Thursday, May 31, 2012

Super Inspiration



Dah-dah-dah-DAHHHH! What’s that? That’s me tooting my own horn. Last week Siren accepted my seventh book, Temptation and Tights. It’s the story of a supervillain falling for the superhero who’s been trying to bring him to justice. One guy has mechanical wings. The other guy turns into a human velociraptor. Think of it as X-Men done as M/M romantic comedy. (Actually, that’s pretty accurate. Back in high school I wrote X-men fanfic; in my version Angel was gay. I always thought he and Sauron should have been together. Well, they finally made it, though I changed Sauron’s species. Pteranodon, velociraptor, what’s the difference when you’re in love?)

The timing couldn’t be better. The Avengers movie is closing out the month with a box office take of over a billion—yes, that’s billion with a B—dollars. Still to come this summer: a new version of Spider-Man and the finale of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises. Over in the comic books, Marvel’s gay superhero Northstar is tying the knot with his boyfriend, and DC, which relaunched its line last year, has announced one of its iconic characters will be revealed as gay. (No, it’s not Batman. He’s dating Catwoman. A man need three Y chromosomes just to keep up with her.)

In other words, superheroes are big this summer, and gay superheroes are coming out of their four-color closet. Maybe I’ll actually be ahead of a trend for once.

The reason I preferred Marvel heroes to DC’s in the ‘60s was Marvel’s more realistic characterizations. The personalities of DC’s heroes were bland and interchangeable. Marvel’s were way more fun. They argued with each other. They talked like real people. They had problems kids could relate to. Spider-Man might save New York City on a regular basis, but Peter Parker couldn’t get a date. The Thing looked like a pile of orange rocks. Worst case of acne ever. Tony Stark needed his Iron Man armor to keep his damaged heart beating. At Marvel, great power brought with it great responsibility and a ton of personal drama.

And let’s not forget the big draw to a young and impressionable girl reading comics, the heavy soap opera elements. DC’s heroes had girlfriends (and Wonder Woman had a boyfriend), but they never did anything. Marvel’s heroes had heart-rending, passionate, angsty relationships interrupted by kidnappings, attacks by supervillains, alien invasions and threats to all humanity. The relationships as much as the stories kept me coming back month after month.

Though X-Men was my favorite, for a while The Avengers was top of my must-read list, because of the romance that developed between the Vision and the Scarlet Witch. You think gay marriage is a hot-button topic? The Vision wasn’t human. He was synthetic, an android programmed with the brain patterns of a dead man. Still, he was human enough to have manly urges for Wanda, who was a mutant. They pined for each other and bemoaned a love that could never be for over a dozen issues before a new writer took over and finally brought them together. I’m assuming Vision was anatomically correct and, as Data once put it, “fully functional.” At any rate, Wanda never complained.

With a background like this, is it any wonder that once I started reading and writing romance, I headed straight for paranormal? I’m not quite sure why I veered off into M/M. Maybe it was all those buff guys in tights. Superheroing was still primarily a boys’ club during my formative years, so you had all these guys hanging out together acting all comradely. Maybe that’s what skewed me in that direction.

Though I’ll bet if DC had given Wonder Woman a girlfriend, sales would’ve shot through the roof.

Comics have changed since those simpler days. They’re far more expensive, for one thing. Time was, a dollar would buy you half a dozen comics, a candy bar and a soda, and you’d be good for the afternoon. These days the average monthy comic runs between $2-$4 and can be read in ten minutes. They also went grim and gritty and ultra-realistic during the ‘80s and ‘90s. They lost a lot of their fun and I lost interest. If you want to look into modern comics, I recommend you stop by your local library and check out the “graphic novel” section. These paperbacks collect 4-6 issues of a monthly comic, so you get a complete story. And DC took a page from Marvel’s playbook and gave their heroes personalities, so they’re more fun to read about now. For the record, Batman’s still psychotic. It’s part of his appeal.

On the film front, I recommend Superman: The Movie. It’s a classic combo of action, humor, romance and superheroics, starring the most recognizable hero on the planet. Spider-Man 2 has all the Marvel hallmarks: a problem-laden hero, a tragic villain, one-liners tossed around during fight scenes and a romance with a happy ending. If you want to write a superhero ménage, you can use X-Men 2 as a springboard. Heroine Jean Grey finds herself torn between tragic hero Cyclops and lethal but fascinating bad boy Wolverine. Why not go for both? Because Cyclops shoots force beams out of his eyes, Wolverine shoots claws out of his hands, and they can’t stand each other. Conflict you want, conflict you got.

