Monday, May 29, 2006

Elusive Dreams

Follow your dream. Isn't that what we're told to do by celebrities, self-help books, and optimists everywhere? I've said it before, and I've even believed it. But as you might have noticed from an earlier blog entry, it's harder to do it than to say it. I followed my dream of writing epic fantasy--have followed it for the past eight years and more, but I'm still not "there" yet.

I followed my dream, and it ran from me. I will finish the last book in my fantasy trilogy; I love it still, and it still holds the same allure for me that it always has. I love the characters, the insights on the human condition, the complexity of the relationships, and the world itself. I love the risks I've taken, the patterns I've woven together, all of it. But to my knowledge, it still hasn't sold. Epic fantasy continues to be a hard sell according to more than one agent blog I've read recently, and, sadly, according to my own agent as of the last time we spoke on the phone. I love epic fantasy. But even though I will finish the trilogy and leave it with Bob until someone wants to buy it, it seems that I might have to change genres slightly in order to break in.

That's where urban fantasy comes in. It was never my dream to write it, nor even to read it, but I'm hooked on at least two UF series now and willing to explore more. In fact, I'm compiling a to-be-read list that should serve as serious education about what's already out there. Armed with that knowledge, it's time to break out of this danged rut and find a way to get more than a toe in the door. It's time to bust the door open, even if I now have to leave my laboriously created world behind and write in the real-world-with-paranormal-elements to do it. Even if my a**-kicking female heroines have to do it in business suits or leather bustiers instead of bliauts and chain mail, I'm ready. I'll do whatever it takes to make that psychic's prediction come true. I may be a bit down, but I'm definitely not out.

If I can't catch my dream by chasing it, maybe I can get it to chase me instead. It works with cats....

Monday, May 22, 2006

Makeup That's Good For You

Warning! Blatent product endorsement to follow!

Makeup that's good for you? What? How can a makeup be good for your skin? Makeup isn't supposed to feel good, is it? It's just another of the many masks we women hide behind, meant to change the way we look and the way we feel about our appearance, but nowhere in that product description are the words "good for your skin." In fact, read the product labels of just about any readily available type of makeup today. Go on, I dare you. It's a chemical palette, right down to the dye and filler. Most of it feels terrible on the skin, too, or at least it does for me. In fact, I usually go without base because I have fairly dry skin, and when I put on my moisturizer and follow it with liquid foundation, it dries out again almost immediately. Yech!

The answer to my dilemma came in the form of an upper-middle-aged woman, blocking my cart in the narrow isle of our local co-op store while she tried on a new type of makeup. Not wanting to ask her to move her cart while her face was being made up, I stood there and watched. After a couple of minutes, the other woman had moved on and I was still there, asking the girl behind the counter to show me some of the blush. Next thing I knew, I had a foundation color as well, and things just sort of snowballed. See what happens when you block my cart?

Larenim comes in the form of micronized powdered minerals, so it's perfectly natural and works with your skin instead of against it. Apparently, mineral makeup is all the rage in hollywood right now, and I can see why. It actually feels like you're not wearing any makeup, and you can sleep in it. Good news for this night owl! It is a natural sunblock and won't clog pores--people have claimed that their skin improved after they switched over to this type of makeup. Even the foundation has only five--yes, five--ingredients, and their range of colors is amazing. Check it out, goth girls, there's also a special line just for you.

Yesterday I went to the co-op and was one of the lucky few to have a makeup consult with Kirsten Corcoran, the founder of Larenim. Nice lady, great product, deserving of kudos and more than a few of my hard-earned dollars. I even brought my older daughter, who made out like a bandit and came home with her own first set of foundation and blush.

Color me impressed.

Friday, May 19, 2006


The Preakness is over, and Barbaro, the favorite to win, will soon be in surgery to try to save his life after he suffered a severe fracture of his right rear ankle. My heart is with him; I hope he makes it. I hate it when animals are injured, and I especially feel for racehorses. Bred for one thing and one thing only--they don't really have much of a life, if you think about it. Or maybe their lives are the embodiment of that whole success/failure mentality. When you win, you win big and no one can get enough of you. But that success, like the horse himself, is so fragile. You can lose it in an instant.

Reminds me of what we're all really here for. Maybe our successes as writers won't necessarily be measured by whether we make the NYT bestseller list, but by whether we write our hearts out anyway and give it everything we are. Maybe if we do that every day rain or shine, someone someday will remember. Just maybe.

Sure would like that blanket of flowers, though. Some of them are at least edible.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Toothy and Furry?

Ok, I'm bad. Here it is May and I haven't blogged in a while. I didn't intend to get this far behind--honest.

At first I thought I'd blog about recycling, but I think that's a soapbox for another day. Then I thought I'd blog about Larenim, this fantastic new mineral makeup I found last week. But that, too, is a subject for another day. Sooner or later we'll get into composting--just give me time. But none of the ecological issues are going anywhere tonight. Neither is my career, but again...just give me time.

Tonight I have a question for anyone who's willing to answer. From the people who read urban fantasy and paranormals (we're talking werewolves, were-anythings, vampires, witches, etc.), I'd really like to know what types of things you would like to see more of in the genre. Where do you see this genre heading? What direction do you wish it would go? Are you getting sick of vampires and werewolves yet? If so, what other type of urban fantasy would you love to see on the shelves? I really, really want to know, so please post comments!

I just finished reading a wonderful book by Patricia Briggs, "Moon Called". The main character is a skinwalker of Native American descent, and she can turn into a coyote on a moment's notice. Amazingly unique character--she had me hooked from the first moment. I venture to say that Patty Briggs is about to give Laurell K. Hamilton a serious run for her money. Now, mind you, Mercy the coyote skinwalker has absolutely no sex in this book, but there is plenty of sexual tension. I dare you to read it and find out how Ms. Briggs managed that!

At first you might think that we have an entirely new urban fantasy world here, but very shortly we find out that this world, too, is peopled by werewolves and vampires; the skinwalkers are definitely the minority. From what I read online, Ms. Briggs' editor asked her to write this book--it wasn't simply a matter of Patty wanting to jump on the werewolf/vampire bandwagon. Run on out and buy yourselves a copy--it's well worth the money. Even so, I still find myself wondering how much farther the wolf/vamp market will stretch. It'll stretch for Patty's book--it's that good. But I personally have no desire to write wolf/vamp just on the off chance that I might catch the tailboard of the bandwagon on its way out of dodge, and I have no editor out there asking me to contribute to the already crowded shelves of toothy and furry.

So what do you all think? What urban fantasy hasn't been done to undeath? Anyone?