Thursday, October 25, 2012

Obsessive compulsion

I have to admit, I do not understand why starting a new novel drives me to drop everything else in my life I possibly can.  I have always considered "obsessive-compulsive" to be an interesting combination of moods.  
Note, please, that I did not call them emotions.  The obsession is some kind of mental faculty, a curiosity so strong that you actively think of ways to rearrange your life as efficiently as possible so you can focus on the goal, understanding.  The compulsion is some kind of spiritual faculty, a force from deep within your soul that pushes you to move beyond exhaustion and reason to accomplish the deed.  Neither are emotions.
No, the emotions come into play while immersed in the task.  I write a particularly clever phrase, and I am thrilled with it, imagining how impressed people will be once they read it.  I write a heart-wrenching scene, and I cry along with the characters.  I write about revenge, and pour all my petty vindictive thoughts into selecting just the right, cutting word for the touch.  
Is it no wonder so many writers have mental health problems? We are so heavily invested in understanding imaginary lives that it is difficult to learn to pour out the words, close the (computer) door, and walk away into our 'real' lives.  I still haven't learned to do it.  I will find myself seeing the visions, the interactions between the characters, experiencing their emotions as I try to understand their motivations, and completely forget what I was trying to do in real life.  I don't take twenty-minute showers because I'm trying to relax; I simply forget how many times I've shampooed.   I can't even trust myself to boil tea bags anymore, having cleaned burnt tea bags off the bottom of a completely-evaporated saucepan before.
So, why do I do it?  At this point, I almost feel as if I am 'tapping' into parallel dimensions, 'connecting' with real people having real problems, and 'offering' them my support by trying to help them figure out how to get out of their situations, like a best friend who cares so much she will give all her energy to help them out.  Scribing their lives, acknowledging that they have meaning and that their lessons are valuable to others, is the greatest gift I can give them.  "Yes, you are important.  Yes, your struggles will not go unnoticed.  Yes, your life matters."
I write compulsively because, as if I were their guardian angel, I must help them think things through.  I must guide them to a greater understanding of their world.  I must be their advocate.  I must love them, praise them, and value their spiritual growth. 
If I could ask an omnipotent being any question, it would be, "Is imagination the only way to access those parallel worlds?"  

Monday, October 15, 2012

Beauty, Feminism, and the Power of Words

I am not certain the blogger for whom I wrote this response will approve my comment, but I feel I made some important points about beauty and feminism.

The essence of his post was that one of his favorite female authors, an ex-model turned writer and feminist, recently did an adult photo shoot and began representing a fashion line.  His conclusion was that, since the fashion industry degrades women and "actively fights against equality for women", she should EITHER be a model OR quit representing herself as a feminist.  This was my reply:

I feel for you, thinking you understand her well through her literature and then, whether “all of a sudden” or “eventually”, she appears to represent aspects of personality paradoxical to her stated beliefs. 
May I offer you some perspectives that she (and I do not know who she is) might have that you’ve never had to consider? I’m 50 and detest make-up. Yet I recently went to a promotional event after having purchased and applied more make-up than I had in the past ten years, also wearing a dress that cost more than I had spent on all my other clothing the previous year. Why? 
A: I wanted to look my best; don’t we all? Do you DELIBERATELY go out the door of a day looking slovenly, knowing it will leave an impression on people who will judge you as if it represents character traits? 
B: People get upset when an individual appears to change from what they perceived her to be before. If she was a model before, they expect her to maintain those standards. Look at you — YOU are upset because she appears to have “changed her standards”, not representing feminist power anymore or whatnot. 
C: Adult photo shoot. Fashion representative. Would you be so kind as to estimate the amount of money she raked in with those, compared to the amount of money she has earned writing? I daresay it will be several hundreds to several thousands of a percent more — YOU’RE a writer, YOU know. 
In addition, I would not even necessarily say she “sold herself out” for greed — I’ve had to spend six months off work to care for an elderly relative because no one in the family could afford other home health care. Thank God for the Family Medical Leave Act. Her need for money could have absolutely no bearing on her vaunted feminist principles. How many people commit acts of desperation for that very reason? I knew a grocery store owner in my youth who would turn his face when he saw local poor people shoplifting from his store. 
D: Why do you equate “feminism” with being anti-beauty? If anything, I say she is showing her power as a woman by taking advantage of her opportunities. If she has a beautiful body and others pay her to look at it, I say let her rake in the cash! That is HER power! Do you really want her to DENY herself such an opportunity? The true crime would be if she had a husband or significant other who physically abused her so she would NOT have that power. 
Sorry, I swear to you that I do not mean this as a rant! I totally resonate to your entire post, really I do! I am simply hoping to explain, as I try to do in my writing, that if a woman glories in her power, whether it be of her mind or of her body, is that not feminism at its finest?

