About the Writer


I don't have tea cups. I have mugs. This is one of my all-time favorites, one of a matched set.

I don’t have tea cups. I have mugs. This is one of my all-time favorites, one of a matched set.

Usually, I don’t buy tea at Teavana. One, because it’s overpriced. Two, because the flavors are weak. I suspect there’s more in their tea for scent purposes than for flavor purposes. (Meaning that it smells great but produces weak tea.)

But I did buy 11 ounces of Oprah Chai last week, despite the fact it’s labeled “Oprah Chai Tea.” (That’s like calling it “tea tea.”) Why? Because it was on clearance. The total price paid for that was $21, which means it was less than $2 an ounce. With my local tea store closed, it seemed like the time to try this flavor.

Verdict: it’s decent chai with a bite to it. Nothing to write home about but I’d buy it again for that price. I certainly wouldn’t have paid the original price of $83 for the 11 ounces, however.

Aside from trying tea, we also took a trip to the Beardsley Zoo in Connecticut last week. It’s a small zoo outside of New Haven but has birds of prey, wolves, and several large cats. The teenage twins were fascinated by the wolves. I was impressed by the leopard and the tiger. Damn large paws on those kitty cats. The wolves shied away from the people. The cats seemed to be glaring at us.

Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright. photo by Corrina Lawson

Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright. photo by Corrina Lawson

I’ve come down with a cold given to me by the youngest daughter and that’s put a crimp in my writing. (“Mom, you shouldn’t have stolen one of my fries or dipped it in my ketchup because I double dip!”) I would say that it’s just a cold but it didn’t seem like “just” anything when I almost coughed up a lung this weekend.

But I managed to get a few pieces done:

9 Feminist Comics Everyone Should Read at the B&N SF/F blog.

Same Geek Channel Special: Death and the Genre Show, written in response to the sudden plethora of deaths of female (particularly women of color) and LGBT characters on SF/F shows. Had I written it this week, I’d have added in ABC deciding to dump Kate Beckett from Castle. One would think Hollywood has something against women. /sarcasm.

A review of the fascinating book, Investigating Lois Lane, a history of the character.

And, as always, the weekly recaps of DC Comics with Ray Goldfield. It was a good week for women, particularly Black Canary and Wonder Women.

 

My daughter gave me this  extra-large mug.

My daughter gave me this extra-large mug. This week, I’ve put an extra shot of whiskey in it.

It’s been quite a couple of weeks. First, there was the awesome visit to the new motorsports stadium at Daytona International Speedway, which included a breakfast with the nieces and grand-nieces, then it was back to work writing all but the last 20,000 words of The Dark Mage of Lotus Hall.

Corrina Lawson, Daytona Speedway

Alas, this replica of a Sprint Cup car doesn’t have an engine. photo copyright Corrina Lawson

Then things kinda hit the fan.

My publisher, Samhain, announced that it would be closing.

The pertinent parts to readers: all my books are still up on all sites. SamhainPublishing.com itself, Amazon, B&N, iTunes, Kobo. You can still buy them, though if you want a print copy, you may be out of luck there. They will be there for a little while longer, as Samhain doesn’t expect to close up shop for months yet.

What will happen next? The agent is handling getting my rights back and, damn, it feels good to have someone handling this for me. The head of Samhain Publishing sent out an email just yesterday, promising something hopeful coming and whether that means a cash infusion, takeover by a big publisher, or something more than that, I have no idea.

At this point, I want all my rights back, so I can choose the future of my stories but, who knows, by Friday, I might have changed my mind. In the meantime, those shots of whiskey in my tea at night have helped a great deal. :) It helps that I have 3 unpublished manuscripts to sell.

Also changing is the status of my non-fiction career. GeekMom.com is merging with GeekDad.com to create the premiere Geek Parenting site on the web. We’ll be fully integrated into GeekDad’s post feed but for those wishing for a GeekMom only experience, there will be a way to get that.

Plus, spiffy new site design for EVERYONE. ::tosses confetti::

Oh, hey, did I mention I’m going to Comic Con International in San Diego this summer for the first time ever! My press application was approved. Bucket list item to be checked off.

