Sunday, July 30, 2006

Website updated

I’ve updated my website. I changed the author name on all pages (I think I got them all) and added a contact page with contact form. I added polite links here and there, like a Thank You page after the contact form. Yes, I’m a polite website owner.

I’m quite happy with my site. Have a look and let me know what you think.


Oh, and yes, I will change the domain name and web address some time in the future. So keep a look out for information on that.

I'm a wuss or good characters are flawed

I’m a wuss.

To celebrate the last day of summer vacation, we went to the Hawaii State Farm Fair today and rode all the rides. Okay, most of the rides. And “we” didn’t really include me. I’m a wuss. I’m afraid of heights. I don’t like things that drop me and I won’t go near a roller coaster. Now I’m also a Mom, which meant that I climbed to the top of the Super Slide twice. If I had to guess how high that was, I’d say second story maybe or a little bit more. Climbing up the rickety stairs and standing on the swaying top was an exercise in controlled breathing and near-panic.

As is often the case with writers, I immediately translated my experience into story material. A good protagonist/hero is flawed and what better flaw than a fear?

Since I’m afraid of heights, I think one of my protagonists ought to be afraid of heights as well. Probably not Mason. The guy was an Army Ranger. I think a fear of heights would have seriously handicapped the man. And while I’m all for working through fears, I don’t think it’s realistic where someone’s job is concerned. Point to the contrary: my brother is afraid of heights as well and he was a paratrooper for a while!

I will probably settle Soren with a fear of heights. I doubt it will come up often, but you never know. I have already decided, though, that Soren doesn’t like firearms. In fact, his experience in THE PROTECTOR left him with nightmares that will reoccur in THE GHOST CRAB. This is a bit of conflict material. He lives on a boat with a guy who owns at least two handguns, and Mason would insist Soren know how to handle those guns for his own safety.

It’s not like Mason is without flaws. The man is so calm and controlled, I had to give him a temper issue. THE GHOST CRAB is all about Mason’s temper. I love chapter 1, because I think I snuck it in there nicely. I like chapter 3, because it becomes obvious what can happen when he loses his temper, his cool.

Anyone read chapter 1 or 3?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

“When you catch us lying on the couch and staring into space, we’re not goofing off. We’re working.”

Check out Tess Gerritsen’s blog and her entry Only Another Writer Would Understand.
http://tessgerritsen.com/blog/2006/07/26/only-another-writer-would-understand/

I give my husband a lot of credit for putting up with me and my (professional) interest in other men. He’s not all that comfortable with the gay thing, but I know he’s very proud of me for selling THE PROTECTOR.

He’s also totally clueless about the mental effort that goes into writing. But I love him anyway.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

NL Gassert

I’m going to need a pen name.

I think I have decided on NL Gassert.

I briefly played with the idea of using NL Gassert-Depape, but it’s simply too long and doesn’t work with the fast-paced romantic suspense genre thing I will have going on (I hope).

NL Gassert will be easy to find on a book shelf. And not as hard to pronounce as Depape.


Now I just need to incorporate the new name into my online life. I already got the appropriate e-mail address (NLGassert [at] usa.com). That was an easy step. But the website needs an overhaul as well. I checked on the domain: still available. Whew.

Following a suggestion by dear friend Ella, I was going to turn THE BUCHANAN-WARD SERIES into THE PROTECTOR SERIES, but with the publisher's focus on romance, not suspense, I think I had the right idea originally. Now I am waiting for publisher Ken’s reply to my e-mail bringing up the possibility of a series.

If he’s okay with the idea of a series, whoohoo. If he’d rather not go the series way, I have other material for him (anyone of you old, old friends remember SULLIVAN?!). It’s not like there is only one book and only one set of characters in me.

Ideally, I’d like to continue work on THE GHOST CRAB, which I was supposed to do tonight, but will probably not get to. (I could use some sleep.) I’ve been putting off chapter two’s overhaul for days now. I want to get it done, so I can move on.

So, NL Gassert it will be.

