Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Linda's Launch Party -- The Hexster Is In The House!


Launch parties are so much fun and now it’s my turn to celebrate the release of Hex in High Heels.

It was a given I’d write Blair’s story after writing Stasi’s story in Wicked by Any Other Name. All I can say is it was a total blast to write.

So what did I have? A sassy witch gifted in revenge spells. How I’d love having someone like that in my friendship circle! A sexy carpenter (I’d have such a to-do list for him around the house!) that could repair things around the house one day and I could take him to the dog park the next. A small town filled with friends and elves from Hades. Hm, wait a minute? Elves from Hades? Not literally from Hades, but considering they weren’t the cute Santa type, you’d have to wonder just where they did come from. And Jake’s mother pads into town. Let’s just say there’s no warm and fuzzies with that Were mom. No wonder Blair asked Jake if he couldn’t have been adopted. So we have a variety of characters, Fluff and Puff finding a unique way to stay in Moonstone Lake, and some wild times.

I love my witches because they’re like good friends to me. Women I’d enjoy hanging out with and I’ve learned my readers feel the same way.

One of my fans told me the best story of her visit to her local Books-A-Million store that informed her they didn’t carry my books because there weren’t enough requests for them there. Needless to say, she wasn’t going to let him get away with that. :}

"I mentioned you were listed on their web site, he said yes, however they don’t to limited space, yeah right the place is huge, and due to lack of requests they did not carry them. So I sort of told him to "bite me", I smiled and said it Hexie like."

Thanks Meredith!

As for advance word about Hex in High Heels?
Hex in High Heels is another wonderful witchy tale from Linda Wisdom. Full of entertainment it is hard to tell if this is a romance, a mystery or an adventure story because the author manages to blend all of the genres up nicely. One thing is sure and that is the book is full of humour and is extremely enjoyable.

This time the story centers around Blair and her were Jake. I hoped that after Stasi's and Jazz's stories that Blair would be next and I wasn't disappointed. Of course all the usual characters that I have come to know and love all made an appearance and even a few that I didn't know so well. Now I wonder which witch will be next? Although I doubt it will make much difference because every story so far has been amazing and I am sure the future ones will be too.

I think that the small unique areas like Puff and Fluff are just little things that make this set of stories unforgetable. This series keeps impressing me more and more each time and I can't wait for more. Full of magic, love and some other paranormal elements, this series is hard to put down once you get started. www.paranormalromance.org

It's time for more romantic high jinks and sinister magic in the newest treat from hot talent Wisdom. This time the romantic spotlight shines on two former secondary players, witch Blair Fitzpatrick and were-collie Jake Harrison. Wisdom does a truly wonderful job mixing passion, danger and outrageous antics into a tasty blend that's sure to satisfy. 4 ½ stars from Romantic Times
And today I'm also interviewed! http://www.midnightmooncafe.com/featured

And if you’d like to know where all I’ll be promoting the book, stop by my website http://www.lindawisdom.com/. I’ll also be signing Hex in High Heels at Barnes and Noble in Oceanside, CA on Friday Oct. 2 at 7:30.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Who Said the Blog Tour Ended???



Abigail did a beautiful job on hosting my interview at All Things Urban Fantasy and I don't want to disappoint her with a no-showing of commenters....so if anyone has a chance, run by there and comment for another free chance at a book!!!

I feel like Santa Claus in a wolf suit. :)

http://allthingsurbanfantasy.blogspot.com/2009/09/interview-giveaway-terry-spear-to-tempt.html







I'll also be at Dawn Thompson's blog on Oct 2, http://www.terry-spear.blogspot.com/ (I'll post the link here
on Friday) and I'll be giving another book away during Bitten by Books October celebration. Again, I'll post the link on my blog.

To get with the coming times, since October is nearly here...here's a post of a couple of wolves enjoying a pumpkin treat. :)

I was told my werewolves could not eat chocolate. As wolves, probably not. As werewolves in their human form, genetically they are humans. So sure. As women we know what it's like not to have chocolate when we want it, like an hour ago. :) Nibbling on a pumpkin, won't hack it. Not as a human.

These wolves had never seen a pumpkin before, by the way. Wonder how they'd like a watermelon?

If I wasn't writing this post right now, I'd be happily getting my hero and heroine in Plight of the Wolf into more trouble.

Once, I was asked, "How do you think up so many words?"

It made me think of filling pages after pages with words. Not a story, not a plot, not any conflict, not a romance, not anything but a mess of words, page after page after page of them. Up to 400 pages of them even. :) 100,000-plus words.

So that's what I'm happily doing. Having a blast filling up more and more pages with more and more words...that I hope will capture the reader's imagination and allow them for a few hours or a couple of days to join my wolves in their world.

So if you're a writer, how do you come up with all those words?

And if you're a reader, do you wonder how we do it, too? :)

Terry Spear, who sometimes wonders, too. :)

"Giving new meaning to the term alpha male."

www.terryspear.com


Monday, September 28, 2009

Dedicated to my mom

by Sharon Lathan
I had several ideas of what I was going to blog about this time around, but before I could decide on one and begin writing they were pushed out of my mind. The reason is a tragic one: My mom lost a nearly 20-year battle with numerous illnesses this past Friday. Some of you may recall that we almost lost our mom in July, prompting my entire family to drive 18 hours to New Mexico from our home base in California. My brother and his family did the same, coming from Florida. By God’s divine grace and mercy, mom fought off death once again. It gave us a chance to spend time with her in a positive atmosphere. We all knew it was more than likely our last visit, but anyone who has lost a loved one knows that even after a long illness, it is still a shock.

So, I hope I am forgiven for not writing a humorous or enlightening essay. Instead, please allow me to dedicate this column to the woman who raised me, most of the time single-handedly. She was beautiful, loving, cheerful, brave, optimistic, a creative artist, generous, and so much more. I owe her my life. And I will miss her. My mom, Marge Shelly.



Thanks. And, because life does go on whether we want to curl up in a ball and cry or not, I am carrying on with a pre-arranged two-day discussion of Loving Mr. Darcy: Journeys Beyond Pemberley over at my blog, Sharon Lathan's Darcy Saga. All day today and tomorrow I will be hanging around the computer to chat about my newest novel. If you have read it and have a burning question or comment, pop over and join in. Hope to see you there.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Take Our Advice... Please!

posted by Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy

Ahoy Land Lubbers! Aunty isn't really here today, I'm cruising the high seas somewhere off the west coast of Mexico. But I didn't want to miss my turn on the blog, and I definitely didn't want you all to miss ME. So I'm writing this right before I leave and will try to check in whenever we are on land. Yes, the ship has internet but it is pricey and reception is spotty, whereas I know this place in Puerto Vallarta that gives you internet access AND a couple of Coronas. ARRIBA!

Back in August, our lovely editor, Deb Werksman posted a blog about writers having a 'career arc.' She wisely advised writers who submitted to her to have a plan about their chosen sub-genre and their books' places within it.

This got Aunty to thinking (always a dangerous proposition)... What kind of advice had I or any of the other CasaBabes received back in the days when we were newbie-writers? What pearls would we pass along now to others?

