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So…what exactly is it you write?

I had the *ahem* fun of trying to explain myself as a writer yesterday.

You know that special moment when you aren’t quite sure what to say to people when they ask you about your job? No? Well, perhaps you have a nine-to-five desk job and your very own cube. That’s nice—people relate to that. But maybe you do something at your job that’s hard to explain or doesn’t fit in a neat box or is potentially embarrassing. Maybe you’ve gone to a family or class reunion with a bajillion people you haven’t seen in twenty years, and they all want to know one thing: what you do for a living. Only you have a sudden case of nerves when telling them because you have no way to gauge their potential reactions.

Yeah, it’s like that for me as a writer. Don’t get me wrong—I love, love, love telling people that I write. The magic of saying my book is due to be published has yet to wear off; I still glow just a little every time I think about it. You know what I don’t like, though? Answering people when they say,

So…what’s your book about? I’d love to read it.

My typical reaction goes something like this:

Um.

Well…

It’s kind of…

There’s this guy, see, and…

Oh, shit.

There is absolutely no good way to tell some of my friends, “No, you most definitely do not want to read this thing I wrote.” Because realistically, of course I want people to read it! I want to sell lots and lots of copies! I don’t relish the idea of explaining to my friends that perhaps it wouldn’t be their cup of tea.

My husband covered for me, which had me laughing so hard I thought I might drop off my chair. He just flat out told one person, “No, you probably don’t want to read it.” He explained it wasn’t the kind of thing he would want our kids reading. Which, no shit, Sherlock. I don’t write kids’ fic or YA, so even if it were so clean you could read it out loud in church, it probably still wouldn’t be for children.

The difficulty is in explaining to certain adults why they wouldn’t read it. That brings a new level of awkwardness when you’re sitting in a church basement, enjoying a pizza lunch, surrounded by your children and their camp counselors and your friends of varying levels of conservative Christianity—and you aren’t quite sure which ones are at which end of the spectrum.

(Taking off my hat and placing it over my heart. Please trust me when I say I have only the most love and respect for these folks, regardless of our political and theological differences. *Deep breath*.)

So I finally settled on just telling people that I write romance novels. Which in one sense is kind of true, it’s just not the whole picture. The good news is that it’s highly effective in getting men to stop asking questions; not so much with women.

I made that mistake exactly once before yesterday’s hemming and hawing. A friend at church asked; I answered, hoping she was one of those super-religious types that would just shut the hell up because she knows what’s in most romance novels (hint: the characters are not “playing tent” under the sheets). Instead, she had verbal diarrhea about some friend who writes those nauseating Amish romances. I guess the good news is that she, too, finds them crappy, but it didn’t help when I had to tell her, “That’s not what I write.”

Which brings me to the sad conclusion of this tale: I still don’t know how to answer people when they ask that question. It’s my own failing, really. I have trouble navigating the social contexts in which it would be safe to be fully open and honest about the content of my novel. It’s clearly not a great idea to explain to a room full of people with more…traditional?…values what it’s about. But there are people of a more liberal stripe who would be equally displeased with me. What’s a writer to do?

I guess all I can say is, if you bother reading my blog at all, and have done so any time in the last six months, you know damn well what my novel is about.* You know what the next one’s about, too, more or less. And if you still like me after that, well, then you are a pretty special person, and I’m lucky to have you in my life.

Also, yes. You should read my book. Even if you’re a dude or conservative or just really, really straight-laced. Even if it makes your cheeks flush or your jaw drop or your eyes pop out of your head. Even if you turn to the nearest person and mouth, What on God’s green Earth was she thinking? Even if you throw the book out a window (when you’re done, of course). Because if I haven’t put you off with the snippets I’ve shared, then you aren’t likely to be too upset with the rest of it—or with me, for that matter. Heck, you might even end up enjoying it. ♥

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*If you’re still in the dark, pop some popcorn, settle into your favorite chair, and click here for all my WIPpets. They’re in reverse order, so find the oldest one and start there.

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ROW80 Update: Sunday Edition

I’ve been super productive with both kids in camp. One more week of camp and then I may regret making my goals. Ha!

