11 Apr

Deleted Scene from Silent Song

Silent Song is a second chance romance. As such, there’s a whole other story about what happened between Gin and Lex years ago. Part of figuring out who they are now and how their relationship works now involved looking at their shared past, so I have a ton of material about The Old Days.

The problem with any second chance romance is that it’s about the second chance, not the first attempt that failed, so no matter how great (or not) that ton of historical material may be, very little of it belongs in the book. Like any flashback, if it’s not immediately relevant to the now story, it’s not relevant at all.

This scene hung around longer than its peers that got cut. If I remember correctly, I was trying (unsuccessfully) to make it relevant to a subplot. When I cut three or four days from the story timeline and there wasn’t enough time for that subplot to happen, there was no longer even a flimsy excuse for keeping this scene. I thought about it yesterday, though, so I’m going to break my rule about sharing junk that ended up on the cutting room floor. (I usually don’t even save a file of what gets cut, but I kept 7,000 words trimmed from this book because I can’t let go.)

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16 May

Theme!

If the word “theme” gives you flashbacks to high school lit class and your withered soul is croaking “Kiiiiill meeeee,” relax. This is not about guessing the intention of some writer who’s been dead for 400 years (or, more accurately, guessing what the teacher’s guide guesses was the intention of some writer who’s been dead for 400 years). There will not be a test. Theme is but a tool in the writer’s toolbox, as a hammer is in a carpenter’s. The person reading the book or sitting in the chair can sense the stability of the structure without ever thinking about the tools used to achieve it. Only the craftsman needs to know how it was accomplished.

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10 May

Someone Asked: Grimdark Edition

Mailbag questions:

Q1: Why did it take 18 months to write Silent Song?

A1: Because 2017 was a trash fire.

I spent much of the year trying to save the world. It was late September before I backed away from that pursuit because it wasn’t doing a damn bit of good in the grand scheme of things and my personal biz was suffering while I exhausted myself playing superhero. I wasn’t able to focus on writing until the last quarter of the year, and it shows in the production timeline.

I completely missed March due to a medication side effect that made me sleep 20 hours a day (and my 4 upright hours weren’t even consecutive), so not one word was written then. In all fairness, few other verbs occurred during that month.

I wrote 100,000 words of porn because that’s quick, thought-free money. (That’s not a dig against erotica or erotic romance writers. I used PORN for a reason.) That writing took away from novel writing, but the novel couldn’t be written and published in 5,000-word chunks every week or so and I have bills to pay, so the porn won the battle for my time.

Although I had a rough draft of the novel by the end of May, which is typical for me, it was a really, really fucked-up rough draft that obviously ignored its fomenting problems in favor of being able to say it was finished. (Have I mentioned I don’t do well with deadlines?) It had to be rewritten basically from scratch. So really, May→May = 1 year, right on schedule.

In summary, 2017 was a bad year all around, and I will conveniently erase it from my memory, along with much of my childhood.

The next book shouldn’t take that long because I’ve learned valuable lessons about how far my time and below-average energy reserves don’t stretch and will limit my extracurricular activities accordingly.

Q2: Why isn’t Silent Song in KU?

A2: Because Saturn is leaving my something-or-other and making me take principled stands that are going to ruin my life. (The horrorscope said “change your life for the better,” but it obviously doesn’t know how publishing works.)

I know romance power readers love KU. If you’re reading a book a day for $10/month, I understand the allure.

On the publisher side of the Amazon middleman, however, an alarming number of people, even when they think they’re cheerleading for KU, talk about the program like they’re in an abusive marriage—“they hit me again,” “I’m being punished for what someone else did,” “I can’t afford to leave,” “it will be just as bad with anyone else,” “the odds of dying are greater if I leave.” There are definite benefits to being in that relationship, but the drawbacks finally outweighed the benefits for me, and I reached the point where I would rather die than stay. At the moment, comparing current launch numbers to previous releases, it looks like I’m going to get that wish! Fortunately, I have a sweet write-for-hire gig that has nothing to do with Amazon and can almost afford to have my romance career murdered. It’s worth it to be out of the daily uproar about what new fuckery is happening on that side of the fence.

I regret losing readers who borrow rather than buy, but freedom comes at a cost and principles demand sacrifice.

At least I had the decency not to start a series in KU and then take it away from you before it was finished!

03 May

Paperback in the pipeline

I got the second batch of paperback proofs today, with the brightness and contrast adjustments. These don’t look like they took a bath in black ink, so I approved them. Paperback should start to pop up at online retailers within a few days. I’ll update the Books page and the Silent Song page with links as I find them.

The shiny finish of the cover isn’t doing it any favors for photography purposes (it’s not this washed-out in real life), but you get the idea about the lack of definition in the initial printing versus the new.

I went through the trouble of getting a mantitty cover, so I demand to see abs, dammit!