So I asked! And here are some of the things the CasaBabes would like you to know:

Loucinda McGary: (of course I asked myself, since I LOVE to give advice... Take it, not so much.) Since I'm in Mexico, the most obvious advice that pops into my mind is "Don't drink the water!" Oh wait, this is supposed to be writing advice. In that case... Don't try to write to the market, but do pay attention to it. In other words, if you simply must write that Civil War historical romance, realize that you will have a much more difficult time selling your finished manuscript than if you set your story in a different time period. Getting your book published is difficult enough, don't make it extra difficult on yourself.

Robin Kaye: I wish someone had given me juggling lessons. I'm always stuck promoting one book while on deadline for another. This is the third time in 4 books. As Good as He Gets is due December 15th and the blog tour for Breakfast in Bed runs from November 15 - December 15. I'm so not good at changing gears except when I'm driving an automobile. When I write, I need to keep my head in one book, not two.

Cheryl Brooks: my advice to newbies is to go to your local RWA chapter meetings and get the lowdown from some published authors. Don't go into writing and publishing with stars in your eyes because you're bound to run into a wall!

Terry Spear: In my very first book, I had everyone's point of view, even the dog's!! I didn't even realize there were "rules" about how you were supposed to write in someone's point of view. Later, I was told, three paragraphs, minimum or you're head hopping. And it should be in the person's point of view that has the most to lose or gain from the scene.

Judi Fennell: My advice for newbie writers:
Go take a hike.
Or a swim.
Or a short walk around the block, but get up and move. The temptation is to sit in that chair and hit your word count, but, seriously, you need to get those creative juices flowing and work your muscles. You'll come back to the WIP refreshed and the blood flow has to be good for creativity.

Ashlyn Chase: The best advice I got was: As soon as you write a book, submit it and write another. When that one's finished, submit it and write another. Keep doing this until something gets published. Then you'll have a back-list and will have improved with experience.

Linda Wisdom: What I wish I knew back then was more about the business end of publishing and agents. My first agent was a disaster. I was sucked into a 5 year cotract that I had to later buy my way out of. I had no idea about agents and that was a nightmare.

Mary Margret Daughtridge: Write the book you would love to read. Given the number of times you'll have to read it, you had better love it.

GREAT ADVICE EVERYONE! Hope this has been both instructional and inspirational for all of our blog readers. If you have any questions for any of the CasaBabes, please ask away! Or if you have any good tidbits of advice to pass along, PLEASE DO! And seriously, don't drink the water!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Why I Love Sourcebooks....

Well, it is Saturday (yea!) and around the nation, colleges are holding pre-football pep rallies and tailgate parties. So how about a pep rally for Sourcebooks?
I have lots of reasons to love Sourcebooks— with 'They bought HEALING LUKE' right at the top! (LOL) But I was recently reminded again of what a great publisher I write for when the Rita Contest, sponsored by Romance Writers of America, opened for submissions.

I've been fortunate enough to have five books out in print this year, all of them eligible for the prestigious Rita. (Think Academy Awards of romance books.) But to enter the contest, the author must plunk down a $40 (for RWA members) registration fee and send five copies of the entered book. (Fee + cost of books + postage on books = mega moola) Sure, it is pricey, but for me it is worth it. Finaling in the Rita would be a tremendous honor. In past years, I've had one, maybe two, books to enter. This year ... five! Now I'm not going to tell one of my books they can't go to the dance. I'm entering them all. Gulp. That's a big investment.


But wait... what's this? (Picture Sourcebooks swooping in wearing a superhero cape) One wonderful, supportive, and marketing savvy publisher has come to the rescue. Sourcebooks is entering all of its authors' eligible books in the Rita for us. How cool is that? Entry fees, books and shipping. Done. This may not seem like a big deal to some people, but to THIS author, it is huge. It's not about the money they're saving me either. It's about the gesture. The support. The proof that they want their authors, their books, to succeed. It's just one of the many little things (that aren't so little to authors) that set Sourcebooks apart.


Any publisher can say they support their authors. And some publishers will cherry-pick a star author and throw money and advertising and marketing behind a book, hoping for a bestseller. Sourcebooks supports EVERY author. From setting up blog tours, a plethora of release reviews and advertising to the royal treatment at dinner during RWA National conference. From their helpful, responsive, enthusiastic editors and staff to the talented pool of authors who share the highs and lows of the writer's life on email loops... Sourcebooks ROCKS!
Okay, authors and readers, get out your pompoms...
2-4-6-8
Who do we appreciate?
Sourcebooks!!!
Why do YOU love Sourcebooks?


Beth Cornelison
www.bethcornelison.com

Friday, September 25, 2009

This is my very first post to the Casablanca Author’s Blog, and I’m very happy to be here!

I guess I should start with a little bit about myself. My name is Kathryne Kennedy, and I write magical romances that will sweep you away to new worlds and adventures. I’m currently working on a new historical fantasy romance series, The Elven Lords, and have just finished the first book, The Fire Lord’s Lover, which is releasing sometime next year. I’ll be posting the history of the world in the future, but if you’d rather not wait to find out more, please visit my website at: http://www.kathrynekennedy.com/.

I’m really looking forward to the December release of My Unfair Lady with Sourcebooks! A fun and sexy Victorian romance, it inspired my Relics of Merlin series. Here’s a bit more about it:

He created the perfect woman…
The impoverished Duke of Monchester despises the rich Americans who flock to London, seeking to buy their way into the ranks of the British peerage. So when railroad heiress Summer Wine Lee offers him a king’s ransom if he’ll teach her to become a proper lady, he’s prepared to rebuff her. But when he meets the petite beauty with the knife in her boot, it’s not her fortune he finds impossible to resist…

For the arms of another man...
Frontier-bred Summer Wine Lee has no interest in winning over London society—it’s the New York bluebloods and her future mother-in-law she’s determined to impress. She knows the cost of smoothing her rough-and-tumble frontier edges will be high. But she never imagined it might cost her heart…

Help me launch the December 2009 release of My Unfair Lady! The prize is a genuine agate cameo framed in 14kt yellow gold featuring a lovely profile of a lady with a bird perched on her finger--see my contest page for a full description: http://www.kathrynekennedy.com/contest.html

To enter, send an e-card of my book cover to a friend! Go to: http://www.sourcebooks.com/rsform/39.html
And put a note to your friend in the message box to FORWARD the e-card upon receiving to:
kathryne@kathrynekennedy.com

If you are the randomly chosen winner, your friend will also receive a gift for helping you to enter, any item of their choice at my on-line store: http://www.cafepress.com/KathryneKennedy

It’s a win-win contest for you and a friend! Only one entry per friend, but you can enter as many different friends as you’d like.

A winner will be randomly chosen using RandomNumber.org. Contest ends September 30th, 2009. Void where prohibited by law. You must be 18 years or older to enter. No prize substitution permitted. This contest is subject to all federal, state and local laws and regulations.

