Whee!

It’s been a hectic weekend. First off, it’s looking like we need to replace our car sooner than we’d anticipated, so my plans to go to RWA Nationals this year are more than a bit moot, unless Morgan should manage to get a significantly better job in the next couple months (given his recent health, not very likely). Needless to say, I’m pretty bummed about that. 🙁

We went to Boskone, a local science fiction and fantasy convention, with a couple friends. Unfortunately, due to a fubar on Boston’s part (parts of the subway line we needed to take were shut down for this weekend only), we didn’t get to the con until 4pm on Saturday, so I missed quite a bit of the panels I’d wanted to see. Still a lot of fun, though, and I got to meet up with some people I hadn’t seen in a year or more.

I might be going to Lunacon next month. Smudge and Pen are going and offered to split a room with me and the male. Morgan has had to take a lot of time off work, so he wouldn’t be able to, but Pen lives close enough that we can probably carpool. It’d be a lot of fun–and hey, it’s in New York, which is one place I haven’t been to yet. Not that I’d do much besides hang around folks at the con, but still!

In other news, I’ve received a few awesome reviews these past couple days. Cocktail Reviews, a new review blog, gave The Twilight Deception five champagne flutes (their second highest rating!) and Wasting the Dawn four flutes. A couple quotes:

“What an utterly fantastic read. I haven’t read a book that has affected me in this way for a while.” — Wilga Hill Boomerang on Twilight.

“Ms. Drake has an exceptional voice and a unique ‘thing’ that just shines from the page.” — White Russian on Wasting.

Annnnnnnnnnnnd…

About a month or so ago, I sent a query to Mrs. Giggles for The Twilight Deception. I happened to check the website today, not so much because I wanted to check, but because I love her site… and she’d posted the review.

She rated it an 83.

For Mrs. Giggles, this is high praise, indeed. I’m still bouncing off the walls. A long-ish quote: “Elisabeth Drake has an interesting alternate world in this story. Vampires and witches are nothing new, but the otherworldly vampires here are not the usual vampires and their ability to pass themselves off as humans even in broad daylight allows some interesting possibilities. The author also knows how to tell a story in an entertaining manner – this short story has excellent build-up and ends most satisfactorily despite the book being only 75 pages long. I don’t feel that the story is rushed to a conclusion.”

I’d hoped she would like it, but… this is Mrs. Giggles. She is known for char-broiling manuscripts. While I’ve had several picky people crit/beta read my work, much less editors, I’m not going to assume that someone won’t think it’s crap anyway. ^_^

So, yeah, bouncing off walls. Whee!

Romance Divas eBook Challenge: Transformation

(Note: Argh! I posted this the other day and for some reason, the blog program I posted from marked it as private even though it wasn’t supposed to be. >_< Better late than never, I guess…)

Happy Valentine’s Day! I’m participating in Romance Divas’ eBook Challenge. Click here for the full list of participants and genres, though I think some of the latter are a bit out-of-date. (Gotta love it when you change your mind about what you’re writing, LOL.)

Here’s a short excerpt from the story I’ve contributed, Transformation. I should mention that the story isn’t a romance. It’s dark urban fantasy with a different spin on werewolves and vampires. I had a lot of fun writing it, and I hope you enjoy reading it! 🙂

 

Chill air surrounded me, shadows of souls long since passed haunting its crisp essence. Goosebumps rose across my flesh, tingling; I shivered. Surrounded by death, Kestrel. You will always be surrounded by death. My grandmother’s last words rang through my head. My face paled. The bouquet of flowers I had brought her dropped from my hand to the grave below.

What would she think? I could do naught but stare down at it as night’s mist wrapped around me. I loved my grandmother very much… perhaps almost too much. It’d been five years since her death, and still, I brought her lilies every anniversary of her death.

And now these are soiled by the touch of another soul. I could, of course, pick them up and take them to Grandmother’s grave anyway–but both she and I would know the truth. She haunted my dreams enough. I did not need to give her cause to do so further.

Apprehension roiled in my stomach as the howl of my brethren pierced night’s flimsy armor. Nearly time. Clouds moved, and the moon shone down, through withered scarecrow trees. My heart beat fast, and my gut clenched.

So close. I hadn’t realized…

“Houndfather’s bloody kill!” I swore, but anger disguised confusion within. With the full moon so high, I should already have felt the alterform stirring within me, claws scraping beneath my skin, tearing at the mask of humanity. Perhaps even have already entered the beginnings of the transformation–body hair multiplying in patches, fingernails sharpening, enlarging, sense of smell increasing …

But I felt nothing but my own fear.

Wanna read the rest? Click here!