For examples of superhero movies done right, try Iron Man, The Avengers and The Dark Knight. No romance, but plenty of humor (in the first two) and character development and examples of how to handle characters with paranormal abilities. When it comes to presenting their characters, for some reason DC is better in animation, while Marvel rules live action. No idea why that is.

And, in my opinion, the only actor ever to look totally realistic in a colorful skintight costume was Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman. DC needs to put out a Wonder Woman movie. Give Princess Diana a girlfriend and watch the box office soar …

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Correction ~ Volcano's Angelic Forecast

Just a note. I discovered a large section of this week's "Angelic Forecast from Volcano ~ May 28, 2012" ~ was missing. This has been corrected.

Happy Reading!

Savanna

Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~

Monday, May 28, 2012

Angelic Forecast from Volcano ~ May 28, 2012


Weekly Angelic Forecast from Volcano

Straight from the Carnal Cherub himself...

Angelic Forecast ~ #195

The TIME OF ACTIVATION is here. The following week is about activating the extraordinary in everyone. For at this time, heavenly frequencies rain down on humankind like a superstorm. These diamond-sparkling energies will only continue, and will be adjusted to assist each one of us as future challenges unfold.

On the personal front, there is a raging thirst within your being to live anew, to create your life differently. Drink in these 'activating' frequencies by mentally accepting this gift from the Divine, and you will discover new trails to blaze. This is also the time to look at your personal genetic roots, to draw strength from your ancestors and your ancestral culture -- every heritage within you.

On the paranormal front, hold onto your hats for the next several months. There will be an 'explosive volcanic eruption' of new information and truth. That is, if you keep an eye on the alternative media sites. This is *one* reason every effort is being made by 'those' across the world, who are allied with the military industrial complex, to shut down freedom on the internet. As well, they are centralizing their control over the brain-drain media even more than before.

On the economic front, all hell breaks loose in several financial arenas. 'Hell, no! We won't pay' will become the mantra in several countries that have been diabolically driven to the edge. The resistance to the bankster gangster regime is on, and gaining strength on the home front, as well as in many European nations. Within the next two weeks, the dollar will likely take a beating after being propped up. To counter the public's fear of a bank run, there will be some 'moves' by the evil powers-that-be to improve certain sectors of the economy while belittling anyone who tells the truth.

On the truth front, during the month of June 'truth' comes down on humanity like Thor's hammer. At the same time, the fierce and righteous dragon energy of 2012 spins around evildoers, revealing them for all to see.

On the AWAKENING front, a huge shift in AWARENESS occurs this week. This is most easily observed by how the global controllers react. Watch where and how 'they' tighten the noose on humanity. For, that will be the 'awareness' the soulless ones battle. Meanwhile, resistance to any form of tyranny continues to rise across the globe. The word 'freedom' sings from the hearts and souls of many, and this energetic symphony surrounds each one of us -- and surrounds Mother Earth.

On the war front, likely several surprise events will occur during the next two months as war-machine pieces are moved on the global chessboard by both the demonic side and the angelic side. This is a reflection of the intensifying war in the heavens between Good and evil -- as is the massive sightings of UFOs that have been occurring worldwide for the last several years.

On the food front, with an heirloom food revival happening across our beloved country, the giant corporations will be using their 'brute muscle' to shut it down. One of the best strategies is to ignore any 'insane' dictates. Keep saving and trading seeds on a local basis, and create an 'underground' community as fast as possible. Heirloom seeds are the future.

On the land changes front, due to the energies being fired by the sun, volcanoes are being activated on a large scale. More and more eruptions are taking place in the depths of the oceans. Also, predictions are being made for major earthquakes from this point until mid-September. As well, more superstorms are on the way. Beware, take care, and as always, prepare.

On the really bad news front, like mountains tumbling into the sea 'what was' is coming down from this point onward. This is due to the global machinations of the dark side, as well as the new vibrations of the Aquarian Age. Catastrophes loom for the rest of the year, both natural and manmade. It's time to bring forth your fortitude, your strength of character, and take care of yourself and your precious loved ones.

Trendwise, at this juncture, with the crackdown on weapons' ownership, and the planned elimination of the second amendment, a new class of entrepreneur will rise, and fast. They will invent and sell innovative weapons systems far superior to what exists currently. There will be no shortage of buyers.

