Surely you all remember Ervin? How could we forget the genius that gave us Patience the Zombie-Slayer and so many other unforgettable FanLit parodies? Including my personal favorite chapter of the whole contest.

Well, Ervin has a new blog, on which he is posting excerpts from his memoir, Memories of a White-Trash Boyhood. You have to read it. It’s amazing. Start from the first post and work your way backwards, for optimal reading enjoyment.

Reading it made me realize I don’t read enough books written by men. Here I am writing romances that take place roughly half in a male POV, and nearly all the books I read (at least the books that mention love or sex) are written by women. Even though romance novels are admittedly stocked with rather idealistic versions of what we wish men think and feel about love and sex, it’s still good to have some basis in reality. And my own attempts to ask actual men of my acquaintance what they think and feel about love and sex have resulted in little but inarticulate exasperation. Thank God there are some guys who have the courage and talent to put it down on paper and restore my faith that there IS actually some thinking and feeling going on in there.

So that’s one reason why I’ll be obsessively checking Ervin’s blog for updates. But not the only reason. Mostly I will just because it’s riveting and damn good writing.

Really, I defy you to read … Read More »

Well, this post will be TMI of a different sort…

I haven’t blogged in a week, nor have I done much visiting of friends’ blogs – sorry! Truthfully, it was a rough week, in different ways. But it was a rough week of my own making, and I just couldn’t bring myself back around the blog, because last week’s topic was mocking me. Word to the wise: Don’t ever blog about how good you are at taking criticism – maybe don’t even whisper it in a darkened, empty room – because it is just tempting Fate to prove you wrong.

And honestly, the “incident” that proved me wrong is not something I would normally blog about – and I don’t plan to blog about it in any real detail, sorry! – but if I don’t own up to it and just leave that post below unamended, I will really feel like the biggest hypocrite ever. So suffice it to say, there are times when I do not take criticism in stride. There are times – rare times, I hope – when I let it trip me up and send me sprawling face-first in the most ungraceful and embarrassing fashion. And then, to my shame, immediately look around for someone to blame. Because someone must have pushed me, right? I do not just go sprawling face-first for no reason. Not me.

Heh. Yes, evidently sometimes I do. I am both clumsy and human, what can I say?

There, I have told … Read More »

So here’s something I noticed this weekend. I am far, far more comfortable receiving criticism than praise.

Cases in point:
Last Friday, shortly before our CP summit was to convene, a certain CP and I had an email exchange in which certain ugly truths were brought to light. The main of which being, she doesn’t like my current hero. Which she clarified as being a real, active dislike of my hero. As opposed to Jeremy, the hero of GOTH, whom she simply didn’t find especially likable for most of the first draft.

This was not a big shock, sadly. I had suspected this was the case. And it took about ten minutes of grumbling before I got over it and started thinking of ways to rehabilitate my hero’s image. Because he is not just a likable guy, he is a lovable guy! And I am somehow failing him. I can only conclude this is happening because I am so desperately in love with my own character, I am neglecting to endear him to everyone else. Anyhow, it’s fixable. It was very hard criticism, but I took it in stride.

Contrast with this the unmitigated horror of receiving an award and roses in front of what felt like hundreds of strangers. And having the same CP, plus the other CP, persistently gushing about me to everyone in earshot despite my countless pleadings that they stop already!!! It made me itchy.

I have concluded that I would far rather be pilloried … Read More »

Since I posted last week, I had about a dozen really wonderful things happen to me, and one minor tragedy.

CM and India flew out this weekend to help celebrate my birthday, my sale, and just the general awesomeness of life. We had an amazing time, and on Saturday we attended my local chapter meeting. I not only got my first-sale roses, but I also learned that I’d placed first in our chapter contest, the Orange Rose! It was really wonderful to have CM and India there to share the moment – I wouldn’t have accomplished any of this without them, and I can’t thank them enough. We had delicious meals and good wine and a lovely spa day to complete the weekend, and we hashed out all our plotting problems. It was a fabulous few days.

Plus, it marked the happy end of my contest career. What a relief…

But of course, life has a way of balancing good and bad. Last week, my kitty died very unexpectedly and tragically. My website bio says, “[Tessa] shares a tiny bungalow with her husband, their two children, a dog, a cat, and many dust bunnies.” And I can’t bring myself to edit it yet. *sniff* He is missed.

Sleep well, sweet kitty.

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I’m guest-blogging at Romance Roundtable. Please stop by!… Read More »

Help! Maybe some of you who have children, or were once children, or still act a bit childish from time to time can give me some advice.

