Showing posts from 2007


So er, someone forgot to blog on Friday. Cough. Wonder who that could be. Just a little note to let everyone know that the League of Reluctant Adults will be taking a brief winter break to celebrate the holiday. We'll be back on January 2nd or so. Until then, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and all that jazz. :)

CatsCurious Press

Oh Noes! Sorry this meant to go up yesterday. I givez u short interview with my BFF Sonya, Publisher of CatsCurious Press . Her most recent release is Bound in Skin A collection of seven short stories. Bound in Skin takes you back to the days of 1960s gothics: mysterious men, dark mansions, terrifying secrets, and passionate romance. 1) What made you decide to become an independent publisher? The idea had been percolating in the back of my brain for a few years, and then one day my husband finished his first book. I had encouraged him, you see, and told him that I would send it out and find it a home. Little did I realize at the time I made the promise, that non-fiction children's books are a tough sell. So then there was a flash of brilliance and the percolating-idea reared it's mischevious head. I piped up "I'll publish it!" The project gave me a starting point and a direction. After all, I had to have *some

Who is this Woman?

...and what does she have to do with the next month of your life? Why it's the lovely C.E. Murphy, or as we like to call her, January Selection. The votes have been tallied and in a close horse race, Heart of Stone has been selected as the first ever book for the League of Reluctant Adults Book Club. Please limit your applause to a polite clap or two, we've got business to discuss up in here. Lest this be your average, run of the mill book club, we have engaged the services of a wandering band of hellspawn to keep things interesting (They may or may not respond to the name Gary). They'll pop in from time to time, when not busy toiling in the pits of despair, forging objects of torture and ridicule for sale in the Hellmarkets of depravity. So beware of becoming too serious. That's frowned upon. Again, we're so excited to be reading Hearts of Stone. I'm planning on using a notecard as a bookmark so I can jot down questions like: Are gargoyles always hard?

Your Support System

Who's in yours? By which I mean specifically, your writing support system. Who reads your stuff? Who listens to your moan and whine endlessly about how much your work sucks, how this chapter stinks, how this plot point or that one isn't working and your ending feels unfinished or whatever your particular writing issue is? I have two main readers. My critique/writing partner Anna J. Evans, and my bestest friend Cori back in Florida who beta-reads. I send them sections at a time. Anna sends them back with comments. Cori actually agrees to waste hours of her time on the phone discussing the intricacies of my plots and characters and what's going to happen next and why such-and-such happens. That's a good friend, folks, because as I'm sure you all know, most non-writers (like Cori) will start rolling their eyes after about twenty minutes. (This is, btw, why Megan from Personal Demons shares Cori's middle name. It's the least I could do, at least until this actua

Time after Time

It's true... I like to use song titles if I can when coming up with new subjects. Today I wanna tackle the issue of time and time management for writers. Or at least this writer. I've often had to resist the urge to spork someone in the eye when I hear the following out of people who find out I'm a writer: "Oh, I'd write a book if I only had the time!" As if time were the only requirement! But today, let's say it is. If you're an unpublished author, you are afforded the one time luxury of taking all the time in the world writing those first works. Dead to Me , for instance, was written over a period of three or four years, which would have taken maybe half the time had I not decided to switch it from third to first person halfway through. Book 2 in the series, however, is not afforded that luxury. I had a year to turn it in, which meant I really had to pay attention to time. Here's how the schedule breaks down: Late March 07 to mid-December 07

Puzzle Pieces

(Quick Note - The winner of C.E. Murphy's HEART OF STONE is Karen Duvall. Karen, please email Catie at Catie AT Thanks again and sorry about the delay in the results. My brain gave up sometime around Sunday night.) So I was trying to think about what to write today. I couldn't think of anything. Ilona dared me to write about teh sexx0rz, but I think I will save that for next week when I am really dry (no pun intended, gross Mark!). Someone else suggested that I write about how things inspire me, and I thought that was a great idea. But then I realized, I have no idea how I get inspired. Ideas just come from wherever they come from. I don't see a picture and go "Ooo, great, now there's a story!" I make up stories, sure. But they usually don't turn into novels. But what I do have is a tidbit soup rolling around in my head. There are scenes from movies, characters from books, certain glances or expressions that I've caught in a photo that ca