From the prior forecast: "The following week will be explosive ~ from actual explosions to explosive events taking place all over the world. For, the human spirit will no longer tolerate any form of enslavement." ~ Followup note: While actual explosions took place in several areas, they were below the news radar of most people. The real explosiveness was in the stunning amount of hidden truths revealed last week.

This week take a look at yourself. What can you give yourself or do for yourself that would be a treat? As well, treat others to something fun and entertaining.

Angelic blessings from Volcano & Sedona
~~~~~~

MORE...Volcano’s Angelic Forecast for this week ~ sirenbookstrand.blogspot.com ~
~~~~~~

Savanna

Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~
~~~

Thursday, May 24, 2012

By the Numbers



Every so often I get the urge to punish myself. The other day, out of morbid curiosity, I decided to haul my royalty statements out of the filing cabinet and check my status to date. Maybe the statistics gleaned can help me up my production and maybe put a couple more bucks in my bank account.

I’ll end the suspense right now: I’m not one of the writers earning the Big Bucks. I do not get five- or six-figure royalties. I’ve yet to hit four figures. My sales remain unnervingly comfortable in the three-figure-per-quarter range. In the quarters where I don’t have a new release, that’s low three figures. You might want to consider that before you quit your day job.

Beginning with my first release in 2009, and including numbers from Siren and all listed distributors, here’s how the sales stack up through March 2012:

Coyote Moon (2009, M/F, novella) – 310

Best of Breed (2010, M/F, novella) – 117

A London Werewolf in America (2010, M/F, novel) – 223 (includes print copies)

Bad Boys (2010, M/M, novella) – 374

Belonging (2011, M/M, novella) – 522 (includes print copies)

Legacy – (2012, M/M/F, novel) – 111

Love on the Wild Side (2011, compilation print volume, includes Coyote Moon and Best of Breed) – 8

What can we learn from these numbers? For starters, I don’t write very fast. Unless and until I pick up the pace, I won’t be making a living through writing any time soon. When I do, it had better be M/M. The numbers shout out the story rather loudly: my M/M sells far better than my M/F, both on the Siren site and through secondary markets. Coyote Moon has been out since 2009, and Belonging handily passed it in sales in less than a year. I’m not sure where the ménage stands yet. Legacy’s only been out since March, and I won’t have the numbers from Amazon and elsewhere until I get my next statement.

I’m not sure if having a backlist has increased my sales. I threw everybody off by switching genre horses in midstream. Is there any crossover between the M/F and M/M? Not that I can tell. Legacy might spark additional sales of Belonging, since Legacy’s the sequel. Will those readers then try Bad Boys? You got me. Will they try any of the M/Fs? Probably not.

I must admit, I was surprised Love on the Wild Side sold anything other than the single copy I bought. To the other seven people, thank you and bless you. And the M/Fs may not sell as well as the M/Ms, but they’re steady. Coyote Moon still sells a couple of copies every month. Gas and grocery money. I’ll take it. I’m not proud.

I’ve made several mistakes in my three-year career that I’ll have to fix. There’s the aforementioned genre switch, for starters. People got used to seeing M/F from me, and then I threw man love at them. With my next couple books I’m going to do what I should have in the beginning and write the genres under separate names. At this point I’ll probably have to stick to my real name for M/M and start over in M/F under another name. The ménage was an accident and probably won’t be repeated. Now you know what happens when pantsers try to have careers. Don’t let this happen to you!

I also lost any momentum I’d been building when I took a year between books. Like I said, I’m a slow writer, and Legacy ran far longer than I thought it was going to. Writing shorter stories should help with productivity, and might boost sales: shorter works have lower prices. It’s been recommended you should try to have a new release every quarter. Yeah, good luck with that.

I should probably do more promotion. At the moment I do next to zilch. I announce my new releases, post a few excerpts, then abandon them and move on to the next book. I have this blog, and I’m part of the group over at Shapeshifter Seductions (www.shapeshifterseductions.blogspot.com). I’ve done a couple interviews on others’ blogs. I don’t have a web page, a Facebook account, or Twitter. I have an author’s page on Amazon, which I never update. I’m signed up on a writers’ site but don’t comment in the forums too often. My signature is “professional lurker,” which pretty much explains that. I’m not very social, in media or elsewhere.