Best Wishes!
Kathryne

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Surviving promotion without losing your mind, money and soul

You know you have to do it. If readers aren’t aware of your book’s existence, they aren’t going to buy it. If you don’t know that, you must be dreaming or have a huge fan base to buy your books and do all the selling for you by word of mouth. Yeah, that doesn’t usually happen. Even if you’re with a large publishing house, you’ll be expected to make the occasional public appearance. The bottom line is: if your books don’t sell well, your publisher might not love you anymore. If your publisher doesn’t love you anymore, someone else’s books will be published instead of yours. It’s not like they’ll go under without you or that there aren’t several other authors waiting to step into your shoes. Unless you’re a big deal and you’re publisher loves you for your name, alone, you need to promote your books.

Now, what about the new or relatively unknown author? They need to promote their books even harder. Their budget for promotion may be very limited so they have to find venues that are free or very inexpensive—mainly on the Internet. Perhaps that’s why chat loops, blogs, ezines, and review sites are springing up in record numbers. E-book authors are some of the most Internet promo savvy authors out there—because they have to be.

Knowing that, let’s move on to the survival aspect. I went to a workshop given by Vicki Lewis Thompson on promoting according to your personality. If you’re an extrovert, lucky you! Promoting your books in person will be easy. People will automatically gravitate to you and they’ll even forgive you if you act like your own biggest fan. And, by the way, you have to be when promoting your work. If that’s extremely uncomfortable for you, it might be easier to hire a good publicist, pay for advertising, and give loads of promos to venues willing and anxious to distribute them for you.

Most authors dread promotion. In my typical overly honest and irreverent way, I’ve even referred to it as “pimping” my book. But I have a secret. When I’m having fun, it isn’t work. ‘Playing’ with readers online is fun for me because I can let my outrageous personality shine through and readers have a blast. Ultimately, they look at my website and buy my books—at lease I hope so. I’m sure there are those people who think I’m a lunatic and run the other way. Oh well. They’re no fun, anyway. So, there’s my secret in a nutshell. Promotion can and should be fun.

I’m what a fellow author described when talking about her own promotional personality. An extrovert behind the computer monitor and somewhat shy in public. That was Kelly Kirch by the way. I enjoy a good chat that’s well attended, have plenty of fun on myspace, and I can blog with the best of them. And as long as I get a few readers to banter with, I consider it fun. I hold contests since I like to play “Santa,” but I no longer give tons of books away. Who’ll buy the milk if the cow gives it away for free? I heard that from my father many years ago and he didn’t even know I was destined to become an author! Go figure.

But do you want to know the biggest secret to sales? It’s your next book. Be careful not to have TOO much fun, or you’ll spend all your writing time fooling around on the ‘net--and to keep your name in front of your fans, you’ll need to pim… I mean, promote your next book and the next and the next.

Ashlyn

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Online or Off?



I spend a lot of time online. We talked about that here recently, and I confessed that I am often overwhelmed by the number of memberships I have: Facebook, Myspace, etc. I'm not very organized at the best of times. Though I always start out with the best of intentions, I invariably fall far short of my organizational goals, and the proliferation of online contacts leaves me... overwhelmed.

But I don't know what I would do now without the internet. In a relatively short time it has affected every single area of my life. Apart from medical science and its advancements, I think the most amazing inventions of the last century are the combustion engine (cars), television and the personal computer and internet.

So... what did I used to do before going to my computer first thing in the morning to check my email, etcetera, etcetera and spend the rest of the day there?

Well, I used to drink a cup of morning coffee while reading the newspaper, the newspaper to which I no longer subscribe because I get my news online. I would check the mailbox and get the mail to see if I had received any cards or letters - or rejection letters - and I no longer do that anymore because almost all my mail comes as email. I would then perhaps set out to the library to get some books out to do research for a novel, but I no longer do that anymore; virtually all my research is done online. Or, if I already had all my research done, I would sit down with a clipboard and begin to write longhand, since I went directly from longhand to computer with no stop at a typewriter along the way. Now, of course, I do all my writing at my computer with the internet humming in the background. I check my email often, and have a search engine up at all times to check word origins, historical details and the like. I can write and research more quickly and with much less trouble. Fact checking is a breeze.

And yet, and yet... I sometimes long for that feeling of isolation, that sense that I had time enough for whatever I wanted to do without a thousand online 'duties' tugging at my shirt tail demanding attention. I would go all day without contact from anyone; for a natural born introvert that's a 'peaceful easy feeling'.

Oh, don't get me wrong. The internet has given me far more than it has taken away. With one press of a button I can send my manuscript winging through cyberspace instead of laboriously printing out the whole shooting match and having to package it and take it to the postal station. With one little typed word in a search engine I can raise a thousand pages dealing with Gothic architecture, or German history, or a database of English surnames.

I'm grateful and yet... ah, the blissful serenity of that old isolation.

In the absence of any way - or even desire, because I am a realist - to go back to that time of pre-internet isolation, I take Sundays away from the computer. I don't even turn it on, don't check my email, don't do anything. I visit, read, watch movies and cook.

Maybe I'm just in a melancholy mood today; summer is over, and as much as I love autumn - I do love it more than any other season - it still represents the end of summer relaxation and potential, just as the internet, to me, symbolizes the end of isolation.

So... does anyone else feel constricted occasionally, or is the internet and all of its hyper-connectivity an unalloyed blessing? I wouldn't turn back the clock - can't imagine turning back the clock - to pre-internet, but does anyone else remember what they did before running to the computer first thing in the morning? What would your life be like without the internet?

Tell me, do! Inquiring minds want to know!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Heroes and Rogues

I find it amazing that anyone can come up with a tagline like that just from reading a synopsis that isn't even very accurate. If you're like me, it's not over til it's over and the synopsis that I start out with is NOT the one that gets handed in with the finished manuscript.

Still, this is the gist of the relationship between Trag and Micayla. And, yes, sports fans, there is a FEMALE Zetithian in this one, and Trag (that engaging other brother in Rogue) is her Hero. I won't tell you what else he does because that would be too much of a spoiler, but trust me, he's a hero in the truest sense of the word.

Harrison Ford's heroes are like that. Just regular guys in extraordinary circumstances who rise to the occasion. I remember in one lesser known and poorly reviewed movie called Hanover Street, Ford plays an American pilot who rescues the husband of his lover, an English nurse. At one point, the husband, played by Christopher Plummer, remarks that Ford is a hero--that he can't help it, it's just the way he is. Ford's character starts off the movie by telling his bomber crew (who are all ready to give up and go home) that "if we don't blow it up, they'll just send us back." So they go on to complete their mission and are hailed as heroes when they return.

I think a lot of heroes are like that. They don't intend to be heroic, they're just doing their job and trying to stay alive.

Trag is an unlikely hero. He blunders along, doing what he's supposed to do, but when the chips are down, he comes through and does the one thing you're hoping he'll do from the very beginning. That may sound a little vague, but you'll understand what I mean if you read the book--which is not due to be released until August 2010!

I suppose that in some ways, writers can be heroes. We give our readers stories that can rescue them from their troubles and can sometimes provide them with hope and inspiration. We don't plan on being heroic, but you never know how a reader will interpret what you've written.

Some of you may recall that Slave was nominated for an award from the National Leather Association last year. This year, Rogue has been nominated. I guess all this writing about slaves makes me something of a hero within the bondage community. Never thought it would turn out that way, but, like so many other heroes, I'm just doing my job. . . .

Monday, September 21, 2009

Keeper Books -- Do You Have Them?


