Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Taking stock, and saying thank you

Phew. I’m just done proofing galleys for my next Red Sage novella, coming out in July. Proofing is a task I love, because it’s the first time we get to see our words in print, just as they’ll be in the book. At the same time I often find it hard, because I keep engaging with the story and the characters and find myself zipping along without visually interrogating words on the page as I should! It’s so easy to miss typos when you know what it should say. If I find myself moving too fast over the words I force myself to go back, and I was doing that a lot with this one. The hero, Cullen, had all my attention at some points in the reading ;)

I can't quite believe this will be my third Red Sage novella. Being signed by Red Sage was a huge turning point for me, the point where I broke out from being a short story writer. It was such an important motivational moment for me. My first novella for them was a very simple tale, a holiday romance, but once I knew I was on the right track, I started to get more ambitious in length and story complexity. My writing career has built-up slowly, with building blocks of length and genre. That worked for me because I’ve been on a huge learning curve and each time I took on a bigger project, it challenged me in new and exciting ways, ways that I learned from. As I look back over it, I can see how each step played its part in terms of me learning, and in terms of how the publishing world perceived me. My background in writing short stories for labels like Black Lace and novellas for Red Sage was crucial when my proposal hit the desk at Berkley.

What’s interested me about the reviews I’ve had for Double Dare is that a couple of the reviewers have talked about my grounding at Black Lace in the context of reviewing the book. It’s awed me that they have taken the time and cared to even notice that. BL is a big part of me, even though I've now had more shorts published with Cleis Press. There was one reviewer who remarked on it a while back. I blogged about it here, and this newer one, by Wendy Crutcher, also reflects on my background.

Perhaps the most refreshing aspect about the recent erotica boom is that many good authors, previously published by small presses, are cracking into the more mainstream, American marketplace. Such is the case with Saskia Walker, whose first full-length novel debuts under the Berkley Heat umbrella. While a little thin on conflict, it’s easy to see that this is an author who has earned her stripes writing for respected erotica publishers like Virgin Books’ Black Lace line.

I was really pleased and flattered to be reviewed by Wendy, whose columns I enjoy at Romancing the Blog. To have her read my first novel and take the time to look at where I began, as well as her closing words, lifted me up no end.

Walker’s previously published erotica consists of several novellas, and her ability in the craft of writing spicy sex shows. Having waded through some less than desirable offerings from the recent erotica boom, this is one of the better novels to land in my lap. It was a pleasant diversion indeed and a good start to Walker’s full-length novel career.

That makes me so happy, as you might imagine! :) I’ve taken Wendy’s comments about conflict on board -- I’m always interested in informed, well-intended feedback. Double Dare was my first full-length novel, and it was a big jump. I was still learning and finding my feet with that story. What’s wonderful is how many of you have written and told me that you enjoyed the story and want to read more. I also wanted to say thank you to all of you who call by here, for your support and interest in what I am doing, even over the last couple of months when I haven’t been able to post here as much. You are very much appreciated!


Callie said...

Keep on Keeping on Saskia!


Bailey Stewart said...

That's because you are special.

Sasha White said...

I'm so happy you're getting the recognition you deserve!! More will be on it's way I'm sure!