Posted in Works

New Wattpad Story – Chasing Sekhmet

I put up a new story on Wattpad, something I wrote a while back for a friend. I’ve tweaked it some to make it appropriate for a more general audience. It still might only appeal to a certain niche; it’s very heavily influenced by Pagan ideas and Egyptian mythology.

“Chasing Sekhmet” at Wattpad. I hope you enjoy!

If you do enjoy, please remember to comment and vote. I enjoy hearing from readers.

–S. Lynn

Posted in Publishing Industry

Ellora’s Cave is Still Running?

Apparently, though they’re back in the publishing news and making the rounds on my author friends’ Facebook pages. At least one of my friends is a former EC author. I think it’s been a decade or longer since any of my friends published with them or were deeply involved, but I can say that problems with EC and authors’ dwindling patience have been going on for quite some time.

Looks like now EC is suing the RWA, because somehow they think they can go up against the association dedicated to protecting the rights of romance authors. While it’s true the RWA doesn’t have much legal power, they do have more resources than Dear Author and owner Jane, with whom EC ended up settling out of court. It’ll be interesting to see why they think they can fare better with the RWA.

There’s a part of me still mildly flabbergasted by the fact that EC and whatever the owner is calling herself these days have been able to carry on this farce for so long. Then again, EC knows their authors–in part because of EC’s inability or unwillingness to pay royalties on time–are unable to afford to strike back legally. Read up on the subject if you aren’t already aware; EC appears to have completely and utterly flouted the terms of their own contracts multiple times, claiming not to have broken the terms through the non-paying of royalties rightfully earned by their authors.

And they have a lawyer who apparently has no qualms about stating that EC’s alarming practices are legal, correct, and right.

New authors in erotica, please steer clear of Ellora’s Cave. Once, they were the best place to be for erotica authors. Those days are long over.

–S. Lynn

Posted in Works, Writing Discussion

My Brain is a Jerk (Part Two)

Really, brain, really?

I feel like Diana in The Shadow of Night (second in the Deborah Harkness trilogy that begins with A Discovery of Witches and ends with The Book of Life). All it takes is a single question or moment of curiosity to start my brain cogitating and weaving out new ideas. Sometimes, I wish I had more trouble with ideas. Then maybe my actual writing could catch up.

This time it was: Good gods, I’m tired of sexy, brooding, angsty vampires. What would a good story these days look like with monstrous vampires?

Three days later, I have some character profiles and the bare bones of a backstory.

I always start with character profiles, because that’s were story starts, for me. Sure, the whole thing began with asking what monstrous vampires would look like post-Twilight, but that matters only so far as the characters who will be interacting with said vampires, and their motivations for doing so.

When building characters, I start with names and their meanings.

I have three main characters so far, though I’m thinking I’ll only follow two of them for a while: siblings Sophia, Monica, and Gregory.

Sophia, of course, means “wisdom,” and Monica means “truth,” while Gregory means “steadfast, watchful.”

So I take these meanings, and I build characters around them. Sophia, for instance, is bookish and her favorite subjects are English/Literature and Psychology. She has the ability to see deeply into a person’s motivations. Monica is also no slouch in the school department, but she prefers history, biology, and chemistry–she prefers subjects with concrete answers to those with room for interpretation (I suppose no one gave her the memo about history). Monica has the ability to see the surface truth of things, which might translate to a form of telepathy; if someone is cheating on their spouse, Monica will know it whether or not they tell her. Sophia, meanwhile, will be able to see deeper and understand the implications and also the reasons. Monica often believes she’s right when she’s not, and can be reckless and make snap decisions.

Truth and Wisdom go together, you see, and truth is great, but wisdom goes deeper.

Gregory, on the other hand, unlike his younger sisters, will have to grow into the meaning of his name. Right now, he’s not been so steadfast, or watchful. In fact, he’s run away and turned a blind eye to a lot of his past. He has good reasons for doing so, but he’s still suffering the consequences, and doesn’t know there are more on the way. He’s eventually going to have to rejoin his sisters, whether or not doing so is the right thing.

There’s more, but I think I’ve made my point. My brain goes into overdrive on a new story idea, churns out some characters and a backstory, and then peters out and starts the process all over again the next time I have a wandering thought.