I was cleaning out my bookshelves and that’s not easy at all since I have so many keeper books. Many written and signed by friends and others that I’m loathe to give up.

For me, it’s a story I can read over and over again. Some years ago I picked up a romantic suspense, Ring of Fear by Anne McCaffrey. This was entirely different from her fantasy novels and has a hero in there that any reader will lust over. Finding a second copy wasn’t easy, but I finally did. It’s one I still read from time to time. I highly recommend this for anyone who loves romantic suspense.

And there’s a set of time travel novels by June Lund Shiplett Journey to Yesterday and Return to Yesterday. There’s something about the strength of the heroine thrust into the past and how she handles it.

My keepers cover all the genres, some are signed, others aren’t, but they’re all books I can reread and find something new there. Or a book that gives you that feel good read. I know if I want to grab a book at the last minute I can go to my keeper shelf and take one of them with me and not be disappointed.

I hope there are readers out there that have my books on their keeper shelf.

What about you? What’s a keeper book to you? What prompts you to put a book on a special shelf to read over and over again? Name one of those books.

Linda

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Surprise Discoveries

by Libby Malin
www.LibbysBooks.com

I find it hard to read while I'm writing. I'm too afraid what I read will influence what I write. Because I'm writing a lot, this is a problem! I just finished edits on my next Sourcebooks release (My Own Personal Soap Opera), and am continuing to work on another humorous women's fiction proposal. So, for reading pleasure, I often turn to novels outside the genres in which I write. Luckily, I'm a pretty eclectic reader, so this means I have lots to choose from.

Lately, I've been exploring authors I loved as a girl. So when I was given a book gift card in August, one of my selections was F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Crack Up, a collection of essays, notes, and letters about Fitzgerald's life, particularly after he rocketed to fame and fortune as an author and careened down the corresponding slope when alcoholism gripped him and madness ensnared his wife Zelda. It's about the only bit of his writing I'd never read.

In The Crack-Up I learned something I didn't know (I didn't study literature in college!) -- Fitzgerald's most famous book, The Great Gatsby, didn't do well. On bookstore shelves, that is. Fitzgerald's first book, This Side of Paradise, was a smashing success. In fact, he recounts how he naively asked his publisher if they'd be printing 20,000 copies of it, a very large print run for a debut author back then (hmm.....and even today, probably!). As it turns out, they easily sold 20,000 copies in the first weeks the book was out.

But then he wrote The Beautiful and Damned and seemed to be hit with what some call the "sophomore curse." His second book didn't fare so well. Gatsby came after that.

In addition to this bit of "news," I also was surprised to read several letters from other famous authors congratulating Fitzgerald on The Great Gatsby after he'd sent them an inscribed copy. One of those letters was from author Edith Wharton who, although she liked the book, couldn't resist lamenting Fitzgerald's lack of more backstory for Jay Gatsby. (She didn't put it that way, but that was the gist.)

This brought a smile to my face. Even a great author like Fitzgerald received helpful "suggestions" from other famous authors!

It might seem odd commenting on an author like Fitzgerald on a blog devoted to romance authors. But Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby is drenched in romance, albeit of the ill-fated variety. Who can read of Jay Gatsby longingly looking at the green light at the end of Daisy's pier night after night and not sigh?

Fitzgerald himself, despite his flaws, didn't abandon his own Daisy, supporting his wife Zelda and seeing to her care until he died.

Like everyone, he suffered sorrows and joys. Like all writers, he suffered poor sales and well-meaning advice from fellow authors.

We're all avid readers. We all have our favorite authors -- in romance, general fiction, literary fiction. What surprising facts about your favorite authors have you come across over the years?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The End of an Era... or a Series


As I was mulling over ideas for this blog post (and watching Deathtrap with the family), I came across a story online that gave me my idea.

Guiding Light has been cancelled.

Now for those of you who have watched the soap, this (obviously) comes as no surprise, since today was the last episode. But I've been in my writing cave for a while and missed this announcement.

I haven't watched GL in a few years but became hooked way back in college. The East Halls dorms at Penn State only got CBS in the rooms (this would be in the days when rabbit ears were all the rage,and Luke & Laura's wedding was broadcast in the common room in all its standing-room only glory).
Anyhow, my roommate and her twin (who lived upstairs with another friend of mine) were hooked on Guiding Light and since it was the only channel, I got hooked along with them. From 1988 until somewhere in the mid 90s I watched Guiding Light and saw Reva through too many husbands/lovers to count. Josh too. Billy & Vanessa's on-again/off-again marriage, Lizzy's birth, Harley Davidson Cooper, etc. Even when I graduated, and got married and a job (in that order), I would tape it, and needed my hour of "decompression" when I came home from the work day.

"What," you ask, "does a soap opera have to do with Romance writing?" Well, aside from the various story lines geared toward the characters' happily-ever-afters, I was reading a very nice article about the end of Guiding Light and how the end of the series was bringing back favorite characters and nice words about the soap opera genre.

It got me to thinking about the end of a series. How it affects the readers and the writers. It's no secret that my next trilogy isn't about Mers, but that doesn't mean I'm done with the Mer world. Trust me, Mariana's story is knocking about in my brain and the opening scene has already been written. The hero, Jace, has yet to shut up and is demanding some attention. (As is Matt Ewing, the hero of I Dream of Genies.)

I'm bummed that I only found out about Guiding Light's ending this evening, hours after the final episode aired. I'm bummed that I missed the final two weeks. I'm bummed that I didn't get to celebrate along with the cast and fans. I would have liked to reconnect with the characters I knew back in the 80s and 90s. I'm sure there will be reruns somewhere, but there's nothing like ending the series with it as it ends.

In the same vein, I have mixed feelings about the ending of LOST in May 2010. I've watched from Day 1 and can't wait to see how they resolve it, but, again, it'll be a disappointment that it'll be over. I'll probably end up buying the whole series on DVD and watch it from start to finish, enjoying knowing what I know now.

So how do series' ends affect you? What are your favorite series that have ended and what ones do you hope gone on for years?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mind Candy

By Robin Kaye

My youngest daughter was born with a very rare genetic disorder (she’s one in a million in more ways than just one.) It took us over a month for her to be diagnosed. My husband and I spent the first three years of Isabelle’s life trying desperately to keep her alive. During that time, it seemed as if there wasn’t a week that went by when we weren’t rushing her to the hospital with pneumonia, 106 degree fever, or seizures. She had five operations between the ages of 6 months and 2 years. Between Isabelle and my other two children (a 4-year-old and 18 month-old), I don’t think I slept a full night in all that time.

Before Isabelle was born, I read everything I could get my hands on and I admit to being somewhat of a literary snob. I had eclectic tastes, but I always made it a point to read all of the Oprah books. After I had Izzy, I realized that the Oprah books were, more often than not, depressing. My life was depressing enough. I didn’t need to read about the nasty realities of life while slogging through it.

I remember one inordinately hellish day at the hospital when a nurse I had become close to gave me a book by Bill Cosby. I spent the night sitting by Isabelle’s crib, reading and chuckling. After that night, I searched out every funny book I could get my hands on. Reading comedies kept me relatively sane during Izzy’s first trying years.

