Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

Barrett wasn’t kidding about the armed escort, though they didn’t come to the restaurant. We met up with them somewhere in town and transferred from the cars into one vehicle.

All six of us were put into a van with one guy with a machine gun in the van with us, one in the passenger seat–or actually he sat in the passenger side window with his gun on the roof–and a driver who didn’t have a visible gun but only because he used both hands to drive.

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Sep. 19th, 2017 12:26 pm)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

The restaurant. Normally when one describes a restaurant it’s about the décor and the food, right? Um, I’ll say it was beautiful and romantic and great because that’s what it was supposed to be but I don’t actually remember what the food was like or how it was decorated. I mostly remember the obsequious service.

Maybe it wasn’t more obsequious than usual, but all I wanted to do was be left alone and instead people were nonstop checking on us, telling us things about the food, asking if we wanted more of this or that, you name it. They weren’t being unprofessional–it wasn’t like they were taking our pictures or asking us for autographs–but it was like every person who worked there wanted to make sure they got to serve us.

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Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

Well, I almost got my wish. Carynne came over to my room, where I was resting after the taxicab sightseeing trip, to tell me the deal on dinner.

“What do you think about you, and Ziggy, and me, and another person doing dinner?” Her hair was pin straight in the cold, thin air and she’d had it trimmed recently so the ends were aggressively even. She had that half-grimace that wasn’t really a smile on her face.

“Um, that might depend on who the fourth person is…?” I was trying to get my brain up to speed but I had been napping and couldn’t quite identify what the issue was. “And why they’re coming with us?”

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Sep. 12th, 2017 09:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

I went to my room. I wasn’t surprised to find Colin crashed out there. I tried to sneak in quietly and not wake him but he sat up and turned on the light.

“Hey.” He blinked groggily. “Nice to see you.”

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Sep. 7th, 2017 09:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

When I came to, there was an oxygen mask strapped to my face. I was a little delirious and thought I was in an airplane. Then I focused a little more and it turned out I was in an ambulance.

Great.

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Sep. 5th, 2017 09:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

(Happy September everyone. We’re back to posting twice a week, and by the way may I point out we are less that $50 from triggering a Saturday chapter as well? The Tip Jar can always use your contributions! -ctan)

The band launched into “Parade” like a locomotive shooting out of a tunnel at full momentum and speed. Which was great, except you know sometimes there’s a train wreck when somebody doesn’t apply the brake soon enough. The crowd was loving it, though. So much energy was coming from them we were of course pumped up by it.

Ziggy was in fine voice. I’d never heard him sound so clear in a huge venue like that before, and it wasn’t because the sound system was good. All that work with Priss was paying off.

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Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

So here’s the story of the DGC Meetup in Louisville!

This plan got hatched when I realized that four of DGC’s most active commenters–Sanders, S (aka Stef), Chris (rck), and Bill (aka Mark Treble)–were all within driving distance of Louisville, Kentucky, which was one of the places I was planning to visit on my way to see the total solar eclipse in August. The Louisville Public Library even offered us a meeting room, but it came with restrictions like no food or drink allowed.

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Aug. 29th, 2017 09:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

I did not pass out. I was kind of slow to get up, though, after the song ended. There was genuine interested cheering from the crowd. Somehow that was the last thing I was expecting.

I felt a wave of vertigo and then a wave of nausea, as if I’d sung so hard I made myself sick. I just sat there and breathed for a while and the feeling passed.

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Aug. 22nd, 2017 09:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

I was accustomed to asking myself the question “what the fuck is wrong with you?” In the past that had been because I’d swallowed a lot of society’s bullshit that made me think that there was something wrong with me. It was a pretty recent thing for me to have decided that the answer to the question “what the fuck is wrong with you” was “nothing.” Nothing was wrong with being gay or being artistic or any of the other things society–or Digger or whoever–wanted to judge me for.

But bursting into tears because of a near-hallucination? What the fuck was wrong with me?

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Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

Okay. About five years ago I told Daron I’d do a Liner Note. Maybe six. Not sure. I promised some day I’d give you guys my list of best bass songs ever or something like that.

What this actually is, is the list of songs that probably influenced by young mind the most and why I play bass the way I do.

We’ll start in what they now call “classic rock” but when I was a kid was just called “rock.”

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Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

We got our twenty minutes. We worked on one song during our soundcheck. We worked on it enough to make me feel like–at least on that one song–we tiptoed back an inch or two from the precipice. The rest of the Star*Gaze set was still going to be like crossing the canyon without a net, though.

Fine. I considered that as a group of professionals we could make the best of it, but I still wasn’t happy about it.

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Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

Today’s post will be up tomorrow, Friday, due to massive writer’s block. In the meantime, here’s the song from the Hamilton Mixtape I’ve been obsessed with this month, “Immigrants (We Get The Job Done)”:

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Aug. 8th, 2017 09:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

The stadium we were playing in Bogota was immense. It took my breath away it was so immense. And that was when it was empty. What was it going to be like full?

