more writing soundtracks

I’ve added a few new playlists over at 8tracks:

You can get an idea for the track listings on the book pages, although because of 8tracks’ rules I can’t always include every song I listened to while writing.

query counter

Well, I’m settled into my new place now and I’ve finally become more motivated to write and to work on my New Year’s goal of submitting to 50 agents.  I think I will surpass even my 2010 extreme of 77 queries (although my goal that year was 100 rejections).  So I’m up to 30 queries right now, as you can see by the handy “Rejection Counter” I created for the sidebar –>

I’m back to working on The Blood Countess again, now that Janina and I are back to our Friday Night Writing Club.  I passed 40,000 words and I’m feeling inspired, although I don’t know if my weekend will involve more writing or sewing curtains for my kitchen windows…

word count jealousy

For the past couple of weeks, my writing buddy and I have engaged in word count wars during out writing group sessions.  Both times, Janina won.  This past week it was by a much narrower margin but I don’t like losing.  Especially when I’ve won Nanowrimo for the past 4 years and consider myself good at writing a lot of words in a short period of time.  However, I have succeeded in writing a lot of words both times, so I suppose that’s good for Blood Countess.

I just find myself getting distracted by having to look up what bathtubs were like in the 1600’s, or what were common insults in the 17th century.  Or by the woman sitting next to me who is reading a stack of periodicals with titles like UFO Magazine, Mysterious America, and Skeptic (one of these had a cover story about the 50-foot SuperCroc).  And one issue of Better Homes & Gardens.  I theorized that her home renovation process had been derailed by some paranormal activities caused by ghosts or possibly aliens.  Or SuperCroc?

I have been tempted to begin working on the sequel to Hitchhikers (working title: Dreamwalkers), but just yesterday I was reading Rachel Hawkins’s blog posts about how she got published, and she calls this the Slutty New Idea that tempts you away from your work with the promise that this new story will be easier and more fun to write.  I. Must. Resist.  At least until I can finish Blood Countess, although at 38,000 words and no sign of how I’m going to wrap this up, I may be putting off Dreamwalkers for a good long while.

i’m a cliche… maybe

I found a nice list of one writer’s top ten pet peeves about historical fiction.  Since I’m currently writing a historical fiction, I figured I’d see how cliched I was…

#1: 21st century attitudes in historical characters: GUILTY

The narrator of The Blood Countess, Ilona, is a pretty modern girl.  She questions things.  She likes to have secret trysts with boys in the hayloft.  She likes to prove that she can do anything better than said boys.  She can read.  However, she knows that being an independent-minded, intelligent girl means that other people think she’s a witch.  So I guess Ilona isn’t totally 21st century.  After all, Elizabeth of Bathory could read in three different languages and was pretty independent-minded herself.

#2: Trendy historical periods: NOT GUILTY

Hungary in 1606 is not a real popular time era to be writing about – especially when you consider the popularity of, say, Tudor England (Philippa Gregory, anyone?).  However, a novel about Elizabeth of Bathory was recently published (The Countess by Rebecca Johns) and there are a couple of other novels out there as well (check the Blood Countess page for those that I’ve read).  But I wouldn’t say it’s “trendy.”

#3: Choosing a historical period or country for its accessories: NOT GUILTY

Really, I’m not guilty!  Although I do take bellydancing and so have a fascination with gypsy and medieval type clothing.  But isn’t this dress gorgeous?  It’s exactly what I picture Ilona wearing.

#4 & 5: Sex scenes in the rain / Ecstatic sex scenes in general: NOT GUILTY

Well, I’m not writing a historical romance, so this doesn’t really apply.  Let’s just say: so far, so good.

#6: She hates him, but she loves him: GUILTY

Ilona and a boy from the village, Kristophe, don’t seem to like each other.  Ilona thinks Kristophe is too cocky, but secretly she likes his confidence.  She doesn’t want to admit that she likes him, but there it is.

#7: Humorless historical fiction: GUILTY?

Blood Countess is a pretty grim tale, so there’s not much humor.  Although Ilona’s a bit of a spitfire, so she’s not serious all the time.

#8: “She isn’t beautiful, but she is”: NOT GUILTY

Ilona’s got a pretty high opinion of her looks, although she does think the Countess is the most beautiful woman she’s ever seen.

#9: The pregnancy issue (lots of sex, no protection): NOT GUILTY

Ilona hasn’t lost her virtue yet, although many of the villagers (including her father) think she has.

#10: List-making (of heroine’s clothing; of hero’s weapons): NOT GUILTY

Since she’s a peasant, Ilona doesn’t have that many different outfits.  Not much really to make lists of, unless you include some listing of herbs and various torture devices.

In conclusion, there are a few cliches but not too many… The biggest offender is #1, but Ilona does go through a change when she goes from wild-spirited peasant girl to servant to the Countess, where any minor infraction leads to severe punishment… but hopefully the spitfire Ilona returns at the end.

wash. rinse. repeat.

It’s back to square one. Nothing panned out, unless you count my growing number of rejections. So it’s back to querying, and writing of course. Still working on Hitchhikers, although I may take another stab at Blood Countess if I can’t get past the weird place I left my Hitchhikers narrator in last night…