Technical proficiency or heart and soul?

I received a sweet email yesterday wondering whether things were all right with me, as my blog has been quiet for a few days. Aw, bless you. ❤ Such caring readers! I am fine, but a bit frazzled and tired. There have been some wonderful things happening in Ana-land the past week, and there have been stressors as well. So, you know, life. 😀

I’m halfway through drawing grand prizes for Love Spanks. I have to go through the emailed pre-order receipts to add bonus prize entries to draw for my own contest. I can’t wait to see who wins. *bounce* Someone once said I create events solely to give away prizes. That may or may not be true, but I do adore seeing people’s excitement.

Anne Ferrer Odom won the random drawing on Barbara Winkes’ Wednesday women series. Anne chose Desire in Any Language for her prize, so I sent that to her. Congratulations, Anne!

Kate Richards, aka “Evil Mistress Kate,” conducted the online spanking roleplay with Witty Bard flash fiction contest winner Amy Leibowitz during the Love Spanks festivities last weekend, and it was a rousing success. We had a wonderful, enthusiastic crowd, and I for one am sufficiently spooked to not enter Terci’s Dungeon again. Call me a scaredy cat. 🙂

Recently, I challenged Becky Condit (of Mrs. Condit & Friends) to give F/F a try. I asked her what she wanted, and she said to surprise her. (Dangerous, terrifying words. What if I picked the wrong book and she then swore of F/F forever?) Since she likes classical music, I sent her Simple Gifts. I was on pins and needles while waiting, but she posted this review yesterday:

Simple Gifts is the story of two friends who begin to realize that they actually love each other as much as they love their other passion, music. Leila, the professional violinist, and Carene, the pianist and teacher, are living together while Leila attempts to recover from a stress injury to her arm. When Leila is unable to summon the self-discipline to stop making music Carene turns to other methods of enforcing discipline. Carene spanks Leila to make her understand that what she is doing is wrong and causing further damage to her musical career. When Leila discovers she likes the spanking the two women have to either admit that there is more to their relationship than friendship and musicianship or back away from each other permanently.

Carene and Leila speak to each other through music as well as erotic spankings. There are so many ways to communicate other than words. At the end of the story we have an HFN because Leila is facing surgery and the possible end to her career but we don’t know how that will turn out. They haven’t fully committed to a relationship that is only just beginning. This is a sweet story and I recommend it to anyone who is starting to explore f/f romance stories.

I love how Becky picked up that music is a language for Carene and Leila. In fact, several readers have commented that the music is really the third main character of the story. (Hm, I wrote my first menage ages ago, I see?)

I made the mistake of re-reading the story after sending it, and I winced. Head-hopping (this was one of the earliest books I wrote, and it was my first attempt at shifting POV), phew. I saw so many ways I should have tightened the writing and storyline. It hurt for a bit, but then I resolved to continue improving my writing. As artists, we strive for improvement constantly. If we don’t, our skills deteriorate. (Please pardon what sounds like arrogance.) I have always been praised for my writing skills, and becoming a published author has stunned me in the realization: I have so much to learn about writing!

It’s glorious! It’s this never-ending, amazing process of growing, stretching, and developing. I’ve come to develop respect for romance as a genre, because I’ve seen how much work it takes to write a story that fulfills the conventions but stays true to who I am as a writer. Grammar rules I learned in school have changed, or there are specific permutations unique to a publisher, editor, or style. When I meet writers who “just do whatever feels right,” I am always surprised. We are professionals. Craftspeople. Artists. Don’t artists always strive to improve technique? I always have the heart, soul, and emotion to put into a story (even if it’s a difficult journey, as it was to accept Indigo the one-night-stander), but they will only take me as far as the technique can go.

It’s such a paradox that often the most technically proficient writers have the least emotionally gripping stories. Not always, but there seems to be a nebulous, ever-disappearing intersection between technical proficiency and soul. Some of my author friends strive to become technicians, and my jaw drops at their writing. Other author friends write stories that are all heart. They involve the reader like no other, and the reader forgives the writing errors because the soul is so compelling.

All things equal, I’ll take a story with heart even with its flaws. But, as a point of professional and artistic pride, I will strive to become a writer who can write beautiful prose AND heartfelt stories.

