Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Historical Romance Market

Just thought I'd chime in about what is hot right now in the historical romance market. In a word: Regencies. Hate to ask, but am I the only one who's tired of these? Hasn't this huge wave of demand begun to peter out yet?

Don't get me wrong--I love Jane Austen's books and that period in history, but I feel like this era has been done to death lately in the romance market. While I understand there will always be demand for stories about Lords and Ladies and the London ton, I want to see more westerns and other historical periods represented. Something from Russia and France maybe. Colonial America. Australia.

Okay, what I'd really love to see is a rebirth of interest in the American Civil War, since that's my passion. Oh, yeah--and because I have a Civil War manuscript I'm trying to sell :). Ah, for the good old days when that was the "in thing" and Heather Graham was writing that awesome trilogy about the war between the states.

Looking at articles on advice about the writing market can be confusing. One agent/editor tells you to research what's currently popular and write that, while another reminds you what's being published today was contracted a year or two ago, and might not be what a publisher wants today. Well, one thing I've learned about this crazy writing industry is that you can't predict the market, and you sure can't chase after it. What's hot today might be treated like a literary leper tomorrow. I think interest in regencies will bottom out at some point, as will the current fascination with vampires and werewolves in paranormal romance. Demand might always be there for those novels, but they can't sustain the level of interest they're enjoying today until the end of time, can they? If you're JR Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon or Laurel K. Hamilton, then maybe. For the rest of us...not so much.

So what's an historical romance writer to do if they don't write about the regency period? It's a daunting thought. Even if I researched the era to the nines and then managed to pen a 90K plus word novel, I'd still have to pedal it throughout New York. Maybe it's because I'm half Irish, but by then I bet the market would be on to something else. The next "big thing", whatever that may be. This is a fickle business, as any author out there will tell you.

What to do? Plain and simple, I believe you have to write what you love. If you love it, even if it's not in the current "trend", readers will be able to tell., and so will agents and editors. That love and excitement a writer feels for their story and its characters translates itself onto the pages of your manuscript. Churn out something you don't love just to appease tastes in the publishing world, and it will show. I'm willing to bet it won't be your best work. It might not even be good work. Some authors out there might be able to write a book to suit the market even if they don't love the concept, and then come to have a nice warm and fuzzy feeling about it once it's finished, but I definitely do not fit in that category.

In the end, writers like me must write what they love in order for that story to come alive, and the characters with it. So for all those authors out there waiting to catch the next wave in the publishing world, hang in there. Your story might be the next breaker forming on the horizon.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

another book signing

Another opportunity has arisen for me to get on my soapbox and sing the praises of softball, and I'm thrilled to take it. I'm giving a speech tonight at the White Rock Renegades pep rally in support of my old organization, and then doing a signing there.

Most of my close friends are all softball players I've met throughout my fastpitch career, including four of my five bridesmaids. It's also provided me with fantastic opportunities, including college scholarship offers, a place on the Canada Games Team, and a whole network of people I still keep in touch with. I was a pitcher (and not always a first string pitcher!), and when I wasn't in rotation, I spent a lot of time on the bench treating injuries and rubbing sore shoulders and arms. Little wonder I wound up as a Registered Massage Therapist.

To all those aspiring fast pitch players: work hard, be coachable, and never give up. You might be surprised the door that will open for you down the road.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Book signing

Hi all. For those of you in the Vancouver area, a group of us are doing a book signing at Malena European Lingerie on Saturday March 21st from 2-4 pm. The address is 653 Robson St, and the other authors are Kate Austin and Anna Leigh Keaton.

As far as my writing is going, I'm currently halfway through my current work in progress, book four of my series with TWRP, Relentless, featuring Rhys and Neveah. Rhys you'll meet in Cover of Darkness (just waiting on a release date, but it will probably be out by next March), and Neveah you'll meet in No Turning Back (edits beginning next month).

I have to say I'm surprised by this WIP. I've got all the conflict and motivation in the world to work with, yet I'm struggling to get the story flowing and my final word count seems a long way away right now. I'm sure other authors out there can identify with that! Lucky for me I've got a supportive hubby and two awesome critique partners to help me through this block.

Part of the problem may be that I've started working as a Registered Massage Therapist again part time, and so my writing time is even more limited between that and the kids. Never fear, though. I'll get it done. Can't wait to sink my teeth into Luke and Emily's book! I've been salivating over that one since I got Out of Her League published.

Oh, and those voices I hear in my head? I'm told it's normal for writers.

Happy reading!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Softball's Chances in 2016

Softball is a sport that is very near and dear to my heart, having played for almost twenty years and a dozen or more of those in an intensely competitive environment. It is one of the fastest growing sports for women in North America and has even developed a following in Australia, Europe and Asia.

The sport has helped shaped me as a person, and given me lifelong friends. Softball is so important to me that my first book features an Olympic hopeful, highlighting the amazing oportunities the sport has opened up for girls all over North American and increasingly, the world. Softball provides college scholarships throughout the US and Canada. There are even professional U.S. leagues that elite players can make a living in.

And yet, there will be no softball at the 2012 games in London, England. Sadly, the 2008 Beijing Olympic games may be the last time we see softball in the Olympics, having been voted out by the IOC due to a perceived lack of competition with the dominant U.S. team. In fact, Japan's gold medal victory over the US team may be the best thing that ever happened to women's fast pitch, because it shows that other countries are putting substantial resources into their softball programs.

This October, the IOC will again be voting on whether to include softball in the 2016 games. The sport is vying for one of two spots, against squash, baseball, karate, rugby, golf and roller sports. The general opinion out there is that softball has about a one in two chance of being reinstated. Let's hope the IOC members will be better educated and informed about the sport of softball, and how important it is in the sporting world.

Keep your fingers crossed!