Shannon Stacey
Hi-ho, manuscript, awaaaaaaay

The snap is good. The kick is away. Ball’s in the air. Only time will tell if it’s a field goal or a punt, but it feels really good to be off the freakin’ bench again.

Until I remember something I wanted to change or needed to fix, and then I’ll feel ill. But for now I’m going to stop mixing my Lone Ranger and football metaphors and go…clean my bathroom or something.

Actually I’m going to call the husband and tell him a customer called in with a furnace problem, but I let the machine take it because I was trying to make sure I hadn’t used the same word in the same paragraph too many times in a sex scene.

I’m sure they’ll understand. Despite the 20-below wind chill.

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Auf Wiedersen

Arabella Magazine is now officially closed. I’m sure everybody saw this coming as the loops had a lot of questions about them, but no answers, for what seems like at least six months now.

I feel badly for my fellow writers who were looking foward to seeing their short stories in print. I’ve had a couple of target markets close up their doors on me, but never after I sold to them. I know it happens, but it seems really unfair. (I know–Life Isn’t Fair Blah Blah Blah)

I probably won’t personally miss them too overly much, as I was never able to get my hands on an issue to begin with. Supposedly, Borders was supposed to carry it, but I never saw an issue there. Or anywhere.

You know, it surprises me that RT doesn’t include a short romantic story in each issue. Or a short short and a longer, serialized piece.

I’m dying to know more about Lady Jaided, the new magazine Jaid Black is putting together. She’s mentioned it on her blog a couple of times, but I think I missed the beginning of the conversation. Coming from the Queen of Steam, it should be interesting!

No school today, which puts us all in a lazy, jammy mood, but I’m off to do something productive. *eye roll*

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Shannon Vs. Word Spellcheck

The words we’re beefing about today:

poufy–Okay, I just can’t spell. It’s pouffy. (Which doesn’t look right)
fogey–This round to me. (All rounds scored by dictionary.com)
clotheslining–another to me
dustbunnies–according to dictionary.com, round to spellcheck, but I like it the way it is. Impasse.
dammit–round to me.
piddly–round to spellcheck, but I’m keeping it anyway.
undies–mine. Obviously. Stupid spellcheck.
Tauruses–round to spellcheck, but how else do you refer to more than one Ford Taurus?
recaffeinate–round to spellcheck, but this should be a word, and since my heroine’s using it and would say something like that, I’m keeping it.
Dumbass–round to spellcheck, but dumb ass just looks wrong, so we’re at an impasse.
Rubbernecker–another round for me.

Total: (technically) Spellcheck: 6 Shannon: 5
(But I’m keeping them all except poufy–which still looks right)

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The Websiteless Writer

My brochure for the New England Chapter’s annual conference came in the mail the other day. I can’t say enough about what a fabulous event this is every year. At about 200 people, it’s large enough to draw a good roster of agents, editors, authors, and speakers, yet small enough to be enjoyable and not at all overwhelming. The workshops are great–Debra Dixon, the Queen of GMC this year! Unfortunately, I probably won’t be going. My priority this year, whether or not I sell, is a website.

Since taking up blogging, I’ve been asked a few times if I have a website, or why I don’t have one.

I don’t, for two reasons. One, I’m very careful about how much money my husband puts into something that, so far, has seen no return. He’s very supportive of my writing, but he’s also been the sole financial supporter of the family for the last ten years. Two, I can’t think of enough to say about myself to fill a website.

I played around with the Geocities site that came with my Yahoo account for a while. No web design skills needed! Wooohooo! Well, it shows. I came to the conclusion, after looking around at some of the sites of my fellow aspiring writers and my own pathetic attempts with clipart cast-offs, that, like an agent, it’s better to have none than a crappy one.

I would never introduce a shabbily-dressed, illiterate guy and say, “This is Bob, my agent. He works for zero percent of my income, so I’ve chosen him to represent me and my writing.”

There are some fabulous websites out there from aspiring writers. They clearly represent dedicated, focused professionals. I’m sure if I were an editor, I’d be pleased to know that, along with the manuscript, comes an author well-versed in image and promotion–one willing to invest in her own career.

So one of my goals this year–one I can actually have some control over–is a professional website. Like editors and agents, I’ve got my wish list. We’ll see how it goes. For now I’ve got my blog and I’m content with that.

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Paging Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard

All this talk of career planning and resolutions and whatnot has all jumbled into one concept for me this month: Focus. I need to focus my energies in concrete directions.

And how the hell does this work when your Muse has Multiple Personality Disorder? Not well. I need to set up some kind of voice mail system for her in my head. For romantic comedy, press 1. For romantic suspense, press 2. For women’s fictiony stuff, press 3. For erotic werewolves, press…end, then dial somebody else. I just had a visual of the hero dragging his butt across the grass, and we’ll add that to the “Not This Writer” list, along with matchmakers reincarnated as vomitously-mischievous pets. I’ve tried to whip my Muse into shape before, only to have her cry “Ooooh, a bondage story,” and cash in some more frequent flyer miles on Tangent Air.

So I’m going to ignore her for a while to concentrate on the myriad of ideas I’m already working on:

1–A romantic suspense for SIM. I’m suffering from a severe lack of motivation where this story is concerned (mine, not the character’s). More on that later.
2–Romantic comedy for EC. (The one with the chafing hero)
3–Comedic futuristic novella and big, fat vampire series for EC. (More evidence of my Muse’s many personlities.)
4–Novella for Brava, affectionately (working) titled Crotch Rocket.
5–Futuristic time-travel series for Silhouette Bombshell. This is a project I’m pretty excited about…

But. (Of course there’s a but.) I’m excited about the series, but less excited about pouring too much blood and sweat into it yet. I was working on a Duets when the editor moved and then the line closed. Was pondering Flipside, but didn’t think it would work. And Flipside’s folding, anyway. Had a Harlequin Historical I was putzing with, then that line closed in North America. Or did it? Who knows? Temptation, where my orphaned Duets might have fit with a lot of revision, is leaving the country. And SIM has cut back to 4 books per month and is focusing on top-selling authors & themes. Not sure what that means, other than ‘No slot for Shannon.’ And yet, for some reason, I’m having trouble focusing my creative energies on H/S right now. *eye roll*

But I’ve decided those are the projects on the table right now. Anything else the Muse comes up with will be totally ignored. I won’t even let myself “just down a few notes…really, just a few.” To very badly paraphrase Stephen King: if it’s not a good enough idea for the muse to cough up later without written notes, it wasn’t a strong enough idea for a book.

Of course, the list is open to negotiation should one of those stick. *g*

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