#navbar-iframe { display: none !important;} The Naked Page: August 2005

The Naked Page

Author Jamie Sobrato's Diary


In Case You Haven't Heard...

If you've emailed me within the past few weeks and haven't heard back, it's because your email was eaten by my laptop's hard drive crash. Please write again if you need an answer, and please don't think I'm ignoring you! I never let reader letters go unanswered, but I know I lost at least a couple I hadn't had a chance to reply to yet. I'm sorry, dear readers. :-( I'm not a cold heartless bitch, I swear!


Spreading the Love

It goes without saying that any week in which a writer's computer keels over is a bad week. But instead of moaning about that whole ordeal, I have to give props to a woman who's ingenuity helped me get some work done anyway.

Deanna Carlyle is a friend I met while living in Germany. She writes chick lit mysteries (among other things), and she runs a little motivational email list for writers. We have to meet certain writing goals each week or we get kicked out of the group, and honestly, that's the only thing that made me get any writing done this week. Not my looming deadlines, not my work ethic, and not my burning desire to tell stories. I'm new to the group, but I'm already grateful for the help I've gotten.

My naked pages now have words on them--crappy ones, but they can be fixed--and isn't that all a writer can hope for in a day's work?

I'm constantly amazed at all the help I've gotten over the years from other writers. I thought about posting a list of links to the websites of all the writers who've ever helped me, but the more I thought, the longer the list got, and then I realized it would be impossible to list all the names, because some of them helped annonymously (as contest judges, etc), and some kind deeds have probably been forgotten, sadly.

But hey, I've got a blog now, so when someone helps me, I'm spreading the love right here. Just because I can.


Breaking Up is Hard to Do

No progress on the suicidal laptop yet. The longer I hold this death vigil, the more stuff I remember I had on his drive, and the more pissed off I get. I don't think Lappy and I can have a healthy relationship if he manages to survive this ordeal.

A divorce may be our only option. So long as I get custody of all the documents.


Suicidal Electronics

My laptop and I, as I think I've mentioned here before, have a tenuous relationship at best. Last spring I started shopping for a new laptop computer, preferably a sexy little thing under 4 lbs, and in pink. Yes, believe it or not, there are pink computers. Hard to find, but they're out there. I'm too lazy to go looking for a link right now.

Anyway, soon as I started my traitorous shopping, the elder laptop took a suicidal dive out of my hands as I was walking around the house. Did I mention that he has a weight problem? Yes, it's true, he weighs in at over 8 lbs, and is hell to haul through airports.

So Lappy barely survived the suicide attempt. We nursed him back to health, and all seemed to be well again. I stopped shopping for a replacement, realizing during those harrowing days when we worried that his suicide might have been successful that he was a pretty good and useful laptop and didn't really need to be replaced yet.

Then comes this weekend, when I foolishly decided to purchase a new AlphaSmart Dana. This device is meant to be a replacement for my old Alphie 3000 moreso than the laptop, but he took offense. Bigtime. Two days after the purchase, the laptop's harddrive crashed.

Another suicide attempt? I think so. Dana isn't even here yet, and already my manic depressive Lappy has taken issue with it.

As I type this, I'm on hold with Dell tech support, hoping against hope that there will be some way to salvage all those photos and files I forgot to back up this summer while we were traveling and I had other things on my mind besides harddrive crashes.

Wish me luck. Will report back soon on what I think about Dana. If this stupid laptop can't be loyal, I don't see any reason not to slut around myself.


I'm Not Dead!

(Any Monty Python fans out there? I keep feeling like I should make a daily "I'm not dead! I feel happy!" blog post on these days when I'm slogging toward a deadline and completely lacking any extra creative energy.)

Any day now, I should be finishing up this proposal and hurling it at the postal clerk with a little too much force.

And then...you shall meet...Bionic Romance Author.


Word of the Day

Freakadelic: a word used to describe a situation, person, or object that goes beyond the normal levels of what one would consider psychedelic and moves into the ultra sexy realm of freakiness (source: www.urbandictionary.com)

Ex.: I hoped the heroine of my novel would look straight-up freakadelic on the book cover, but instead she just kind of looks like a 'ho.