Possibly the best thing I could do for my budding career is to get back to the keyboard and turn out more and better books. Let quality speak for itself. Judging by the numbers, I should probably write more M/M novellas about gay vampires. Maybe even a series. Back to caffeine and cable TV …

Monday, May 21, 2012

Angelic Forecast from Volcano ~ May 21, 2012


Weekly Angelic Forecast from Volcano

Straight from the Carnal Cherub himself...

Angelic Forecast ~ #194

During this midpoint of 2012, the dragon of truth speaks with fire and thunder. This will be observed on the worldwide stage, and you will likely experience it in your personal life. Watch out for the flames of truth that are 'not' meant for you, and simply step aside.

Know, at this time, 'many' from all walks of life who have done terrible wrongs will have no place to hide, and no place to run from this fearsome dragon energy. Judgement is here.

Therefore, 'those' who have chosen the dark side will be battling to save their death-star empire, and will ruthlessly attack humanity on every front to gain their global regime. It's an ugly scene.

The following week will be explosive ~ from actual explosions to explosive events taking place all over the world. For, the human spirit will no longer tolerate any form of enslavement.

On the economic front, for the next two weeks, the failing yo-yo economy is likely to have a 'fake' high point and/or a Wall Street-created 'fake' low. This is because the bankster gangsters want to suck more blood [money] out of the people. Nearly everything that has anything to do with the economy is now a sucker's game. Your best bet is to gather up whatever you truly need, and those goods you can trade and barter.

On the truth front, all of us who love truth, who come to love the truth no matter what, at this pivotal time, we become the future makers.

On the war front, beware of the military industrial complex. At this time, plans are being made to drastically increase mercenary armies while decreasing the military forces of independent nations. Simultaneously, the soulless ones will instigate 'divide and conquer' strategies -- nation against nation, race against race, and so on. For, the planned use of 'hatred' across the world has begun.

On the AWAKENING front, the climax point of several Earth and Cosmic cycles has been reached. This means many more people will suddenly AWAKEN to their true potential, to why they are on Mother Earth, and to what their spiritual path is during the Aquarian Age.

On the personal front, it is all about looking around and identifying 'those' who are against you, even if they smile and say they are your friend. At this time in history, it is crucial to know who is the enemy. Whether it's a personal enemy, and/or those whose actions endanger you and yours. Look to your Inner Self, and the Divine, for right guidance. You will understand why it's wise to know who really stands with you as the year, 2012, progresses.

On the food front, BEWARE OF BIG AGRA! 'They' are not your friend, and are using every heinous act to rid themselves of the family farm and ranch. This is in cooperation with the corp-gov because controlling food means controlling 'the people'.

On the land changes front, with all the superstorms, the earthquakes, and the volcanoes coming down the pike, for many of us it will be a 'hang onto your hide and soul' ride for the rest of the year, 2012. Also, there could be a period of raining ash and asteroids.

On the paranormal front, UFO sightings will only increase worldwide. There will also be more revelations around the fact that myth is actual history -- history that has been denied to 'the people' by sinister design. Also, now is the time to prepare for the arrival, and prepare for the ultimate deception. A fake messiah arrives soon. He will be identified by his 'milk and honey for everyone' promises.

On the really bad news front, THOSE who despise humanity are planning a horrendous attack this week. THEY will blame it on their enemies, and their pre-selected patsies, per usual. If this black ops attack fails, or there is a change in plans, the soulless ones have plans B, C, D, etc. on down the 2012 road.

Trendwise, with the May 20 Solar Eclipse, there will be new cosmic communication energies. This means the advancement of certain technologies, but also the disruption of modern-age ways of communication. On a spiritual level, however, the LOVE energies of communication are here. Our hearts are opening up to one another. At this time, a new language around this 'power of love' will evolve. There will also be a renewed sense of how to relate to each other in a shared community -- especially a renaissance community.

This is a week to enjoy a serenity of the soul. Indulge in some alone time, and notice when you feel this serenity. This is a special gift from the angels.

Angelic blessings from Volcano & Sedona
~~~~~~

