Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What Do You Mean 'Headache'?

I am not one of those authors who is detached from her characters. They are "alive" in my head and, especially when I'm pantsing, tend to direct the action. When I plot, they do the same thing, they're just nice enough to do it in advance.

Now, a not-so-secret secret. I like sex in my books. I prefer characters who, if they're going to do the deed, do it on screen. Fade-to-black tends to be reserved for my YA work. (There are occasionally characters who don't have sex, but that's a post for a different day.) So, imagine my frustration when my characters finally hook up and they're on the path to smexy time and... they derail.

The piece I'm working on right now is a prime example of this. (For a sample of the new story, see this post.)

Cal and Penelope got on the road to sex without any argument. Everything was going great. Until they actually started making out. Then there was the should-we-shouldn't-we. I pounded on the keys and might have screamed "Yes, dammit, you should! Now get naked!" Eventually, I got their clothes off and then the non-fuckers had a different issue. I was ready to throw my computer.

Sure, it was something I knew would come up, but then?

This is a couple that is totally meant to be together, so I knew they'd get past it. Total frustration mode on the author's part though. So... back on the road and... another stumbling block. I messaged my CP while pulling my hair out and said, "Please tell me as a single woman that you'd _________." And she laughed at me.

After all the madness, they finally did the deed (of course they did, it's me...). But, with all the build-up, it needs more. I'm sure my crit partner and beta readers are going to give me a big "What the fuck was that?" So, I'm hoping I can make it better on pre-reader revisions.

But damn, Cal and Pen... stop this shit, okay? We're on a damn schedule. You don't have sex when you're supposed to, it throws everything off.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Lucky 7: Peek at Gaming for Keeps

This is also known as the "I hate you, Katee Robert" post. But I will play along.

The Rules:

Go to page 77 of your current WiP.
Go to line 7.
Copy down the next 7 lines/sentences, and post them as they're written. No cheating.
Tag 7 other victimes... er, authors.

Since my WiP is not to page 77 yet, I told Katee to pick a page. From page 46 of Gaming for Keeps:

Their bodies slippery, he held her close with one arm and brushed her hair back with the other. A piece of green fabric caught between his fingers. "We forgot to take out your leaves."

"I don't care." Paint ran down his cheeks and chin and neck in deep blue rivulets. She wanted it gone, wanted to see him again. Pen swept more water onto his face in an effort to wash away the makeup.

So, since I can't tag Katee, I need 7 other people. I'm thinking I'll go with (I totally want to tag @SkylaDawn, but I know she's laid up with wrist issues, so I will just send her healing vibes instead):


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Blood Kissed Announcement!

Short post this week, but I hope it's one you'll get excited with me about...

A bunch of people have been asking for a while about the status of the Blood Kissed series. Well, today I'm happy to let you know that there's more Jocelyn coming and, as requested over and over again, it's longer--a lot longer :) This announcement was going to wait for cover art, but I needed to celebrate something good today. (Plus, it gives me another easy blogging day when cover art comes in--WOOT!)

I am crazy-happy to announce that the first novel-length Blood Kissed installment, Kiss of Death, will be coming late this summer from Mundania Press. I'm super excited to work with Mundania. I've been really impressed with the quality of books I've read from them, and I love the fact that they are more focused on speculative fiction than romance since the novels are most definitely urban fantasy. (Don't worry--there's still plenty of sex :P)

However, in addition to the length, there have been some other changes. I hope you'll all stick with me for the ride. Oh... and you'll all finally get to meet Remy (*lusty sigh*).

I'm hoping to line up a blog tour to coincide with release, so if you happen to run a book blog and want to be on my contact list for the tour, please let me know in the comments or via email at selestedelaney (at) gmail (dot) com.

Also, I want to give a special shout out to my new editor, Skyla Dawn Cameron. This business is kind of a crazy place. Skyla actually gave me my first "break" in the industry. She was the editor on a charity anthology called Nothing But Red a few years back (2007? 2008?). I subbed a poem to that anthology, and Skyla said yes. There's a special feeling about that first yes (even when you don't make money from it), and since then Skyla has become a good friend and mentor. She has my utmost respect and I'm crazy-happy to finally get the chance to really work with her. So, Skyla, thanks for saying yes again. I'll do my best not to let you down.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sometimes Hot Just Ain't Enough

So, Angela James's post over at the Carina Press blog got me to thinking about music, and for whatever reason, the Patty Smyth song, "Sometimes Love Just Ain't Enough," came to mind. Now, I'm not going to break down the song and the tragically beautiful story it tells. Because, really, where's the fun in that?