I do not understand why anyone thinks "feminists" should act a certain way in the first place.  One of his points was that men are more confident and 'already winning' because they don't have to worry about their appearances like women do.  That attitude might take an entire other post to address, right there!  How many men WOULD wear make-up, if it wasn't considered 'unmanly', if it dramatically improved their looks?  Shall I mention Michael Jackson, Marilyn Manson, Boy George, and scores of other entertainers who did so anyway?  Not to mention the fact that the man who wrote this post seems to have some kind of 'men vs women' gladitorial attitude, despite loving feminist women.  Truly, I do not understand!

Away from men and back to feminists.  I agree that the cultural perception of feminists does not entail beauty.  We tend to think feminists are angry, bitter, in-your-face lesbian activists who act like they should be superior to men.  I don't think it's a true cultural perception, just like Islamic extremists seem to 'define' the face of terrorism nowadays when Islam is essentially a peaceful religion.  The truth is that most feminists (both female and male) are peaceful, thoughtful heterosexuals who simply treat everyone around them as PEOPLE, not as 'male' or 'female'.

I do agree with part of his point, that the beauty and fashion industry TEND to make girls/women feel like they aren't 'good enough', that they cannot rely on their inner beauty.  I can even agree that some fashion-type magazines phrase things in such a way as to belittle or shame women into trying their products.  Regardless of whether those words are advertisements, articles, interviews, and regardless of whether those projections are blatant or subliminal, the true issue to me is, WHY are they successful?

"Beauty is only skin-deep" has never been a truism to me.  Yet, who actively hates beauty?  Do you go out of your way, actively intend, to purchase the ugliest outfit in a shop, the ugliest car, the ugliest furnishings for your house?  Probably not.  So, why object to someone who wants to look his or her best?  Consider the French concept of "jolie-laide", a woman (usually) with a so-called ugly attribute, such as a scar or alarmingly large nose, who nevertheless bears herself with pride and knowledge that her other attributes make her a true beauty.  Do you think Princess Diana was comfortable with her nose?  If she was not, you could not tell -- after her "Shy Di" phase, she was, and will always remain, radiantly beautiful.  Yet she would have surely never contemplated going to any event looking less than her best.

That is the true value of the cosmetics and fashions industry.  I have physical flaws that I prefer to hide with well-made clothes and make-up.  Would you really come up to me and listen to me promote my next novel if I went out of my way to promote those flaws, knowing they would disgust most people?  This goes well beyond "Sex Sells"; I say, "Strut Your Stuff".   That's right, feminists!  Do whatever makes you feel good!  If men give you power (money, attention, what have you) because of your beauty, take that power and SOAR! 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

MAJESTY is out!

MAJESTY, the second book of the To Be Sinclair series, is out!  It is perhaps 90% science fiction, but it still has a few sex scenes.  Empress Felice Sinclair is the most awesome female character I could devise, though she still has all-too-human moments.

This time, I forwent KDP Select and also uploaded to Smashwords so the Nook / iPad / Sony people could buy it:

And, of course, it's available on Kindle:

The greatest scientific discovery of all time leads to the deadliest weapon ever devised!