So…as always, I’ll keep my expectations modest. Hehe. 😀

In other news, I’ve received preliminary edits for Seoul Spankings and Ana Adored, plus have started conversations about cover art for both. 2014 saw only two solo publications, Mira’s Miracle and Taliasman. It was a frustrating year of writing at least six other books that, for various reasons, got delayed. And delayed. While, yes, having publications means a lot of work for promotion, it’s also motivation for writing more. Who wants to write a new book while wondering what will happen to the six currently in the pipeline? So far, the lineup for 2015 includes:

  • March 1: Mistress on Her Knees
  • March 25: Living in Sin
  • March/April: Seoul Spankings
  • TBA: Ana Adored

Plus, if I can get things together in time, I hope to finish the sequel to Taliasman in time for Sci Spanks.

There are a few other secret projects in the works. I’m working on two short stories for two different anthologies. One is my first foray into the fictional world of quilting grannies. I love the story already and can’t wait to share it with you.

Lots more to share, but I hear book edits calling my name. Plus, I need to find the perfect beef stroganoff recipe for next week. 😀

Be good! Spank on. 😀

P.S. I am putting together special party favor bags to celebrate my birthday on March 1st and the release party for Mistress on Her Knees. Even if you can’t attend the party on Facebook, you can receive a goody bag! I estimate that shipping will cost about $5 per bag. If you want one and are willing to pay shipping, let me know.

Rumor has it that there might be some birthday spanking at the party…

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4 thoughts on “Technical proficiency or heart and soul?

  1. Nancy Levine says:

    Ana — your stories are always powerful to me. Mine are romantic comedies although the stories in “Silver Dreidels” (now finally available on Amazon) deal with more serious subjects (but still have some comedy.

    I hope to be at the party BUT I may be spanking Lem (short for Lemon) my computer. I have to take everything one day at a time. I would like a goody bag and I will pay for shipping if you let me know the cost.

    Like

  2. awesomesub says:

    Hi Ana, your thoughts on continuously improving writing skills indicate how much of a professional writer you are and that’s awesome.
    …Time to spoil you a little more: as a non-native English speaker part of my love for English comes from its melodious qualities, and even in English there are authors who can do that better than others. For me, you are one who has more of this quality in her writing and I simply love it. You have me completely hooked this way.

    Glad that you keep your expectations modest (is rolling eyes an offence here? 😀 ), but seriously, I do love how you combine your style of writing (which I find wonderful) and heartfelt stories. I have cried so hard because of what some of your characters have to endure. Poor girls! …And thank you, because I love that. 😀

    hugs

    Nina

    Like

  3. JoanneBest says:

    I have a tendency to write what I would like to read, and I’ve been known to throw the laws of grammar out the window, depending on what and who I’m writing. I also have a habit of having a few WIP’s going at the same time while blogging and writing prose/poetry and the like. One of my biggest problem is lack of discipline (hehe) and I really don’t have anyone to read my stuff or bounce ideas off of so when I get stuck I hop around from one WIP to another getting me nowhere but frustrated.
    Truth be told, this latest Love Spanks has kicked my ass in a more focused direction, I’ve realized I have to put my foot down, stop putting everyone before myself and do what I need to do, write. And it goes without saying Ana, you’ve been my biggest inspiration. Thank you for that 🙂
    I’m in love with all your books and I’m making my way through your entire back catalogue, and I have so many wonderful new authors I’m reading because of you.
    I know what you mean about going back and reading something you wrote and thinking how “I wish I did this, I wish I did that….” but it’s all a learning experience I guess. It’s like when I listen to my band’s first cd thinking the unmixed version of our 5th disc sounds better (though I still cringe whenever I hear my voice lol), it’s the same with stories I wrote in the ’90’s, my first real attempts at writing, I was Blessed they were published in magazines and warmly received, but I still think, “I should rewrite them”, but I want to move ahead and put my heart and soul into what I feel I need to write.
    Almost there 😀 lol
    Largely in part to the most amazing group of women (and men) surrounding your world.
    Thank you isn’t enough.

    Oh and yes please, goodie bag, just let me know where and how to send the shipping 😀
    Can’t wait until Saturday! ❤
    PS: I hope this makes sense, I'm unable to reread it so I guess you could say it comes from the heart and soul ❤

    Like

  4. rozharrison says:

    Hi Ana, that is a wonderful review:) I adore your writing. You write with passion and have such a wonderful way of drawing the reader into the story and characters and caring for the characters.

    Hugs
    Roz

    Like

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