Now I write Romantic Comedy. When I started writing, everyone told me that “Romantic Comedies don’t sell”. I was told to call my books Contemporary Romance. What I didn’t understand was why? Who doesn’t like to laugh? Especially during times like these?

If, when you read my book, you laugh a time or two and spend how ever many hours it takes you to read it without once thinking of the bad economy or whether or not you’ll be able to pay the electric bill, I’ve done my job. If you think about my characters with a smile on your face long after you’ve read “The End,” I’ve done my job. If you can sit in a hospital room reading, and my book serves as a mental escape from the torture of seeing someone you love suffer without being able to do a damn thing about it, I’ve done my job.

When I write, I’m not trying to make you think deep thoughts or encourage you to change the world. I don’t envision thousands of students studying my every word. I don’t set out to pen the great American novel. When I write I have one purpose: I write to entertain you. Human beings need to laugh. It creates endorphins that make us feel better. Some call it mind candy and maybe they’re right. But who doesn’t need something sweet every now and again?

Oh, and I’m very happy to say Isabelle is now a happy and relatively healthy 12-year-old. Last year when she was given a personality test that is supposed to tell her what careers would suit her personality, the top four were stand-up comic, writer, artist, or television/movie producer. I guess all that laughter rubbed off on her.

As a reader, why do you read? What do you look for in a book? And if you’re a writer, why do you write?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Love of Reading is Universal!


Since this is the last BIG day of my tour....I'm ready to celebrate, so one lucky commenter can have their pick of To Tempt the Wolf or a book on the backlist! :) Just comment on the question below or ask me a question!


I’ve been having a blast on the SciFi Guy’s blog since yesterday, and one thing is fun is seeing comments from folks from all over. One was from Italy and I was delighted! But I have to say that no matter where we’re from, readers unite and love to read many of the same works.


Doug had a great idea about asking commenters to either ask me a question, which I love because it gives me something new to talk about, or he asked that folks explain what color of coat would readers prefer as a werewolf and why? Now that’s been intriguing. :) And you know what? We’ve just about got a super sized werewolf pack formed with all kinds of interesting variety!! So if you’d like to stop by and join in on the fun, please do!

The contest give-away doesn’t end until Tuesday, September 22.
http://www.scifiguy.ca/2009/09/guest-author-terry-spear-to-tempt-wolf.html


When I was in Toronto this past weekend, I thoroughly enjoyed visiting with other writers after the workshop I presented, and the night before also. It was fun talking about writing, books, and what we loved to read. And even though the discussion went on a tangent into TV shows, it was still all about characterizations. Although I barely watch television—books are for me!

Before my journey home, our very own Michele Young saved me by giving me a book to take home with me on the plane!! Thanks so much, Michele! I read the whole story and loved it! For entertainment, reading is the best. And believe me, I barely noticed that the plane was shuddering horribly or that we had electrical problems or that we landed so hard if I’d had false teeth I would have lost them for sure. A book can rescue you from both the doldrums and the scarier side of life!!

I also wanted to mention I’m at Novel Thoughts today and they chose To Tempt the Wolf as a Reviewers Top Pick and I’ll be talking about: “Bring Your Cover Model to Work!” Would you be able to take your cover model to work??? Inquiring minds would like to know. :)

http://novelthoughts.wordpress.com/2009/09/17/terry-spears-bring-your-cover-model-to-work-day/


This is the end of my blog tour, but not really the end!!! I’ve got more places that I’ll be guest blogging coming up, and all I’ve got to say is it’s been fun. And the thing I take away from the whirlwind tour is that readers love to read, and though I love to create characters and worlds and plots for others to read, I love to read, too. It’s truly a universal pastime!
Check out my contest at Embrace the Shadows where Barbara Hancock is hosting me! "Wish upon a Werewolf!"...Thanks so much, Barbara!
And this just in:
To Tempt the Wolf is the third installment in the werewolf series by Terry Spear. Each release has been even more exciting than the last, and they can also be read as stand-alones. The non-stop action, chilling mystery, and fast-blooming romance combine to make this a book that you won’t want to set down. If you enjoy reading mystery with a healthy dose of paranormal elements and a steamy romance, this is a story that you’re sure to enjoy.~~Kimerbly Swan, Darque Reviews

Someone commented on one of my guest blogs that one of their favorite places to read was under blooming cherry trees during the annual cherry blossom festival. Now, doesn’t that sound fun, fragrant, and romantic? When you go on trips, do you take books along with you to read? What has been the most unusual place you’ve ever read?

I’d have to say mine was at a snapping-turtle infested lake in Florida, with mosquitoes buzzing around, water moccasins swimming through the reedy bank, and palmetto bugs (gigantic roaches) mating on the front porch in the dark that sounded like elephants battling. Yup. That’s probably my most memorable reading experience on a trip. :)

Thanks for dropping by!

Join me here, if you dare! :)
http://www.terryspear.com/
http://twitter.com/TerrySpear
http://www.facebook.com/terry.spear
http://www.myspace.com/terryspear
http://www.terry-spear.blogspot.com/
http://casablancaauthors.blogspot.com/
http://www.wickedlyromantic.blogspot.com/ http://shapeshifterromance.wordpress.com/

Terry Spear
“Giving new meaning to the term alpha male.”

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What Is This Thing Called Voice?

by Deb Werksman

Many times at conferences I hear other editors and agents talk about looking for a "fresh, new voice" or a "strong voice." I've never looked for "voice" myself, because it's too nebulous a term, and "I'll know it when I see it" has never struck me as a particularly useful guideline.

I have come to the conclusion that "voice" is actually a code word for several other things:

1) The quality of the writing.

The strongest writing is distinctive and memorable--it leaves whole passages in the reader's head and heart after you've finished reading. Examples: After reading a Carolyn Brown cowboy romance my inner voice has a West Texas accent (REALLY incongruous for this East Coast big city girl). There are entire passages of Georgette Heyer that I can practically recite by heart--two of my instant favorites are in The Foundling when Lord Lionel goes to his son Gideon's and excoriates his son's lifestyle, military unit, place of residence and servitors and in The Talisman Ring when hero Ludovic insists on proving his prowess with a pistol in the cellar. Finally, the scene in Laura Kinsale's Flowers from the Storm when the Duke goes to the Quaker Meeting Room at the end and confronts his duchess is etched permanently in my mind.

2) The world-building.

A lot of historical fiction hinges on the author's ability to mimic the language of the time period, and bring the reader there in imagination. Similarly, in paranormals the world-building is paramount. Marie Force does this brilliantly in her contemporaries--it's her voice that creates the private world of the hero and heroine, and all the complications therein (I'm a big fan!). This is also where the sense of humor or the darkness (or combination thereof) shows up so brilliantly and defines the world.

3) Characters.

In dialog, the characters' voices are the author's voice and vice versa. Robin Kaye does this brilliantly in Romeo, Romeo and her other Italian-American romantic comedies, and Loucinda McGary's Irish rogue heroes give me shivers up my spine when they speak in that Irish brogue. And a feisty heroine is just my cup of tea, saying stuff I don't say in real life--check out Kathryne Kennedy's My Unfair Lady or Beth Cornelison's Healing Luke or Joanne Kennedy's Cowboy Trouble.