What if a person developed a science absolutely fundamental to galactic expansion, yet so dangerous she could not possibly release it to the public?  Struggling between her Imperial duties and her laboratory research, Empress Felice Sinclair must now prepare to face down public opinion and deal with devious, manipulative dukes and their duchesses.  But the trials of holding Imperial authority have just begun, as treasons rock the Empire and her husband Emperor Victor Sinclair needs Felice to oversee investigations in her role as Empress!

When will she be able to pursue her true goal, her phenomenal scientific discovery that could lead to redesigning the substrate of human colonization efforts galaxy-wide?  She must do so in complete secrecy, for such a power has its darker side, too.  Facing an imminent invasion, Felice has to think fast:  how can she covertly deploy the deadliest weapon ever devised?  And how does she deal with the emotional reactions and political realities now confronting her due to her stunning new technology?  Only Victor can help her now!

This science fiction novel is the second of the seven-part To Be Sinclair series. The saga begins with DIGNITY and its companion volume MAJESTY, which describe the romance and first years of marriage of the Emperor and Empress of the Sinclair Demesnes. A few scenes describe sexually explicit behavior.

"Is She Geeking Out AGAIN?"

I can’t help myself.  As an author, words are important to me.  My goal is to write with clarity, but sometimes I have to consult, tasting the flavor of all possible words to pick the precise one I need.  That’s when ‘It Happens’; when I’m stuck in word-selection-mode, I get a little geeky.

The OCD-editor-in-my-brain cackles madly.  “Showtime!”  She hovers behind me as I pull up the online thesaurus.  “Mission parameters?” 

“Well, the last few days I’ve experienced a barrage of mind-boggling extremes.  I’ve been in a rare emotional state, laughing and crying at the same time.  I know I’m not crazy but I legitimately feel both joy and sadness, a poignancy that is nevertheless funny as hell for some reason.  I want a word that represents the intensity of both ends of the emotional scale.”

“Paradox is out; that’s a logical descriptor, inadequate to represent an emotional state.  Cognitive dissonance is psychologically similar, but it’s a medical phrase and being overused by mainstream media.  Dacrygelosis is alternating between laughing and crying, not simultaneous, and it is too scientifically obscure for the modern reader.”  Miz OCD suggests I click through numerous entries, insisting I check the official dictionary definitions. After analyzing them all, she simmers quietly.  “None of these words convey the emotional intensity you require.”

“I know.  I’m going to have to create a word.”

Lady O emits a scream that pierces my solemn contemplation.  “There are 615,000 entries in the Oxford English Dictionary!  It’s bad enough to have to actively search online for the definitions of modern slang, given pop culture, new science, and business acronyms!  Remember when Tracy questioned why, how, and whether you needed to create the word ‘croggled’?”  She laughs maniacally.

I bounce up and down.  “That’s it, right there!  That emotional state you are in right now is the one I want to portray!  You are laughing at me yet crying in despair, stuck between being eager to help me yet frustrated in not finding the right word.”  I know if I give her a task, the Dame of Compulsion will quit freaking and start working.  “Don’t you want to make a mark in the world of literature?  What can we call that emotional state?”

I love how Miz O engages her faculties with immediate, fierce concentration.  “Combinations of spliced ‘happy’ and ‘sad’ words sound ridiculous.  ‘Craughing’ is ugly, ‘lying’ is taken, ‘smouting’ sounds stupid, ‘piling’ sounds disgusting.  Describe the most recent situation in which you found yourself laughing and crying at the same time.  Perhaps the ambiance of the moment will provide some inspiration.”

“Basically, people pay $3 for an overhyped cup of coffee at Javaschmucks that will chemically stimulate them for half an hour, but don’t care to spend the same amount for an e-book that will give them hours of pleasure.  Some people even pay $5 to $40 to register at a website for pirated copies of books that indie authors spend thousands of dollars to get edited, giving the money to criminal site owners who do ten minutes of work and rake in the money.  Compare that to the writer who has spent thirty years perfecting her craft, dredging up every glorious or horrifying scene in her own life to capture the essence of meaningful life-lessons for readers. 

