Apr 072010

Wild ThingOh, a Wild Thing snippet! I had such a good time with this one–short and fast, and since I had already written the first two Sentinel books before tackling this prequel (prequelette?), it was vast fun to write. I already knew all the gleeful little details!

Watch her, Nick Carter had told Mark Burton, and sent Mark into the night after Tayla Garrett—into the sporadically lit Phoenix park she patrolled this night. Watch her patrol, watch her stalk the night greenways—a little sideways jog to avoid a loose dog, so casual and then all her attention back on the night, on the people within the park and only Mark’s excellent warding keeping him from her scrutiny.

Watch her. As if Mark had been doing anything but watching Tayla Garrett since his recent reassignment had them crossing paths in Sentinel field activity. Not to mention in the Phoenix brevis regional office, in the hallways…in the damned security lot where she sometimes parked a scooter and sometimes parked a bike. But she’d made it clear enough she still—after all this time—preferred to keep her distance, and he’d reluctantly, achingly, respected her wishes. In spite of the restlessness, the aching, and the tendency to offer her name at intensely inappropriate moments in his personal life.

Not that he’d expected to see that particular date again, anyway.

She’d always done that to him. As an awkward fourteen-year-old, growing into impossibly long legs, learning to hide her natural speed from the world and to finesse her cheetah shift, while Mark, a much more mature and worldly eighteen year old, learned that he was indeed human-bound in shape, regardless of his parentage and obvious peripheral shifter skills—the physical prowess, the tracking skills, the prescience…

She runs the Phoenix city parks at night…

Feb 262010

posted on Friday

The Reckoners

It’s simple, really.  I know people try to make it complicated, but it’s not.

If you want the books–the high caliber submitted-chosen- edited-professional books–to exist in the first place, you’ve got to contribute to the writers who create them and the publishers who put them out there.

That means buying the books, not taking stolen freebies off the ‘net.

Oh, everyone’s got their reasons for taking.  Some are philosophical, some are tangled with the frustration of the floundering emarket as it tries to find good working business models, some are pure entitlement.  Some have no thought behind them at all, but just want.

The thing is, those reasons don’t matter.

The bottom line for me is the same.  You’re stealing from me.  You’re making it harder for me to buy food while I write the next book.  You’re enjoying (I hope) the fruits of my labor without offering anything in return.

The bottom line for you is the same, too.  You’re making it harder for this business to find its way through a world of changing technologies.  You’re narrowing what the publishers can afford to offer you.  You’re pushing authors out of the business and putting publishers closer to the edge.

Do you think  it doesn’t matter, in these days when publisher/retailer/device provider squabbles are big news?  When new authors/new series have no leeway to build an audience, but must perform out of the blocks?  When established series stutter and die, already tangled in distribution and warehousing issues?  You’re wrong.  It matters.

You matter.

You may not care.  You may say, “Hey, throw the ‘net open to whoever wants to put their work out there!  That’s the way it should be, and then we can read it all!”

But hey…are you paying attention?

Because I am.  And I’m more than just a writer, I’m a reader.  I’m as greedy as any thief, in my way.  I want more than any old book–I want good books!  I want to see my favorite authors survive and thrive and have the chance to write what their heart tells them to write.

Because you see, whether or not my own work is published, I’ll always write.  You can’t take that away from me.  But my opportunity to read the kind of amazing work that’s produced by stable publishers supporting the mature brilliance of a writer so driven that s/he’ll do this work with the discipline it takes to reliably turn out a book worth savoring?  That, you can mess with.  That, you have messed with.

Oh, yes.  You matter.

Please stop stealing my books.

Dec 102009

First posted: Harlequin’s Paranormal Romance Blog, May ’09

Ending at the Beginning…. I had no awareness I was doing it that way, or I’m sure it wouldn’t have happened at all. I would have done it the sensible way, you know. In order. And what a treat I would have missed out on!

Wild ThingI contracted for the first Sentinel book (Jaguar Night, this May) before the Bites were even launched…and for the second two before I then had the chance to pitch for my own Bites idea. So I’d written all three books before I sat down to write the novella, Wild Thing, that would introduce that world to readers.

I’d expected to slip in some world-building as a matter of course–each of these works stands on its own. I think it’s more fun if you read them in order–there’s a quiet, three-book story arc in the background, for one thing–and more fun if you read them all, but if you read them totally backwards, that’s okay. If you read one and not the others, that works, too. So that means each of the books has enough world-building to stand there on its own, and doing it for the novella was a familiar feeling.

It’s the same with the characters. Although each book has its own starring relationship, there are supporting characters who play a role in all three books–and of course there are glimpses of the couples we’ve seen along the way. Especially in Wolf Hunt, when the characters from Jaguar Night and Lion Heart find their way back into the active plot (and oh, how fun was that!). So I was used to introducing them…summing them up, letting them find a spot or two in which to place their own unique stamp of presence.

So what was different?

Jaguar NightUsually, when I’m kicking off a series, I’m discovering all these things for myself. I’m stopping to ponder the supporting characters,and at that point I don’t always know how they’ll be involved along the way. (Even with outlines, I do a lot of my writing by the seat-of-the-pants method. Sometimes, one might say, in spite of outlines.) And when a supporting character goes full-form during the course of a book and ends up playing a significant part, then I go back and retrofit him or her into the book. In this case, with the trilogy, characters developed over the course of the series. The Sentinel team member mentioned in passing in the last third of Book One was, by Book Three, endowed with a name and hints at a backstory.

So the unusual luxury in writing Wild Thing was…I knew all that! For all of them! And although I do hope very much to write more Sentinel books, the first three-book story arc is complete, all its nuances and participating characters established…and yet there I was, back at the start. And it meant two things:

I didn’t have to pause the writing to make up the details.

But oops…I didn’t have my usual freedom to make up the details.

So this was me in the writing:

“Wheee! Oops (delete)… Wheeee! Oops (delete)… *gigglegigglegiggle*”

It’s good to have dignity.

A big part of me is tempted to change my ways…to plan so thoroughly, so completely, that I can hit every single book at whee-speed ahead. But reality strikes…I’ve had complete and detailed outlines before. I make it up as I go along regardless, following the outline as one might follow a parallel but separate road. That’s part of the spark and joy of the writing–discovering it all. In this case, knowing what I already knew left me free to devote that element of discovery entirely to Mark and Tayla and their realization that what they thought they knew about each other…

Well, wasn’t.


Mark and Tayla now inform me that they deserve their own full-length book. And those supporting characters I mentioned? I’ve already had requests for one of Jaguar Night‘s Sentinels to have more air time…it makes an impression! That’s where readers come in…what do you think? Do you have favorites? And once you’ve read a novella about a couple, do you think there’s still more story to explore? Inquiring minds want to know.

After all, the whee awaits!

Lion HeartWolf Hunt