What was your favorite book when you were growing up? Mine was Three Musketeers. From the time I was 9 till about 12 years old, there was nothing greater in this world than Three Musketeers. Oh, I've read Twenty Years later, but only because I missed the characters. See, the Three Musketeers and the intrepid Gasconian don't really get a Happily Ever After. They get rather tumultuous lives, and although they fall in love, they always fall out just as quickly. There is no lasting Twu Lowe, no happy family, no children.* At that stage in my life, I wanted everything to have a happy end. No, as far as I was concerned, Three Musketeers was the best and the only book about D'Artagnan. Atos was my favorite character, with Cardinal Richelieu close second. And then adolescence hit. I didn't have the worst adolescence, but it wasn't pleasant. Like most girls, I went through the ugly stage, on top of which I was labeled as a "smart kid." By fourteen, I was

The Book Club for Associate Reluctant Adults

Huge! Big Big News! You've noticed some changes here at the League over the past couple of weeks and here's another one stemming from our lovely reader's comments. So don't ever say we didn't do nothin' for ya. We're starting a book club! Yays! It took some doing and there's always some hesitancy on the part of authors to talk openly about other author's works. What if we don't like it? Worse...what if we hate it? Then we'll be THOSE authors, the ones making fun of people. Hiss! Boo! Well. I'm a big geek and I love a book club. I started a local monthly group and we've been going for the past two years. Some of the books I've loved (Little Children, Shadow of the Wind), some not so much, but in the end, the purpose of a book club is not to find out whether you like a book or not, it's to talk about the emotions and thoughts that resonate from the experience of reading. We'll pull together some guidelines as we ge

Again...and again...and again...

This is why you need to love your story. First, apologies for this post being late. I have a little one who is recovering from chicken pox, and who refused to get off my lap all morning. I had to actually do housework just in order to move my legs for a few minutes. Got some final line edits today, for an EC book. Also about halfway through my first editing pass on my new project. So discussing edits is not only timely, but is frankly the only thing I can actually focus my mind on at the moment. Unless you want to discuss chicken pox. Which I'm betting you don't (although feel free to tell me how bad you had it, as that is the first response everyone gives, and is pretty interesting. I was seven. I had them bad. I had one on my eyelid, right on the lashline, and I had to soak it with a warm cloth and then pry my eye open in the mornings.) So. Editing. Here's what I do. By the time I've finished the book I hate it. I mean, I still love it, but I hate it. Because behind

Writers is just like youze

Book two in my Simon Canderous series, Back To Life, is complete! There's nothing quite as exciting as finishing the first draft of a book, except for the following moments: -realizing I need to read it and the sense of dread that comes with it -realizing I need to eventually let my editor read it and the sense of dread that comes with it -realizing I need to read my editorial letter on it and the sense of dread that comes with it -realizing I'll need to copy edit and the sense of dread that comes with it you get the idea... I'm not complaining really... or at least not too much. See, having the brass ring of a bona-a-fide publishing contract is great, but it also brings along a whole new can of nerve shattering worms... hmmm.. nerve shattering worms, I can use that! Once the nervousness of "oh will I ever get published is it worth writing at all?" goes away, there's the pressure of jumping through the next hoop. Book one isn't even on sale yet, and here

'Suggestions' Winner

Thanks to everyone that participated in our 'Suggestions and Feedback' post. We loved SONYA M. 's suggestion of more serial stories, so she's the winner of the $10 Amazon gift certificate! Thanks Sonya! Shoot me an email at to claim your prize. :)

Interview with C.E. Murphy, Writing Dynamo

I confess, I've always been slightly (okay, sometimes more than slightly) jealous of C.E. Murphy. When I was just a wee writer putting together my first (really bad) submission, she was signing her first contract for URBAN SHAMAN, which sold a ton of copies and launched her writing career. And she's got a fabulous agent. And in the course of the next couple of years, she managed to sell just about everything that sprang to mind. She's what you would call 'prolific'. She's also one of the nicest people out in Blogland, so when I had an interview coming up this weekend, I decided to poke her and see if she would poke back. And she did! How did you get started with novel writing? CE: *laugh* When I was eight I started what was going to be the first book in an on-going mystery series with five young protagonists. One was a set of red-headed twin girls. I don't remember what the other three were, but even at eight it was clear to me that longevity as a writer


(For those of you checking on the contest from last Friday, tune in tomorrow for the winner. That means you have until midnight tonight to give us your suggestions!) I tend to make lists for everything. I'm not sure when I started, and I'm not sure what I use them for, but I guarantee if you open up my purse (or my desk drawer, or my notepad) you'll find over a dozen scribbled lists. Plot ideas, things to research, character names to use, book genres, books to buy…you name it, I've made a list of it. Here's the current list I'm toying with: #1 - No. Just no. #2 - Use the good pieces. Fates. #3 - Fix 'fire' plot element. Needs heavy redraft #4 - Complete Rewrite #5 - Sold! #6 - Add 2nd POV. Redraft so H is less stick-in-the-mud. #7 - Subbed #8 - POV switch, redraft #9 - Add 2nd POV. Emphasize 'plot' plot. #10 - Submitted In case you haven't already guessed, that's a list of my 'completed' novels (completed being the operative word)

I want to talk a bit about beauty.