MORE...Volcano’s Angelic Forecast for this week ~ sirenbookstrand.blogspot.com ~
~~~~~~

Savanna

Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~
~~~

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Going Rate for a Soul



This is the story of a story. Around six years ago I wrote a little horror story about a serial killer in the Dexter mode. A neat trick, considering I’d never seen or heard of Dexter at the time. I’m not even sure it was on when I wrote my story. Anyhoo, I sent it out to the few mystery/horror mags on the market that would take a story over 5000 words. No bites. One mag held it for a year and a half before regretfully sending it back. Finally I saw a call for an anthology about serial killers, and my story fell within the word parameters. I sent it in and success! They took it! I can’t say “they bought it” because this market was pay on publication. Publication was estimated at about a year away.

The year came and went. I did a few spot changes at the editor’s request. The editor mentioned Dexter. I explained how I’d never seen Dexter when I wrote the story. My character and Dexter’s similar outlook on life, and killing, was just one of those weird coincidences.

Then, with only a couple of months to go until publication (and payment) we authors got an email: the publisher was having financial troubles and had cancelled all planned anthologies. We were back at square one.

The editor promised to look for another publisher and gave us the option of pulling out or staying in. I opted to stay in. What the hell, I’d waited this long, and the market clearly wasn’t clamoring for another Dexter, even an inadvertent one. At some point I was bound to get a check.

Success again! The editor found a new publisher. Back to the waiting.
Then yesterday we got another email. The anthology was good to go. The publisher—not the editor, mind; this was the publisher—just had a couple of changes. We just had to check over our stories, agree to the changes or discuss them with the new publisher/editor, and we’d be looking at publication around September/October.

So I opened the file to check on what changes the publisher wanted to see.

Jesus God.

I think our “publisher” is a frustrated editor/writer. He hadn’t made suggestions. He’d cut some sentences, added others, moved whole paragraphs around. He wanted me to make changes and additions that, if implemented, would effectively change my protagonist’s personality and probably the thrust of the story.

The publisher, by the way, also mentioned Dexter. Are you starting to see a pattern here?

After my initial skim-through, and somewhat in shock, I decided to let the file sit overnight and sleep on my emotions. I’ll take another look at the changes sometime today with a fresh eye and a calmer brain. If it turns out my first impression was right and the guy is indeed trying to rewrite my story, I think I’ll go with my initial gut reaction and pull the story from the anthology.

Have I mentioned payment yet? Here ’tis: they’re offering one cent a word. Since nothing has ever been said about splitting royalties between contributing authors, I can only assume that one cent a word and a contributor’s copy are all we’re going to see. For my 8000+ word story, which they’ve now been holding for over two years and want me to revise into something else, I might see about $80. After publication.

Welcome to the world of a working writer.

The more I think about this, the more pissed off I get. I may just pull the story after all and make it, in its original non-Dexter form, my first foray into self-publishing. I may earn less than $80, but it’ll still be my story. The returns are liable to come in a lot faster than they have through these “traditional” publishers, and I won’t have to deal with a publisher who wants to be my co-author. I’m long past the point where I’ll put up with anything in order to see my words in print. I’ve seen my work in print for several decades now, and at way more than one cent a word.

Then there’s the other story I wrote as work for hire for a start-up fantasy publisher. I was promised a flat fee of $300 for a 5000-6000 word story—half on approval of plot, half on approval of story. I sent in half a dozen plots and finally got one approved. Got my $150. I wrote the story and sent it in by the agreed-upon deadline. The editor said he’d get back to me in a couple of weeks. That was October. No sign of the story, the editor’s opinion, or my other $150. Thank God I’m not trying to make a living at this.

And these are just short stories. I shudder to think what must go into selling a novel.

Self-publishing is looking better and better, boy I tell you what.

On a better note, yesterday I subbed a M/M romance novella to Siren. Their editors are skilled, professional and easy to work with. Responses are swift, within two weeks. So’s production time. Once a book’s accepted, you can count on seeing it for sale on the site within six months or less. Royalties are paid on time. Editors might make suggestions and request expansion or clarification of scenes or characters, but to date not one has actively moved or rewritten whole sections of story, or tried to get me to change my character so it’s more like a show on cable. Guess who I’ll be writing more stories for in the weeks to come.

If I had the whole thing to do over, I’d have taken art and illustration in college and gone into comics like I always wanted. Wait, we can self-publish comics on the Internet too. I’m starting to like the future more and more.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Angelic Forecast from Volcano ~ May 14, 2012



Weekly Angelic Forecast from Volcano

Straight from the Carnal Cherub himself...

Angelic Forecast ~ #193

GOOD is ascending, the sacred dragon spiraling ever upward, into the heavens, and into the starry galaxy. The AWAKENING of all people, now rises on the vibrational wings of the Aquarian Age.

This, in the monstrous unyielding face of an Orwellian dream come true. This, against an evil so dark Earth has been designated a prison planet for centuries.

