, I admit, it's not a bad problem to have when you're a writer.

Heck, it's far better than staring at a blank computer screen and being totally unable to bring a creative concept to mind. However, it still causes problems. Problems like having ten stories going and not finishing something. So, while I still want to receive the ideas, I want to get better at batting them aside with my light saber before the next idea hits me in the head.

Wish me luck. ;-)