Saturday, March 31, 2007

Lacey's Eyes

Back in November (2006) I ran across this artist through a series of links from cartoonist's and CG artist web sites. I found her stuff to be hypnotizing, though dark at times. The artist's web site has a larger version of this painting--I Photoshopped it down to just the shoulders and up view (she paints the woman down to the waist or hips IIRC).

Although the gauntness and fraility of this subject is definitely not what I have in mind for Lacey, the eyes are dead-on in mood. The color's "wrong," too green, not quite cold enough, but the mood is just...sad and haunting enough. I dunno, maybe it's the perfect, pouty lips or the bony high cheekbones. The expression on this subject is what captivated me and brought thoughts of Lacey to mind. Check out samples of Lori Earley's other works on her web site.

I'm still thinking of the fashion examples collected in this earlier post, not to fear. The high-heeled thigh-high boots, for sure, ain't gonna get dropped from this story and besides, Lacey ain't no skeleton. Think athletic, lean killing machine in high heels :)

Friday, March 30, 2007

Yeah, I'm Still Alive

I deliberately stopped posting over New Year's, figuring it was a good cut-off date. I knew I wouldn't be able, due to time constraints, to maintain the blog the way I had been since August when I started it. I'm still too busy with life to see straight half the time but just had to share this chuckle-worthy joke I got in one of my inboxes today. As it sort of relates to one of the myriad of reasons why I stopped posting here, I found it just too apropos to resist.

* * *

A judge in New York state is presiding over a divorce for a Jewish couple. Once the proceedings are finalized, the woman thanks the judge and says, "Now I just have to arrange for a Get."

Unfamiliar with the term, the judge asks the woman what she means by a Get. The woman explains that a Get is a religious ceremony required under Jewish Law that officially terminates the marriage in the eyes of G-d and the Jewish world.

The judge says, "You mean a religious ceremony like a Bris?"

She replies, "Yes, it's very similar, but in this case, you get rid of the entire prick."

* * *

I've been writing, though very little due to time constraints. The Lacey & Rainey story now has a working title: A Life In Death. An editor at Kensington Books expressed interest in January in seeing it. I'd hoped to finish it and clean it up in time to send to her by the end of February. Alas, life has intervened (gotta pay the bills, right?) but I'm not giving up.

Just this week, I've gotten over 8000 words of a new opener done. The real trick, which will require a goodly amount of time and larger amount of mental focus, will be editing the mid- and end-sections of the NaNoWriMo manuscript to retrofit it to the correct story arc, the original story arc, that is.

Any of you who was reading the blog in December knows that when I got to around 68,000 words, my story arc had begun veering off. By 95,000 words (of this est. 115,000 word book), I was sure I was telling "the wrong story" -- that is, I was ending a completely different story than I'd started out to tell. No way, no how was I going to get back on track in the last 20,000 words. Unless I waved some AuthorConvenient magic wand, which I *HATE AND DESPISE* when done by others. So. It was back to the drawing board with me. Then *boom* life struck a blow of reality. Oops, had to go to work to pay the bills.

But I'm still writing, whenever I can. Mostly, instead of eating breakfast or lunch, I sit down with the laptop, music BLARING, and pretend the world has gone away for an hour at a time--if I'm lucky. If not, so I spend a half hour. A writer's gotta write, right? :)

I'm doing more writing from scratch now, than editing and salvaging. It's easier that way. Certain scenes and events "must" occur and others I just really like and enjoy (forex: I love the whole Lisa/Steffan subtext and will definitely retain that, plus the Tony and "Prudence from Portsmouth" subtext held such great potential, I haven't the heart to kill it).

In the event, I had to dig into both Rainey and Lacey's pasts to work out the right points for both the opener and the apex of the arc--at least, if I still wanted to arrive at the ending I'd originally envisioned and I do, very much.

It's a great story. I love these characters--and many of the secondary characters that have evolved. I'll finish this book before I start another. I swear by all that's holy I'll resist any voices that start in on me before Lacey & Rainey are living happily ever after...erm, maybe not happily forever after but...well, they'll both be alive and sorta kinda "out of the game" at the end of this story. Okay, maybe not completely out of the game, but they'll both be alive. I'm not killing my Hero and Heroine, I promise. Or Tony. He's too funny and has to "get the girl" in another book, but Lisa must die, right? Hey, someone's gotta die here and it's a given that Jolly F***ing Roger (the Villian) will be dead dead dead so... :)

I might not be posting here again for another 3 months, but I'll definitely let you know when my work situation changes such that I can--and do--finish A Life In Death and send it off. It will be going to Kensington, for sure. I really like them the more I dig into them and their author list. My favorite (so far) of their Romantic Suspense list (which is my subgenre of choice) is Shannon McKenna. Read some of her stuff, but be prepared: one of my favorites of hers (Behind Closed Doors) is extremely tense, edgy and graphically sexual. She does Villians so well, though, I can't resist. I think I actually like her Villians better than her Heroes in some cases.

Another author I've been reading (and I'm sure being influenced by) is British author, Christopher Priest, most-recently known for his book The Prestige, which was made into a fabulous movie. The book's totally different and totally the same. See the movie--then watch it again--then read the book!! You'll be glad you did. Read some of his other stuff, too. He was hailed in the 70s and 80s as "the best Romantic Science Fiction" author around--I had no idea there was such a subgenre in SF--and he's won a myriad of awards for his dozen or so books. Hopefully, his decade-long hiatus before The Prestige won't be repeated and we'll see him writing more for the next 20 years.

Update: Priest has actually published another story after The Prestige, this one titled The Separation. At the time of this update, I'm exactly halfway through it and WOW. He just gets better and better with time. I read some of his earlier works and I can see the blatant improvement in his writing skills. He's amazing. Not since I read my first Lois McMaster Bujold, have I felt I was reading ART rather than mere fiction. His earlier works, although they won awards, aren't consistently high-quality, but are entertaining. His recent work, though, is beyond criticism. It's rare an author achieves perfection--and those that do, deny it. Emphatically. The rest of us must sit back in awe and declare it to be so. Priest is at that point in his craft to consistently achieve perfection.

Check out his backlist. If you're in the US, your library must have at least a few of these titles. The UK version of Amazon is still selling a few, but of course, the shipping will be brutal. If you're in the UK, I'm jealous. You can probably still get and read all of his titles locally at second-hand stores! Yeah, Andrew R., Mark T., John H. that's you guys. Send me a Priest book and I'll send you back cookies--what a deal!