Tuesday, December 1, 2009

wiki world building...huh?

So I had the coolest idea for an urban fantasy the other day. I was reading a really well-written, sexy novella, and it mentioned something I'd never heard of before: Hedge Witches. Well, maybe I've heard of them, but don't know much about them.

I don't want to spin off too much into my idea (the suspicious author says, nervously casting about her glance and clutching her fresh idea closely to her chest), but let's just say that a kick-ass UF heroine popped into my head, and she's not going away.

I've wanted to write a UF for a long time now. I bounced back and forth between paranormal romance and UF, and I've read some sexy hybrids (Jeaniene Frost's Grave series, for one) that are probably more likely the route I'll take.

Right now, I'm feeling both excited and overwhelmed. An entire novel? Really? And it will involve world-building too.

Which brings me to this cool thing I stumbled across some time ago: wiki world-building. Now, I haven't actually done it yet...because I didn't have a world to build yet, lol. But now of course I'm going to check it out.

Any word out there from anyone who's done wiki world-building? Useful, confusing, any feedback at all?

In the past, I've used good old real-world tools like 3x5 cards, notebooks, notes, pictures ripped from magazines, etc. etc. (This would be for all those, ah, unfinished masterpieces I have sitting around. Sigh.) These all work...but boy, do they take up a lot of room. So I think I'm going to dive into this wiki thing. I'll keep you posted... And wish me lots of application of the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair as I actually WRITE.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

5 Reasons I Savor the Writing Life

I am a writer. Really, I am. I have the paystubs to prove it (well, the e-receipts and the looming taxes). I can give you links to my published work. I can tell you honestly that I get paid to sit at my laptop and put words to page. (Maybe not these words...but some words!

And yet how I do my UTMOST BEST, at times, to act as if dragging me to the keyboard is akin to making me walk the plank, ball & chain strapped to my leg. Why is this? I love being a writer. I've been a writer since the 2nd grade, when I "published" (classroom project) a picture book about Hermie the hermit crab and his undersea friends. I adore creating worlds, characters, plots. (Well, I love it more when they just sort of spring fully-formed from my Zeus-like head, but you get my drift.) I LOVE getting hard cold cash (check, direct deposit, whatevs) for my writing. I mean, how cool is that, still? Chortle.

So what the hell, eh? I love writing. Let me share with you, and remind myself, why:

5) I can listen to the most disreputable music while writing, at full volume, and bother no one but the cat. She's finicky anyway. Oh, and the dog might hide out in his "den" under the guest room bed, but he's just unappreciative of loud noise. (Hey, I happen to enjoy Kid Rock and Eminem at certain moments. So sue me. Yes, I also listen to R. Carlos Nakai's soothing flute music if so moved. Either way, I won't get written up by my manager.)

4) My office view is whatever the hell I want it to be, thanks to the miracle of technology. Have laptop, have wifi card linked to my cell service, have several hours of battery power. I can sit on top of a mountain and write. And post it to the web. And, um, shop and surf at the same time. (Danger, Will Robinson, danger.) But still. My view is sublime, and I can enjoy it in my ratty old slippers and animal-hair-covered yoga pants if I so choose. It's my office and I'll slob around it if I want to.

3) Online support community! Gone are the days of the reclusive, lonely, hard-drinking writer. (Mm, I suppose they're still out there...but it's hard to be hard-drinking before noon if you have a Twitter account you need to maintain with a semblance of sanity.) I can have writerly contact any time of day or night, in any corner of the world, in any genre, right at my fingertips. Ahhh...my people. They understand characters screaming in my head, plot conundrums that twist my brain into snarly little knots, and questions about the bad guy's virility that would raise eyebrows elsewhere. Only problem is how addictive and time-consuming these lovely communities can be...

2) It's a total valid, utterly legitimate, and possibly tax-write-offable (hmm, and word-creationable as well) excuse to buy lots of books. Like, hundreds. Thousands, even. Can I possibly read all of them in one lifetime? I'm trying, I'm trying! I tell you, being a writer is the absolute best excuse in the universe to pump up one's personal library. Especially, as a romance writer, those books with such delicious covers of drool-worthy heroes...excuse me, must go swoon over my TBR pile for a moment.

And (drumroll please), the Number One Reason I savor the writing life:

1) Full-bodied, rich, yet still delicate, red wine. Zesty, orgasmic-quality dark chocolate. No, no, think about the implications here: I can drink this nectar of the gods, and eat their favorite sustenance, while I'm writing for hire...which means that someone is paying me to drink wine and eat chocolate. The mind boggles. Is that not simply the craziest best reason to be a writer? Whodda thunk? I never did. But, whoo-hoo! Bring it on! I'm drinking red wine at this very moment! Eating great dark chocolate! And in another window I have open the piece I'm writing for pay. Which means that in some sort of circular motion not to be examined too closely, I'm getting money to indulge.

(attribution aarontait)

And that, my friends, about sums it up.

Can you top my reasons to savor the writing life? I'd love to hear them (so I can possibly expand my list, of course).

Monday, November 9, 2009

angela james might be one of my heroines

I've followed Angela James on her blog, Romance Divas, and most recently Twitter. Her journey just as a woman and mother today has been pretty cool to see, and of course as an editor. Now the news that she'll be heading up Carina Press, a new digital imprint from Harlequin, is so cool! My impressions of her from various boards etc. is that she's a good editor and has excellent business savvy...something I'd like in my own editor, lol.

I used to be a book editor myself, waaaaay back in the day before the Internet was as friendly and all-pervasive as it is today (that would be from 1995-1998 if we must be exact). Working for Alyson Books as a 20-something was eye-opening and cemented my desire to stay in the writing field. It also gave me tremendous insight into the publishing process and what editors go through. I like to think I was a good editor, respectful of my writers' work, while also holding firm to the line of polishing a book in order to give the buying public something wonderful (and darn sexy) to read. In one of my "other" lives as a freelance writer & editor (yeah, I'm one of those...have several diverse interests, lol), I had writers say positive things about my work as their editor that gave me confidence...and reminded me that the writer's work is always paramount, although a healthy dose of sound advice from a professional someone else is good too, heh. :)

So. Congrats to Angela James, and congrats to Carina Press. I like the idea of NO DRM too and higher royalties too--very much so. And, having worked with Harlequin as a freelance back cover copywriter for several years now, I respect their business savvy, marketing, accessibility, and definitely the friendliness and professionalism of the staff there with whom I've been in contact.

Overall, a win-win situation for everyone it seems. I'm looking forward to seeing how this venture will progress. Congrats to all involved!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

venturing forth into the big, scary, fun world

I've been blogging for years...I twitter...oh, and I write, of course. ;) But this is a brand spanking new blog for me, and it's a big first step toward my romance writing career.

Under the name Jesi O'Connell I've published several short pieces, though in total I've published about 20 (using a variety of pseudonyms...hey, they were all super-sexy and sometimes there was more than one published per anthology so I needed multiple names). All of those were erotica, which comes easily to me. (Mm, nope, no Freudian slip there. Who, me? Uh-huh.)

I have bazillions of ideas for stories. Yep, just like most writers out there. What I need is the follow-through, the dedication and commitment to my personal writing. As Mark Twain, I believe, said, the application of the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.


So here I go! Thanks in advance for the love (gulp...I hope that comes my way, lol!) and support. Sometimes it takes a following in order to keep producing. Kind of like belonging to a writer's group. A worldwide one in this case. :)