Dita Parker

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Final destination

I spent my childhood abroad. Or rather the country and continent of my birth was just a place my family visited every summer and the exotic faraway place friends and relatives visited in the winter was home. Travel has always been a central theme in my life. We traveled extensively then and travel is the number one reason I'll probably die with nothing to my name. What money I manage to save up, airlines and B&Bs gobble up with greed. My kids have traveled since birth and I'm afraid I've infected them with my wanderlust. Which is just as well.

Some travel to get away from, some in search of themselves. Some travel to broaden their horizons, some to reinforce national and cultural stereotypes. There's a fine line between patriotism and nationalism, between loving your country and being suspicious of all others. If there's one thing I want to teach my children on our journeys is that the world is not black or white or some skin shade in between, it's not English, Portuguese, Swedish or Spanish speaking, it's not Christian, Catholic or Muslim, it's all of that.

Not many things in this life you get to experience for the first time, but when you travel, you can get in touch with that sense of wonder, that sense of seeing and smelling and tasting and touching and hearing for the first time. (You can achieve the same at home, of course, but too often the daily grind makes us blind to things around us that have no bearing on the tasks at hand.) It's the thrill of adventure. Searching, finding, getting lost and surviving.

St. Augustine said, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” What of those who do not read a single page, literally, ever? They're confined to very close quarters indeed, the insides of their head, a very narrow strait through which very few ideas pass and when they outgrow their prison and escape out into the world, they wield the sword of single, simple truth because they never came in touch with some other thought or someone else's truth.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts," Mark Twain said. But maybe you don't have money to travel. You don't need money to travel. You don't have to leave home at all. You can always, you should always, read. I wrote a post that relates, kind of, if you want to have a look. No, you should definitely have a look because be you reader or writer, I want to ask you something. And there's a new snippet from Perpetual Pleasure!

I've liked that book all along. A good thing, liking what you do and the end product. But more often than not, there comes a time in the life of every manuscript when the author curses the day they got it into their heads it would be a great idea to write that book. I never felt that way with this one. I felt for my heroine. I rooted for my hero, hoped he wouldn't give up on her even when she gave him every reason and excuse to do just that.

I also got a kick out of writing the dialogue, and with the exception of a few surplus endearments, my editor didn't touch it. Sooo hard, writing decent dialogue, and if that's one thing I got right, that's what I want to offer you on the days leading to release. What do you say? Tiny teaser trailers, a tasty countdown.

Check in daily! Know someone who loves paranormal but is tired of vamps and shifters? Bring them along!! Starting tomorrow!!!

See you then, dearest denizens. 

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”
– Henry Miller

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Try a little tenderness

“Don’t let someone steal your tenderness. Don’t allow the coldness and fear of others to tarnish your perfectly vulnerable beating heart. Nothing is more powerful than allowing yourself to truly be affected by things. Whether it’s a song, a stranger, a mountain, a rain drop, a tea kettle, an article, a sentence, a footstep…feel it all – look around you. All of this is for you. Take it and have gratitude. Give it and feel love.”
~Zooey Deschanel

Monday, August 20, 2012


Temperature: 10/50 degrees

Eating: had the most amazing salad fresh from the vegetable garden

Drinking: I'm training for...this thing, so laying off the sauce for the time being. Ok, maybe a sip on release day. But just a sip.

Watching: a documentary on the making of Rio (not the computer-animated movie but... Anybody?)

Listening: see above; what a blast from the past

Reading: catching up on some professional literature, gah

Writing: thoughts on travel and the best agency out there, going live on Thursday

Feeling: a bit calmer. But just a bit.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

This ain't a scene, it's an arms race

Andy Warhol once said that "In the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes." I think it's safe to say the future is here. At least the proper distribution channels are all in place. You don't have to land a contract, know someone in the business or be the next best thing to get your music, films, books or art out there. Just put it out there.

Once upon a time few got published but those who were, were also read. Then more and more authors got published but ever fewer found an audience. Now everyone who wants to be published can be and fewer authors than ever are being read. This is a gross generalization, even a myth in part, but bear with me.

Many author-friends have written about this lately. I think about this constantly. That it's easier than ever getting your voice out there but harder than ever being heard. We're being sucked into a self-defeating cycle where we spend more and more time promoting our work and persona via promo posts and other social media activity alike in the hopes we stand out from the crowd. We do our best but so does most everyone else. Tweet our thumbs numb, update our statuses morning, noon and night and every snack in between, and it seems as if all we've accomplished at the end of the day is a cacophony of voices screaming over each other.

What if we only got to post once a day, be it Facebook, Twitter or some other group? Make it count! Or maybe what we need is some sort of Auto-Tune for Authors, "Turns your coffee cups into timeless nuggets of wisdom!". I enjoy coffee. I appreciate the fact that others enjoy their coffee. But I've rarely had a cup I felt compelled to chat about. Believe you me, when I do, you will hear all about it. Truth is, my coffee is pretty norm, my work days rather uneventful, and yes my kids are really smart and funny but you don't love them like I do so maybe you wouldn't enjoy reading about them half as much I would enjoy writing about them, you don't even know them and let's keep it that way, so how's the weather in your parts?

I know. It's being social, friendly, keeping the lines open and conversation flowing. What am I? Antisocial? No, just European, more straight-talker than small-talker. I just feel that when I do have something really important to relay, or someone else has, it gets lost in a Bermuda triangle of dirty coffee cups, what our kids or pets are up to, and all the funny/cute/appalling/witty things the Internet is full of. In that water we wade, trying to be seen, hoping to be heard, some waving, some drowning.