Promotional Whore

You know here at The Naked Page, we're all about selling books, right? You didn't think I was doing this blog for world peace or greater enlightenment or anything noble like that, did you?

It's true. I'm here partly because I love interacting with readers, partly as a little daily creative writing exercise (AKA big fat way of avoiding my work-in-progress), and partly because I want you to see that I'm so brilliantly witty and insightful that you must run or click your way to the nearest store and buy every novel I've ever written (and also pre-order the ones awaiting publication).

So this begs the question, how can you buy my books unless you know when they arrive in stores? And, how can you, Dear Reader, know exactly when they arrive in stores?

Answer: Subscribe to my newsletter!

But first, you must know that I'm willing to resort to bribery. To entice you, I hold a contest for my newsletter subscribers every month. This is your chance to win free stuff.

This month, there will be FIVE winners of my contest. Five randomly drawn subscribers to my newsletter will each get to choose any book from my backlist as their prize.

Okay, I know, it's not exactly a cruise to Tahiti, but it's better than getting one of those stupid "DEAR MADAME, YOU DO NOT KNOW KNOW ME YET, BUT I HAVE FIVE MILLION DOLLARS I DEARLY NEED TO TRANSFER INTO YOUR BANK ACCOUNT FROM THE NATION OF ZIMBABWE IF YOU WOULD JUST SO KINDLY GIVE ME YOUR BANK ACCOUNT NUMBER..." letters in the mail, isn't it? (And can you believe it, we actually got one of those letters in the MAIL today?! Not in email, but postal mail! Some idiots actually paid for international postage to mail it to us. That must mean someone, somewhere, is falling for their line of crap.)

So anyway, back to the whoring: Sign up for my newsletter. Win stuff. It's all good.


Make Me Laugh

More conference photos to come, but today, let's get back to that whole issue of the naked page. It's much easier to fill it with words if you know which words you're supposed to be writing. Which words are uniquely yours--words no one else would write?

I've been thinking about the emotions we're most drawn to. If you're a writer--and even if you're not--it helps to know what emotion you tend to gravitate toward in your writing (or your reading). Do you love angst? Fear? Warm fuzzies? Passion? Excitement?

Words filled with the emotions you want to tap into the most are the words that should fill your pages.

By far, I'm most drawn to humor. Most of my favorite writers are those who can make me laugh. Anne Lamott, David Sedaris, Dave Barry. I turn to the humorous memoir format for reasons I don't quite understand. I keep meaning to analyze why this is. Maybe it's partly because I write humorous fiction, so when I read memoirs, I'm not so inclined to compare it to my own writing.

There are other emotions I seek out, of course--we all need to experience the entire range of emotions--but for as long as I can remember, I've loved nothing more than making other people laugh and having other people make me laugh.

Knowing what emotion most floats your boat will go a long way toward helping you hone your writing voice. You can play to it instead of resisting it. Sometimes we writers resist our natural inclinations by accident.

Maybe there's a market demand for big, angst-filled historicals, so you write one even though you really want to write quirky futuristic comedies, because you want to sell a book, and maybe your angsty historical does sell. But will that book be as good as one that taps into your key emotions?

There's no correct answer to the above. Sometimes as writers, our goal is to make a living--writing whatever it is that makes us a living. But when planning a writing career, you have to also seek out the stories that are so uniquely yours, they could be mistaken for no one else's. Those are the books the most successful careers are built upon.


Go Ahead, FAQ Me

I've done it! I've updated what was previously the most outdated and boring of pages on my website--my FAQ page.

All those burning questions you've wanted to ask me but haven't gotten around to? Now you can find your answers here.

Ever wondered what my husband might look like naked? How many love scenes I write on average per book? What my natural hair color is? How much I weigh on my non-bloated days?

No? Well, that's good, because those answers aren't on my FAQ page, but some other tantalizing tidbits are. So check it out at http://www.jamiesobrato.com/faqs.html.