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    Spar
    by Nikko Lee

    A closeted black belt comes to terms with his bisexuality when he takes an openly gay student as his new sparring partner.

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    Wolf Creek: Gay Werewolf Romance
    by Nikko Lee, Digital Fiction

    Life as a gay omega werewolf is no fairytale.

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    Bon Appetit: Stories & Recipes for Human Consumption
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    Brainatarian by Nikko Lee

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    Contains Great Mother Wolf by Michelle Knowlton

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    People Eating People: A Cannibal Anthology
    by Frank Larnerd, Tony Peak, Geoff Gander, Shenoa Caroll-Bradd, Robert Hart, Nikko Lee, Kyle Yadlosky, Edward Martin III

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    Valves & Vixens: Steampunk Erotica
    by Nicole Gestalt, Crysta Coburn, J.T Seate, Nikko Lee, V.C., Zak Jane Keir, Blair, Regina Kammer, Jim Lee

    Contains Boson's Mate by Nikko Lee

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    Between Love and Lust
    by Nikko Lee

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    Templar and Other Stories of Suspense and Terror (Vampires 2, Volume 4)
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Entries in Safe Word (2)

Monday
Jan282019

Novel 101 and rejection

This past weekend I attended a Novel 101 presentation by Cynthia Thayer. I've attended her courses and talks before and really enjoy listening to her talk about the craft of writing. I never get bored of reviewing the basics. It's funny how understanding a concept if only one level; implementing it is another matter all together. I particularly liked the discussion about the crisis point.

Often when I start a book, I have in mind a character with a flaw or challenge that needs to be overcome so that they can move forward in their life. The whole first three-quarters of the book is all about leading up to that moment when they must make a decision or choice that at the beginning of the book they would have picked path A, but now after their newly gained experience they chose path B. It may be for the betterment of the character and their relationships or it might lead them down a road towards being the villain.

Because I write in multiple points of view (at least two for romances), each character has to have this challenge/crisis/change arc. I love forcing my characters to grow and overcome their flaws. But it has to be earned and hard. So hard that the reader doubts the character will overcome even if that's what the reader is rooting for.

With Safe Word, my main character Jacob is an egotistical, controlling man who feels that he must maintain control at all times. Control over himself, his relationship with his clients and the women he enters into BDSM relationships with. Because of his past experiences, he feels it's the only way he can ensure his partner's happiness. The novel gradually takes him on a journey to realize that he must surrender that control because it is an illusion.

About Safe Word... I was encouraged to get a full manuscript request. Alas, it was found to be lacking. I received the criticism that I expect and dread at the same time, that the writing is 'just not there'. There being a professional quality that would make the novel appealing to a mass market. The next day I received another rejection letter from an agent who I had given up on hearing anything positive back from.

These rejections both inspire the desire to quit and the desire to improve. Unfortunately, my time to write is extremely limited. I'm not sure if Safe Word is destined for the trunk or maybe in a few years when the kids are older I'll be able to devote the time needed to improve it.

Often I doubt my ability to write and my keyboard gets neglected. Then a character starts whispering in my ear 'write me'. I love the craft of writing, I just need a lot more practice and growth to get 'there'.

Tuesday
Aug162016

Writing Worry #38: When to submit

This summer has been busy between expecting our second, chasing around a toddler and trying to get together with friends and family before the arrival of #2. It has left little time or energy for writing. As my self-imposed deadline for submission of November is right around the corner, I am faced with the choice of submitting as is or accepting that it will be another year to two before the manuscript is ready.

I wrote the outline for Safe Word nearly 5 years ago, the first draft 3 years ago. I've never worked on a project this long and stuck with it. Either a new idea comes along or I just get frustrated with the state of the manuscript and trunked it.

The current manuscript is okay. I could probably submit it as is, but there are some known problems:

  1. Some fact checking confirmed that scenes with the pathologist character are not true to life. In fact, I need to give her a different job so she can have access to the information she needs to have access to and re-write just about every scene that happens in the morgue because it isn't the way things are done in the Minneapolis medical examiner's office.
  2. I have yet to fact check with the Minneapolis police department to make sure my police proceedure is somewhat rounded in reality versus TV logic.
  3. One of my biggest flaws as an author is having too many unnecessary words. It slows the pace and risks losing the reader.
  4. Second biggest flaw is the absence of scene setting. I'm a minimalist when it comes to setting the scene, but my new writing group has helped me realize that I only needs to add in a few details as a part of the blocking to ground the reader.
  5. The constant need for line edits.

My impulse is to submit this manuscript and let the chips fall where they may. However, the more I think about it the more I realize there are some very concrete things I can do to make a great manuscript out of a good one and maybe even be able to draw the attention of an agent or print-based publication.

I guess I have my answer. Patience and perseverance.