Well, okay, three-quarters full, since they didn’t sell tickets for the area behind the stage or alongside. But the general admission to the main field alone was probably still more people than we had typically played to in most shows in our lives.

That shouldn’t have intimidated me.

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This weekend is the Outwrite queer lit fest in Washington, DC, and I’m honored to be this year’s keynote. Instead of doing a dull speech about how ancient and wise I am (hah) I’m doing a pile of events and panels:

FRIDAY NIGHT I’ll be one of the lineup of storytellers at Smut Slam Cabaret, where I’ll tell a brief adventure of how being an erotica writer almost sent me to the emergency room. Don’t try this at home, kids. No wait, home is exactly where you should try these things…

SATURDAY DAYTIME at the DC Center:
Free and open to the public!

I’ll be exhibiting and selling books from 10am to 1pm and then sporadically between my many shindigs:

1:00 PM THIS IS HOW WE DO IT
Panel on queer publishing. With me will be Lisa Moore (Redbone Press), Steve Berman (Lethe Press), Lori Perkins (Riverdale Ave Books), and moderated by S. Andrea Allen (BLF Press).

3:00 PM CIRCLET PRESS 25th ANNIVERSARY HISTORY AND BINGO GAME
I’ll tell you a tale of how the past 25 years of publishing adventure has gone, and to keep it interesting we’ll make it a bingo game! That way you can win books. Come have fun with me.

5:00 PM EROTICA READING
I’ll be reading with three other authors, Christian Baines, Dena Hankins, and Michael M. Jones.

6:00 PM KEYNOTE PANEL: THE POLITICAL AND THE EROTIC
With me will be some of the writers and editors on the front lines of the intersection of sex writing and politics, Sunny Moraine, Michael M. Jones, and Lori Perkins.

All events except the Smut Slam are at The DC Center For the LGBTQ Community, 2000 14th Street NW, Suite 105, Washington, DC 20009.

If you’re on Facebook you can see the complete lineup of events here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/outwritedc/events/

If you’re avoiding Facebook for political reasons, unfortunately I can’t find the full schedule of events anywhere, and given that many LGBTQ folks have very good reasons to avoid Facebook it’s a bit disappointing that the event’s main website doesn’t seem to have a schedule up (but maybe I’m just not looking in the right place): http://thedccenter.org/outwrite/

Mirrored from blog.ceciliatan.com.

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

Character Overview

This callout is for characters who play smaller roles in DGC – mostly introduced via other more significant characters .

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Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

Like the title says, here’s a surprise bonus post!! Explanation below:

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Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

We were slated for two shows in Bogota with a day off in between. By the time we cleared customs and reached our hotel it was night. Ziggy was immediately whisked off to meet some press people. I did not mind not having to go with him, even if I wished we could have spent some downtime together.

I went to my room. Despite having had a long nap on the plane, I was bone tired and I was feeling anti-social.

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I’m at the RWA national conference in Orlando right now, where there’s always something more to think about, learn, or analyze about writing or romance publishing. In particular one writing craft panel I wanted to highlight was yesterday I attended a great panel workshop given by four New York Times bestselling authors: Lexi Blake, Cynthia Eden, Laura Kaye, and Rebecca Zanetti. The topic was on creating a large cast of characters to carry a series and the room was packed.

The discussion ranged over various details from the nuts and bolts of creating a series “bible” to keep all the details right from book to book (character eye color, favorite catch phrases, back stories, each character’s hidden secret or flaw, etc) to developing secondary characters into primary ones when “their turn for a book” comes.

I didn’t transcribe the entire panel since I was trying to focus on absorbing things relevant to me, but two questions in particular I got down almost every word, and I’m posting to share it with everyone.

Laura Kaye acted as moderator, asking the leading questions for the panel and then finishing off giving her own answer.

First she asked the panelists to describe the pros and cons of working with large casts.

Cynthia Eden: We’ve all heard the expression that no man or woman is an island? Characters don’t exist in isolation. You’re never just writing about one individual. You are by circumstance always writing about a cast of characters. You give them an instant background with their family and friends. With my romantic suspense novels I like to use teams. I write FBI teams. You’re going to need a lead investigator, a profiler, an ME, etc. You’re going to need all these people. So that’s a major pro. And any cast leads to sequels. That’s the biggest pro because it has your reader eager to go on to the next book.

Lexi Blake: Pro of a large cast? It’s fun! I like to write a lot of dialogue and you get a lot of dialogue when you have a big ol’ cast of characters. The con is… I guess there isn’t one. Well, maybe it’s that you have to make each character unique. That can be a challenge. (But that’s fun, too.)