There exists an interesting theory that beauty is simply the optimal biological adaptation of the body to the environment. According to this theory, we are perpetually evaluating our fellow human beings in terms of potential mating, looking for the right combination of heath and genetics, and that's what governs our sexual preferences. A thick, muscular neck is sexy on a man, because men, by their biological function, fight more often than women. A long lean neck is sexy on a woman because she is the look-out rather than a fighter. A thin waist of a woman compensates for her hips by adding mobility to her body. Heavy muscular development of the male pectorals is indicative of the great strength. As our civilization develops, we choose to accentuate certain attributes. Corsets show of the narrow waist. Spikes heels lengthen the calf - the longer the legs, the better is the runner. Jackets develop padded shoulders. Even our cosmetics are tailored to improve our mating chances

A Glimpse Inside a Dirty Mind

I love to write a scene. And when I say "scene," I mean it in that shocked prude whispering under their breath kind of way, "Don't cause a scene! " But I also mean the dialogue and action kind of scene. Which I contend should be the first thing a writer puts to paper (everything else is layering). But more on that later. Why, just this Monday, I was at my writing group... *the mist rolls in, cuing a flashback* M--name changed to protect the innocent--is reading from her WIP. It takes two pages of exposition to get to the first hint of scene. Dialogue is brief and transitory and seems to link passages of exposition rather than the other way around. T follows her with a similarly exposition heavy reading. I drift off into daydreams involving razor blades and bathtubs. *the mist separates* So...we had to have the discussion about scenes being the cornerstone of the novel, the driving force behind everything. Now, don't get me wrong--I love a touch of expo

All of the things I would rather be doing

I'm getting ready to write the Big Climax of my current WIP. I've solved one mystery. I've hinted at all sorts of things. Now I need to end it all with a bang. It's all there, most of the answers are in my head, I'm getting ready to tie up all those elements and bring in hordes of bad guys and ghosts and blood and guts and, oh, all sorts of wonders. So, naturally, I'm wasting time on IMDB and doing lj memes and rereading Andrew Vachss novels for the millionth time. When I was nearing the end of Personal Demons I went on a baking kick. I would think about writing, but then I would decide what we really needed in the house was a Victoria sponge with Nutella and fresh whipped cream (which was delicious, btw.) Or a chocolate sponge with raspberry jam and whipped cream (also quite yummy). Or cookies. Then I decided instead of gaining weight cooking I should instead do some cleaning. The house sparkled for a week. I even washed my rice & flour canisters. I used to

What Donald Trump can teach you writers

Welcome to Monday... I'm rambling a bit in the wee hours of the morning, but I think there's something to be gleaned in here if you'll just bear with and sift through. Also, we're free forming this week, so no weekly topic for everyone, but they can always follow up if they want, I suppose. So anyway, this one goes out to all the writers out there who are sending out their work or waiting to hear back from and editor or agent on their work. I'm talking about rejection, folks. It's a natural state for most writers. I know it was for me. When I first moved to Manhattan, I had two choices: be an actor or be a writer. Both promised years of rejection, but ultimately I chose to ditch acting and pursue writing. Why? Because acting in New York City is a constant and pretty frequent barrage of rejections. Audition, rejection, audition, rejection. Rinse and repeat. In comparison, writing seemed the way to go. Given the slow pace of the industry, I could go long

No cliches today, just feedback from you!