In the meantime, enjoy the article I wrote about season 2 of Marvel’s Agent Carter and Wynonna Earp, the new television show coming from Syfy Channel that I’m stoked about.

Wonder Woman, geeky mug

You know people know you’re a geek when they start giving you mugs like this. :)
photo: Corrina Lawson

Happy Tuesday all! Today’s tea? Assam Loose Leaf because I seriously needed the caffeine boost to wake up.

The work on the steampunk, tentatively called The Dark Mage of Lotus Hall, continues at a good clip. Last night, I hit 35,000 words. I had to backtrack a bit, however, as I encountered what writers call “the saggy middle.”

In other words, things were going far too well for my intrepid heroine and it was time to pull the rug out under her feet by asking “what’s a horrible thing that can happen that will upend the entire cast?” and then doing that. I also wrote a scene between the antagonist and my heroine that it contained many-layered dialogue, my favorite thing ever. Hopefully, all those layers will be fully seen once the villain’s scheme is clear.

What those poor dears must endure for the sake of story. Mwwhahahahah! :) (I’ve not put a foot in George R.R. Martin territory yet but I begin to see how his landscape develops.)

We’ve had several snow days here in New England, leading to a four-day weekend for the teens and less writing time for me. But, still, I managed to bang out a few fun articles.

Out my office window this week. photo by Corrina Lawson.

Out my office window this week. photo by Corrina Lawson.

My first post on Heroes & Heartbreakers which concerns, naturally, Wonder Woman, was published this week. Or, rather, it’s about her longtime love interest, Steve Trevor. Fate has not always been kind to Steve but now he’s Chris Pine, so it should work out all right in the end.

I’m still loving, loving Agent CarterThis week, it even did flashbacks well!

I enjoyed several of this week’s DC Comics, so check out the full reviews of DC’s entire slate and ended up riffing about my most hated trope: the all reaching conspiracy.

“Yeah, we’re supposed to believe Mother is this all-powerful person who can predict what children will be suitable and what won’t be suitable but, c’mon. I’d believe in superspeed more than seeing into the future to predict that this child will turn out to be exactly what someone wants. I’ll give Mother the ability to send women out as trophy wives for the rich. But to know which kid will be a superhero? Just no.”

Suspension of disbelief broken. :)

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The event will last from 12 Noon Eastern Daylight Time until 12 Midnight Eastern Daylight Time USA, which should allow Brigaders around the globe an opportunity to join in.

We hope everyone will want to stay, chat, interact and participate in the event for as long as possible. Some amazing books will be up for grabs.

When the party begins, click on the link!

This week was one of those weeks where I thought I didn’t accomplish anything and then I looked back at the week and realize that, yes, I kinda did.

First, not my post, but a wonderful review of Luminous over at It’s About the Book.

Luminous, superhero romance, Jim GordonFrom the review:

Oh man oh man oh man. What a delightful surprise! The author sent this to me so that I could review the following book about Noir and Al that’s due out on November 25th, Ghosts of Christmas Past (The Phoenix Institute Series). So I settled in last night, knowing that since it was a novella it wouldn’t take me too long. ~STOP~ One hour later I’m floored! It is absolute genius! I fell in love with it from the first page and it never faltered, not even once. It was… simply… luminous.

This warmed my heart because it always warms a writer’s heart when someone absolutely gets your story and loves your characters as much as you do.

And also because the same character, Captain Aloysius James of the Charlton City Police Department and Noir, invisible superhero, are also featured in the soon-to-be released Ghosts of Christmas Past.

I love the hell out of these two and the world they live in, which is my loving homage to Gotham City in the Batman universe. I love them so much that I’m currently writing a very short story for an upcoming holiday book event in which Al goes shopping for Noir’s Christmas present.

It turns out to be a lot more complicated than just a simple trip to the mall. :)

Next, there was my post on Beyond the Veil about how inserting a real event into a work of fiction doesn’t necessarily make it believable.