One down…

I finished my short story for Forbidden Publications’ Valentine’s Day collection yesterday. It ended up about 8k long — so much for my 5k estimate — and I’m rather pleased with it. There’s some things I want to go over and punch up, but overall, I think it came out quite nicely. 🙂

Now that that’s done, I’m back to working on Stronger than the Night, as well as preparing what equates to a series plan. I need to figure some things out on that end first, though. All in all, I’m a busy kitty. 😉

Two pieces of good news…

First off, I got my cover for Waking the Shadows today. Click here to see it. 🙂

Secondly … I finished Resurrection! After the absolute hell I’ve gone through with this damn thing, I’ve finally finished it. Total wordcount: 53610

I’m going to post the total manuscript for my crit partners to look over and hopefully get to rewriting it in short order. As the first sixteen chapters were written three years ago, I think that’s enough time to let it sit. 😉

*squeeboing*

Long time, no blog… eep!

OK, I hadn’t realised it’d been that long since I’d last blogged. 😳

I’ve been pretty busy these past couple weeks, what with working on the Bites, teaching A&B, and handling stuff around Evolution. Cut down on LJ, which helps with procrastination and minimizes the drama I have to deal with. (Unfortunately, while I’m not the sort to start fights… I am the one to finish them. 🙄 )

Anyhoo, spent several days earlier in the month trying to figure out exactly what I was going to do for the Bites. I could choose from three prompts:

  • Theme 1: Both stories must incorporate a silver sword.
  • Theme 2: The heroine in the first story must wear a piece of jewelry that the hero in the second book later finds.
  • Theme 3: The heroine must be the same in both stories.

After some thought, I decided to go with #3. I don’t work very well with object-related prompts. Even when I was writing short stories regularly at MuseMuggers and used generator prompts, I stuck with character type or theme and chucked the object. 😛

So I had to figure out a character. No big deal, right? Well, it turned out to be a bit more complicated than I thought, because while I had vague ideas for characters, I wasn’t coming up with anything that “grabbed” me. If it doesn’t grab me, then I’m probably going to do a sucktastic job at it.

Eventually, I gave up trying to create something new and started going through some of my old files, wondering if I maybe had something I could use.

… and I came across an old story, “The Identity Vampire.” It’s several years old at this point and drastically needs a rewrite, but the basic premise: Arielle Thompson, preternatural specialist, comes to LA to investigate a strain of attacks leaving people in a comatose state. This is actually the story that spawned the setting for Stronger than the Night. (I threw out a lot in the prewriting/writing for Stronger that didn’t fit my purposes. ;))

My original concept for the character’s a bit off in regards to plausibility, but what do you expect? I wrote it when I was fifteen, without knowledge of Google or Wikipedia. 😛

A tweak here, a tweak there… I kept the preternatural specialist angle, but changed it so she’s working for the Paranormal Investigations subdivision of the FBI. Their basic function is to cover up paranormal activity and protect the American people. For the most part, anything that stays underground and hidden, they’ll leave alone, but otherwise… all bets are off.

Once I figured out character, then I had to come up with an idea for the story. Mulled over that for a bit and then came up with a premise. After receiving reports of vampiric activity, Arielle travels to a small town in Oklahoma to investigate. Basically, she’s up against a master vampire — and in her quest to stop him, she encounters Jackson, a vampire who’s trying to take him down before he can fuck things up for everyone else.

Sounds cool, right?

Slight problem.

I didn’t realise until late Tuesday evening (the 25th), when I was a good 3.3k into the story, that there was no way either of them were going to jump in the sack anytime soon. Neither of them work that way. He might sleep with her, but he wouldn’t do it with any feeling to it. And Arielle? Her basic attitude towards sex is, “I don’t need a man. I have a vibrator.” 🙄

Yeeeeeahhhhh.

Cue major freak-out. Less than a week till deadline, and not only did I have to toss my story out the window, I had to come up with a new idea!

I owe Amme, my crit partner/writing buddy, some major thanks. She listened to my frantic “ohmygodohmygodohmygod”ing and brainstormed story ideas with me. If not for her, I think I might still be banging my head against the keyboard!

I could explain the story, but I’ll post a short snippet instead. 😉

There’s some things you expect when you sign on with the FBI as resident preternatural specialist and paranormal investigator. Tracking down “odd” crimes, taking down master vampires, trolls of the non-Internet variety, hell, even your over-nosy hearthwitch here and there.

Stomping through a smelly Louisiana peat bog? Wasn’t on the list.

“What kind of demon sets up shop in a swamp?” I grumbled as I waded through thick marsh, wrinkling my nose and wishing I’d held out for a wetsuit. Thigh-high rubber boots don’t cut it. Not by a long shot.