“I laugh because I used to be like that, only willing to buy a book if it was on sale.  I now feel just as sad about pawn shops and auctions, where everyone is determined to get the ‘deal’ despite the desperation of the original owner.  I cry because I hate the economic disparity of earning so little for all my hard, thoughtful work.”

“You laugh at being ignored and financially shafted?”  The Lady ponders deeply.

“I feel great joy when I receive another five-star review or a personal email to thank me, knowing my book has enriched my readers with the scope of my imagination and vision of the future.  So I laugh at all the penny-pinchers out there who do not recognize the true value of hours, days, or a lifetime of inspiration.  Sure, I pinch pennies, too, but only to pay Tracy for her professional opinion on how to improve my work.  So I cry when I calculate how many e-books I must sell at $2.99 to get my other six books edited.”

Miz O smiles.  “I have two words.  ‘Lacrimania’ is the created word, but I believe a regular word will suffice.”

“Oh?  What is it?”


I wrote this guest post for Indies Unlimited.  It can be seen at

Monday, October 8, 2012

Facebook interview

Here is the link to my Facebook interview with Shah Fazli of the Interpreter Literary Group:

And here is a new graphic of me with my book covers.  A reminder: there are seven books in the regular series, but the 8th book is a collection of novellas called Evan's Ladies.  Chronologically it belongs between books six and seven.  I'm still not happy with the last book cover yet, so that should eventually change, both color and silhouette:

Sunday, October 7, 2012

True Love!

I stumble out of the restroom, dressed only in a towel.  Holding my arms out and shuffling like a zombie, I use my best Vincent Price voice to intone, "It... might... be... ALIVE!"

Hubby flips through a dozen channels a second, eyes glued to the screen.  "Might be.  Define 'alive'."

"Gee, thanks," I grumble.  "True love at its finest."

"Hey, I not only agreed with you, I took your meaning an iteration higher, from speculation to an attempt to verify its validity," he points out.  "There's bacon on the stove, too."

My heart swells with the purest joy.  "Seventeen years later, you're still the best husband a gal could want, by God!"


Monday, October 1, 2012

New pics, new posts, and a new book!

I'm so happy things are starting to pick up for me!  First, my interview at Author Quiz went live on September 29th.  It is at and I thank you, Charles, for such intriguing questions!

Second, several friends have told me that the photo from World Con was too blurry.  I agreed, so we did something about it!   Here are two new photos of me they took that I can send along with new posts and interviews:

Then, I opened up my email to find I have two new items coming out.  The magnificent Louise Wise at Wise Words - Book Blogger will be posting my guest post on October 4th.  Called "World-Building: Visualizing the Future", it was written specifically for her October focus on science fiction.  Her website is:

Then I was notified that one of my regular blog posts would have a spot on October 2nd at Digital Book Today!  Thank you, Anthony Wessel!  Please see  for my blog entry titled "Geeking Out on the Thesaurus", which has had more hits than any of my other blogs!  I guess people like to hear about geeks getting OCD-freaky more than they like to hear about why I think science fiction romance is a superlative genre!

In addition, on Monday October 8, I will be on Shah Fazli's Spotlight Show on Facebook.  Shah interviews an author LIVE while using only one Facebook post.  Anyone can attend the 'live' interview and post questions during the interview!  It will be at 2 p.m. EST, and I believe all you have to do is 'like' the Interpreter Literary Group page in order to chat with the author during the interview.  That page can be found at:

I'm having a blast, but I sure hope all this promotion starts to translate into real book sales!  MAJESTY will be out next week, so perhaps that will get me more exposure.  MAJESTY is perhaps 90% science fiction to 10% romance, and it is THE pivotal book in the series.  That should help my Amazon rankings!

I would love to hear from more readers, so please feel free to leave comments or email me at evacaye <at> -- and thank you so very much!