Friday, July 25, 2008

A call, a sale and a blog!

Hey there, my naughty lovelies! *grins*

I haven't blogged here in awhile and actually was going to do another "Crazy crap people send me links to" post, much like my Rent-a-Dildo one a few months back. But, I have news so it will have to wait until next time. (Don't worry, I won't forget.)

Anyway, back to the blog and my news. I got "The Call" this week!! I sold my dark paranormal dragon-shifter story, DRAGON FIRE to Harlequin Silhouette Nocturne! Woot!!

Okay, I suppose I have to set up the steps before the call, so you can understand how the sale came to be.

June 2007 –
It’s conference weekend for our local WisRWA chapter and for the first time we have a silent auction. I noticed Tara - the senior editor's - name right away and instantly put my name down and something ludicrously cheap, like $8. Over the course of the day, I noticed I kept being outbid – by Lori Devoti - a Nocturne author! After a brief fight...err, polite discussion, she took her name out of the bidding and I ended up winning the first chapter critique for $25 (again, insanely cheap - I was shocked!)

I quickly polished up the chapter of my dragon-shifter romance I’d been fiddling with and sent it off, excited to finally have the opportunity for an New York editors comments and critique.

December 2007 –
Tara e-mailed me to let me know she had read the first chapter. and liked it. She said she didn't have dragons yet at Nocturne and was intrigued by the idea. So, instead of receiving a packet back in the mail with the pages all marked up and bloodied from her pen, she sent me a few things she wanted me to think about, perhaps change, asked me to write a prologue and to see a partial. That weekend, I wrote and trashed about six prologues before settling on one. I busted out a synopsis (I had hand written it in a notebook, but hadn’t typed it in submission ready form yet) and e-mailed it to her on Monday.

February 2008 –
When I saw an e-mail from her in my Inbox this time, I almost didn’t open it. I had to call my cp and have her talk me through it – no joke! I was so used to “thanks, but no thanks” I was sure I dropped the ball somewhere along the way , positive the synopsis had so many plot holes and clich├ęd storylines that a rejection was waiting for me.

Well, my cp was right all along (the supportive and smart wench that she is) – it was a good story and yes, Tara liked it too. She asked for a few tweaks off the synopsis and requested the full. This was the closest I’d ever been and I didn’t want to mess it up. So, I spent 6 weeks, finishing, tweaking, making her changes, editing and tweaking some more. My goal was to send her the full in March and I succeeded.

June 2008 –
Tara e-mailed to let me know she had the book with her and was going to read it asap and get back to me by the end of the week. Two weeks later...

July 2008 –
...It was 9:30-ish in the morning. I know because I had to leave work for a bit to pick my son up at Kindergarten summer program. After dropping him at home (where yes, he has someone watching him) I drove back to work. As I pulled into the parking lot of the gym, my cell phone rang. Seeing how it was a Monday, (a typically hectic Monday) and it had been two weeks of tensing at every phone call, I didn’t think anything as I picked it up. The caller ID said area code 212, which I knew from previous research was New York. Then I glanced up and the actual ID said “New York.” I took a deep breath and answered. Tara was on the line. Her voice was nothing like I expected - no NY accent, just smooth, eloquent and friendly. She immediately set me at ease and I think the first thing I said was "It's so nice to finally hear your voice!" I walked into the club and immediately pointed to the phone at my ear and mouthed "New York" to my boss.

Seeing how gyms are not the quietest place on earth, I went into the thankfully empty children’s playroom so I could hear her. We chatted for what felt like forever before she finally said, "I had a chance to read your book and I loved it. I would like to make an offer to buy it." I'm pretty sure I squealed, said OMG a couple times, thank you a dozen more. I wrote everything down and asked her a few questions. There are a lot of Harlequin authors in my local chapter, so I was pretty confident about saying yes to the offer over the phone. Actually, I think she had to ask me twice – something like, "So do you think the offer sounds good?" I laughed and said "Of course! I would be honored to accept it."

I sat down at the small kiddy drawing table (with my knees tucked to my chest) and we spoke for about a half hour about some revisions she wanted and following books in the series. When the call ended, I swore I could have bench pressed 500 pounds I was so excited! A few of our members who know I write, congratulated me and I spent the rest of my Monday with a huge smile on my face. :-) And the crazy thought that kept slipping through my mind was I basically bought a New York contract for $25. LOL! I mean, not really, but yeah...thank you Lori for not outbidding me! ;-)

If you'd like to learn more about Book 1 in this new series, friend and fellow Nocturne author, Lori Devoti interviewed me about DRAGON FIRE. It's posted over at Shape Shifter Romance.

Until next time...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Justify THIS!!

A post by another writer has stirred some thought in me. She was asking why we slave away at something that’s sometimes derided by others and often doesn’t provide a living wage. She expressed a lot of turmoil about continuing to write when it uses so much of our time, effort and resources. In essence, her true question was - why bother?

