Wednesday, November 29, 2006

feeling MUCH better now....

So there I was about to go on the offensive about promoting my SINNERS AND SAINTS, which should appear in paperback any minute now, when Thanksgiving happened. Now you have to understand that Thanksgiving isn't just a holiday in my house. It's a sporting event. Because my lovely husband's grandmother was a collector of note--the note being that she had no money and still ended up with enough Limoge to hold a state dinner-- I always end up with Thanksgiving dinner at my house for my entire family; that was, this year, 34 people, all at linen tableclothes(on permanent loan from my sil who loves estate sales), crystal(mismatched) and Limoge plates. The place looks like a British officer's mess, with tables taking up every square inch of available non-kitchen space, and my family taking up the rest as we cook two turkeys, and lashings of dressing(my mom's basic depression dressing) and various other starch-ladened classics. We have a fabulous time, that usually ends with somebody getting whipped cream, if not an actual pie in the face(this year I was so honored. My 16 year old neice nailed me--and then teepeed my tree).

But since there can't be a holiday without some kind of disaster(when my kids were teens and insisted on using my oven for pizza, we never quite got the dinner rolls cooked, because my oven would catch fire from the grease and turkey stuff---the good news is that my kids now have great disaster-related reflexes) this year my one brother managed to make my toilet overflow--right through the floor to where my son has rigged up all the various equipment that makes our internet run. Yeah. Hiss. Crackle. Meltdown. So I spent five days trying to replace it while hoping nothing big happened on email(good news. it was mostly spam).

So, now that you know my holiday trevails, I hope you understand the slight delay in my schedule of gushing enthusiastically about my book. And talking about the fairy series. As for the Unfortunate Miss Fortunes,with Jen Cruise and Anne Stuart, check in on Well Behaved at All Times. I'll be back tomorrow with more on the background of SINNERS. I'll also try and explain why I had to cancel the auction I'd hoped to do for the New Orleans police. I'm waiting to hear from them, and hope to have a fund that is equipment specific to replace it with.

Anyway, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, too. And you'll stop by again soon to hear about SINNES AND SAINTS. I swear it will be worth it.

eileen\kathleen, the evil twins

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

back to work

It amazes me sometimes how the rest of the world can be so organized. I just looked up from the Silhouette Nocturne book I've been writing as Kathleen to discover that it's November, and darned if I don't have a November book coming out(as Eileen). And not just any book; my beloved SINNERS AND SAINTS. If you've been with me, you know that the hardcover for SINNERS came out two weeks before Katrina hit. And that the book is about a forensic nurse who searches New Orleans for her missing sister---yeah. As a level 5 hurricane bears down on the city. Not good timing at all. And the reviews on the book were really glowing(I usually don't say stuff like that, but this book meant an awful lot to me). Even more important than the book reviews, were the reviews I got from the cops and docs and other New Orleans natives who helped me research. They told me that it was absolutely true to the city, which is the most important opinion I think you can receive on a project. I can't think of a US city I love more, even St. Louis, which is my native town. And I can't think of more generous, inciteful, gracious, funny people than the ones who went out of their way to make sure I could tell my story.

Anyway, the paperback version comes out in a week or two, and I need to take a bit of time and announce it. I'll add more in the next few days. Tantalizing you, if you will, with a peek into the twisted mind that created it(and I look so cute).

Til then, back to work.
eileen and kathleen, the evil twins

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Inimitable Sister Krissie and the Power of Envy

I'm afraid I'm always a day late and a dollar short on industry news. But I just caught wind(and a pretty foul one) of the crap that was posted on the blog of an anonymous hack who calls herself Ms. Snark about Anne Stuart. I say hack, because even her writing is insignificant. If you want it taken apart bad cliche by bad cliche, check out Jenny Cruise's Argh, Inc. I thought of answering on the Snark comment page, which is filled with the kind of vitriol Ms. Snark was hoping for, I'm sure. But I just don't want to give her any validation at all.

What this blog by the anonymous Ms--and other of her blogs I caught--reminded me of was Rush Limbaugh. Nobody plays the schoolyard bully better, making uninformed, often cruel accusations about his enemies for the sole purpose of catering to that small, mean part of the human spirit that says, "yeah! You're not better than me!" And how much easier is it to indiscriminantly accuse behind a mask of anonymity. It isn't just petty, it's cowardly.

But when this would-be pundit incorrectly accuses someone who is not only a friend, but a colleague and, truth be known, one of my role models , I don't think anybody needs to be polite back. Anne Stuart has been in this business longer than I have, over twenty years. In that time she's been the consummate professional: talented, responsible, exceedingly generous, and, okay, she looks great in a habit. Not only that, she's made a hell of a lot of money for the houses for which she's worked. As my brother the Marine says, she's definitely earned her stripes. I consider it an honor that she is a colleague.