4) Finally (last and never least!) is the hook--a strong voice will make for a strong hook and a strong hook will often give the author direction for her voice.

So, in the end, "voice" shows up in ALL my criteria, as well as Philip Larkin's (poet laureate, judge of the Booker Prize for Literature), so here they are again:
  • heroine the reader can relate to
  • hero she can fall in love with
  • a world gets created
  • a hook I can sell with in 2-3 sentences
  • a career arc for the author

Larkin's criteria:
  • Can I read it?
  • If I can read it, can I believe it?
  • If I can believe it, do I care?
  • If I care, what is the depth of that caring and how long will it last?
Do you have any thoughts to share on the subject of "voice?"

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Loving Mr. Darcy tour comes to an end...

Just twelve days ago I was here celebrating the release of my second book – Loving Mr. Darcy: Journeys Beyond Pemberley. At the time I was up to my eyeballs in blogging appointments all over the web, loving the fun interaction and chance to chat with old and new readers, and feeling the rush of adrenaline coursing through my veins. I am a multi-published author!! Sorry, just had to shout it out one more time.

Now, a mere 12 days later, the blog appointments are nearly over. Today I am double-timing it between my normally scheduled day with the CasaBabes and our faithful readers, and A Bibliophile’s Bookshelf – where I am chatting about my secondary characters, so come on over to comment and maybe win copies of my books! On Friday my final blog tour engagement will be at A Lovestruck Novice with an interview.

Whew! I am definitely happy to see the light at the end of the very successful touring tunnel. And also happy to report that the adrenaline is steadily at therapeutic levels!

My first virtual book tour in March, when Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy was released, was quite overwhelming for me. Primarily because I had no clue what to expect and this Type-A gal does NOT like to be out of control and surprised! This time around I promised myself that I would let go and have fun. Naturally I would seriously approach each blog date, but I was determined to not let it overwhelm me and to relish the excitement of my second launch. I am happy to report that although touring about kept me hopping, I had a marvelous time.

I wrote about sexy Darcy and his horses, Lizzy as the perfect heroine, Derbyshire history, Regency vocabulary, stargazing, my inspiration, clowns and the circus, and why I loved the 2005 movie of P&P to name a few topics. Then there were the interviews. Interviews are great because they give you a lead in rather than having to creatively come up with a new subject for each blog. Of course there is the challenge of finding different, fascinating ways to answer similar questions! That is way the bizarre or unique interview questions are so fun. Here are four of my favorites:
Q - What advice would you give to your younger self?

A – Aside from not wasting time dating certain men? LOL! It will probably sound ridiculous, but believe we learn from our missteps in life so I am not sure messing with my younger self would be a good idea. I suppose I would tell my skinny 20-year old self to stick with an exercise plan and watch what she ate!

Q - If you were a book, what would your blurb be?

A – Small town mountain girl fulfills her dream of becoming a nurse. But can she find love? Numerous heartbreaks dampen her hope until one day, freezing on the seaside Boardwalk, she meets her destined mate, a man with a tragic past. Can their hearts be healed and their souls become one? Will they live the fairytale happily-ever-after?

Q - What would be your “voice’s” tagline?

A – Happily ever after picturesquely comes alive with sensuality, romance, and history interwoven in epic form.

Q - If you could be any one dessert- what would it be?

Oh my! I have never gotten this question before! Kudos. Let me see... I am not very good at analogies, but I suppose I would be a thick cake with one layer angel cake smeared with sweet vanilla custard and the other a rich, dark chocolate slathered with gooey fudge, topped with tart berries. I'll let you figure out the symbolism.

Cool, huh? Each of us has been on the web circuit for a launch. It is a crazy experience with highs and lows, pros and cons. To my Casa Sisters: What were some of your best blogging experiences? To our visitors today: Share your reader thoughts of memorable author blogs.

And don’t forget – Loving Mr. Darcy: Journeys Beyond Pemberley, volume 2 in my fabulous Darcy Saga series, is available NOW! Details, reviews, and links to ongoing giveaways are at my website: Sharon Lathan’s Darcy Saga

Monday, September 14, 2009

Happy Anniversary To Me!

posted by Aunty Cindy aka Loucinda McGary

September 14th is a day of celebration for me. It's like Christmas, only better!

You see, two years ago today, September 14, 2007 was a life altering day for me. That was the day I received THE CALL! The day I went from an As Yet Unpublished writer to a Soon To Be Published author, and my life has never been quite the same, in the best ways possible.

Has it really only been two years?!?! So much has happened on this exciting journey that sometimes I still have to pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming.

Only two short years ago, I was struggling with the doubt demons and wondering if I would ever see a book of mine on the shelf. Today I am a multi-published author! GAH! I still can't quite believe it.

Yesterday, I celebrated with my second In-Person Launch Party! About thirty-five friends and RWA chapter mates showed up for pizza, cake, and a lot of laughs. Some of them brought as many as ten books for me to sign, citing them as unique holiday gifts for friends and family. Unfortunately, I ran out of my 'autographed copy' stickers for the front covers. Happily, we did not run out of pizza or cake!

Since I waited almost two weeks after my release date this time, many of the people at the party had already read the book. And they were all bubbling over with praise and asking about the next book. Truly music to my ears!

And the most amazing thing of all is that I have FANS! A few weeks ago, I was astounded to learn that a member of my newsletter group lives in South Africa, another lives in Indonesia, and several are in Australia. The idea of people living so very far from my humble little abode in California reading my books never occurred to me two years ago.

I did dream of the day when I might receive an honest-to-goodness fan letter. The experience is even more fantastic than I imagined! Fan mail truly makes everything about writing and publishing worthwhile! Here are excerpts from a couple of pieces of fan mail I received last week:
About The Treasures of Venice --"... What a book! What can I say, I loved it from start to finish. Keirnan and Sam and also Nino and Serafina the story is amazing...

"Truly you have a magical voice. I love it. This book, kept me enthralled... I started it Friday night and finished it Saturday at 9-00pm and although I couldn't put it down because I wanted to get to the end, I didn't want it to finish if that makes sense.

"Thank you for another fantastic adventure, it was awesome."

And about The Wild Sight --"I want to thank you for my trip to Ireland in 'The Wild Sight'. I have always wanted to go. My favorite part is when Rylie accepts that Donovan has the power of sight. When it doesn't frighten her off, I thought here is a stubborn and courageous woman. I'd love to have some of her mojo.

"I have your other book 'The Treasures of Venice' and I can't wait to get started with it... Thank you for your time and creating a beautiful story in an awesome setting."

If I am dreaming, please don't wake me up!

Two years ago, when our lovely editor, Deb called and said those magic words, "I want to buy your Irish book." I knew I was about to begin a wonderful journey, but I didn't realize just how wonderful!

There is nothing more exciting for me than seeing my name on the cover of a book I've written, to walk into a bookstore or library and find my book on the shelf, to receive a piece of fan mail from a reader who enjoyed my story! Two years after receiving THE CALL that changed my life, none of the excitement has faded. I don't think it ever will!

When was the last time something memorable happened to you?

What were you doing two years ago?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

It's ALL the most important thing!



