Can We Talk?

January 30, 2009 | Karin's Blog | 16 comments


If you’ve noticed, I’ve kind of sorta been quiet, which for me is unusual. Some of it has been because I am just tired.  Tired of the last two years of endless deadlines.  Tired of promoting. Tired of worrying about book sales. Tired of years on different RWA boards. Tired of taking care of everyone, and just flat out tired. I’ve spent more time doing nothing and not wanting to do anything then ever in my life.  Yes, in a funk if you will, but I think, a much needed one.  I have subconsciously been regenerating my brain, my heart and my soul.  I have much bigger things ahead of me, and I’m going to need to be firing on all cylinders.


But another reason I’ve been quieter than normal is because I’m working.  Really hard.  On a kick-ass romantic suspense proposal. I have a fabo series concept my agent is excited about. And I LOVE it. 


Being the impatient girl that I am, I rushed through the end of last year to get something, as in proposal, put together, and because I rushed, and because I didn’t stay true to what I envisioned to begin with, the proposal stalled, and ultimately fell flat.  My agent was meh, and so was I.  Not a good sign.


So back to the drawing board.  I love what I’m writing now. I can see it, like a movie playing out before me.  My h/h have so much chemistry I get excited thinking about them.  And they haven’t met on page yet!  How is that for hitting the sweet spot?  My hero is an antihero.  He’s bad.  Really bad.  But so is she. I cannot wait for them to meet. 


This entire process brought me full circle on something I have always known and tried to really adhere to, and that is the old adage, To thine own self be true. Don’t write something that doesn’t feel right, even if it sounds ok.  Don’t follow trends, unless of course the trend is what gets you excited each time you sit down to write. Write through this shitty economy.  It’s bad for 99% of us. And the golden 1%?  They’re sweating too.  Life in the big apple is a life they have never seen before. Not only are the publishing houses laying off their people, but they are laying off authors as well.  What worked last year flops today.  Everyone in publishing is scared.  And when people are scared they either panic and run or freeze unable to move.  Very few roll up their sleeves, raise their fists and say, a la John McClane, “C’mon mutherfucker.”


I kind of fancy myself Bruce Willis’ character in Die Hard.  I mean, I have to!  I have kids who would so not understand if mom bowed out.


So yesterday, after a long conversation with several good friends, (thnx Maya and Syl) and an even longer conversation with my agent, I rolled up my sleeves, put my big girl panties back on and yelled, “C’mon, mutherfucker!”


No more funk. I’m not backing down.  I’m not jumping off the ledge and I’ll be damned if I’m going to allow what I’ve worked so hard for all these years be taken away because of some freakin’ recession!  Hah!  Okay, so seriously, I know when it’s time to shop this proposal, editors will be playing a different ball game, and that’s ok.  I’ll still be in the game.  I know that this story, this series is good. Better than good. It’s the best contemporary stuff I have written.  It even feels different when I sit down each day to write.  And you know what else I have discovered during these harrowing times?  Even if I never sold another book, I would write.  I have the heart and soul of a writer. I love, love.  I love to tell a story.  I have learned something else about myself: I’m a better writer than I gave myself credit for.  It’s about freakin’ time I came to that conclusion.


Despite this crazy time, I still flat out love what I do.  I’ll never stop.  And here’s something Megan McKeever (Pocket editor) said when she came out to my RWA chapter meeting earlier this year when she was asked what she likes to hear in a pitch. She said, “I want to hear how much the author loves their story.”  That simple statement has sat with me since.  It was one of those Homer Simpson “Doh!” moments. I mean if we don’t love our story, how the hell can we expect an editor to?


So, just when I think I have it all figured out, the puzzle pieces shift and fall more neatly into place. 


Life may be tough right now, but it’s good.  Really good.


So, instead of us chatting about our problems, let’s chat about challenges we have overcome and where we want to be this time next year.  Who wants to start?


And BTW, did anyone catch AI last night?  Did you see Alexis from Philadelphia come back all cleaned up?  I gotta tell, ya, that woman didn’t quit, and while she is weird with a capital W she is one determined gal.  I can’t wait for Hollywood week next week. I think the roller coaster ride is going to be the craziest yet!