Instead, thinking of the song started me thinking about beautiful people. Now, I don't mean lovely people--the ones who are attractive and funny with great personalities who donate time and money to charities. I'm talking the beautiful people. They are, naturally, attractive and might even be funny, but that's where the disconnect starts to happen. When I talk about "the beautiful people," I'm either talking famous, attractive people who I don't know but only look at from afar, or I'm talking about people who think they are on a level playing field with those Hollywood hotties. 
Sometimes they are models (that's the most obvious example), but you see beautiful people on reality TV all the time, and you even see them at church and the local grocery store (yes, even beautiful people need to shop.) They're the ones who expect everything to fall in line for them just because of their looks (see also "rich people"). 

Now, when I write the heroes in my books, I definitely want them to be attractive people. But I don't want them to be the kind of person who not only knows they are beautiful, but thinks everyone else should treat them differently because of it. That's a character trait I reserve for antagonists. So beyond my heroes being hot, they have to be more. They have to have families and history and things they care about in the world beyond their own interests (even if they don't know it yet). 

Take Spencer from Badlands as an example. He's a beautiful man, but that's not something he notices about himself, much less ever thinks about. He's the guy who contracted to work for an asshole just so in the end he'd be able to build a better life for himself and his family. And then that job took his sister's life. So he's haunted by his past and on the cusp of getting out from under his employer's thumb... but he still risks everything to help a crazy woman from another country--who wants nothing to do with him.

That's the kind of hero I like, and it's the kind I strive to write--those who are more than just a pretty package. In short, I want them to be lovely people, because sometimes hot just ain't enough. 

And just for those of you who would like to enjoy the song that prompted this post...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

But... Is It Art?

(Warning: This post may be NSFW)
(Not anymore since I removed the images in the aftermath of an author getting sued for image use. Links are provided instead.)

In the literary world, we get a lot of dissent (I'll call it that to be polite) about what constitutes art. Pretty much, the big guns are of the opinion that if it isn't literary fiction, it isn't art. And, it seems as if it's too popular, it isn't art either, but I could be wrong on that last bit. A few years ago, Stephen King got some big deal award and the literary world was all up in arms because he wrote popular fiction and, not just that, but *gasp* genre fiction. Apparently, you can't be brilliant unless no one reads what you write.

(Creation of Man with very naked Adam=Art: http://mv.vatican.va/3_EN/pages/x-Schede/CSNs/CSNs_V_StCentr_06_big.html)

At the time, I did some grumbling about how other forms of art don't suffer from this problem. But something came up recently that made me rethink this. Now, to be fair, one could argue that photography and painting aren't the same thing, but considering 1) they didn't have photography when the image below was painted, the argument is moot, and 2) we'll call it literary fiction versus genre fiction if that makes it easier.

Anyway, I was talking to some people last week regarding Pinterest and that I write both YA and adult--basically wondering if I could use the same account for both. It was decided that there were a couple photos that were too racy for teens. (I'll share them as we go.) Now, this isn't to say the people who said this were wrong. They'd be uncomfortable with their teens seeing the photos, and that's totally fair.

(Jon Bon Jovi naked but covering his naughty bits with Superman undies=not art? http://www.perfectpeople.net/article/1353/4183294/jon-bon-jovi/hot-in-cleveland-will-air-on-tv-land-youngstown-vindicator.htm)

But... I bet they'd take them to the Sistine chapel, or even allow them to write a report (with pictures) on Michelangelo. If you notice, in the picture above, Adam's choicest bits are all out for the world to see. The same is true of Michelangelo's statue of David. Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man also is rocking out with his cock out. I could keep going, but the point is a nice chunk of art by the masters involves full frontal nudity. I'm not suggesting that we should cover it up, rather that we don't tend to look at it sexually.

(Hot pic of Ryan Kwanten in nothing but a towel removed completely since I couldn't find anything that seemed like a legal use of it. Sorry.) 

However, when it comes to photos of people, that changes. Now, I'm not trying to say that the images of Jon Bon Jovi and Ryan Kwanten are on the same level as master works, but what exactly differentiates it from art so much that it is inherently sexual and "forbidden"? (Especially considering they show less.) There are photographers who are considered artists, but if they are artists, then wouldn't that make any professional in the industry an artist as well (just perhaps not as renowned)? If one of those "master photographers" was to take a photo like this--of a famous person or an unknown--would that make a difference?

As I said, I'm not harping on the people who said the images were too racy for teens. I wouldn't have asked for opinions if it wasn't an area of concern to start with. But since then, the question has plagued me. When it comes to nudity (or near-nudity), where is the cut-off between it being sexual and not? Art and not?