The last few days, I've been feeling pulled in many different directions. I think it is the fate of any working mom. To make sure I get the most important things done, I often make lists. But what is the most important thing?
As a mom, the most important thing to me is my family. Your kids are only young for a little while. My son will leave home in a few years, so taking care of him and being involved in his activities is a focus of my life now. I don't want to miss his youth. But someone else will say, the most important thing is your marriage because once the kids leave home, your spouse is the person you will grow old with. Nurture your marriage. So okay, set aside some time for the kid's activities but also set aside time for the husband. Check.
But I'm also an author. My job is important to me. I have commitments with more than one publisher. Other writers will tell you, the most important thing about being a writer is to keep writing, keep putting out quality books and your readership will grow. But in this electronic age, more and more there is an emphasis on promotion online. Have a blog, a Facebook page, answer your email from fans, participate in chats and online communities. Staying in touch and accessible to readers is the most important part of building a loyal following and creating a buzz about your books.


Okay, keep writing more books and also spend lots of time online to promote the books and build reader relationships. Check. But also spend time with your son, who'll be leaving home soon and don't neglect your marriage. Hm... okay.
But when I go to church on Sunday morning, the preacher tells me to put God first and how important it is to help the church and be involed with the church activities so that the church can keep the programs running. Okay, God comes first, and find time to help keep the important church programs vital. Check. But don't forget to write more books to build your readership and maintain a web presence and take care of your family.
Whew! And the poor kitties. They can't feed themselves. Or clean there own litter box. And you know the dirty kitchen really has become a health hazard. If you wait for the kid or husband to empty the dishwasher, it'll never get done.
And oh, yeah, don't forget that you promised to speak to your RWA chapter this weekend. Keeping your commitments is important.
All right, I'm checking my notes now and ready to make my to do list so that nothing important gets neglected. But...but... it's ALL the most important! How am I supposed to cherish these last few years my son is home, be active in his school projects, give my husband quality time, write more (and better) books, promote on line and build reader relationships, put God first, support the church programs, take care of the helpless pets, avoid the health inspector, and write a speech for the RWA chapter. Now. This week. It's the most important thing on your list. ALL of it is the most important. Aaaaahhhh!
Yeah, it's been one of THOSE weeks. Am I complaining? Not really. Being this busy means I have a great kid, husband, writing career, readers, church, home, pets and writing friends that make my life full, interesting and wonderful. Busy but wonderful. I wouldn't trade my hectic life for anything. Except maybe a quiet weekend sometime...? Soon. Please? Pant pant....
So how do you balance all the parts of your life that are "the most important thing"?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Guest Blogger Linda Thomas-Sundstrom -- There's Light At the End of That Dark Tunnel











Or
Loving the Supernatural... and Barbie !

Hi everyone. I'm paranormal author Linda Thomas-Sundstrom, and I can't tell you how happy I am to have been asked to join you all this morning, especially since I have a couple of pals with Sourcebooks. Linda W (with the funny slippers), and Judi F, my American Title 3 sista, with her Mer folks (Hi you guys!)

So, okay. I wave hello, then I blog.
I thought I'd tell you a little about myself first, then hope you'll chat with me about the paranormal, and writing it in as many ways as possible. That is, writing both dark and light supernatural stuff, at once. As in at the same time. Because in my book, that's called "sanity."

First of all, "Paranormal" is my middle name. It's true. I have never written anything that isn't paranormal. Ever. Way back when I started trying to get published (we won't mention the year, though I'm not that old), paranormal wasn't in vogue. Though all sorts of editors loved my voice, they just didn't know what to do with me. Reincarnation, hauntings, vampires? In a romance novel?
Unheard of.

Now look - it's like paranormal pie everywhere. And I have finally hit my stride with 8 books under my belt, three of those coming out back to back with Silhouette's Nocturne imprint in Jan, Feb, and March of next year. Yay!

And the light at the end of that dark tunnel, the title I used here, denotes the fact that in order to keep myself balanced, I listen two Muses; one for dark paranormal whisperings, and one for the lighter fare. What began with my Kensington book's dark, literary-toned historical vampire, very lush and Britishy (The Immortal Bad Boys anthology), suddenly moved to... (are you ready for genre whiplash?) Barbie and the Beast, this year's release from Dorchester that was a top finaling American Title 3 submission.

Dark and light. I'm operating from a split personality, for sure. There are spooky, creepy, sexy, fangy, funny, and just plain whacked-out things in my blood, in need of a story. It's a paranormal free-for-all in my head!

If I'm working on a deadline for my Nocturne series about criminal werewolves in Miami biting innocent people, and the six couples brought together because of one of those bites... dark stuff indeed...
After a couple hours of writing, I then switch over to a comedy, and allow myself to look at similar situations, with a laugh, from a completely different angle.

It's like channel surfing, and I love this! A few dark pages here, a few light pages there! It's how I read books, also, craving the variety. I mean, don't you?

Maybe you can tell those of us tuning in today about your writing/reading habits, blogsters? Do you like all dark chocolate in the box, or now and then appreciate something else? Something whipped and fluffy?

I get so serious and into my dark stuff that I need to laugh afterwards. Since writing is what I do, I write about those laughs.

Now, I really, really do appreciate the fact that I have been lucky enough to be able to write at both ends of the paranormal spectrum, and be published in both. There's no doubt that it's a dream come true. A dream I hope will continue until my D and L Muses get sore throats from singing so loudly all the time in competition with each other.

I love the steamy atmosphere in the sexy, lush dark tales I write. Werewolves shifting into their alternate shapes. Some poor soul starting an unexpected transformation - like in Blackout, my first Nocturne Bite novella.
But I also love the image from my Barbie and the Beast book of a twenty-something-year-old high school teacher traipsing through a cemetery at night in search of a singles party, and getting her heels stuck in the mud. Not to mention winding up with a werewolf named Darin.

I like reading Kim Harrison's Urban Fantasy, and spending rollicking good times with Janet Evanovich's feather-light mysteries. At the same time. Side by side on my night stand.
A few pages of one.... and a few pages of the other.

So, all right. Am I nuts? Skitzo? Or do you blogsters do the same thing?
I can't wait to hear.

Having said that ----- I do have a day job, and have to spend a few hours at work today. I promise though that I will come back often and answer questions and read all comments. But if you don't see me for little gaps... I'm not snoozing, I swear.

* And I'll send a book of your choice to one Blogster today for being my new friend - chosen at random by Ms Furry Slippers herself, maybe - the OTHER Linda.

I'm all ears...
And while you're at it, do check me out at:
www.lindathomas-sundstrom.com

Cheers- xo
Linda

Friday, September 11, 2009

What do family and friends think of your career?

What do my husband, family and friends think of my writing?

This is a question I get frequently in interviews, probably because I write erotic romance. Since I believe in being completely honest (or joking around if I can’t be) I’ll give you the surprising truth.

My husband tells me I’m the coolest wife ever. Okay, that’s not so surprising. At first he wasn’t very supportive, thinking this was just another “pipe dream.” But eventually he realized that this writing thing made me happy and I was working my fingers to the bone to succeed. Now he’s a big fan and wants to read all my work as soon as it’s finished. I’m glad I didn’t let his earlier feelings discourage me! He says he even tells the guys at work about it now. They all think I’m the coolest wife ever too. One guy said, “Let’s compare wives. Accountant? Erotica writer? You win.”