However, the cross-point is here -- and now. Humanity ascends to a glorious future, where those who wish it will colonize the stars. Or, the masses will fall beneath a tyranny that despises human beings, and cares not for their fate.

Even though, at this point, the global elite will never achieve their one world order, their tyranny will have it's way over most of us, unless we *the people* stand together, and demand freedom -- as is our divine birthright.

On the war front, the global chess game continues. With the upcoming distractions of the NATO summit in Chicago, and the London Olympics, plans are in the works to steal great portions of land worldwide, and change regimes that will now be compatible with the New World Order. Also, look for major war-drum beating in the presstitute media. Anything to keep the public frightened and compliant.

On the AWAKENING front, angelic sparks of pure goodness are activating in those of us who have agreed to be on Earth during the 2012 transition. As well, there will be more time travelers arriving to help humanity and Mother Earth out. For, any triumph will shape their future for the better.

On the paranormal front, from this point forward the 'strange universe' we all live in -- are surrounded by -- makes itself known in bigger, and more obvious ways. As well, every effort will be made to co-op and imitate the paranormal by the global bad guys. This, so 'they' can control the population.

On the personal front, this is the week to take care of the home front. With massive solar flares 'possibly' affecting the electrical grid on down the line, seek out ways to safely power your home. Make repairs, if needed. If you are looking for another home, pay attention to the layout. How well can you prepare?

On the food front, with shortages of certain foods looming, as ever keep stocking up. Make friends with your local farmer/rancher, if you haven't already. If your local farmer/rancher needs help, offer your skills, and/or find others who want to join in. Create a cooperative circle that benefits All.

On the land changes front, with the dramatic increase in superstorm-weather, as well as a major increase in volcanic and earthquake activity across the planet, it is time to keep a close eye on what is really happening. Do not trust lamestream media to keep you informed. That is not their mission.

Due to the hyper-active sun as affected by alignment with the galactic center, and the influences from other cosmic bodies, land changes will only continue on Mother Earth.

On the really bad news front, with the ongoing breakdown of the economy, *betrayal* is the theme for this week, and for the rest of the year, 2012. This will be at every level in society, from your personal life to the highest echelons ruling Earth. Because of this, many will develop 'betrayal radar', an inner knowing of who can be trusted and who cannot -- also, they will know what situations can be trusted.

Trendwise, personal 'protection' of all kinds continues to be the name of the opportunity-game. Also, like a brightly rising star, those who refuse to comply with the system will become the new heroines and heroes to many of us, as they persevere for freedom.

Another trend ramps up at this time. From a previous forecast: "As more of the states decide to stand up to the Usurpers, and take back their rights, this will signal the beginning of a Civil War, one that is fought with the power of ideas. And with money."

This week being with Nature will inspire your soul anew. Take time to enjoy the birds and the bees -- and smell the flowers.

Angelic blessings from Volcano & Sedona
~~~~~~

MORE...Volcano’s Angelic Forecast for this week ~ sirenbookstrand.blogspot.com ~
~~~~~~