I’ll make this quick, as I don’t have much time. I need to make dinner. As my writing partners can affirm, I’m always eating whenever I write. Apparently, it makes me hungry!

To sum up:

Write 1 hour a day on my current WIP, Passing on Faith. Started a new project as well, which I won’t keep up on. It was just a way to let the plot bunny have a say without compromising the novel.

Read 30 minutes a day. Only missed one—didn’t read yesterday because I didn’t have time. We went to one of those murder-mystery dinners.

Write 1 blog post per week that isn’t ROW80 or WIPpet Wednesday. Yep, accomplished earlier in the week.

How are your goals going?

Book Review: Across Worlds: Collision

Title: Across Worlds: Collision
Author: S. A. Snow
Genre: mixed gender sci-fi erotica adventure

 

Jane expected six months undercover to be hard; she expected it to be lonely and bleak. She didn’t expect to find love.

Jane Butler, a CIA operative, is assigned the task of infiltrating the Xanthians and determining if they’re a threat to humanity. Going undercover as a Xanthian mate, she boards the transport ship and meets Usnavi—her new mate. After spending six days traveling through space, Jane is ecstatic to explore the Xanthian station and soon sets out to complete her mission. The only problem? Usnavi—and the feelings she is quickly developing.

Fumbling their way through varying sexual expectations, cooking catastrophes, and cultural differences, they soon discover life together is never boring. As Jane and Usnavi careen into a relationship neither of them expected, Jane uncovers dark secrets about the Xanthians and realizes she may no longer be safe. When it becomes clear she’s on her own, Jane is forced to trust and rely on Usnavi. Simultaneously struggling with her mission, her feelings for Usnavi, and homesickness, Jane faces questions she never imagined she would have to answer.

Full disclosure: I am acquainted with the author, worked on the novel during its first draft stage, and received an advance reader’s copy. I have not been paid in exchange for this review.

I admit I’m not generally a fan of erotica—not because I dislike reading sexy, steamy novels but because, well, they’re often boring. (My apologies to people who write erotica). That may be a function of poor writing, unfortunately. Some authors seem to believe that if they can write good smut, that should carry an entire novel’s plot.

The good news is that Across Worlds: Collision fulfills the requirement to be hot as Hades while not skimping on excellent plot. It also features two of my other favorite elements: romance and humor, often both at the same time. There is plenty of action, adventure, and intergalactic intrigue to satisfy even someone as picky as I am. No worries, though—there is enough well-crafted sensuality to keep genuine fans of erotica turning the pages (and dog-earring a few on the way).

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/435337

 

 

 

After chasing around puppies and corralling kittens, S.A. Snow flips open her BSG replicated console and enters her mysterious world of imagination. Seeking to escape the rigors of her day jobs, she enters flight mode and powers her engines full-speed ahead.

A prolific writer of non-traditional erotica, S.A. Snow grew up on a small alpaca farm high in the Andes Mountains. A lover of yoga and meditation, she spends her free time constructing alien space stations, organizing werewolf governments, and cataloging all episodes of Star Trek in order of technical soundness. A firm believer that one need not choose between Gene Roddenberry and George Lucas, she also has closely examines all Star Wars movies in order to determine which episode is more factually based.

S.A. Snow writes truth and only truth, factoring in all evidences she can find. She writes only about parallel universes she has personally visited, and believes if something about her books isn’t shocking, she’s not effectively telling the story.

 

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Cover Reveal: Across Worlds: Collision

Title: Across Worlds: Collision
Author: S. A. Snow
Genre: mixed gender sci-fi erotica adventure

Jane expected six months undercover to be hard; she expected it to be lonely and bleak. She didn’t expect to find love.

Jane Butler, a CIA operative, is assigned the task of infiltrating the Xanthians and determining if they’re a threat to humanity. Going undercover as a Xanthian mate, she boards the transport ship and meets Usnavi—her new mate. After spending six days traveling through space, Jane is ecstatic to explore the Xanthian station and soon sets out to complete her mission. The only problem? Usnavi—and the feelings she is quickly developing.

