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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Trope-tastic Thursday: Violently Protective Girlfriend

(Finished the first Mass Effect! Now I'm trying to get back into good writing habits and complete some projects before ordering ME2.)

Trope: Violently Protective Girlfriend

Description: Do not mess with the boyfriend of the Violently Protective Girlfriend. It will not end well for you. Just as mothers instinctively protect their children, the Violently Protective Girlfriend does not want any harm to come to her chosen partner under her watch (and if something does happen, she'll feel really really bad about it). She's usually adept when it comes to self-defense or physical fighting, whether she has powerful weapons of doom at her disposal or nothing but her bare fists.

Examples: Sarah from [one of my favorite shows] Chuck, Katniss from The Hunger Games, Zoe from Firefly

Pros: It should be no secret by now that I loves me some badass women. I think women can (and should!) be heroes just as easily and often as men. Having the knight in shining armor protect his damsel in distress is a much more common plot; there's nothing wrong with turning things upside down every now and then. (Note that this trope differs from the Badass Damsel.)

Cons: If a man constantly needs his woman to protect him, it can be seen as emasculating. In romance, that might make the male lead less conventionally sexy. There's a reason the aforementioned "man saves woman" plot has been so popular for so long. Overly tough, aggressive women can also be difficult to relate to in the context of traditional romances.

Would/Did I Use It?: As I said up there, it's obvious by now I like strong female characters. Ro from Disintegration could fall into this category, and a case could even be made for Liora from The Edge of the Sphere. I'm not going to give away any spoilers for the in-progress Searching the Skies sequel, but...let's just say this trope might come up eventually....

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Trope-tastic Thursday: (Green-Skinned) Space Babe

I'm about a third of the way through the first Mass Effect and I'm enjoying it so far. Might as well make this week's Trope-tastic Thursday somewhat relevant!

Trope: (Green-Skinned) Space Babe

Description: The attractive alien with mostly human features so having sex with her (or sometimes him) isn't too squicky. While the fictional aliens of yore were mostly green, these days the space babes can come in every color of the rainbow. Female space babes are more prevalent than the males, and they will frequently be large-chested and/or scantily clad.

Examples: Liara (and the Asari in general) from Mass Effect, Jabba the Hutt's slave girls in Return of the Jedi, the trio of male aliens in Earth Girls are Easy

Pros: After a certain point, I guess there's only so many sexual adventures you can have with humans. Relationships with fictional species can also add a slew of other compelling issues - an element of danger/the unknown, social repercussions, concerns about reproducing, etc. The flip side of that is the possibility for creating qualities and abilities that can, um, enhance the experience for the human.

Cons: Everyone's got their preferences when it comes to romance, and for many people, interspecies sex is a no-no. If you're not a fan of what can seem like unnecessary drama, pretend I copied and pasted that list of "compelling issues" in this category.  Also, while they're supposed to be similar to humans, I just can't help but think that that green skin would feel a little...reptilian?

Would/Did I Use It?: I've thought about it, actually. In addition to the StS sequel, I've also been working here and there on another project, and I was very tempted to make one of the love interests an alien. I ultimately decided, however, to keep them both human. While I can understand why it's appealing for some people, the idea of sex with aliens, no matter how attractive they may be, just doesn't do anything for me.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

And the Productivity Takes a Hit

That time has come again - I am spending most of my free time not writing, not knitting, but losing myself to a game. I finally got the first Mass Effect working, and while I'm not madly in love with it yet like I was with Dragon Age 2, I'm getting the hang of it and it's enjoyable so far. I will still be writing and knitting and, you know, acting like a responsible adult when I have to...but there's still going to be a lot of gaming around here. I've already decided to look at it as 1) recharging my batteries and 2) getting inspiration from an alternate mode of storytelling. ;) Whatever justification works, right?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Trope-tastic Thursday: Star-Crossed Lovers

Happy Valentine's Day! I hope you're snuggling up with something (or someone) steamy and dreamy!

Trope: Star-Crossed Lovers

Description: Our heroes are madly, passionately, unbelievably in love...but fate is keeping them apart. There are any number of contributing factors to why they just can't be together and live happily ever after. Some have a basis in reality, like a long-distance relationship or a meddling parent. Others involve concepts such as destiny and luck (and mileage varies as to whether you believe in that sort of stuff).

Examples: Romeo and Juliet, Guinevere and Lancelot, Catherine and Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights

Pros: Oh, the drama! We root so hard for the couple to be together and cheer on their love! When they're forced apart, we cry with them. Shaking our collective fist at the universe for being so cruel can be cathartic, after all.

Cons: If they're truly star-crossed lovers, there's not going to be a happy ending. Done well, the audience enjoys being taken along for the emotional ride. Otherwise, there's a high possibility for disappointment.

Would/Did I Use It?: Again, as this trope is technically defined by the story's ending...well, I'm not going to give away spoilers to my writings. That would just be wrong. (Hey, it's Valentine's Day, I'm allowed to be coy and have a little fun of my own, right?)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

No Broken Hearts Here!

We have winners! Congrats to Ashley Anne, who gets a free ebook of her choosing, plus a special sneak peek at the Searching the Skies sequel! Congratulations are also in order for Ashley, Jess, and Meghan, who won the grand prizes in the hop!

I loved reading all your responses as to who your favorite heartbreaker is. Man, that Rhett Butler is a popular fellow! Be sure to check back here on Thursday for a special Valentine's Day edition of Trope-tastic Thursdays!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Half Navel-Gazing, Half Kissing My Own Butt

(If you want to be eligible for the Heartbreaker Hop's grand prizes, make sure you comment on the post below this one!)