Savanna

Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~
~~~

Thursday, May 10, 2012

This 'n' That



I don’t have any one topic to chat about today, so here’s a couple snippets of things. We’ll start with the fun one, because everybody should kick off the day with a laugh. British researchers have determined that dinosaur flatulence released millions of tons of methane and other greenhouse gases into the primordial air, and may have contributed to prehistoric global warming. And you thought cows were bad. Me, I’m green with envy over those Brits, who got paid to speculate on the effects of dinosaur belches and pooties. Who says you can’t find a job in today’s economy?

There’s another touch Mr. Spielberg could have added to his now-cancelled show Terra Nova. The kids have once again slipped out of the compound without supervision or weapons. They hear an enormous bang. “What was that?” The gas cloud hits. “Yecchhh! Fartosaurus!” Or imagine a scene in Jurassic Park, with the Brontosaurus herd placidly grazing, punctuated by the occasional air horn or earth-shaking belch. What did they say to each other? “Pull my tail”? No wonder they were known as “thunder lizards.” Maybe the next flick in the series will be written by Adam Sandler.

Nobody has yet speculated on the effects of pterosaur mid-air evacuations. Think about that next time the local robins target your car.

# # #

This one’s not so funny if you’re a writer who wants to make a living. It’s romance writer Ann Voss Peterson, who won’t be writing for Harlequin any more because she can’t make a living thanks to their low royalties, which she worked out to be about 2.4%. This is after 25 releases, books in bookstores and WalMart and Target, and worldwide distribution. Selling 10,000 copies sounds like a lot until you realize you’re only getting 6-10 cents per copy. She could probably self-pub her out-of-print books and make a ton more money, but Harlequin’s clinging to the rights. She’s not the only one who has issues with Harlequin’s contract and business practices either.

The whole story can be found here at Joe Konrath's blog, A Newbie's Guide to Publishing, at jakonrath.blogspot.com. Look for the "Harlequin Fail" entry on May 8. Or check out the forums at Absolute Write (www.absolutewrite.com/forums, Romance/Women's Fiction thread, "Tell us how you really feel, Mr. Konrath!")for other writers’ takes on the story. Between this and Harlequin’s reported response times of up to a year or longer, I don’t think I’ll be subbing anything to them after all. There was a time when Harlequin was pretty much the only game in town, but that’s not true any more. Much as I’d love to see my paperbacks on a bookstore’s shelves, I’d rather make a decent living without having to look for a job. I can still get print copies through POD, so in the end I’ll be happy.

# # #

Here’s why I like physical bookstores: you can take a book off the shelf and skim through it in the store to see if you like it or not before you slap down your dollars at the register. That’s not fair to the writers who worked so hard for so long to get it into the store so you can flip through it for free, but times are tough. One book I previewed had a total weepy wimp of a heroine—a vampire, no less—who failed to grow a spine in 200 pages and allowed not one but two “heroes” to emotionally abuse her. Of course, the alpha male had a change of heart at the end and decided he truly loved her after all. Yeah, right. Am I glad I didn’t pay good money for that. Ladies, if you want to sell, write better books.

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The Avengers has kicked off the summer movie season, which means there won’t be any real movies for grownups until after school starts in September. I do recommend The Avengers, because there’s actual character development and growth in between the fight scenes and stuff blowing up, and because Joss Whedon is God. The CGI Hulk doesn’t quite steal the movie, but he comes pretty damn close. Take that, expensive flesh and blood actors. We’re heading for the point where pretty soon Hollywood won’t need you any more. I recommend you learn computer animation or brush up on your voiceover skills. Or you could always write for Harlequin.

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What will I be doing this weekend? Probably pulling weeds and mowing the lawn. Wish I had a dinosaur to eat all my greens, but the winds would probably blow my mobile home over. There’s an upside and a downside to everything. Enjoy today!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Angelic Forecast from Volcano ~ May 7, 2012



Weekly Angelic Forecast from Volcano

Straight from the Carnal Cherub himself...

Angelic Forecast ~ #192

Undertow, is the word for this week, and for the next four weeks. This means what is now occurring 'below' the surface of general society, is as deadly as an undertow in a serene ocean to all of us.

At this time, the soulless ones will be coming against the human race with the intention of 'drowning' many in 'their' diabolical *undertows*. To triumph over this great evil, Mother Earth will be communing with any of us who will listen to her plea. For, she needs humanity to care for her, and live upon her -- share life with her.

On the paranormal front, in the near future every method of propaganda will be used to cover up the truth about the planet, Mars, while disseminating supposedly new science information. Despite the deliberately created box office 'failure' of the movie, John Carter [of Mars], there are many who are waking up to their genetic memories of life on Mars. As it once was.

On the economic front, there are so many manipulations of the economy going on, it will be a mishmash of conflicting data. The yo-yo affect continues. Metaphorically, the establishment dragon constantly demands yet another virgin sacrifice to devour. Bottom line, the bankster gangsters are tightening the noose around 'the people' while many are using their smarts to bring about a flourishing local economy.

On the truth front, now is the time to trust yourself, and 'only' those who have proven themselves. Stop and consider what your own sense of what the truth is. Also, check, and double check facts, then trust your own inner wisdom -- rather than what you are being told by those who are called 'authorities'.