Not. Antisocial. Really. The cute and the funny and witty have saved my day more than once. So many interesting discussions going on on people's blogs, so many groups I'd love to be a part of and interact with. I'd love nothing more than to spend more time talking to all the lovely people out there, but when I have, that's been the day then. How do you do it? I'd love to hear how you reconcile it, find a balance. It's all so time-consuming. Are we just robbing each other of precious time?

It's probably a good time to be an established author. I don't know. Is it? Meanwhile, back in the jungle, the frog's eye view looks something like this: unless someone's looking for you, you're not likely to be found. Unless you're already fairly rooted, you're not likely to take flight. You can write a good book, a great book, the best book the clitterati has ever seen and never garner much attention.

I can hear the snickering and the sighs, "Oh sweetie, are you just figuring that out? That is so cute!" No. I know that's how it's been in all the arts since the dawn of man, since the day some ancient ancestor of ours pressed his or her hand against a rock and saw their creation. I bet they were appalled as hell that no one paid any attention to their doodle because everyone was so busy surviving. So. Are we just cavemen and women fighting for the chance to tell our tale by the fireside, fighting for survival, a place in the sun, the spotlight?

Is it going to get worse before it gets better? How much worse? Better when? Better how? The Best Authors You've Never Heard of Society keeps growing. Authors made of solid awesome writing pure gold slipping from relative anonymity into total obscurity. Because they can't or won't write full-time. Because they can't or won't promo day in and day out, because it takes you away from the business of writing, a business where you leave self-consciousness and the skin you live in at the door and enter another existence. Because promo is everything but, it's the very antithesis, self-conscious to the max. It's all about you. Not just your book. You. Who are you? Who do you write for? Why do you write? Not everyone wants to answer those questions in public. Not everyone wants to seek an answer to those questions even in private.

I have small children. I have another career. I have a tendency of keeping my feelings and opinions to myself because when I bring them out into the open I have a tendency of saying more than I probably should. (Q.E.D.) I have a book coming out. Only my second Romantica in some 24 months, which in publishing years is something like a decade. (What the hell happened? What usually happens. Life.) I don't stand a chance, do I?

Who does the future belong to? Those who shout the loudest, the longest? Those who can afford to keep at it? Those who write for the sheer pleasure of it, not for money, not for name recognition, not for respect? Those who are content just to have their voices out there regardless of whether or not they are heard? Who knows? I don't. Do you? What I do know is that the happiest people I know are the ones living their dream, doing what they want to do, regardless. I guess that will have to be incentive enough for all of us because for most of us, that is all the reward we have coming.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Winter is coming

We've been saving up for a winter vacation so this summer, we decided to go on a staycation, an inexpensive, laid-back way to spend two weeks, right? Wrong. We've been running around like mad, meeting up with people in amusement parks, water parks, ballparks, park this and that, no free parking, no free time, no kidding. It hasn't been cheap and it hasn't always been rest and relaxation.

So why not just stay put? I know. But this is Scandinavia with its four seasons, and fall is just around the corner. Better enjoy summer and those attractions while we can. Not that it hasn't been fun, don't get me wrong. Some of the stuff we've been doing, some of the places we've been visiting, don't work so well when it's cold. Some aren't open at all. Plus I've been captain of this ship all June and July, so it's wonderful having Hubby with me from dusk till dawn and the whole family together the rest of the day. (Hear a but yet?)

But. Perpetual Pleasure went through edits. Fast. Clean manuscript, good job, thank you very much. My editor tweaked my blurb some, here's your release date, congratulations, your book is about to come out! Which makes me pretty damn proud of and pleased with myself. So what's the problem? I'm supposed to be on vacation! Something the whole family has waited for all summer long. I promised myself I would focus on family and friends, family and friends, only. They deserve it. I've earned it. And where's my head at?

Release day. (Publish or perish!) Promo. (Post or perish!!) Social media presence, or, in my case, absence. (Promo or perish!!!) All the things I should be doing that I'm not doing because I'm on vacation, feeling torn, failing family, failing friends, failing my publisher, colleagues, career, doing a half-assed job of everything, feeling guilty about the fun I'm having because I should be working, feeling guilty about every thought I spare on work because that's not what I'm supposed to be thinking at all.

(And then there's this other thing, a related thing, that has been keeping me up at night because of the things I've been seeing and hearing and experiencing for myself, but more on that some other time, ok? It's complicated.)

My kids don't seem to notice okay my oldest has, but Hubby sees and he listens and he understands. Next week, life will resume normal programming and, oddly enough, Hubby and I will have more time for each other since I work from home and he works the oddest of hours. (We've had a total of two nights all to ourselves this summer. I miss him. Not the father of my children; my husband.) 

And maybe working from home is not the problem, maybe staycationing is. Same chores and errands as usual, the desk that reminds you you have work to do. I know I'll feel differently in the winter, I always do. That's why we opt for a Far Far Away vacay as often as we can afford one. No desk. No dishes. The sun, the sea, the sand. Books to read. And when no one is looking, maybe a book to write as well.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

'Til the cops come knockin'

Temperature: a cloudy 17.5/63.5 degrees

Eating: in a minute

Drinking: not in a while, thanks

Watching: nothing in particular

Listening: to the wind in the trees

Reading: the million emails in my inbox

Writing: a blog post

Feeling: Wilde or Winfrey or Whoever was right. You can have it all. Just not all at once.