There are a couple questions and topics tossed around the writing forums I frequent that make me scratch my head, mostly because I don't have good answers. They deal with measuring success and ultimate goals. The best I can muster is a bewildered shrug of the shoulders and a super-eloquent "...I dunno?"

I'm a published author. Many people would label that as being "successful". I've made money (though not tons of it) from things I've written. I've gotten good reviews, and some not-so-good reviews. I have this blog, a facebook page, and a twitter account, and I'm gradually learning how to use all three of those to my benefit. (Twitter's a little rough, and I sometimes neglect it, but I'm working on it!)

Getting my work out to readers and building that elusive audience continues to be among my goals, and I don't think the challenge will ever really go away. I'm a realistic person, and while it's fun to dream, I know I'm never going to make it on to the NYT best-sellers list or make a living off my writing. (And quite frankly, I don't want this to be my full-time job. I think there would be way too much pressure, and my writing might suffer.)

Writing can be fun, and it can be pull-your-hair-out frustrating. Same goes for navigating the world of marketing and publicizing said writings. There are great moments, and there are not so great moments.

This has been a good weekend, so I'm choosing to embrace it for what it is and revel in it, for who knows when the next great moment is going to come along. Disintegration: The Prequels has gotten a glowing review over at Mei Writes. My facebook page now has over 100 likes. Yesterday, I received an acceptance letter and contract for a short story I submitted to an anthology. The Big Book of Orgasm will be out from Cleis Press in September, and I'll be able to walk into a bookstore and pick up a hard copy of something with my nom de plume in the credits.

And now for my overly-schmaltzy and introspective declaration: even when things are going well, I think it's important to always strive to do better. Sure, the good news of this weekend provided some motivation to keep writing and thinking about future ideas. Next weekend may be shitty, but I'll keep slogging through anyway. No matter what happens, I'm grateful for everyone who reads my words (here and elsewhere), regardless if you've been with me since the beginning, or this is your first day passing through. May we all have more great moments than depressing ones!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Heartbreaker Hop!

It's almost Valentine's Day, and that means it's time to spice things up with a blog hop! Whether you're already happily with your hero, still looking for that certain someone, or if you're out there breaking hearts on your own, we've all got some fabulous prizes to celebrate!

Every hero's got his flaws, depending on the situation and his personality. His partner may accept him for who he is without any qualms, or the sparks may fly as they butt heads! It's so hard to choose one of my "heartbreakers" to feature in this hop, so the winner of this giveaway gets their choice of ebook from my list! In addition, that lucky person will get a sneak peek at the Searching the Skies sequel to ensure an extra-steamy Valentine's Day!

As always, there are even more prizes! Not only can you enter the giveaway hosted here, but if you leave a comment with your name and email address, you're automatically entered to win one of the three fantastic grand prizes for the hop! The grand prizes are:

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $100 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more! (US only)

Good luck, and try to stay away from the real-life heartbreakers! ;)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Heartbreaker Hop Main Page/List of Blogs

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Trope-tastic Thursdays: Hot Chick in a Badass Suit

Trope: Hot Chick in a Badass Suit

Description: The Hot Chick in a Badass Suit means business - don't mess with her, or you will probably regret it. She's successful and she's confident in both her profession and the way she carries herself. While short skirts are a possibility, she can look just as good in a long-sleeved pantsuit that covers her chest, because her tailor is just that talented.

Examples: Agent Scully from The X-Files, most of the female lawyers on Law & Order, with special shoutouts going to Abbie Carmichael and Alex Cabot, because damn, those were some enviable suits

Pros: Want to instantly make the audience think "strong female character"? Put her in a Badass Suit. If she's wearing a Badass Suit, we can assume she must be intelligent and have at least some level of personal skills, as she's advanced in her career enough that the suit is deemed necessary to appear professional. Also, if she cares about her appearance and the way she's perceived in said career, we know she's passionate about something.

Cons: There are some negative connotations that can accompany this trope. For example, if the HCiaBAS holds a position of some importance, some will wonder if she did anything morally questionable to get to that place. She might also get a reputation for being a hardass, and/or be accused of not caring about anything except her job.

Would/Did I Use It?: Specifically, no. (Though I have put some of my "hot chicks" in a uniform.) That said, I like the idea of this trope, and I am not opposed to the idea of using it in the future. I do have a strong love for Law & Order, after all!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Starting Somewhere Other Than the Beginning

Congratulations to Kat and Kristin, who won e-copies of Disintegration! Enjoy!

I forget if I just coyly hinted at it or outright stated it, but either way: I am writing a sequel to Searching the Skies. (And I do have plans for a third book in that series, but let's not get ahead of ourselves here!) I've never written a sequel to anything before. In the past, I always figured I told the stories I wanted to tell and ended them when I was done. Looking back, however, the ending of StS does lend itself nicely to a continuing story with the same characters. Maybe my subconscious is smarter than I am.

It's been an interesting experience starting somewhere other than the very beginning. There are some ups and downs to working within an established framework. On one hand, the romance is already in place and these characters are already in a relationship. While there will be conflict in the book, of course, getting to the romance is not it. On the other hand, I don't want to rely too heavily on the previous book for marketing purposes. Ideally, I want the book to be able to stand on its own and not have readers feel like they're missing a big chunk of the story if they happened to start with #2, rather than #1.

I'm about a third of the way through, and I think I'm satisfied with it so far. (Gosh, that was a ringing endorsement, wasn't it?) As I mentioned in a New Year's-themed post, I do want to expand my writing horizons, and this book fulfills a number of things I want to try. Fingers crossed that the results will be everything I want them to be!