I don’t know about you, but as far as I’m concerned, there’s not much sexier than a man in a suit. Make it a silver fox in a suit? Welcome to Hot and Bothered, Population: Poppy.
But one part of the definition caught my eye:
The second law of thermodynamics states that in general the total entropy of any system will not decrease other than by increasing the entropy of some other system. Hence, in a system isolated from its environment, the entropy of that system will tend not to decrease. It follows that heat will not flow from a colder body to a hotter body without the application of work (the imposition of order) to the colder body. (from Wiki)
They gave a great example of a iced drink, and how the drink changes. Being the dedicated coffee drinker that I am, I applied that to my coffee. My fellow coffee drinkers (and tea drinkers, too, can’t forget you) know all about entropy. We sit our piping hot cup of coffee by our side and proceed to get distracted by the shiny. Next sip we take, our coffee is cold. Epic Fail.
Now if I were one of those fancy folks who had a cup warmer on my desk, it wouldn’t be such an issue. But heaven help me if I put one more thing on my poor desk. It’s grumpy with me as it is due to the massive pile of books I’m using for research.
There’s also a lot of talk about order, disorder, and even chaos with this whole law of entropy business. Oh, I know all about chaos! Chaos and I are friends. We go way back. I’ve been trying to tame chaos, but it goes back to that definition above, especially the part that says “without the application of work”.
Who knew? Life is work. Writing is work.
I love those times in my life when I become a master of the obvious.
So now I’m thinking of creating a new law, and changing the face of physics as I know it. The Law of Poppy states that in order to make things happen, you have to work for it.
No one will hand me the shiny gold medal just for being so darn nice? What? That doesn’t seem fair! But as my mother loves to tell me “Life’s not fair.” She’s full of those little bits of wisdom. She also loves to tell me to “Get over it.” But that’s another blog post.
One of my New Year’s resolutions was to treat writing like a career in 2012. The great thing about it? My job is fun! I get to write, which is what I love, but I also get to play on Facebook, interact with other people who have the same interests I do, and even take trips! (Albuquerque better watch out!)
It’s definitely a new way of thinking, but the law of entropy (and my now-cold cup of coffee) tells me that if I add a little heat, do a little work, I can do it. Well, either that or I just need to drink my coffee faster. I’m still figuring that part out.
It’s a learning process, that’s for sure. So what do you need the law of entropy for?
What promotion have you found most successful for you?
ZAM-I feel that blogging, both on my own blog and guest blogging is a very helpful thing. I am starting a monthly newsletter. I also find that being nice to people, and being genuinely interested in other writers and their careers, is the best promotion you can have. Generosity of spirit is a very cool thing to have, and to experience from others.
ZAM-Don’t. Ever. Read. Them. How often do I break this rule? Too. Often. One of my mentors recently admonished me to ignore reviews, he said if they’re good they’ll make you lazy and if they’re bad they’ll make you crazy. (Or words to that effect.) I think the point is for me, if I’m looking for validation, I’m not likely to find it from reviews or reviewers, in fact, I’m not going to find it outside myself at all.
ZAM-I think honesty is the best and most interesting thing. For someone like me, who can talk all day about how I write and why I write etc., having to face the fact that I’m not really that great about the business end of things was eye opening. Seriously. Receipts. Pffft. My accountant would just brain me if he knew.
Do you have help with any other areas in your writing? If so, what role do they play?
What do you know now about book contracts that you didn’t know when you got your first one?
ZAM-I know that reading them carefully is important. Also asking for help from people who have been through the process. At first blush, it’s such an unimaginable pleasure just receiving a contract that you’re likely to sign it thinking, wow, I don’t dare say anything, I don’t dare ask questions. But definitely, make yourself conversant with all the terms, and go to places like Preditors and Editors, find other writers, and compare publishers. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Are there any special considerations writers need to make when using a pen name?
Are there any tips for new writers for keeping track of writing expenses?
ZAM-Oh, my goodness, YES. Start with that first month, and do it faithfully. Put every receipt where you can find it. I don’t! I always have to search around at the end of the year, and I’m sure I miss things. Also keep track of sales. That will become important to you in ways you don’t know yet.
ZAM-No, I really don’t. I’m more likely to want to spend the time working on a book.
My ex and I had these silly high school obsessions with rock stars, we used to be part of the crazed throngs of fangirls that waited for hours by the band tour buses and whatnot. I would write stories for her about these heavy metal hair-band guys as if we were friends with them in real life and stuff. It would end up being like 15 more years though before I started writing seriously and that realized that writing romance was where my passion was.