From the post:

One of the final copy edit notes I received back this month for the upcoming Phoenix Inheritance was that the near-deadly snowstorm that opens the book is wrong.

The copy editor, bless her, thought more snow should be present, especially in the aftermath.

Here’s the photo of the real storm. You can read my conclusion at the post.

Our swingset after the October 2011 snowstorm.

I continued my recaps of Gotham, the television show that has such quick cuts that it can make the viewer dizzy. Is Barbara the dumbest woman in a current superhero show? Discuss, as she has competition from Laurel on Arrow and Iris on The Flash.

And over on GeekMom:

1. I reviewed a bunch of new comics, including the Teen Titans Earth 1 graphic novel, Batgirl #36, the second with a new creative team and some innovative artwork, and the new crime novel, The Kitchen, about a group of women who take over their husband’s mob organization. (All pretty good.)

2. I interviewed the new writer of the Wonder Woman comic, Meredith Finch, who received the job amid controversy.

3. And I wrote my regular Cliffs of Insanity column, featuring the European Space Agency landing a spaceship on a comic and the world’s ugliest work shirt, my thoughts on the possible director for the Wonder Woman movie, and my take on Big Hero 6, a movie I adored so much, I wanted to hug it.

Oh, and I wrote 3,000 words on the work in progress and had a great brainstorm about the Big Bad. It’s perfect. I can’t wait to write the rest of the scenes.

Now…the weekend! In which I attempt to clean off the dining room table so we can actually, you know, eat at it, just in time for Thanksgiving dinner.

 

Selfie! Myself at the top of the Seattle Space Needle

I have much to share about GeekGirlCon but first, I wanted to share a recap of our Smut Panel aka the Sex From the Female Gaze, which consisted of me and my roommates, romance writer Christine Merrill and Sequential Tart Sheena McNeil. Chris did a fun wrap-up on her blog already. My full report will come later, at the GeekGirlCon site.

But in short, we packed the room and had to turn away people. I predict we’ll be back next year with all new smut and more panelists! In the meantime, look below for my reaction when I realized how many people were at our panel. :) (Not really but close.)

August is the annual Read-A-Romance Month and all through next month, Celebrate Romance will have essays by some of the greats of romance talking about how they got started and why they love the genre.

How did I get started? It took a village.  As part of this celebration, I wanted to honor those who helped me on my journey to becoming a writer.

I’ve met all but one of these woman  and all of them before I read any of their books. All were inspirations and all of them offered help and advice. I’m forever grateful.

And then I picked up their stories, terrified that I wouldn’t enjoy them. No worries. I’ve become a lifelong fan of these writers not only as people but as storytellers.

1. Dallas Schulze.

Dallas was the first romance novelist I interacted with online. We ‘met’ on the old Laurel K. Hamilton yahoo loop, an active and lively place in the early 2000s that also included a brand new novelist influenced by LKH: one Jim Butcher of Harry Dresden fame. (Yes, it was an awesome loop.)

Jim and Dallas often had good-natured debates about writing and about the merits of the various characters in LKH’s Anita Blake series. Those discussions were so much fun to read that, for the first time since reading Victoria Holt as a teenager, I was inspired to read a romance.

Dallas’ books hooked me. Her characters were so real, the stories so believable, and the emotions….Tumblr would now call them “the feels.” My favorite was Donovan’s Promise, the story of a married couple who had separated and were seemingly headed for divorce. It was told with a mix of flashbacks from the past and their interactions in the presence, and it stuck in my memory so much that when it came to write my own reunion romance, (the upcoming Phoenix Inheritance), I stole, er, borrowed her story structure.

2. Maureen O. Betita

One word: Pirates!

I call Maureen the pirate lady. Her stories have hunky pirates, heroines who are allowed to be over 30 and high seas adventures. All things fun. I met Maureen at a Romantic Times Booklover’s Convention one year and loved talking with her so much, and her take on romance so much, that I read her stories.  You should too. She’s recently hit the bestseller list with her self-published books and her audience is growing.