Fumbling their way through varying sexual expectations, cooking catastrophes, and cultural differences, they soon discover life together is never boring. As Jane and Usnavi careen into a relationship neither of them expected, Jane uncovers dark secrets about the Xanthians and realizes she may no longer be safe. When it becomes clear she’s on her own, Jane is forced to trust and rely on Usnavi. Simultaneously struggling with her mission, her feelings for Usnavi, and homesickness, Jane faces questions she never imagined she would have to answer.

After chasing around puppies and corralling kittens, S.A. Snow flips open her BSG replicated console and enters her mysterious world of imagination. Seeking to escape the rigors of her day jobs, she enters flight mode and powers her engines full-speed ahead.

A prolific writer of non-traditional erotica, S.A. Snow grew up on a small alpaca farm high in the Andes Mountains. A lover of yoga and meditation, she spends her free time constructing alien space stations, organizing werewolf governments, and cataloging all episodes of Star Trek in order of technical soundness. A firm believer that one need not choose between Gene Roddenberry and George Lucas, she also has closely examines all Star Wars movies in order to determine which episode is more factually based.

S.A. Snow writes truth and only truth, factoring in all evidences she can find. She writes only about parallel universes she has personally visited, and believes if something about her books isn’t shocking, she’s not effectively telling the story.

PREORDER Today!!

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/435337

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WIPpet Wednesday: A BIG announcement and an “interview”

I’ve been putting off saying anything because I wanted all my ducks in a row, but now that everything’s in order, I’m ready to reveal my big, huge, ENORMOUS secret:

I have a publisher. As in, signed contract, paycheck, editing and publication schedule, actual-real-live publisher.

Oh, my.

I’m going to be a published author.

*faints*

Sorry about that; I’m back. The novel I’ve been editing (which I posted snippets of until mid-March), Lower Education, will be out early next year. I think I’m still in shock. Getting this thing whipped into shape is a long, difficult process. Some days, I enjoy it. Other days, I want to smack every single one of my characters and tell them to just do as I say.

In honor of my exciting news, I’m jumping on the character interview bandwagon. I snagged Phin and locked him in the room sat down with him to chat. I know I didn’t have to play by official rules, but I did anyway. 5/21/14 = 5 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 4 = 13 questions.

Phin sits on the couch, leaning back, one ankle resting on the opposite knee and his arm draped lazily over the back of the couch. He leans his head back and closes his eyes.

Me: Thanks for stopping by.

Phin: I didn’t exactly have a choice. Ugh. Do you have any coffee? I’m dying. It’s way too early.

Me: You got up early when Alex asked you to.

Phin: Yeah, but that was different, and I still wish I hadn’t. Coffee?

Me: Nope. Here’s some water, though.

Phin: Is this going to take long? I have plans.

Me: Oh, really? That’s news to me.

Phin: You don’t know everything about me.

Me: That’s what you think. We’re going to play 20 questions. Well, okay, 13 questions, because this WIP thing has to mesh with the date. That’ll wake you up. Ready?

Phin: Are you sure it can’t wait til I’ve had coffee?

Me: I’m sure.

Phin: [groans] Fine. Go ahead.

Me: All right. We know how you got stuck—er, ended up in North Cowell. First question: Do you miss the city?

Phin: Hell, yes. There is nothing to do here. And also people I’d rather not talk to but can’t really hide from because there is f***ing nowhere to go.

Me: Yeah, I get the sense it’s pretty quiet. If you had a day to do whatever you wanted, no restrictions, and your only goal was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?

Phin: [smirks and uncrosses his legs; leans forward] I think I could find something.

Me: You seem to have forgotten I wrote you. I know all your tricks.

Phin: Nope. You don’t.

Me: [rolls eyes] Whatever. Let’s stick with that theme. What’s your ideal date?

Phin: Why don’t you tell me about yours instead?

Me: Because this is about you.

Phin: No, I mean that is my ideal date. I like to know what the other person wants and then deliver spectacularly.

Me: In order to manipulate them?

Phin: That counts as one of the questions.

Me: Fine. Then answer it.

Phin: Yes. Sometimes it’s because I want something. But sometimes, it’s just because, believe it or not, I like to make people feel good. [winks] In more ways than one.

Me: Is that what’s going on between you and Alex?

Phin: [flushes] No. He just…pushes my buttons, that’s all. And I can’t read him, which pisses me off.

