Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The return of the Naked Authors

I really should pay attention to this blog. But I'm afraid it's sadly neglected, like the plants in my living room. Those poor plants have to be droopy and starting to turn brown before I notice and water them. I can't be trusted with plants. And clearly, I've forgotten what it was like to blog religiously once a week, like I did with the First Offenders. Maybe it takes a village to keep a blog going these days.

My friend Patty Smiley emailed me about a week ago to tell me that the Naked Authors are back blogging. They stopped blogging about a year ago, maybe. And somehow they all talked themselves into blogging again.

I don't think the First Offenders are coming back, although the Who and the Rolling Stones have had a lot of comebacks, so we can never say never. The Naked Authors said never, and, well, here they are again.

I didn't want to break it to Patty, but I'm not reading the book and writer blogs anymore. They are all here, bookmarked to my left, but I rarely visit. I'm not quite sure why, except that since I got my iPad, I spend a lot of time with Angry Birds and the Weather Channel and the New York Times. I even check out the wait times for Soarin' and Space Mountain in Disney, even though I'm a three-hour flight away, but a girl can dream, can't she? It's easy to waste time on an iPad.

In full disclosure, however, I am reading some blogs. But they aren't the writerly kind. Since I was diagnosed with a labral tear and CAM impingement in my right hip (Lady Gaga and I have a lot in common these days), I've discovered a world of people who blog about their hip arthroscopy surgery. I haven't had surgery yet, and my surgeon is being very conservative at this point, but it's nice to be informed for when that day arrives.

Not very exciting, is it?

I think I'll go over to Naked Authors and see what's going on. But I know better than to promise I'll be here more often.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Looking ahead to the new year

It's 2013.

Last year was a tough year in a lot of ways, but it was also a turning point. I challenged myself and branched out more with my writing and found a new agent whom I couldn't be more happy with.

I get a lot of emails from readers who want me to continue my tattoo shop mysteries and even Annie Seymour has fans who would love to see me write more of her stories. It's hard to explain to people why when I wrote "the end" on Ink Flamingos and Shot Girl that it really was The End. I don't like to look back; when I'm done with something, I'm done with it. I thoroughly enjoyed writing Annie, since she was the reporter I always wished I could be, and Brett, who was so entirely not of my world that it was fun to spend a couple of years with her.

But I am not inclined, as many have suggested, to write and then self-publish more books in both series online. I have been watching the rise of the ebook self-publishing phenomenon, but I am not yet ready to take that leap myself. I feel I still need to have my work vetted by a publishing professional. Are there problems in traditional publishing? Sure, as in every business. But my ego is not big enough to think that my work can go out in the world based solely on the fact that I think it's just fine the way it is and people should read it.

So with two series over and no desire to self-publish, I am perched on the aforementioned turning point. I have written a young adult novel and a middle grade boy adventure book. I have tons of short starts on my flash drive, one of which I have focused on at the moment. I also have another idea for a young adult book and am fleshing out the characters and a plot. I have no idea what will happen with any of these projects, but they are all completely different than what I've published before.

I don't like writing the same thing over and over. I like to stretch myself creatively, and that's what I plan to do in this new year. I want to hear new voices and embark on new adventures, pulling myself out of my comfort zone just to see if I can do it. My agent said recently that when he opens one of my files, he has no idea what he'll be reading. That's exactly the reaction I'm looking for. I know readers do like the "sameness" of series and an author's voice, but writers like Stewart O'Nan and Jess Walter intrigue me because I never know what I'm going to read when I open one of their books.

So here's to the new year!