Rather than beat a dead horse - what could I possibly say about cliches that my co-Reluctants have not already said? - I thought we'd take some time out to get some feedback from the blogworld. We want to know what we're doing right, and what we're doing wrong. Do you like the weekly topics? Or would you prefer that we free-form and just write about whatever we want? What about the interviews? Do you want more of them? Less of them? Do they impact you at all? What about a book club? What if we picked one book a month and we all debated about it - and invited discourse, of course! Would you be interested? Not interested? If we do giveaways, what sorts of prizes do you want to see? Keep in mind that we are broke-ass, lowly genre writers and do not have stretch limos just yet. We want the League to be a fun read every day of the week (except Sundays, hah). So tell us. Do you want more industry information? More wacky short stories? More snippets? A top ten? Bad jokes (Hey, we


I made this topic and I don't know what to say. I think we might be doing away with this weekly topic thing. Ummm. How about a scary snippet? Ooo, very scary. It has cliches in it.. :thinks desperately: Okay running up the stairs is totally cliche. :throws the snippet and runs: Karina knocked on the door gently. "Come on, Jacob. Let other kids have a turn." "Almost done." At the end of the hallway an older man frowned. Heavily muscled, with a face like a bulldog, he planted himself as if he were about to be overran by rioters. He watched her with open malice. The kids sensed it too and clustered around her. She didn't blame them – that was one scary guy. The woman who had opened the door to them wasn't much better: hard, thin, eyes like a rattlesnake, no compassion, no kindness, no anger. Nothing at all. If it wasn't for the kids crying to go potty, Karina would have turned around, got in to the van, and gotten right out of there.

Cliche is the New Cliche

I have absolutely nothing new to add to this topic. Even my title isn't entirely original. I'm not even sure why this topic is so popular. Is it that people are actually reading a lot of cliches in urban fantasy? There does seem to be a lot of repetition in character (vampires, werewolves, faeries, dragons) but the same could be said of white women in literary fiction, or child abuse victims in memoirs. Oh wait, real people can't be cliches. Or can they? Many writer's seem to be concerned about writing a "Mary Sue," which I'd never heard of before setting up a livejournal. What's weird about the concept is that this cliched character is seen as a negative, some cookie cutter individual that ends up polluting every newbie or hack's manuscript, as though siphoned from a medical waste dumpster. It strikes me as ironic. Over the course of my other career as a psychotherapist, I must have worked with well over a thousand individuals. And the one th

Oh, those crazy cliches

Cliches are like insects hiding in your shoes. Sometimes they're harmless, sometimes even cute (like a ladybug, aaw) but sometimes...sometimes your entire foot will go gangrenous if it--okay, I can't carry this analogy all the way. But you get the point. Playing with cliches can be fun, as Anton said. The very title Personal Demons plays on the cliche in several ways and alludes to more. We have the actual personal demons, the Yezer Ha-Ra. We have the demon bodyguards assigned to Megan, who become in essence her personal demons. We have the demon love interest of the story, who gets very personal. We even have Megan confronting the literal (and figurative) demons of her past. So yes, cliches can be helpful and fun. It's fun to twist them and turn them. But it's also deadly to use them too much. It alienates and bores readers. It lacks snap. It makes them feel like they're reading a book they already read. In that book, I have a scene in the autumn woods, with bare

Like a bridge over troubled writer

It's a cold, rainy day here in The Big Apple, but you know what, readers? I'm still here for you because that's what a beleaguered Leagure does! The topic this week? Cliches. And since I'm kicking off the discussion, I'll play a little bit of devil's advocate. I like 'em! I can see you reaching for the Post Comment button now: Why, Anton & his trout, why? Here's why: I think cliches are a great jumping off point for brainstorming. A cliche is a cliche mostly because at some point it was a great idea. It's just that now that great idea has gone beyond the ideal of a piece of fiction that it's been done to death. But it's a good place to start when brainstorming your own work. For instance: Julie Kenner's Carpe Demon series. I'd call it suburban fantasy... a what if tale of what if Buffy grew up, had a kid and became a soccer mom? It has all the hints of Buffydom (demon hunter, a Watcher type character, quick witty dialo

Weekend Interview: Jim McCarthy, Literary Agent

This week in the League lounge, my very own agent, Jim McCarthy of Dystel and Goderich Literary Management. We'll be tackling all the tough issues, from ghost writing for reality TV pseudo-celebs to author whoring, from query letters to the state of urban fantasy. Won't you join us by the fire? Grab a cocktail and hang in the conversation pit. First off, let's get something straight--our readers have to know--when are we approaching Tiffany Pollard, TV's "New York" about a tell all biography (I'll ghost write, obviously)? This is assuming we haven't already... When people ask me who my dream client is, I say it's Mark Henry. Then I chuckle and say, "No. Really, it would be New York from "I Love NY." Because she's the greatest thing in the universe, right? On a slightly more serious note, our readers are aspiring writers themselves, what's your best advice for getting noticed in that pesky query letter--a concept as high as