Anyone care to guess what the L, middle initial, stands for?

Friday, July 21, 2006

It's official

Nadja,

I'm very interested in picking up the rights to publish The Protector. Keep in mind that there will have to be some editing done to make it conform more to the romance genre. To do this we'll have to play with the plotting a little, then work with it from there. I'm willing to work with you on it chapter by chapter until it's ready to be published. I would like it for a May 2007 release, if not sooner. We can have the edits done in time to make this deadline.

...

Take care,
Ken.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

What acceptance looks like

Nadja,

I was able to read half the manuscript over the weekend and will read the remainder today. So far I've been enjoying it very much. Unless something goes terribly wrong in the plotting, I'm going to take it on for next year. There will have to be some editing, though. So sit tight and I'll get back to you this week.

Thanks,
Ken.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Check out MJRose.com AND her vidlit for THE VENUS FIX

I love visiting JA Konrath’s blog. I take copious notes and when the time comes to promote my book, I’ll have plenty of ideas. So naturally when he mentioned M.J. Rose’s promotional efforts, trying to reach 500 blogs by August 15, I had to check out her blog [http://myspace.com/venusfix] to see what that was all about.

Neat idea. I’m taking notes again.

Check out MJRose.com AND the vidlit [http://www.vidlit.com/mj/] for THE VENUS FIX. A vidlit is a book trailer, btw.

Sophomore Slump

I learned so much writing book one that I was sure book two would be easier. Uh huh. Instead of not being organized, I am now over-organized. I fiddled with the outline for months. Fiddled with background and motifs for months. I even took up exercising—what better excuse to get out of the house and away from the computer. Then I took a short vacation and decided to get off my sleep medication—I might not sleep as well now, but my dreams are back and with it a burst of creativity. I’ve figured out holes in the plot, gave up on the outline and am writing again. Book two is taking shape. (Unlike me; I gave up exercising in favor of more time on front of the computer.)

Yes, THE GHOST CRAB is moving along. I got chapter three done in its roughest draft form and just wrote what I call The Duck Butt chapter (because the setting is a bar called, you guessed it, The Butt Duck).

Here two tiny teasers from that chapter:

The hand on his leg advanced to mid-thigh and Soren tried desperately to recall what little he knew about date rape drugs. He’d warned his sister on more than one occasion—big brother privilege—but he’d never thought to take the same precautions or pay attention himself. Hell, he was a guy. This kind of shit didn’t happen to a guy. [Think again, Soren.]

*

“Go back out there and sit down. As soon as I hang up with you I’ll call the bartender and make sure he keeps an eye on you and your blond. Don’t leave with him. I’m on my way already.” She hung up before Soren had time to thank her. The thought of Mason’s mother coming to his rescue made him giggle. She was a great woman, and he knew why he’d gone into debt over her Christmas present. [Bless you, Mrs. George.]

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I'm back

Not that I announced I was leaving or anything, but I am back now. I spent a few days in hot and sunny Las Vegas, Nevada. Nope, I didn’t gamble at all, wagered not even a Quarter, but I had a great time.

Some six years ago, I met some crazy ladies online—you know who you are—and I finally had the chance to meet two of them in person. They are just as lively, just as crazy, in person as they are on AIM.

Ladies, it was a pleasure meeting you and the family members you had in tow. I had a great time.

I’m ready to get back into the swing of things. Matter of fact, I got stuck at the Phoenix airport for an additional four hours of waiting (plane was kaput) and I spent that time writing (sorry, not on GHOST CRAB, though).

Since I’ve returned I started a Kiss of Death C.O.F.F.I.N. workshop: Sleuthfacts: P.I. Procedures with Linnea Sinclair (Bantam/Random House). I worked my way through the 114 messages waiting for me when I returned, and I am all caught up now. It’s great fun and ultra informative.

I won’t suddenly turn Mason into a private investigator, no worries. But since he occasionally has to skulk down dark alleys—which, according to Linnea, real life P.I.s seldom do—it can’t hurt to get some pointers or two …

Great to be back.