  1. Margaret

    I would love to have the first of my demon series on the desk of an editor (small press, who has expressed interest in it), with the second one halfway finished.
    Getting back to that ‘gut’ feeling thing, I just chunked the first 50 pages of said demon series. It didn’t feel right and when an industry pro pointed it out in a lovely 2 pg rejection (this was only on the first 20 pages, mind you!). I started over–early, vera early, the next morning. This time it feels right. Before I was trying too hard and not being true to myself. Now, I am and it makes me happy.

  2. J. Carson Black

    Karin, you are absolutely mutherfucking right! The one thing you have to sell, when it comes down to it, is you. Your unique perspective of the world, your voice, your essence. The genuine Karin Tabke. And you know when it’s wrong. It might take a while, but you know it.

    People will come back to Karin Tabke, over and over, because of your unique brand. The alchemy of toughness and sexiness and most of all, the genuine love you put into what you write.

    I remember the day my editor, always a level-headed person, suddenly went out of character. She turned down my proposal for a police procedural/thriller – had to, because the word came down from above, “we are not buying these anymore” – and then she said brightly, “But if you can send me a vampire proposal I can give you a contract immediately!”

    Thanks, but no thanks. Vampires may be great, but they’re not for me. I’ve written in enough genres and gone off the path often enough to know when I’m being untrue to myself. It does not work.

    I had to make a decision. Go with the trend, or stay true to myself. The only thing I could do was raise my game–a lot. I raised my game with Darkness, with excellent results, but apparently, I wasn’t done. Not by a long shot.

    Like you, Karin, I love what I do. I love the challenge of writing thrillers. I love every minute of it, even the parts I don’t like. In this tough publishing climate, you have to aim as high as you can, and that it what I’m doing.

    Failure is always possible. But as you know so well, failure is the only time we ever really learn anything. Ultimately, it’s the only way to move the ball down the field.

    I bet you wouldn’t trade the “meh” book for anything, because it reminded you to follow your own star.

  3. aj chase

    I agree with every word you’ve said. I read your blog but rarely comment on any blogs. But I must say I agree. When the chips are down, like they are in the pub world right now, it’s time to take stock of ourselves and our writing and step back and say, “I’m good enough for this.” My challenge I’m trying to address this year is my laziness when it comes to the business side of writing. I could be so much farther in my career if I would just buckle down. So that’s my challenge for the year.

  4. Jaci Burton

    Heh. You and I have been in much the same place lately. I had a storyline that I was working on that didn’t rock my world. And then something new came to me that I just loved, and I hope when I put it together will just sing.

    And I gave Maya an earful of whining yesterday. She clearly deserves some chocolate. 😉

  5. Edie

    Wow! I’m energized just by reading this blog. My dog had to go out when I was halfway done, and I didn’t want to leave. Good for you for going into another powerful series. I can tell from your love for it that it’s going to be awesome.

    I’m stretching myself, writing something different from my normal. I’m not giving up either. And of course, I have hopes for Dead People. 🙂

  6. HollyD

    “I’m a better writer than I gave myself credit for.”

    I’m damn glad you figured out what the rest of us have known all along. You have a gift and were meant to write these wonderful stories.

    Next year at this time I think, no, I know my son is going to be healthier, hubby’s arm will be 100% and I’ll have 2 books finished and working on the third. The third was an idea that came to me the other night/morning when I couldn’t sleep. It was like a movie playing in my head. It’s amazing what sleep depravation will do to/for you.

    The only tv I’ve watched this week was NCIS, CSI and Eleventh Hour.

  7. Karin Tabke

    So, I was pissed this morning. I had to get up early and take my daughter to work, ‘coz the hubster and other kid were long gone and with them their vehicles. I needed to take the lil’ girls to the groomer. I made a pot of coffee before I left, and could not wait to get home and grab a cup. So, coffee is made, my fave mug is clean, open fridge, and there is NO freakin’ cream! Not even milk. sigh. It’s a good thing black coffee isn’t a deal breaker for me. Otherwise, someone would be going to the ER right now!

  8. Karin Tabke

    And once again, I always feel good when I come to my blog. Yanno, we’re all in this crazy biz together, juts at various stages, and I like to think that when the going gets tough we tough chicks pull out the leather whips.