3. Karen Harbaugh

Karen is known as Yoda among my internet circle of friends. I had a long talk with her at the Romance Writers of America convention in 2004, where she was up for a Rita and I was up for a Golden Heart. She wanted to know why there weren’t more Asian-Americans in romance novels, a subject near and dear to her heart as she’s Japanese-American. I didn’t have a good answer, so when I wrote my first superhero romance, Phoenix Rising, I remembered the conversation, and that’s how my heroine became Japanese-American.

Why should you read Karen’s books? Because they’re richly layered, descriptive, full of intrigue and mystery, and set in one of my favorite periods, the Regency era. Dark Enchantment, set against the backdrop of the French Revolution, was my first Harbaugh, full of swordfights and court politics and it remains my favorite.

4. Jayne Ann Krentz.

I think they sprinkle JAK’s books with crack because I cannot put them down, whether she writes as Krentz, Amanda Quick or Jayne Castle. If pressed, I will admit to preferring her historicals, as I love the dark and dangerous streets of London and her independent heroines.

Ms. Krentz is the one writer I haven’t spoken to via the ‘net or in-person. I have, however, attended her Q&A sessions with Susan Elizabeth Phillips at ever RWA National conference I’ve attended. Not only because they were an entertaining act but because Ms. Krentz answered one of the questions with one of the best pieces of advice about writing I’d ever heard:

Know your core story.

She said if you know the core story you’re trying to tell, then you know what’s flexible and subject to change and what’s not. She started writing futuristics and couldn’t sell them but realized that they could be modified to historicals and still maintain their core story. As a writer who loves to jump genres, this was an invaluable way to look at my work.

5. Jennifer Crusie

When I think of smart, funny romance, I think of Jennifer Crusie. Tell Me Lies and Bet Me are my favorites but I recommend all her books because they’re always so sharply written and yet always have such a sentimental heart.

I know Jenny and I owe her a great deal for her mentorship and support . She was the first professional writer who ever critiqued a scene for me. It went as well as can be expected when your scene has characters but no plot and no conflict. Jenny was afraid I’d be horrified. Instead, I thought “whoa, wait, this is what’s wrong! But, wait, I can learn to fix it. There is someone who can teach me that stuff.”

And she did.

I can only hope to pay it forward and help someone in the same way she’s helped me.

And my recommendation has nothing to do with that Krispy Kreme donut sex scene in Bet Me. No, nothing at all. :)

As for those cherries on the cover? They’re partially in honor of the most wonderful group of women, the Cherries, who formed on Jenny’s yahoo loop all those years ago. Many of us have gone onto be published writers, and I’m proud to call some of them my close friends, like Christine Merrill, Katy Cooper, and Robin LaFevers.

It took a village to get me started and it still takes a village to keep me going.

Thank you, ladies.

Here’s the full episode of the NickMom show, Take Me To Your Mother, in which comedian Andrea Rosen talks to other moms about how to geek out.

You’ll see me, in full geek mode as Lois Lane, about halfway through but the whole episode is a lot of fun, with Andrea taking her son to a museum, meeting us comic geeks, and LARPing!

Take Me To Your Mother

Yes, I’ve been absent. My youngest son has had a recurrence of a serious chronic illness and we’ve been dealing with multiple doctors and hospitals for the last two months. He’s stable now and hopefully will remain so.

Which brings me to my first item.

That same son has a four-page story in this anti-bullying comic: You Are Not Alone.

This can be purchased at Grayhaven’s website and I believe if you’re a school or non-profit, Grayhaven will be able to supply some free copies. So proud of this kid! :) :)

And, well, if you’re at the Grayhaven site, you might also want to look at this Steampunk comic.

There’s a story in there featuring the hero of the upcoming The Curse of the Brimstone Contract, plus 38 more pages of great steampunk stories.

Be back tomorrow with more news of upcoming books! :)

I first realized that some writers, by only using a few words here and there, can create scenes that basically exist just in the reader’s imagination.

So I’m musing on exactly how to do that over at the Savvy Author’s Blog today!

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