Me: Are you going to tell me what happened between you that made him so angry with you?

Phin: [examines his hands] I don’t really want to talk about that. I was twelve, okay? I was a little s**t.

Me: That’s fair. I shouldn’t have asked. Let me try something different. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Phin: What’s with the heavy questions? I don’t really know. If you’d said five years ago I’d be here, I’d have laughed at you. Always thought I’d be married with kids, living some suburban dream. Life just gets in the way sometimes, I guess. I didn’t really sign up for this s**t, but it found me anyway. God. Can we talk about something else now?

Me: Sure. The rest are just your basic rapid-fire. Here we go. Coffee or tea?

Phin: Coffee, damn it!

Me: Cats or dogs?

Phin: Dogs.

Me: Morning or night?

Phin: Night, clearly.

Me: Ocean or mountains?

Phin: Definitely ocean. Mountains are overrated.

Me: Beer or wine?

Phin: Both are good. Nothing else, though. I’m a bit of a lightweight.

Me: Radio station?

Phin: [cringes] News or sports. Sorry.

Me: Last one.

Phin: Thought you said thirteen.

Me: Bonus question. Because I’m in charge.

Phin: Hey! That’s not fair.

Me: I know. Favorite thing about Alex?

Phin: I hate you.

Me: [evil grin] Just answer the question.

Phin: [huffs] He actually cares about people. Unlike you, obviously.

Me: I care. I care deeply about making you uncomfortable. Anyway, I’ll let you go get your coffee now. Thanks for hanging out with me.

Phin: [escapes as fast as he can]

Happy WIP’ing, everyone! Thanks to K. L. Schwengel, our excellent host. Be sure to read the other entries, and hopefully add one of your own!

 

Cover Reveal: For By Grace

Today, I’m thrilled to be able to promote the new novel by my friend, author Adrian J. Smith. I can assure you, it’s every bit as good as it looks. Be sure to check out the links, and happy reading!

Title: For by Grace
Author: Adrian J. Smith
Genre: Crime/ Mystery/ FF
Publication Date: June 1, 2014

Being a Sheriff’s Deputy is not all about saving lives and arresting criminals, and each day Grace wonders if she’ll make it home.

While kids at the schools Deputy Grace Halling visits see her as the knight in blue-cotton armor, people involved in the cases she is dispatched to have a different opinion. She has every confidence in her ability to do her job and arrest criminals. She easily takes down a knife-wielding woman and a drunken combatant teenager without hesitation. Everyone—victim, suspect, or witness—has a story to tell or to lie about, and Grace is never perturbed by their tales.

That all changes when she looks down the barrel of a gun. She loses confidence in her ability as a deputy, she loses trust in herself and fellow officers, and she struggles to stay afloat as shift after shift passes. Grace cannot find her rhythm of being a deputy again. And when the Police Chaplain unexpectedly barges into her life, her personal and professional lives are flipped upside down. Grace struggles to find even ground, worrying that the next time she stares a murderer in the face will be the last.

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Adrian J. Smith, or “AJ” as she is often called, is a part-time writer with an epic imagination, sharp wit, and kind heart that gets her into a bit of trouble when it comes to taking in all the neighborhood stray cats. Being obsessed with science fiction, Smith often goes off on tangents about the space-time continuum. She is also a part-time lunatic with a secretive past. It’s been rumored that she was once a spy for the government, but anyone who has gotten close enough to know the truth has never lived to tell the tale. When traveling around the world on various classified tasks, Smith requires the following be provided: buffalo jerky, mimosas, and eighty-six pennies. This is all we know about the reclusive woman.

At least 10% of all proceeds goes to Sanctuary For Kids. It’s a fantastic organization that sends money to help children around the world. Charity and children are an extremely important part of Adrian’s life and supporting them in any way possible is magnificent. Please check out their website to see what they are doing and consider donating to them yourself.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/adrianjsmithbooks

Twitter: www.twitter/com/adrianajsmith

Author Website: adrianjsmith.wordpress.com

Author GoodReads: www.goodreads.com/adrianjsmith

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Adrian-J.-Smith/e/B00B94LSPW/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1390923004&sr=8-1

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