It’s quite annoying.

–S. Lynn

Posted in Writing Discussion

My Brain is a Jerk

As evidenced by the fact that I have started yet another short story, with no idea where it’s going or what the point is, regardless of the fact that I have way too many unfinished projects.

Thanks, brain.

Jerk.

(It’s kind of an awesome story, though.)

–S. Lynn

Posted in Writing Discussion

Reader’s Perspective: Romance

As a writer and especially as a reader, romance is not my genre. I don’t hate it, though, and I’ve even read a few that I really like. Most books I do read have some form of romance in them, because that’s just how books roll (though there are a growing number of asexual and aromantic authors out there working to offer more non-romance content). And look, regardless of my sexual or romantic orientation, I like a good romance!

That’s the key, though. A good romance. It has to be well-written, and it cannot be cliched.

Here’s all the ways to guarantee I will not like the romance in a book or story:

  1. The protagonist and their love interest are “in love” in the first third of the book. Sorry, I don’t believe in love-at-first-sight, especially in fiction.
  2. I can’t tell why these two people love each other. Like in The Swan Princess, when Odette asks Derek to tell her what he suddenly loves about her–he can’t say anything other than her beauty (but she never gives any reason why she suddenly loves him, either).
  3. The “explanation” of their relationship comes down to them being in lust, not in love. There’s nothing wrong with casual sex between two people who don’t love each other as long as both are consenting adults–but don’t mistake sex for love, and please don’t have your characters make the same mistake. Unless it’s acknowledged and part of the story.
  4. The protagonist–especially if she’s a “strong female lead”–finds herself inexplicably attracted to some domineering alpha male. She can’t explain it. She fights it. She loses, of course. Blech.
  5. The female love interest spends all her time being angry at the domineering alpha male because he’s domineering, but she also is inexplicably attracted to him, and eventually just decides that’s part of who he is and learns to deal with it.
  6. Love triangles. No. Stop. These are overdone, and also painful. For me, almost triggery painful.
  7. The male love interest’s (for any gender protagonist) main traits that are supposed to be “romantic” are actually domineering, possessive, and abusive.
  8. The book or story is supposed to have a non-romance plot, but 90% of it is taken up by the romance plot, and the rest is tacked on at the end. Anything that is not the romance plot is badly written, badly conceptualized, and badly plotted. It’s fine to have a book that is 100% romance. Just don’t lie about it. (This one inspired by Robin D. Owens’ The Summoning series, which has about the weakest non-romance plot ever.)
  9. The main protagonist is an out-spoken, stubborn “strong female” type, who meets her domineering alpha male, and is constantly being silenced “for her own good” because her outspokenness and stubbornness is what attracts him to her in the first place, but now because of the circumstances it’s dangerous for her to speak her mind! Because she’s speaking without knowing the full impact of her words or actions! She really should just be silent and allow her sudden new boyfriend to do all the talking.
  10. An alpha male attracted to the one female who doesn’t immediately bend to his charms or his will.
  11. Especially when eventually, she learns to accept that his domination, over-protectiveness, and controlling behavior is just how he shows love.
  12. Really I’m kind of over supernatural boyfriends–werewolves, vampires, etc.–having “natural” reasons behind their crappy, sexist behavior. How about we have some vampire or werewolf who isn’t a raging sexist?

I mean, surely my point is made. I could come up with more, but mostly they’d be iterations of the above. I’m done with cliche, especially when it’s sexist.

I should note that I wrote this post based almost entirely on my reaction to the “romance” plot in Deborah Harkness’ A Discovery of Witches, which is a really well-written book for the most part. The story about the history of witches, daemons, and vampires, and how it’s connected with alchemy is all very well done, and so interesting, and I really love that part. However, it’s practically drowned–especially in A Discovery of Witches (the first of a trilogy)–by the romance story, which is basically everything I just listed above. I hated everything about the romance between Matthew and Diana the first time I read the trilogy, and I only hate it more the second time around.

Luckily, the rest of the story is interesting and well-written enough. Really well done. Honestly, I recommend Harkness’ trilogy based on the strength of every single part of the non-romance story alone. I just wish she’d been able to be less cliched and sexist and more awesome with her romance story.

–S. Lynn