    Margaret, I’m finding the more I write the more I have to rewrite. Practice if you will. I’m not a big up front plotter. For me its the characters that have to work before I can even begin to think of a plot. And when the characters don’t want anything to do with each other it’s not a good sign. I’m glad you’re happy with your new direction. It makes sitting down to write each day so much more exciting.

    Jake. I heart you.

    AJ, I’m glad you spoke up. Consider yourself popped! muwhahahaa. And isn’t the writing part of writing the easy part? The business part sucks. Hate. It. I have a stack of contest winner books to mail off. They’ve been sitting here since Sunday. I don’t wanna go to the post office. Hate. It. Hmmm, I do have kids that can drive and are very well versed in how to use mommy’s credit card. Okay, so Monday it is For one of them!

  9. Karin Tabke

    Jaci, I say we petition the Vatican to canonize Maya! No, wait, we might open a door we can never close. 86 that. Let’s just get her wicked drunk at conference. And PS, I’m keeping everything crossed your new storyline pans out. I have a back up one I really love. But I can’t write it right now. But soon. Very soon. So much to say and not enough hours in the day.

    Edie, you are the poster girl for being positive. I think of you often and you inspire me. Lots of good things are going to come from the American Title contest. When does the next round go up?

    Thankyou Holly. You’re another one who inspires me. I still don’t know how you do all that you do and do it with a smile. I hope you wrote that movie reel story down.

  10. Edie

    Karin, I have lots of doubts, but I use them to make me write better. I hope. 😆

    The next round is Feb. 16-Mar. 1. It’s a dialogue scene.

  11. aj chase

    Karen, what is it about the post office? Seriously. I just can’t seem to get myself together to go there. I had a request from a huge name agent and it took me weeks to get it off to her because I just couldn’t seem to get myself together well enough to go to the post office. And if I need special stuff like rubber bands, forget it. LOL.

    <—post office impaired.

  12. Fedora

    Hi, Karin! Yay for you and Jaci! As a reader, I’m stoked to hear that you’re both working furiously on exciting stories that you’re hot to write! As for a challenge, I’m the biggest packrat on the planet (well, not literally, but some days, it seems that way), so by this time next year, I’d like to have a guest room that we can fit a guest into, and some actual space in the garage… A girl can dream, can’t she? Then I guess, she needs to put on her big-girl panties and get to work!

  13. B.E. Sanderson

    That’s it girl, get fired up. (Got me fired up, too, btw.) Your books are awesome, you’re an awesome writer, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store from you next.

    As for me, the big challenge this year is the same as last year (and the 3 years before that) – get an agent, get a contract, get a friggin’ book published already… dammit. Meanwhile, I’ll just keep writing, revising, editing, etc. Which means, back to work for me.

  14. Julie Trevelyan

    Cool post, very inspiring, thanks. It is soooo refreshing to hear some positive words in the current doom and gloom that I hear every time I listen to NPR or catch the news on tv.

    Goals this year: finish first novel! Sell first novel!

    And, ahem, now that mercury is out of retrograde, I think there will be smoother sailing for everyone as we all get fired up again about our projects… 🙂

  15. Karin

    Edie, that doubt demon is probably one of the most insidious demons out there. Using it against itself is a major score. I can’t wait for your dialogue scene!

    AJ, I have no idea what it is about the post office. Hmm, maybe it’s the long lines that move slower than a snail. Maybe it’s the postal workers who when you ask them a question look at you with that deer in the headlights stare, or maybe it’s the rude people in line talking as loud as they can on their nextels? I really can’t put my finger on it!

    I still haven’t mailed my packages! Now, shame of you though. I would have gone to the post office in the snow all up hill and in bare feet to mail off a request to a big name agent! Bad, AJ!

    Hey, Fedora, Jaci and I are writing like mad women! And did you say packrat? Raising my hand. My daughter is the one who cleans the fridge, the pantry, and now is hell bent on liquidating the entire garage. She says I can’t be around when she does the garage because I plead to keep everything.

  16. Karin

    Beth, are you sending material out?

    Julie, glad to inspire. Blogging about what is bugging me and most likely bugging others often turns into a energy booster for us all. I am as relieved as you that Mercury is out of retrograde!

    Good luck completing your first novel this year, and more luck selling it!

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