Thursday, January 22, 2009

Resolutions etc

Good and disappointing news for 2009. The good is that I'm offered a two-book contract with Severn House UK, something that will keep me employed this year in these financially troubled times.

The disappointing news is that the small UK literary agency which has successfully been handling my book sales over the past decade, has decided to call it a day. I won't go into details, except to say that for the past year two hard working people have been doing tasks once shared between three. My heartfelt thanks go to them for the role they've played in my writing career, and for always being there for me when needed. I do wish them well in winding down the agency, and for many reasons will find them hard to replace. However, that said, I'll now be looking for a new agency to represent me in the months to come. I hope I find one. Or one will find me, perhaps.

I stopped making New Year resolutions fourteen years ago. Just to prove that persistence does pay off (and persistence is one of the ingredients that writers need an abundance of) that was when I achieved the object of a a long term series of resolutions that I'd quit smoking. When I did give it up (after a health scare kick in the pants) I promised myself I wouldn't become an anti-smoking evangelist. As a smoker I resented non-smokers making rude and pointed (or pointless) remarks about my addiction. It's like telling an overweight person that they need to lose weight. They already know - and know that saying it is easier than doing it.

Apart from two books waiting to be written, I had a submission to prepare for an e publisher. It was saved in the format they wanted, but couldn't be opened at the other end. They say it's because I burned the story to disk. Then again it might be a Mac incompatibility thing.

I didn't think burning to disc would prevent the file being sent as an attachment. After many tries I withdrew the submission. I also withdrew a short story after it was accepted because of the low advance. Not that I'm too proud to accept it. It's just that it didn't cover the cost of banking the cheque. I would have ended up owing the bank money.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Twenty definitions

Happy New Year everyone, especially to my one registered follower (waves hand). While waiting for inspiration, I came up with the following definitions after a discussion on a writers list about the disparaging terms applied to romance writing. I'll start the New Year off with those.

Twenty Writerly Definitions.

1) Hysterical fiction: A facetious, but usually deliberate slip of the tongue pertaining to romantic historical fiction.

2) Popular fiction: Fiction that is clearly understood and enjoyed by the majority of readers all over the world.

3) Literary fiction: In the immortal words of a former Australian politician, “Please explain?”

4) Bodice ripper: Historical fiction with a hero who rips the woman’s bodice apart with his bare hands so he can perve at her breasts and proved his sexual prowess. (sixties cliché).

5) Churning out: Usually nothing to do with butter making. It refers to the method used by writers of a certain type of fiction. They feed words into a machine, turn the handle and a book pops out of the other end. The writer keeps repeating the process for subsequent books.

6) Envy: Something keenly felt by the writer who hasn’t got one of the above book churner -outers, or is beset with alternative writerly hang-ups.

7) The Phrase: “Read one and you’ve read them all” : Gasp! A genuine mind reader is giving a considered opinion here.

8) Trash: A book too beneath the reader’s mind to bother with. Usually inhaled as a bad smell by the sensitive nostrils of the mind reader, who can be picked out by her sniffing habits at the romance bookshelves. I always imagine she’s looking for sex so she can complain about it afterwards.

9) Formula: A secret code used to write a successful novel. This code is handed out like a knighthood to a special few, who now write consistent best sellers. Sometimes it’s awarded as a free gift with the churner-outer. Yeah, I know, annoying isn’t it? I deserved to be awarded one of those too!

10) Clichés: Something churned out by non romance writers to describe romance writing as trashy hysterical fiction, or bodice rippers as clichéd, and then stand back expecting applause for their wit. Did you get that? You didn’t? Oh, come on, it’s all been done before, over and over again. Let me put it in plain words. Create a original metaphor of your own, will you?

11) Book advance: Oh . . . I thought that was reimbursement for my postage. Silly me!

12) Royalties: Ditto.

13) Rights: Something the publishers hang on to if they can, in case they can find a use for them before the author does.

14) Best selling writer 1: A writer who successfully sold cars or real estate before taking up swashbuckling with the pen.

15) Best selling writer 2: A lie in a jacket blurb.

16) Best selling writer 3: Wishful thinking.

17) Best selling writer 4: Okay . . . Okay! I’ve worked my way down to it. They’ve sold many more books than I have and I’m probably suffering from number 6!

18) Writers arse: A wide and comfortable seat that expands with regular use.

19) Phrase: "Any publicity is good publicity": For those who can get it, I suppose.

20) Stupidest question from the public, interviewers, or relatives: “You must be rolling in it now you’re churning out those hysterical ... whoops . . . historical bodice rippers . . . one size fits all crap, eh?”

Polite Answer: BONK OFF!
Impolite answer: SWAT!
Wishful thinking answer: TOO BLOODY RIGHT!

Please feel free to add your own definitions to the comments.
Cheers. Janet.