Just got a rejection. Bleah. I guess I'll just grit my teeth and keep on going... I may yet find another home for this story anyway. I'll have a look over it first and see if I can think of any parts that need revising. Sometimes it becomes clearer over time.
Australia is to have compulsory internet filtering that will censor material that is deemed "harmful or innappropriate for children". Not having any children myself, I am more than a little annoyed that I will still be forced to have filtered internet. Quite apart from the fact that this will be particularly annoying to me personally, since I probably won't be able to access the sites I want to submit my erotica stories to, it's the principle of the thing! I'm an adult, and I should be allowed to look at porn if I bloody well feel the need to. It also won't stop at porn. What about sites about abortion, euthanasia, drugs etc? Who decides what is "appropriate"? Then there is the fact that the filtering system will slow down our already crappy broadband speeds. Thankyou very much, Federal government.
Anyway, if you're a fellow Aussie and this makes you angry, write to the minister and tell him so (follow the link above).
I realise that this isn't exactly a new release, but I have decided to start reviewing some of my own most recent reads, regardless of their release date. It will keep me busy and get me to think critically about what I think 'works' in fiction and what doesn't, which should help with my own writing. Besides, a good book is a good book, no matter when it was published.
Title:Broken Author: Kelley Armstrong Published by: Orbit Books, 2006 Length: Novel Rating (out of five): 4 Photo of the lady herself by Curtis Lantinga
Broken is the seventh of the Otherworld books, a series of urban fantasy novels which feature strong, usually female main characters of various supernatural 'races' (werewolves, witches, necromancers, sorcerers, vampires, ghosts and half-demons). This book is the third to feature Elena, the world's only female werewolf, as the narrator (the books in between being narrated by other characters). Having enjoyed the previous two Elena books (Bitten and Stolen) so much I confess that I skipped straight to Broken without reading any of the books in between. However, one of the great things about this series is that the books stand alone as novels, so that the reader can skip books or read them out of chronological order and not feel confused about the overall plot of the series.
Elena is an attractive blond freelance journalist with a secret- every now and then she likes to run around outdoors naked chasing rabbits with her lover, Clay. Bitten was the tale of how Elena became a werewolf, and of the beginning of her relationship with Clay, the taciturn, sexy bodyguard of the werewolf pack's leader. Stolen continues this story, introducing new threats to the pack's safety, as well as new allies, such as the witch Paige, who becomes the narrator of later books in the series.
In Broken, Elena has decided not only to stay with Clay, but to have a child with him. She is anxious about the pregnancy, wondering what effect her regular changes into wolf form will have on her developing child. Partly to take her mind off things, she returns to her old stomping grounds in Toronto to fulfil a bargain with the half demon Xavier. She agrees to steal the From Hell letter, allegedly written by Jack the Ripper, in exchange for some information important to the pack. However, things go horribly wrong when Elena's handling of the letter accidentally opens a portal to Victorian London, bringing with it disease, killer rats, restless souls and possibly the Ripper himself.
Reading another book about Elena was like catching up with an old friend and hearing what she has been up to since you saw her last. It is always a pleasure to read about her because she is a strong and independant female who holds her own in a male dominated society, both as a wolf and as a woman. It is easy to be carried along with her hopes and fears regarding impending motherhood. Clay is also an interesting and engaging character, probably more so in this book than in Bitten. Over the course of the three books his motivations have become a bit clearer. His being an anthropologist adds an interesting dimension to him as a person. He is at once fascinated by the human race and apart from it. Jaime, the necromancer, who appears late in this book, also caught my interest. I will now have to go back and read the intervening books to find out more about her.
The werewolf element in the story works well, avoiding making werewolves simply seem superior to humans in every way, as werewolves, vampires and other supernatural creatures are often depicted in fiction. Instead, in Armstrong's books, being a werewolf has a definate downside. The fact that being a werewolf is shown to be extremely inconvenient at times, particularly for Elena, makes the books seem more balanced and realistic.
The plot of this book, throwing together as it does disparate elements such as werewolves, sorcerors and Jack the Ripper, is a bit bizarre, but it works. You just have to suspend disbelief, sit back and enjoy the ride. My only criticism regarding Broken is that I found the plot a little difficult to follow in the last third or so of the book. This could just be me, as I was reading the book late at night after long days at work. A reread may be in order. The conclusion, which I won't spoil for you, has the same kind of realism I have come to expect from Armstrong. The characters don't get let off too easily, and nothing comes without a price.
Broken is a quick read, but its characters will stay with you for quite a while. I recommend it.
The first two chapters of Broken are available for free online at the author's webpage, along with heaps of bonus material, such as the author's commentary on the series, deleted scenes, online novellas and free bookmarks and wallpapers.
I finally submitted a story for publication yesterday, and now I'm being assailed by doubts as to whether it was any good. There's no point worrying now, of course. Either it is or it isn't. I will try and distract myself by writing something else. Something a little shorter this time, I think, that I can put up somewhere for free as a sample of my work. I'll keep you posted...
A friend persuaded me to come out to the festival today and I ended up having a great time. I listened to a panel discussion featuring local historical romance authors Anna Campbell, Christine Wells, and Canadian writer Susan Parisi. The latter has written a novel set in 18th century Venice which sounds like very much my sort of book (I'll be off to the bookshop after payday!). The three ladies told some interesting stories about the perils of getting details wrong about historical periods, or conversely doing so much research that you get sidetracked and never finish your novel. I took notes.
I also picked up a membership application for Romance Writers of Australia Inc., who sound like they could be pretty helpful to a new writer like myself. The ladies at their stall gave me some sample newsletters which have some handy writing tips, plus a free Harlequin book by an Aussie author (Miranda Lee). All in all it was a pretty successful day. Now I must get back to my own writing!
I hear the Brisbane Writers Festival is coming up again soon. Some of the 'Fringe' events look like fun. I think I'll go along to a few.
My own writing is still plodding along. A get a bit cagey about telling people about what I'm working on until it's almost finished and I'm at the revising stage. However, I can tell you it's a dark fantasy/erotic romance, specifically a 'were' story (not werewolves, were-something else), and it's gotten a little stranger than I meant it to be. That could be a good thing, I can't tell yet. I'm still trying to think up a title. Sometimes those don't come to me until after I'm finished. Updates to follow once it's a bit more polished.
Gosh, I really should put something up here to justify the adult content warning. Um... Boobies. Now I need a juvenile content warning. Seriously though, I haven't had any stories, sexy or otherwise, published yet to post about. I will let you know when I do, though it may be a while yet. I'm thinking of sending something to Phaze, which I hope they'll like. We'll see...
I'm an aspiring author. I write mainly romance and erotica short stories. This blog will chronicle my attempts to get published. Hopefully sooner or later I will have some good news to post. Fingers crossed!
Evelyn Applegate writes romance and erotic fiction. She lives in Brisbane, Australia, with two cats, Heinrich and Butternut, and a ridiculous number of shoes. Her veins frequently contain more coffee than blood. She enjoys creative writing and reads a lot. Her favourite authors include Poppy Z. Brite, Anais Nin and Kelley Armstrong. Her work has appeared in For the Girls Magazine and Every Night Erotica. She also has a paranormal erotica ebook, Land of A Thousand Dances, available through Logical Lust.