Formative Years

It's been a while since I've posted anything. I'm up early this morning, enjoying the sunrise. It's a beautiful day here.

When I wake up this early, that doesn't always mean my brain is fully engaged. And so I tend to read instead of write. I went out to Amazon to see if there was anything I wanted to buy, and for some reason I began looking at Anne McCaffrey's books.

Dragonflight was published in 1968, but I didn't read it until approximately ten years later, during my high school years, when I would have had money to spend on books. I spend quite a bit of my money on books in those days. (I still do, but it's not such an overwhelming percentage of my available money.) I remember when The White Dragon was new on the bookstore shelves.

Even though I haven't read them in over 30 years, the opening chapters of Dragonflight have probably influenced my own writings as much as any other book possibly could. In the past, I've mentioned some of my other influences: Catherine Asaro and Jennifer Roberson, for instance. But thinking back, I realize that Dragonflight really was one of the earliest.

Back then, I read a great deal of science fiction and fantasy. Heinlein, Niven, Moorcock, Tolkien, Zalazny. Oh, I loved the Amber series. Didn't we all, back then? These were the authors of my most formative years.

Newer authors have arrived since. I learned something about humor from -- of all people -- Stephen King. I learned about engaging characters from Dean Koontz.

Since I began publishing my own novels, I've thought a time or three about writing my own dragon books. But one thing has always stopped me.

To me, Dragons will always be synonymous with Anne McCaffrey and Pern. I do not believe anyone, ever, will be able to improve upon what she did beginning forty years ago.

I won't say "never" about my writing. I used to say, "I'll never write a vampire novel". Now I've written three, and I've mentioned vampires in a few more.

For now... Well, I'm really thinking of hitting the "buy" button on the 21 books available via Kindle. I just wish the Harper books (Dragonsinger, Dragonsong and Dragon Drums) were available via Kindle as well. I might have to (sigh) buy them on paperback.

How about all of you? What were you reading during your formative years?

Thank you for the support

I think a couple of images should explain. Thank you, everyone, for your continued support.

And while I'm at it, here's a teaser image.

Strange Reviews

I just read a couple of very strange reviews -- not for my books, for someone else's. There was a 2-star and a 1-star review. The reviewers admitted the writing was good, etc. Their main complaint: there weren't enough characters of diverse ethnic origins.

Yes, that's how you get a 1-star review, I guess, from some reviewers.

Do reviewers have ANY IDEA how difficult it is to write outside your own socio-economic background? One of the reviewers asked, "Does this author even have any black friends?" I have black friends, but I wouldn't dream of trying to write important black characters because I would get it wrong. Flat out, I would get it wrong.

If people don't feel there is enough ethnic diversity within a particular genre, rather than complain about it -- and hand out 1- or 2-star reviews because a book doesn't fit your agenda -- write some books yourself. Put the diversity in yourself.

*shaking head*

I Suddenly Love This Woman

A Foxy Valentine

I'll let this image speak for itself:


Okay, I found this article while doing a little research. All I needed was one or two words, but I found the article absolutely fascinating.

It's sort of long, but it's worth reading. Wow.

You need to watch this

This is a TED talk. You need to watch this. Note: this is a new link. The last one went to the wrong video. Robin

Wrote Myself Into a Corner

From time to time, I receive email encouraging me to produce this book or that one. The Privateer sequel is the most common. More Fox books are a steady request.

And Nori's story from Amazon Companion comes up often.

I started writing a Nori story, but I set it aside and have been focused in other directions. I have a bit of a conundrum, and I wouldn't mind feedback.

Early in Amazon Companion, Nori tells Maya, "We do not consider a girl a woman until her 16th birthday." This is actually older than humanity has historically considered the age of consent and marriageable age for a young woman.

That link is interesting. For perspective, Juliet was 13.

It is only in about the last 50 years or so that we have had a dramatic increase in the age of consent to 18, coupled with the societal values that drive that.

At the time I wrote what Nori said, I didn't have to worry about it. This book was about Maya and Malora, both clearly adults, and I was clearly on the safe side. Then when I began Beria's story, I realized I had a problem. I squirmed my way around it, although I never felt comfortable with it.

In Amazon Companion, Nori also told Maya that her 16th birthday was a long-awaited experience, and she wore out her warrior that night. I didn't worry about that because I never expected to actually write it.

So... I'm not sure what to do. I can keep the sex as fade to black. But it's starting to get well into the creepy side.

As I said -- it is only in recent history that we have developed the concept that people should be more mature, with 18 being the norm in the US (and most of us thinking 18-year-olds shouldn't have sex, either). In spite of what I write, I'm not any less a prude than the average America, I think. But marriage age within fantasy novels can often be lower.

But I've written myself into a corner. I don't know how I can write Nori's story and not start at the beginning, and that's what everyone wants, anyway.

Comments, anyone?

I Just Hit Publish

I just hit Publish on a new novella, Submission. It should be available through Amazon late today (Sunday) or certainly by Monday morning.

Here is the blurb:

Cassidy Ellis knows what she wants but has a horrible history trying to find it. What she wants is a woman who ties a good knot but treats her well in the process.

Then she meets Miranda Gogburn. The two share a torrid, passionate, spectacular weekend. Then they must each go back to their regular lives. For Cassidy, this means her job as a deeply introverted computer nerd.

But then fate brings the two women together again.

Fate is not always a kind lady.

This is a long novella of 43,000 words.

A Free Short: Sweet Kisses

I wrote a short story and submitted it to You can find my story here:

It's a little different than my other stories. I'll be interested in hearing what you think.

Expect more Arlette and Tabitha stories in the future.