Jackson, my partner, shrugged. You’d think being a vampire, with the whole heightened senses deal, he’d be more sensitive to the pungent smell, but apparently not. “It’s certainly an out-of-the-way locale.”

“Yeah, well, if they wanted out-of-the-way, why couldn’t they go to fucking Bermuda? Someplace where they wouldn’t be my problem?”

He didn’t bother answering. As usual. But that’s Jackson for you. Logical and practical to the point of infuriation. At least he’s got a cute ass. I don’t know if I’d put up with him otherwise.

Finished Seeking Shadows (the story) late Thursday night, revisited it the next morning to add a half-scene and tweak some consistency errors, then sent it off to my editor. I’m not sure how much rewriting it’ll need, as FB states in their guidelines that they prefer third person. That being said, it might be more of an issue with longer work than shorter, as first-person limits a novel to the MC’s knowledge and viewpoint.

We’ll see. It shouldn’t be an issue to change from first person to deep third, anyway. 🙂

Acceptance! *squee*

About a week or so ago, I read the submissions call for Freya’s Bower Bites line on their blog and on Romance Divas. After asking a few questions of one of their editors on the RD thread, I went ahead and submitted my query and writing sample early April 9th.

Ironically, the writing sample I submitted was a rough draft from Resurrection. This one, actually.

Yesterday afternoon, I got a response:

Hello Heidie.

Congratulations! It’s official! You’re a new Freya’s Bower Bites author. Welcome aboard!

You are also in the running for the books that will be awarded soon.

Youwill be contacted soon with prompts for your two stories and a contractfor the first rough draft and final drafts will be emailed to you.

Again, congratulations!

Regards,
Faith Bicknell-Brown

Cue mad squeeing. 😀

I’m really looking forward to this. Some of y’all who knew me back in 2003 remember I used to write erotica and erotic romance stories, but stopped for various reasons, one of them being marketability. Some of my work is very dark, and I’m still working on finding “homes” for those pieces — but the more romantic erotic pieces I have, I couldn’t find a home for, either. At the time, there were erotic romance ebook pubs, but they wanted novellas or longer, and most of my stuff was under 10k.

As for the erotica markets, well … they seemed to mostly be aimed at contemporary/literary than SF/F, with some exceptions. Now, I do stuff with a more “literary” tone to it, but even that has fantastic elements and would be classified as slipstream/experimental. I’ve tried to write contemporary without any fantastic elements … it really doesn’t work.

As I had several stories that I had difficulty finding homes for, I decided to work on other things instead. It’s not like I don’t have enough ideas clamoring for my attention, after all. 🙄

The different categories I mentioned interest in writing are paranormal romance, fantasy, gay/lesbian (I’m sure you’re so surprised), and werewolf/vampire. So, basically, I get to write just the sort of stuff I love. Whee! 😀

*blink*blink*

So I checked the email box I formerly used exclusively for submissions, as I needed to double-check rights on an article contract. I never check this box anymore, as I switched to using my main gmail account for it last spring and any submissions I had out from it, I’d queried with the new address.

Anyway, I find a rejection from an anthology I’d submitted to in 2004. The editor commented that the character’s behavior was unconvincing and unrealistic. (Funny, people who read it prior to my submitting didn’t think so, but whatever.)

But, that’s not what bothers me. Cause even if I don’t agree with it, I appreciate it when an editor takes time to comment on my work.

Closing line? “You would benefit from attending [publisher’s short fiction workshop].”

Which, when I go look at it on their website, is $500.

Excuse me?

Am I the only one who considers this trollish, near-scamming, and absolutely unacceptable? Cause, look, I don’t really care when they collect my email address from submissions and put me on their mailing list for stuff like this. Usually, you can unsubscribe if you don’t want to receive the info, and all’s good.

But to reject a story and tell the author she should take their class? Uh. No. Sorry. Fuck off and die.

*puts another market on the do-not-submit list*

*sighs*

Meep…

Sorry for not updating in awhile. Past couple weeks have been hellish. I just switched birth control pills (orthocylene to a progestin-only pill), so my hormones have been all out of whack and I’ve felt shitty. It’s starting to calm down some, though, thankfully.

I’m still struggling with the Stronger rewrite. Eric, my antagonist, is not being very cooperative. I’m having more trouble with him than Tasha, Aster, and Kierhan combined. It’s rather annoying.

In other news, I’m also working on a short piece for the MuseMuggers anthology, Red Silk Skull. I think this is the first time I’ve outright written about a necromancer, and I rather like how it’s coming along. 🙂