Yes, as Ms. Snark says, there are those whiny authors nobody wants to deal with. But as Jenny Cruise said, the ones who will end up working for no one are the ones without talent, and without the ability to bring in money. How many ways can you say that Anne Stuart is a New York Times author? The idea that because after twenty years she told a truth in the industry,she should be vilified, is absurd. Who has more right? The anonymous Ms. Snark, who, for all we know is a fat, fifty-year old accountant in Pacoyma? Even if this person actually is an agent, would you sincerely wish to be represented by a person whose message is, "Shut up and be a good girl?" Gee, thanks. No.

Every author has been through what Anne talked about. It's that kind of industry. And for anyone who compares it to, say, selling washing machines, trust me. There really is no comparison. And would you rather this kind of thing remain our secret? Would anybody who wants to survive in publishing really wish they weren't told the truth? Or would you rather be surprised that it's a hard business? It's hard when you begin: it's hard as you go on; it's hard no matter how famous you are. If it weren't, Hemingway never would have shot himself.

So I hope Ms. Snark enjoys her fifteen minutes of fame. That's all she's worth. Because, if she could write like Sister Krissie, she wouldn't waste her time slinging mud from behind a fence.

eileen\kathleen, the evil twins

Friday, November 10, 2006

Oh, and one more thing....

Did I tell you I'm from St. Louis? Did I happen to mention I'm a Cardinals fan? Well, my son has told me he can never put me in a nursing home, now. I took him to a World Series game. And if I can finally figure out how to post pictures, I'll put up a shot of us at the stadium. Cause, WE WON!!!!!!!!!

So, Hooray Cardinals! And now that the series is over, I can concentrate on my books again.
eileen\kathleen, the evil twins

and now for something completely different...

This is a political post that isn't. I just had to comment on the election. Not who won. That's almost incidental. The fact that so many people came out to vote. Now, you have to understand I'm an child of the 60's, when we were all involved. When the vote was the most important thing in the world, and we were happy to wait, because we could change the world(okay, that didn't work so much, but we did manage a few things...oh, say the end to the war in Vietnam). Anyway, it's not been since then that I've seen what I saw Tuesday. I stood in line for an hour and fifty minutes. In an area that's chockful of old, cranky people(older and crankier than I). And not only did everybody stand without complaint outside for at least an hour and a half each, but everybody--EVERYBODY was talking about how excited they were to be voting. Old people, young kids, everybody. I felt like I was in a Frank Capra movie.

Now, I love what I do. But it ain't brain surgery. I've seen brain surgery, and this isn't it. And as much as I'd love to say this isn't true, it isn't nearly as important as what we did Tuesday. We reinvolved ourselves in the national debate. We reclaimed our right and responsibility to have a voice in our future. Hooray for us! And now, hopefully, we'll remember that our responsibilities last beyond election Tuesday. Oh, and one more thing. I brought a book while I stood in line. And when somebody commented on what a good idea it was, I handed them one of mine. I'm not completely altruistic, after all.

eileen\kathleen, the evil twins.

Friday, November 03, 2006

the rules of writing

Okay, I just had to say this. I just saw where yet another author put on his\her blog the rules of writing. And I think of the years I struggled to consider myself an author, because I didn't obey any of the rules that other people--who knew they were right--laid down. Oh, I could write. I'd been doing it non-stop since I was ten. I have a big lock box full of the stories I'd written, and I thought they were good. But I wasn't an author, because I couldn't follow the rules.

Most of the books I read on the subject were written by people with left brains. Outline, character charts, routine writing hours, etc, etc. Well, not only do I have a vestigial left brain that is all used up with punctuation and spelling, I'm so dominantly right brain that not one of those suggestions worked for me(okay, and I was diagnosed last year with ADD. It's the hat trick of disorganization).

I felt like a failure because I couldn't write an outline to save my life. Not that I can't write a synopsis. I can tell you who my characters are, what the conflict is, and many of the scenes that are within. But to do it in a linear fashion before I actually write the book is, literally, impossible. Every time I try I can feel my head hit the wall. I'm frustrated, I feel like a failure, and my creativity shuts up like an irritated clam. It took me years of study on brain function and some wonderful books on using the right brain to finally understand that the way I wrote, which included laundry-listing items in the book, doing a free-association character study that just let the character talk for herself, writing my books in what we lovingly call the binge-and-purge fashion(more on that later), was absolutely right. For me.

Here's the best word I've ever heard on the subject of rules of writing. It's by Somerset Maugham, who said, "There are three hard and fast rules to writing. Unfortunately, nobody knows what they are." In other words, whatever gets words on paper in a timely fashion is the right way. For you. Yes, I can give suggestions. Anybody can. Just remember they're suggestions of what works for me. You have to take those and see if they fit into your way of doing things. If it energizes you to write better, more easily, more comprehensively, great. If they stop the words like big clots in your chest, then they're the wrong suggestions. Keep looking.

If you want to write, and you want to improve, you'll always find something that resonates for you. I do all the time. But always keep in mind this simple fact. Not every rule is for every author.

Happy writing!
Eileen\Kathleen, the evil twins