My daughter vacillates between being proud of me and refusing to acknowledge I’m her mother. “Just don’t tell my friends,” she says. Okay, I can understand that. But once in a while one of her friends or coworkers wants to know where they can buy my books. Ah ha! She does talk about what I do and I’ll bet she even says it proudly. But does she read my books? No. Never. And that’s fine with me!

Let’s see… How about the in-laws? Well, my father-in-law and his third wife think it’s great that I have a career and make some money to contribute to the household. Do they read it? Nope. They’re “nice” people who go to Mass every Sunday and volunteer in soup kitchens. Of course, I could be completely wrong. One never knows what goes on behind closed doors. (Unless you write erotic romance and have a good imagination.) *wink.

My mother-in-law. This was the biggest surprise. When she broke her hip, she stayed with us for a month and I took care of her. She saw how hard I work and then, without my knowledge, she picked up an anthology with one of my short stories in it! Oh my goodness. I almost fainted when I heard that she read it. But, she liked it, and said so! She even told me about the parts she especially liked so there’s no doubt in my mind that she did, indeed, read the whole story. Okay, score a whole bunch of cool points for my mother-in-law.

Now friends and neighbors. What an odd mix of reactions I get from them! Friends support my career. As far as I know there’s only one who wants to read my books and is waiting impatiently for the ebooks to come out in paperback. Several neighbors, however, freaked out and don’t invite me to any more Tupperware parties. Aww… I’m crying into my checkbook, which used to bleed green because of all their product parties!

The upshot of this article is: if they love you, they only want your happiness and will continue to associate with you. If they don’t, perhaps you were never truly friends in the first place.

Ashlyn Chase
Where there's fire, there's Ash
www.ashlynchase.com

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Bit on Blogging

Hello Everyone!

The September authors are wrapping up their extensive blog tours, the October authors getting ready for theirs, and I just sent the November authors their tours. Sufficed to say, our authors are saturating the book blogging community! And that’s a good thing!

As I’ve mentioned to all of you before, guest blogging has become the newest and easiest way to connect with readers. Yes, it’s a lot of work and yes, it’s hard to come up with topics and yes, it can be totally annoying—but I’ve had many a conversation with industry professionals (including booksellers) who think it’s really great and proactive that our authors are out there talking about their books.

So, I’ve put together some tips and info that I think everyone will benefit from!

1) Give Good Blog: Keep your blogs at a conversational length—I think a good length to aim for is 750-800 words, but in general blogs are around 500-1000 words. Anything less than 500 looks like you’re lazy and anything more than 1000 becomes way too wordy and the reader can get bogged down.
Tip: Remember to end your blogs with a question to encourage the readers to comment!

2) You don’t have to talk just about your book—let’s face it, mentioning your book summary and the blurbs you’ve gotten and where to look for it and where to find more information on you can get tiresome and boring!
Tip: One thing I’ve started doing is asking bloggers to give me topic suggestions to help you all get the wheels rolling for guest blogs. This also helps because then we get to know what bloggers (and therefore readers) want to know not only about your books, but also about you as an author! Some of the most commented on blogs I’ve seen aren’t because I’m sponsoring a giveaway, but are about the funny things writers do in their day to day lives!

3) But you do have to talk about your book—first and foremost (even though I just said you don’t have to always talk about your book), your blog tours are about promoting your books, and doing whatever you can to drive your audience into stores or online booksellers and actually purchase your books. So, yes, have fun talking about your favorite song—but you do have to tie that in to your book, or your writing process, or something related to your craft and/or creation of the current book.

4) Sneak a Peak—Bloggers love it when they can say they have an exclusive excerpt. But, personally, as someone who reads book blogs anyway (and not just because I get paid to do it), I think it’s a bit of a cop out when an author just sends and excerpt and that’s it.
Tip 1: Be sure to explain why you chose an excerpt to share—does this reveal something surprising about the hero or heroine? Is it particularly funny? Did something happen to inspire you to write it? Or maybe the research behind a scene was interesting and might not be totally clear to the reader upon reading it?
Tip 2: I think many readers like escaping through romance novels, but I do think they want to take something away from them as well, and guest blogs are a great way to explain this to them.

5) PROOFREAD. PROOFREAD. PROOFREAD.—or if you don’t catch your own mistakes, find someone that can. Please remember that I am a publicist not an editor. I have most of my press materials looked over by fellow publicists, copy editors, etc. (and sometimes, outside parties [like my mom or my boyfriend] who have no idea what I’m talking to ensure it makes sense on a literal level)
Tip 1: I do look over your blogs for content, and sometimes I do catch a random grammatical error or typo. And I do let you know when I think something can be re-worked, edited down or changed. But the last thing I want to see happen is that snarky commenter (see #9) who is just waiting for an author to do something wrong, and call them out on it!
Tip 2: Additionally, I’ve had bloggers not post a blog based on bad grammar. Seriously. It hasn’t happened in a while, but it’s been done.

6) Organization—This is more of a personal publicist preference rather than an overarching idea—send me your blogs in an attached word document, saved along the lines like “September 10 Casablanca Authors Blog DJackson.doc” (date, blog, name). You have no idea how many guest blogs I receive that are “guest blog 7” or “blog.doc.” Nonetheless, this will keep them organized on your computer, my computer and the blogger’s computer when I send them out.

7) Say Cheese! And send me a current (ie within the last 2 or 3 years) author photo—bloggers and readers want to see your dazzling smiles! Putting a face with a book yet another way to connect: what, authors are real people? Who woulda thunk?
Tip: I know for some of you, we run into penname issues, and that can be worked around.

8) Be Social! Aside from my #1 rule (which is #10 on this list)—you MUST MUST MUST check comments. Even when there aren’t any, YOU MUST SAY SOMETHING. It’s poor internetiquette not to say “Hey Blogger McBloggerson, thanks for having me today! I hope you enjoyed this little bit about my new book. Readers, I’ll check in during the day to answer any questions and join in the fun discussion!”
Tip: Now, I know—you have a day job and kids in school and errands to run and deadlines to meet and any number of other things to do, so if you KNOW you are going to be super busy or are going out of town or there’s an emergency—let me know! You don’t have to tell me minute by minute details, but you do need to let me know so I can tell the blogger you might not be able to check on comments. And if you know far enough in advance, we can schedule around it.

9) Don’t Fight with the Readers. If someone says something mean or disrespectful or ridiculous or rude and totally stupid and irrelevant, DON’T RESPOND TO IT. If you have to think twice about pressing save or send, DON’T PRESS THAT BUTTON.
Tip: Remember my mantra: the internet never goes away. Say it to yourself for a few minutes.

10) Have FUN! Guest blogging is definitely work—but it is something every author should start considering a part of their overall publishing career (and if they don’t, then they will be surprised at the state of the romance market). And you should be HAPPY and EXCITED to share your work with eager readers—both those that know about you, and the new readers out there who should know about you.

Now wouldn’t you know it, I’ve gotten very wordy (1,196 words—oh man). But if you have questions I’ll be around all day and answer them in the comments! Also, share some of your own blogging experiences or tips!