This question plagued me for a long time and I couldn’t put my finger on why until today. The answer hit me as I was slaving away at my 9 to 5.

We bother because we WANT to.

Why do we have to justify something that brings us so much joy and comraderie? Especially when it causes no harm. No one questions men about why they spend so much time on their hobbies. My husband just bought $300 worth of new golf clubs. No one asked him to justify why he enjoys hitting tiny balls across the equivalent of a massive backyard. (O-kay, maybe I have asked why he has to spend quite so much a time or two…)

I also find it amusing that the same people who put down others are usually boring couch potatoes. Maybe it’s jealousy that they don’t have the guts to go after what they want or maybe it’s just plain meanness, but these are NOT people qualified to judge anyone else.

If you’re struggling to make any dream come true, whether you want to write, paint or sing on freaking Broadway – GO FOR IT. The world is so much better to live in when we’re doing the things we love. And anyone who doesn’t get that needs to go back to their couch and continue watching all the bad reality TV that’s on.

MINX (blowing a raspberry at life in general)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

I need a vote at Whipped Cream Reviews

Hot Blooded has been put up for book review of the week. Voting is only today and tomorrow. I'd love to get a week of free promotion. =)

And the review is fabulous!

snippet: The one thing I look for in a vampire romance is a good bite scene and Kyann Waters knows how to deliver the goods. "Hot Blooded" is sensual, seductive and contains a surprise at the end that simply made me smile in delight. Actually, I think I said, “Cool!” ....

Ms. Waters knows the proper way to write a vampire bite for full sexual impact, how to save a tortured hero and how to give a reader a refreshing, exciting and unique HEA. It’s all wrapped up in a short story aimed at the best of what vampire romances are known for -- a happily ever after you can sink your teeth into.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Whence the Term "Cougar"?

I’m a big believer in love. I don’t tend to think in categories, but rather individuals. How do these two people love each other, and what are the obstacles to their love? So I’ve written all sorts of romantic combinations. One of the three relationships in Strange Sabbats, available now from Loose Id, is between an older woman and younger man.

I never heard the term “cougar” used to refer to a relationship between an older woman and younger man until last year, and I’ve been curious about its origins. I’m suspicious about labeling relationships with terms simply because they fall outside “norms” defined by “mainstream society.” Love is--simply and beyond labeling--love.

I’m especially suspicious when a woman is described in animal terms. Chick, barracuda, pet, kitten, playboy bunny, etc. Of course, a negative term always presents the opportunity for reclaiming, similar to the way the gay and lesbian community has embraced the word “queer” in an empowering manner.

Women now speak enthusiastically about “chick-lit” and “chick flicks” as a reflection of power to sway the entertainment industry. Look--there’s this whole genre out there driven by our wants and needs! I’m still a bit wary of the word “chick,” being just old enough to have experienced it in its raw form. But I think reclaiming uncomplimentary words is great. Go women!

Still, before reclaiming a term, it’s important to understand where it comes from. In my online research, Wikipedia gave a basic definition of the slang term “cougar,” and listed TV shows and movies which have used the term, but didn’t go into origins.

So I searched some more, and came up with an article by a lexicographer (someone who puts together and edits dictionaries). In his article, “Time for a Cougar,”click here for article, Grant Barrett writes, “In slang use…“cougar” is a term for an older woman who prefers to date younger men. There’s a connotation there of a wily, experienced feline going after a toothsome little rabbit.”

That about sums up my initial impressions of the word. When women acquire animal descriptions, we’re invariably cast as either predators (“barracuda”) or prey (“bunny”). “Cougar” falls into the predator category.

As for the origin’s of the slang term, Mr. Barrett writes:

“I found a March 3, 2001, article in the Globe and Mail of Toronto which credits “cougar” to a Canadian website called, which the story says was started in 1999. It is, as you have guessed, a website where older women can meet younger men.

“The story given in that article is that one of the two women who founded the website was told by a nephew that the two ladies were like cougars in search of small defenceless animals. The nephew said he picked up the term from players on his hockey team. So, 1999 is the earliest probable date we have for the term and it’s fairly reliable.”

What’s interesting here is that, assuming the account is accurate, though the term was originally credited to male teen hockey players who used it in an uncomplimentary fashion, the reclaiming of the term by women occurred almost immediately. The male teens spoke of predators “in search of small defenseless animals.” But the women starting the dating website must have been thinking something to the effect of, “Hey, we’re cougars, and we’re powerful, and we’re proud!”

Again, go women! As with “chick lit,” the industry has picked up on what women want, and e-publishers are starting to contract more older women/younger man (ow/ym) stories. I’m a big believer in love--all sorts of love--so I think this is awesome. The term “cougar” may leave me with an uncomfortable aftertaste, but I’m all for the sub-genre.

What about all of you, do you enjoy a spicy older woman/younger man story? Do you prefer the term “cougar” or the older woman/younger man designation? Know any happy real life couples where the woman’s older and wiser?

Happy reading,

Eden's Blog