When is your best writing time?
Obscenely early in the morning! My day job is parenting since my kids are still really young, and there’s just no way you can write hot guy on guy action when Barney is singing in the background and someone is yelling “Moooom, I want juuuuice!” so I get up crazy early while the house is still quiet so I can do it then. It’s wacky, back in my party girl days I was usually crashing at around 4 am, and now that’s when I get up to make the coffee!
Do you set writing goals for yourself? If so, how do you set them?
I have to. There are a lot of things/people vying for my attention and it’s easy to let life get in the way. When I’m drafting I set a daily word count goal, and when I’m editing I set a goal by which I will have my editing finished. I don’t always make those goals, but it helps to ensure things don’t languish.
Amor Prohibido has a surprising supernatural element. Do you have any beliefs in the supernatural that might surprise us?
Well anyone who reads my Facebook stuff knows I’m religious about checking my horoscope, I guess I’ve always been a little into the “woo-woo” stuff. I don’t know that I have any specific supernatural beliefs; I do have a pretty vivid imagination, which is probably why a lot of my writing leans toward the paranormal.
What made you decide to use Mayan history as the basis for Amor Prohibido, and what kind of research did you have to do for the story?
The story was inspired by a call from Amber Allure for a series of stories they were doing called “Postcards from Paradise.” I immediately thought of Puerto Morelos, Mexico. If I ever needed to get away and relax, it’s the first place I’d go. There are a lot of Mayan ruins in the area. When I started researching the ruins, I started finding information about the mythology and the underworld, and it all just kind of fell together for me. The idea of these trials that mortals had to fight through in Xibalba, and what if these two men had to fight through them together in order to have their happily ever after?
In Amor Prohibido, Jacob has just come out of an abusive relationship. When did the character reveal this aspect of his history to you?
Music inspires a LOT of what I do. It’s always been my first love. Interestingly enough, even though Jacob in my mind kind of drives the story of Amor, Pakal was who came to me first. When I thought of the basic premise, I saw him right away. Jake was a little blurry. And then one day on the radio I heard The Bravery’s “Believe,” and right away I felt like that was Jake’s song. It painted him so clearly in my mind, and suddenly I had this guy who was totally in a state of limbo, he had surfaced from a bad situation to one that was just kind of okay—and he didn’t know whether or not he wanted to go on.
And domestic violence, especially in same-sex relationships, is still not discussed very openly. It’s estimated that as many as one in FOUR same-sex relationships contain some form of abuse. And it’s hard to get help because it comes in different forms, there is more isolation, less safety net. Gay men, in particular, don’t want to cop to it because they don’t want to seem weak, and in a lot of cases may fear homophobia from law enforcement. So I wanted to shed a little light on it, but at the same time, make the story about healing and finding love again rather than about pain.
Can we expect any other stories with a Mayan setting?
Yes!! I left the ending of Amor in such a way that there could either be a sequel or not, and feedback points to folks wanting a sequel, which is awesome.
What can we look forward to next from you?
I just finished a vampire story that will be released right around Valentine’s Day 2012, and I have a contemporary short story that should be coming out around the first of the year.
How do you balance your real life responsibilities with your writing ambitions?
Uh, not very well? LOL! My kids watch too much TV and my house is a mess. And I won’t be as prolific as some of my fellow authors. It’s frustrating at times but I am unerringly grateful for both my kids and for being able to write, so I balance as best I can, and cling tenaciously to the last remaining marbles that I have!
What’s your favorite tool in your “writer’s toolbox”?
Perseverance, and constant improvement, I guess. I do my best to write daily. Some days I just can’t, but I try. Even when I feel “blocked” I try to get something down. And I try to periodically find online writing workshops through savvyauthors.com or the RWA which are very inexpensive, and I try to put whatever I learn in those classes toward polishing whatever manuscript I’m working on at the time. I think there’s always room to improve your craft.
And that, my friends, is just a drop in the Ellis bucket of awesome. Thanks Ellis, for taking the time to gab with me. If you’d like to know more about Ellis and her releases, you can find her at:
|Tomatoes on the vine from Wiki|
|Jason Morgan, from General Hospital|
Didn’t want ya’ll to think I’d started this up and abandoned it. I’m working on the design (and I use the term “I” very loosely) but I’m hoping to be up and running soon!