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Friday, April 8, 2011

Back sliding and Follow Friday

Inspired by the spectacular melt down of Jacqueline Howett on Big Al’s Book Blog, how do you deal with a bad review?
 Lordy, I read the train wreck (or most of it) via the link from John Scalzi's blog right after it happened.  I agree--this is NOT how one should behave.    What happened to my best reckoning was Jacqueline sent her ebook to Big Al for a review, but sent an early version without some edits.   She sent the correct version a little later, but Big Al reviewed her first submission, commenting on the mistakes (first lessons, edit well and send the correct version).  JH got angry that he didn't review the "right" version and F bombs were involved.  Along with many commenters who swore they would never read anything she ever wrote, because of the really awful way she behaved and how poorly written her comments were. 
Everybody join virtual hands here and agree we'll never behave badly in public like that, okay?  In public means on-line, because every post we make, every comment on Facebook, every, well, you get the idea.  Just think of how when we make a rude or snarky comment in person, we have the potential of making someone cry?  It's multiplied when we're on-line, because the reader can't see by our expression (eye roll, smile or laugh) that we were joking. 
A friend wrote a lovely, well thought out letter to the editor about growing up Jewish in Kentucky and how awkward it was growing up, having to go to the mandatory religious classes that were strictly Christian or sit by himself in study hall.  I couldn't have refrained myself from responding to the horribly red neck comments posted on the newspaper's web site, but it's a tribute to Joel's grace. 
So, how would I react?  I would thank the reviewer for their time and thoughts and shut the hell up, log off the computer/put the letter away, then go break out some dark chocolate.  Yes, I'd bitch to my friends and family, but I remember from my years as president of our local writers guild a very prolific writer who wallpapered her downstairs bathroom (floor to ceiling) with her rejection letters.  At least you're getting your work out there and the reviewer did exactly what you asked, he/she looked at your manuscript.  Not everyone will like YOUR WRITING and that's not a comment on you personally, even if it is an autobiography.  

Now, for the back sliding part.  I'm on my fourth type of antibiotic so far this year, because I haven't been taking care of myself again.  Anytime I get a sinus/throat/bronchial infection, I need to get it taken care of since I have a defective heart valve.  On the other hand, the first eighty pages of my manuscript ROCKS and I've got the notes for a whole other book.  *sigh* 
Thanks for listening and stopping by.  Please leave a comment below and I will accept constructive criticism.  Check out the others' blogs on the hop and we'll see you later.   
The rules for Follow Friday:
1) Follow this blog.
2) Follow Elizabeth Sharp, the originator of this hop 
3) Follow the featured author of the week Nichole.
4) Go to Sharp words and copy the image code found there and paste it in your blog. Add your name to the link at the bottom of the post while you are there.
5) Copy and paste the rules in your blog, as well as this week’s question.
6) Answer the question
7) Follow, follow, follow. This is about networking, people, making connections with people in your community. So talk to us. We don't bite!
8) If someone stops by, says hi and follows you, the polite thing to do is follow back.
9) Comment here and introduce yourself and you just might find a new follower or two.

Join in the fun, I swear it's a good time!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Setting as framing

I'm so fortunate that my husband and I have so many great pieces of artwork (mostly science fiction and fantasy) and needlework to adorn our walls.  I used to take everything to our local Ben Franklin's store, because my "Framing Goddesses" were there.  These two ladies understood my tastes, could pull the mat that would match perfectly and knew exactly which frame was in stock that would pull the piece together.  They've gone on to other occupations, but I think of them every once in a while, when I look at one of my pieces.  I've been going to our local Michael's recently and they've done a terrific job, but it hasn't been as much fun.

The right frame really makes the piece, doesn't it?  So, when I was writing my novel Seven Days, I knew it would have to be set in places familiar to me.  I wanted to drop in little details that would make the reader go, "She's been there" or "I know that place" or "That tells me what I need to know."  My heroine and her sisters are from Indianapolis, a place where I spent about a third of my life for work over six years.  My hero, however, lives in Las Vegas and we were fortunate enough to spend two vacations out there in 2008 and 2009. 

There were many incidents that sent shivers down my back from synchronicity, but two stand out that may make you laugh.  The first was when I first started writing the book in the last half of 2006.  I checked into one of the hotels we usually stayed at while in Indy, the Residence Inn at the Airport.  I was so excited about the story, I mentioned it to the desk clerk, asking if she knew who I could talk to in order to find out about the fanciest suite at the Marriott Downtown.  She got a funny look on her face, then said she used to work down there and got me a faxed floor plan for their two Presidential Suites.  Either can host a reception for up to 35 people, perfect for the wedding reception in the second book in my series, Seven Months.  Ask and ye shall receive. 

The other took place on our second trip to Vegas.  Chris was off playing poker and I started exploring.  My main characters in Seven Days decide to get married on a Wednesday morning.  My hero gets the heroine to pick out an engagement ring on the way to the chapel, so I went in search of the high-end jewelry stores on The Strip.  I found the Tiffany store in The Forum Shoppes, associated with Caesar's and boldly went in.  I mentioned I was researching for my novel and they couldn't have been more helpful.  The salesman showed me several rings that would be appropriate, but here's the kicker.  I asked the security guard the best way my characters would get in to the store, since it's a long walk from the main entrance.  He got a funny look on his face and told me the VIP Entrance was just out the door, complete with valet parking. 

Now, how cool is that?  I got to see exactly what my characters would see, walk exactly where they walked, feel what they were feeling.  It gave me a frame for that particular scene, to enhance it.  Fate and faith puts you where you need to be, doesn't it?