Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Challenges of Co-Writing

You guys know I'm a loner. What else could I be cranking out the word counts I do every day?

Don't answer that. I know I don't have a life.

At any rate, for the past couple of weeks I've been working on a project with a Canadian writer--Rob Graham, another Aspen Mountain Press author who writes really really outstanding erotica.

Really really outstanding erotica.

But I digress. We came up with the idea to co-author a book. I'll admit that at first I was skeptical. I mean--come on! Who in their right mind wants to spend part of their day in my imagination, right? Well, the gods love him, apparently Rob didn't have much of a problem with that. It took us about half an hour to decide that we would co-write a Georgian vampire story. he would write from the hero's POV and I would write from the heroine's.

And the story took off. Ever have one of those stories that just WOULD NOT SHUT UP? We've got one. The characters are complex and interesting, the historical atmosphere of the setting is addictive, and for some reason this thing has taken on a life of its own. I'd venture to guess we're already about halfway through the first draft--and it WILL be a novel--in fourteen days. I'll keep you guys posted on how it's going.

If you guys want to drop a line to Rob and comisserate with him on the horrible punishment he's currently enduring because he's working with me, you can find him on his blog at .

The poor dear. Rob has several books available through AMP and Phaze--I just got done reading his Gillian's Place and its wonderful. You should go check it out.

By the way, the countdown clock for Temptation will be going up this weekend. *grin* We're getting close to time for a new Asphodel book release.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

American Writers too Insular and Isolated Says Head of Nobel Prize Committee

Well. Doesn't take much to get me riled, does it?

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) - Bad news for American writers hoping for a Nobel
next week: the top member of the award jury believes the United States
is too insular and ignorant to compete with Europe when it comes to great

Counters the head of the U.S. National Book Foundation: "Put him in
touch with me, and I'll send him a reading list."

As the Swedish Academy enters final deliberations for this year's award, permanent secretary Horace Engdahl said it's no coincidence that most winners are European.
"Of course there is powerful literature in all big cultures, but you can't get away from
the fact that Europe still is the center of the literary world ... not the
United States," he told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview Tuesday.
He said the 16-member award jury has not selected this year's winner, and
dropped no hints about who was on the short list. Americans Philip Roth and Joyce
Carol Oates
usually figure in speculation, but Engdahl wouldn't comment on
any names.

Speaking generally about American literature, however, he said
U.S. writers are "too sensitive to trends in their own mass culture," dragging
down the quality of their work.

"The U.S. is too isolated, too insular. They don't translate enough and don't really participate in the big dialogue of literature," Engdahl said. "That ignorance is restraining."

Color me mad.

Ignorance? Insular? Isolated? Just how in the Dickens (my bad--European writer) could anyone actually apply these words to American literature? For that matter, since when would an international committee created to honor acheivements in literature willingly employ an official who carries this view into the week of the Nobel voting system?

I have friends in Europe who have never been exposed to the joys of Hemingway or Steinbeck, never were pulled in by a Poe or Twain short story and didn't have the oportunity to study Hawthorne or Thoreau. Why is that? Is there some preconceived notion that American literature is, by the the very nature of its origin, somehow inferior to European? What of Asian literature or African literature? Are they insular too?

What are the odds of taking politics out of the arts? And, while we're at it--isn't the appreciation of art in all its forms primarily a subjective matter? Here's my take on it: all literature is, by its nature, international. There is no such thing as a continent that spawns *better* writers.

And there shouldn't be a leading executive of the Nobel Prize for Literature Committee who thinks there is either. Mr. Engdahl should be removed from his position now.

And I'll continue in my ignorance to write insular and isolated stories without the edifying bolster of a European nationality, thanks.