Rebecca Zanetti: A large cast is great to show characterization. You act differently with different people. I have one sister I tease like crazy and one that I can’t. You can show different facets of a character and that’s one I like a lot. Also the slow burn character, I love. That person who shows up in book one and they build up for a long time before they get their story. You can develop them over a series. The con is you sometimes get too many people on a page. Even if you’re on book 4 or 5 of a series, you hope new readers are picking them up. You don’t want to confuse that new reader with too many new characters all at once.

Lexi: Well, and as you write the books they get longer because you keep having to put everyone’s favorite characters in there. Then you have to do the backyard BBQ scene to get them all in!

Laura Kaye: I agree, on the backyard BBQ. The thing that is great about having all these characters is you have the built in relationships where it’s easy to have humor, and it’s easy to have stakes because there are many people who could be hurt or feel lied-to or betrayed. Lots of emotional hooks for your readers. Not just for your sequels where they buy into a beloved secondary character, but for the tertiary characters who can manage to hook interest and get pulled into the story. You can expand a series if it takes off and starts doing well. It gives you the flexibility to do spin-offs. The cons are that your POV characters can’t just absorb a tennis match of other people talking. They have to be engaged in the conversation. Then there’s the giant pronoun problem when you have, say, five military guys on your team planning a mission and you have to figure out the mechanics of writing that dialogue so it’s not monotonous to the reader. The other con is if you’re going with a traditional publisher and you have 5 main characters, but your publisher stops after three books. You can end up with disappointed readers on your hands.

What are some tips for developing such a large number of characters? What are some tips for distinguishing them?

Rebecca: One thing I like is nicknames, if he calls her honey or sweetcheeks makes a difference. Also their motivations. If you play a joke on one friend, they laugh, another one never forgives you. They’re different. There are the little tidbits you put in. I have one guy that likes grape energy drinks and if I don’t put that in readers will write and say does he not like those anymore? Also their wounds. What hurt this guy, what is he still afraid of?

Lexi: if you don’t know those characters, the reader won’t know them. I think you don’t have to know everything before you start, but you have to know what makes them laugh, what makes them cry. I’ve written a lot of small town romance. And getting to know the neighbors and walking through the town can pull you in. But even an office building can have a sense of place. Put your characters around a table and see who talks first. If you’re just putting traits in a notebook and there’s no real emotion behind them it’s going to show. I love using dialogue. Some speak, fast, some slow, and you need to be able to hear them in your head.

Cynthia: I like to work with opposites on a team. You’ll have one guy who’s the hothead and always jumps right in. Then I have a team member who likes to sit back and get all the info before jumping in. So she and the first guy are going to have a clash. My action-first character, if he’s angry, he’s not just going to sit still. He’ll be pacing and clenching his fists and all that. All this body language that this character is doing with reveal his personality. The one who is the analytical sort? She’s not going to just kick in a door. She’ll be trying to talk the person down. Those personality styles lead me into what they should do in each scene. You don’t want them doing something that isn’t their normal nature without a really, really good explanation. Be aware, though, I’ve had New York editors tell me that the way I talk isn’t real, people don’t say that. I’m Southern. Something that seems so normal to me was something they didn’t like. But I think bringing in realistic dialect is a great way to distinguish the characters.

Laura: Think of it as a shorthand for your character. I learned a lot about creating unique characters from reading JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series. One is the blind king who wears the weird sunglasses. And one is the sarcastic one with the dragon tattoo who sucks on lollipops all the time. Then there’s the black-eyed, scarred one who is soulless and never speaks. I don’t even have to use their names: they’re immediately distinct. And when all twelve are in a room having a briefing session, you don’t have to use their names, because you know when so quickly from their distinguishing characteristics who’s who. Also, what are things that make the reader see them as endearing or real, that make the reader fall in love with that person? That grape energy drink or they’re a dog-lover or whatever. The more you can create those personal things the better, beyond scars and tattoos, beyond eye color and hair color. I have a lot of guys who swear but they can’t all say “Aw, hell.” Only one of them can say that and the other guys have to say something else.

As usual, the conference has been fantastic. If you are writing romance, or any kind of commercial fiction, I highly recommend attending one of these if you can afford it. In romance, I really feel I can’t afford *NOT* to be here!

Mirrored from blog.ceciliatan.com.

ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Jul. 25th, 2017 09:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

The “inspection” required all of the equipment to be unloaded. From some things Barrett said I gather they didn’t believe we’d actually go through with it. Thank goodness we weren’t traveling with a full lighting rig and stage set, I guess?

That still took hours. The crew were none too happy about having to go do it, either, but better them than risk having the government goons move the stuff and possibly break it.

Hours and hours. I’m honestly not sure if we ever would have gotten off the ground there if some other governmental types–who had gotten better schmoozed at our post-show party, I suppose?–hadn’t intervened. I don’t know. All the details are fuzzy.

I’ll give you one guess why the details are so fuzzy.

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Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

Character Overview

Not just a story about a talented musician navigating the music scene in the ’80’s while being gay – DGC shines a light on the biz itself.

This callout is for characters who work (or hang onto those who work) in the music biz.

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