The Loopies have been furiously emailing back and forth the past few days, even over mouthfuls of turkey dinners and whilst driving along bumpy dirt roads. All in an effort to make sure Masters of Seduction is as great as we can make it. The six of us, Virginia Henley (who somehow had her name changed to Victoria in the Table of Contents *snort*) Jill Gregory, Jacquie D’Alessandro, Sherri Browning Erwin, Julie Ortolon, and moi winged over a hundred emails yesterday alone working on the blurb, and whether to say Middle Ages or Medieval times. It’s been an experience, that’s for sure. And a lot of fun. I think we would all do it again in a heartbeat, as long as we had an ample supply of chocolate martinis.
Print publishers arrange these things normally. They choose a handful of authors from their stable (yes, it’s called a stable) who they figure will sell well, usually one with a Big Name to attract the attention of faithful fans, and a smattering of not so big names who they hope will garner some attention and boost their readership. It’s a good system, and it works. Many writers whose short stories first appeared in anthologies have gone on to hit the NYTimes and USA Today lists.
I was asked once, to contribute to an anthology, but when I was told the story had to be limited to between 30-40 pages I gently turned it down. It normally takes me that long just to introduce my characters and send the ball rolling into the first plotline. Some writers do great with short stories. They have a knack for landing the reader smack in the midst of the story, tell readers all they need to know about the main characters, build a conflict, work through a resolution, and have everyone live happily ever after, all in 30 pages.
I’ll admit, when the Loopies first started discussing an anthology, I had my reservations…again…even though I played an enthusiastic part in getting the idea rolling around. And this is where Snooki came in. At the time, Jacquie and Connie Brockway had just finished contributing stories for the Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance, and Jacquie was bemoaning the fact that it was being released the same day as a book by Snooki.
Discussions then went on a tangent about how to increase their exposure to gain publicity for the Mammoth book, ranging from hanging out with Paris Hilton to running around without underwear and having indiscriminate sex with Jersey boys wearing a tibetan terrier on the head (as a hat? hmm. bit hairy) From that irreverent fodder, came Jacquie’s infamous suggestion: “We should write a Loopie anthology.” Minutes later Julie chimed in with “Actually that’s not a bad idea.” Virginia’s email landed within seconds: “That is a damn good idea!” whereupon I stuck my foot in with: “I pitched an idea a long time ago to Dell that stirred up a bit of excitement with the editor at the time, but the axe fell shortly thereafter and it never went anywhere. It was an anthology based around an antique mirror and the hands it passed through on it’s journey from ye olde England to an appraisal request at the Antiques Road show.”
Voila. The idea was born.
This time around, even though I certainly shared everyone’s enthusiasm for the project, it was even more unnerving because I’d been basically retired for the past seven years. Way out of sync with the concentration and focus and sheer sit-your-ass-down-and-do-it mindset you need to write a book, or write anything for that matter. But it was the Loopies! And I wasn’t about to let the Loopies down. So I sat my ass down and tried to figure out how to write a short story. Did I read any? No. That would have been the totally logical thing to do. *snort*
Two months and about eight drafts later, I had the beginnings of four short stories. I had originally been assigned a “pirate” theme because I was already working on the sequel to The Iron Rose, so a pirate story shouldn’t have been too difficult. HAH. Each time I thought of an idea for the short story, it seemed to work out better in the longer book I was writing, so it went there instead. I even whined to Jill Gregory that I couldn’t seem to find the right focus, and that maybe this was not such a great idea after all. I wasn’t a short story writer. Wasn’t even sure I could pull it off.
Around that time, when my late night whining had Jill rolling her eyes, I’m sure, one of the original Loopies, Julie London, (who had claimed the medieval time period because she had never written anything that early and wanted to take a stab at it) had to drop out due to other commitments, deadlines, etc. (I was also going to mention that she thought “medieval” meant Henry the VIII, but I won’t say anything about that *sweet smile*) I instantly jumped ship, so to speak and glommed the medieval time period, saying we needed to show how and where the mirror pendant started it’s journey. No one objected, so there I was in the greenwood again, a bow in my hands, arrows in my quiver, a castle under seige and only one way out…
Writing “What the Heart Sees” was an absolute pleasure, no strain, no stress whatsoever. I hadn’t realized how much I missed those knights clanking around in armor, arrows zinging through the woods, foresters lying in ambush. I *think* I even wrangled the whole how-to-write-a-short story conundrum to the ground, managing to reign back my natural tendency to excess descriptive verbiage. Nah. No I didn’t *g*. I don’t think. I guess I’ll have to let the readers decide.
Anyway, Masters of Seduction is on track to be released December 1st. That’s in two days. I’ve already mentioned we have spiffy graphics, a gorgeous cover and stepback as well as title pages for each story. I’m told some ereader devices won’t allow the graphics, and that’s unfortunate. I’m also told that a lot of readers aren’t aware that they can go to Amazon and download apps that allow Kindle files to be downloaded onto any kind of ereader. I have a Pandigital that usually downloads from Kobo, but I have the Kindle for Kobo app loaded on it, so I’m not limited to buying from one place. I also have an iPad2 and yes, the Kindle for iPad app which lets me download straight from Amazon, and not have to go through the Apple store…which, as a minor aside, is a headache to even get to the bookstore much less buy there. Ad for Kobo…well…perhaps now that they’ve been bought out by a huge conglomerate they’ll clean up their act, but until then…I’m not really impressed. Less than half my books were available there even though Smashwords said they had all been distributed to them.
But that is a subject for another blog.
For now, thank you Snooki and Jacquie for sending us down this mahhhvellous path.