Dareling #1 has picked up on boy/girl differences. Not the anatomical differences- I’m still waiting for that conversation – but the (dubious) social differences. The things a kid learns at part-time daycare! Now every time we see a toy on TV or in the store, her immediate reaction is “That’s for girls!” or “That’s for boys!” Other commonly heard pronouncements: “Only girls like pink.” or “Princesses are only for girls.”

Now, I don’t know whether to make a big deal of this or not. I mean, obviously most of those things are more popular with girls than with boys, and the toys are certainly marketed to one or the other. It’s only natural she’d pick up on the cues. Is this just part of the learning process, as she starts to become aware of gender and identify with other girls? That’s not a bad thing, right? But how do I stop this before it becomes “Girls can’t be doctors” or “Only boys like power tools”?

Any thoughts?
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Just wanted to say a quick huzzah for all of you who are taking on NaNoWriMo this year! I’m in awe of your commitment and I’ll be jealous of your progress. And I’ll be cheering you on and prepared to crack the whip when necessary, so write your little hearts out!

And…this is a very sweet sort of anniversary for me. I began writing GOTH exactly a year ago today. Happy birthday, Jeremy and Lucy!… Read More »

Okay, maybe it’s the fact that Halloween is tomorrow. Maybe it’s the ongoing bloodbath/brain buffet going on over at the Mavens’. Maybe it’s because my own characters are 3 weeks out from land with only weevil-infested hardtack and rancid salt-beef to eat. Maybe it’s the stomach flu from which I recently recovered… (TMI?)

But with today’s topic, we’re getting nasty.

I remember watching this Saturday Night Live sketch years and years and years ago, where a guy dies and goes to heaven, and he starts pestering the angels with all these ridiculous questions about his life. Things like, “What was the grossest thing I ever ate without knowing?” To which the angel wisely replied, “You don’t want to know.”

I think this has stuck with me for years and years and years for a few reasons. First, because I know I wouldn’t want the answer to that question myself. But also because if I ever get to a heaven with all-knowing angels, I expect to spend a good millenium asking similarly inane and inconsequential questions. (Alternatively, I want to see a big album with all the photographs ever taken with me in the background – you know, the ones taken by Japanese tourists at Disneyland, Norwegians on holiday at the Golden Gate Bridge, etc. Doesn’t that sound way cooler than looking at your own photo album? Okay, back on topic…)

So, gross stuff to eat.

What’s the grossest (or most adventurous) thing you’ve ever eaten? That you’re aware of, of
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Over at Manuscript Mavens, they’ve been doing a Halloween-themed round robin story, where each day the readers get to vote on the twist for the next installment. I wrote today’s chapter (zombiessss!), so pop on over and vote for your favorite ending! Kalen Hughes is up to bat tomorrow.

People have been asking what’s going on, since The Call. I talked with my new editor, Kate Collins, last week. She is just lovely, and I’m expecting her edits on GOTH in early November. In the meantime, I’m plugging away at the book now tentatively titled Surrender of a Siren. You haven’t seen that pagemeter move much because I’ve been rewriting big chunks – stuff I skipped ahead and wrote a while ago, then needed to completely do-over once I actually connected the dots. Ballantine likes my pen name, evidently, so Tessa Dare is here to stay. And so far, they plan to keep GOTH’s title as-is. How cool is that? I thought it would be changed to The Earl’s Mostly Wicked Slightly Secret Obsession or something.

That’s all the news I’ve got right now… but I’ll keep you posted.

Have a great weekend, everyone!… Read More »

Congratulations, Elyssa!!!
You’re the random winner of the brand-a-thon sweepstakes. Snail-mail me, and I’ll hook you up with some books. Thank you so much to everyone who brainstormed such fabulous ideas. I’m going to think them all over a bit, but you’ll know when I pick one for sure.

It’s birthday time! The Romance Vagabonds are celebrating their one-year birthday all this week, and FanLit Forever is coming up on theirs. They have a huge birthday celebration planned, from Oct. 29th to November… 7th, I believe? The party keeps getting longer, because they keep getting more fabulous guest bloggers! Who, you ask? Oh, just some amazing authors like Eloisa James. Toni Blake, Anna Campbell, Jenna Peterson, Michelle Willingham, Victoria Alexander, Harris Channing, Ericka Scott, Larissa Ione, and Sherry Thomas. I get to wrap up the whole to-do on the 7th – I’m so honored.

Anyhow, happy birthday to both groups! My own birthday is fast approaching, too. So today I got to thinking about age.

Here in the US, we get prickly about admitting to our real age. When I lived overseas for a bit, I experienced a culture where “How old are you?” was one of the first questions inquisitive strangers would just up and ask me. Along with “Are you married?”, “How many siblings do you have?”, and “What is your religion?” And then they might compliment me by saying, “I think you’re getting fat.”

At first, I was shocked to be asked such “personal” questions by complete … Read More »