On the war front, around our beloved, blue-marble planet, the global criminal cabal ramps up by using their mercenary troops to create chaos in various areas of the world. For now, their take-over-the-world mission is front and center militarily.

On the AWAKENING front, the POWER OF GOOD takes center stage. Treasure any 'good' done for you, and do 'good' whenever you can. At this point in history, many will realize how much their acts of goodness, and their compassion, is making 'the' difference for all of us. Out of this knowing, GOOD begins a rapid ascension throughout the world.

This will be in contrast to the massive levels of corruption now planet-wide. This long-festering wound against humanity is about to break open in ways that will become obvious. With the rays of truth and light bathing us all, it will no longer be possible to keep corruption hidden as it has been.

On the personal front, this week is all about gaining new perspectives on your life, and on the way the world is truly working. Your ability to understand your life in helpful ways will open up. This is likely to be both distressing, and/or an excellent opportunity to move ahead.

On the food front, learn as much as you can about the 'how to's' of growing food. Any knowledge and skill is valuable. If a green thumb eludes you, learn the basics of food storage, as it was done before refrigeration. As always, keep stocking up on food stuffs, and water. The storms of life are here.

On the land changes front, for this forthcoming week there is likely to be major news about what is really happening on Earth. This, rather than the spin and lies constantly dished out to the public. However, this 'news' will be couched in terms that either sensationalize the story, or minimize the information.

On the really bad news front, as more and more suffer from the artificially 'depressed' economy, crimes will escalate significantly. This will be used by the thug-criminal establishment as an excuse to implement more martial law practices. In response, anger blazes high, and more of 'the people' will fight back.

Trendwise, weapons of every kind will be on the buy list of those who want to protect themselves and their families in these times. Soon, innovative designs will be coming out of the woodwork, so to speak. For those so inclined, teaching others how to use weapons effectively and safely is a good career path.

This week tune into THE POWER OF GOOD. Let your inner goodness inspire you, and move you to help others in wise and wonderful ways.

Angelic blessings from Volcano & Sedona
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MORE...Volcano’s Angelic Forecast for this week ~ sirenbookstrand.blogspot.com ~
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Savanna

Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~
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Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Grim Reality



Yes, it’s all my fault. Blame me. I’m the one who ruined the market for scripted TV by watching reality shows. I like the competition shows best, like Project Runway and Top Chef and all the knockoffs they spawned. Catfights and meltdowns aside, there’s something about watching raw, unbridled creativity on display that gives me hope for humanity.

So far we’ve had singing shows, dancing shows, cooking, fashion, art and interior design shows. The one thing glaring in its omission is something for us writers.

That’s what we need—a reality competition show for writers! Twelve hungry wordsmiths eager for fame, recognition and huge sales. Okay, mostly huge sales. Really, how many people would be doing these shows if there wasn’t a huge monetary payoff? The winner would get a hefty advance and contract from some big New York publishing house. Sounds like a winner to me.

Imagine the drama. Writer’s blocks! Stolen ideas! Creative burnout! A storm knocks out the power and nobody can use their laptops and they have to finish a chapter longhand with a deadline looming. That’s TV gold!

The camera zooms in our contestants, following their every move, every word hurled back and forth at each other as they … uh …

Sit there. Stare at their laptop screens. Get up to use the can or go for coffee. Lots of trips for coffee. Consequently lots of trips to the can.

What do the viewers get so see? A growing stack of papers. If the writer decides to just save it on the hard drive, maybe not even that.

I think I know why there haven’t been any competition shows for writers yet.

Okay, so writing’s not the most visual career in the arts and crafts basket. It can still make for exciting TV. We could follow a group of writers as they create and polish their masterpiece, then send it off to an agent or publisher and … well … wait. And wait. For months. Or thirteen episodes, whichever comes first. Probably the thirteen episodes.

It’s a shame writing doesn’t lend itself well to TV, because without writers there wouldn’t be any TV, scripted or not. That’s right, “reality” shows have writers just like any other show. Somebody has to take those hours and hours of footage and edit them down into a coherent forty-five minutes of show. People like their entertainment tidied up and making sense because real life is chaotic and makes no sense at all. That’s where the writer comes in.

Our lives aren’t exactly the stuff of riveting drama, but without us you’d have to make up your own stories. Good luck with that.

Actually, there is a new reality show that shows writers in competition, sort of. It’s called The Pitch and it’s on AMC. It’s about rival agencies coming up with ad campaigns for a business. The final product utilizes graphics and video and multimedia, but it all starts with the idea. Guess who comes up with the concept?

That’s our reality. No glitz, no glamor, little recognition. We don’t even get a TV show. Sometimes you get to make a living from typing your fantasies onto a screen. You won’t get the fortune, or even the fame if you’re using a pen name. You get the satisfaction of knowing you gave somebody a break from reality for a couple of hours, maybe entertained them or made them laugh or (God forbid) even think about life differently. It’s not $100,000 and a contract with a major talent agency, but it’ll have to do.

Anyway, I like to write while sitting in bed with the laptop and wearing my ratty old bathrobe. I don’t think I’d want a camera on me. Maybe it’s all for the best.