VIRTUALLY HERS came out Oct. 2009. Get it at SAMHAIN Publishing. VIRTUALLY ONE coming soon.

I've also made available at Amazon BIG BAD WOLF a COS Commando book, an earlier manuscript about Killian Nicholas Langley. You can sample the first five chapters right here. EBOOK now available for KINDLE, NOOK, and at SMASHWORDS for $4.99.

I appreciate all your emails. If you'd like to buy Virtually His NEW, please contact me. Thank you.


Big Bad Wolf Author's Note/CH. 1

Big Bad Wolf CH. 2

Big Bad Wolf Ch. 3

(more chapters on left side bar below)

To read excerpts of VIRTUALLY HERS, scroll down & click on the links on the right.



VIRTUALLY HERS OUT IN PRINT AUG 2010! Discounted at Amazon!

To read & comment on the poll (left column), click HERE. Thank you for all the wonderful posts there!



GLow Twitter

Follow The Glow

Some readers having browser problems with the Google Followers Widget still. For now, you can still follow me through your Blogger Dashboard.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Spies and Friendships

When you're a spy, you have to learn to speak in layers. And as a writer, especially about spies and spying, I have to learn to take note of the many things going on under the surface of human relationships. Not that everything has got to have subtext and meaning; there are many shallow people in this world ;-). But when things reappear or certain words/description are repeated, then as a writer, I sit up and notice.

Any good spy will tell you that a repeated phrase in their covert world is often a key to a current situation. That's how reporters and their sources/contacts communicate and that's how the former connect the dots that the latter are supplying.

This is all so murky and hard to pinpoint. As a writer, I can just go ahead and tell the story but what fun is that, especially when I'm building a murky and hard to pinpoint world? My uber-spies don't just do their jobs--they lead very murky lives and sometimes they make murky choices that I have to hint at because...well, you know, readers don't want to know and besides, it's more fun and interesting to hint at those things than to put it as 100 percent true.

For instance, is Marlena, the heroine from Into Danger, an assassin or not? I have had countless readers talk about her in front of me and I've never really acknowledged (or not) that she is, or pretends to be, one. My answer is usually: "You have to be logical about her line of work," and leave it at that.

After all, I'm not as brave as Linda Howard who didn't hide her assassin-heroine behind any excuses in KISS ME WHILE I SLEEP (excellent title, btw, and wish it was mine instead of SLEEPING *ellipses). I thought she carried it off very well, although she turned off many readers who kept insisting that they couldn't like a heroine who killed.

A dilemma here. A "likeable" spy? One who has never killed/assassinated (except in self-defense at the end, but that's okay)? One who has made no murky choices except that she's in that particularly murky career?

So in romantic suspense, the reader gets female spies who:
1) are virgins
2) can't take a life
3) can't have good sex
4) are unable to take out the bad guy if hero is present
5) lets the man make the decision
6) can't run an operation without fouling it up
7) are relegated to lover-roles in an operation
8) can't tell lies worth a damn (she becomes uncomfortable and turns red)
9) refuses to make tough choices
10) who falls for easy traps

Yet what can the author do when she is told her heroine is too harsh or unfeminine or worse, too far-out for the reader to empathize with? Sure, everyone says not to listen to such criticism. But you have to, especially if you're just a mid-list author trying to make it. You cannot not listen.

So everything goes into subtext and unspoken layers, and I'm getting good at it! I think. ;-) The Protector has plenty of unspoken layers--things happening under the surface in a friendship. Some readers get it; some don't. The latter tend to think the first half of the novel slow, which is fine, since it's the first of a trilogy and a set up is necessary. The subtext in The Protector are the events, so that every detail can be pulled together in the end and the next couple of books. Here friendships are real.

The subtext in The Hunter, however, are emotions. Violence is a hard thing to sell in romance. I personally don't like to write it because I don't like to read gory scenes. But Hawk's world is very violent. Any SEAL's is. And it's his anger that moves him through the whole book. I can't allow that to swallow the love story, so I have to put it in subtext--in his physical and emotional hunger; in his treatment of his enemies and his self-anger that he had to view them as friends; and in his own quiet reflections when he's thinking about killing and his inability to protect the things that matter to him. Here, friendships are used and some of them are fake.

The subtext in the last book of the trilogy, Sleeping *ellipses, is my current problem. While I revise, I'm thinking--how am I going to show guilt and forgiveness? How does the writing not end up like one messed-up psychological session? Here, the subtext is loss of friendship and as a romance, a reunion of friends.

So when reading the trilogy, look for repeated phrases. Nyahnyah, that's the only clue you're going to get out of me today ;-). Back to regular revisions....

Bear with me while I learn. The first button likes the POST. The second button likes the BLOG site. Please help me by "liking" me. Thanks!


Leslie said...

Dang, dang, dang...I want THE HUNTER NOW! I want to read about these layers NOW! I want to feel Hawk's EMOTIONS NOW!

Gennita Low said...

Very soon, my dear, very, very soon ;-).


Send My Publisher A Nudge