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Showing posts from January, 2012

Ushering In Change

At the start of each year my sister and I sit down do our tarot cards for the next twelve months. One card for each month and one for overall—so 13 in total. I don’t know when this ritual started or what we hope to prove but for a few hours, usually with a glass of wine, we shuffle and deal and examine and make guesses. We look back at last year’s and sometimes we can go oh yes, March was 2 of coins and I was juggling a lot of different projects which ties perfectly (hindsight is 20/20). At this time I also like to look back at the good things the year brought: things-that-made-me-smile-in-2011 In December I also like to clear my writing desk and make an attempt to look super organised for January (so far looking good as I can still see my writing desk—my desk at work is a lost cause, A1 plans take up a lot of space). This year I also took down two years’ worth of goblin notes which I’d stuck to the wall behind my desk. I also removed some paint in the process—woops. This was neatly

New Beginnings?

To be honest, a new beginning is what I need.Despite the release of my debut novel DEMONS PREFER BLONDES in June and the sequel, DEMONS LIKE IT HOT , in December, 2011 was a year that isn’t worth repeating. Several family dilemmas and emergencies really played the ringer on my writing mojo. I come from a rather close-knit family, so when they hurt, I hurt with them. My sister became ill and that found me in the middle of helping my mother transport children here and there, to school and other various events. Things seem to be on the up and up on and my sister is on the mend, which I am truly grateful for. Then, the day before thanksgiving, my other sister’s cat was fatally mauled by two pitbulls whose owners thought it would be funny to watch their dogs attack a poor defenseless cat. My mother and I arrived right after the incident. If only we had been there a few minutes earlier. We found the cat cowered in the corner scared out of its mind and in shock. We rushed him to the v

Goodbye CHECKMATE, MY LORD--Helllooo, Ethan deBeau, by Tracey Devlyn

New beginnings? Wow, I think this whole year is going to be one new beginning after the other. My debut novel, A LADY'S REVENGE , steps onto the ballroom floor in April--six years after agent Cora deBeau made a mental appearance and then decided to stay in my life for a while. In addition to all the wonderful things I must do to prepare for ALR's debut, I'll be attending several functions as an author , rather than a pre-pub. An incredibly exciting realization. I'll be taking part in several book signings, too. Here are the highlights of my schedule: Barbara Vey's Reader Appreciation Luncheon April 10, 10:30 am - 4:00 pm, Oak Creek, WI RT Booklovers Convention April 11 - 14, Rosemont, IL Spring Fling Conference April 27-28, Hoffman Estates, IL Romance Writers of America July 24-28, Anaheim, CA Put Your Heart in a Book Conference October 12-13, New Jersey My critique partner, Adrienne Giordano , and I are excited to open a satellite Lady Jane's


Talk about new beginnings. In my writing world I was doing a nice long line dance where my characters were all dancing together in time with the music ... step forward, kick back, slap your fanny and yell, “Hell, yeah!” Like the line dance, I had all my ducks in a row. One Hot Cowboy , coming out in April…check. Woman’s Fiction book (although we were having trouble with just the right title) coming out in August…check. Mistletoe Cowboy , October…check. Just a Cowboy , December…check. Now slap my fanny and yell, “Hell, yeah!” and get on to the last book in the contract … check. Then the music stopped. The line dance broke up and new beginnings began as the band switched from playing a fanny slapping line dance to a two-step. Uncheck, uncheck, uncheck as I watched the ducks waddle back to the pond in the space of a twenty minute phone call. One Hot Cowboy , still coming out in April …check. But there was a whole new bunch of new beginnings on my dance card. It was time to partne

The Danger that is Damion

Happy 2012 everyone! I know I'm getting old because I already month of 2012 and it feels like days. I blinked and it's gone. I am going to blink and it will be RT Convention time too. RT is in Chicago this year and I was born in Springfield and have tons of family up that way. I am really excited to get to see them all. I hope I will get to see many of the Casablanca authors there and meet a lot of the readers I talk to on twitter, facebook, and yahoo groups. And what timing -- Damion is out right after RT! Since we are beginning a new year, I thought it would be fun to share the first impression the heroine from THE DANGER THAT IS DAMION makes on Damion. Coming in May! **Note-- blogger wasn't playing nice with me. It keeps centering the excerpt. So my apologies that it's not aligned a bit nicer. THE DANGER THAT IS DAMION By Lisa Renee Jones ZODIUS #3: THE DANGER THAT IS DAMION Sourcebooks Casablanca (May 2012) Zodius Series Page Pre-order at Ama


by Deb Werksman Editorial Manager, Sourcebooks Casablanca Instead of hearing myself talk today, I want to hear from YOU! To that end, please see below a short survey of your romance reading habits. Please cut and paste with your answers, either as a post here, or in an email to me directly . A random selection of 5 responders will win a FREE novel of your choice from Sourcebooks! Be sure to include your email address in your post if you want to be included in the drawing. Please tell your friends—I want to hear from as many people as possible! 1) How many romance novels have you read in the last 3 months? 2) What sub-genres were they? ___ Contemporary ___ Paranormal ___ Romantic Suspense ___ Historical ___ Erotic Romance ___ Other (please specify) My favorite sub-genre is: 3) How many were were ebooks? ___ How many were print books? ___ Of how many did you get BOTH the ebook and the print book? ___ 4) Where did you buy them? (check all that appl

First Look at Untouched & Giveaway! -- Sara Humphreys

As fate would have it, this month's theme fits in nicely with my April release, Untouched. Kerry Smithson experiences a series of "firsts" courtesy of the disarmingly handsome, Dante Coltari. Allow me to explain. Kerry is a plus-size model with a super-size secret and she's hidden her curse from every single person in her life, including her best friend Samantha. Just the slightest touch of another human being brings blistering pain and mind-numbing visions and even though she's lived much of her life in the public eye, she's remained isolated. Adopted into a cold and aloof family, she's never known real love, except for her BFF.  Samantha is the only person she can touch without pain or frightening visions. When she touches Sam, all she sees is the image of a wolf. Kerry has no idea why that's the case...she's just grateful for it. So let's think about this. If she can't touch anyone without experiencing blood-curdling pain...the

Old Beginnings by Grace Burrowes

I started writing romance in my late forties, saw my first contract around age 51, and at age 52 have four books on the shelves—for which I’m very grateful. To appearances, I got a late start, but a good one, in the published author biz. And I was lucky—I didn’t have to do much pitching, didn’t have to query a zillion agents, didn’t have to revise and resubmit a dozen books. I wrote a few manuscripts, sent them around to some contests, pitched an editor, and here we are, several Regency romances later, loving life. Except that characterization, while not deceptive, is not accurate either. Trace the threads of my writing story back to their origins, and you’ll see me forty years ago , being lent a copy of “The Wolf and the Dove” by a junior high acquaintance. Trace them back further, and you’ll find me reading my eyes bloodshot at the age of eight, when I got hold of my first Hardy Boys adventure (never did find much of interest about Nancy Drew). When I was seven, I started keep

First Impressions by Stephanie Julian

As we all know, first impressions are so important. That's especially true with books, where a reader will usually pick up a book based first on the cover. I've been blessed with three gorgeous covers for my Forgotten Goddess series. They perfectly express the sensual nature of the stories inside. After that, if the reader is like me, they'll flip the book and read the back cover blurb. I can't tell you how many times I've put a book back on the shelf because the blurb failed to hook me. But if it did, I immediately go to the first chapter and start to read. For me, if the first page fails to catch my interest, I put the book down. I'm sure I'm not the only one. I'm sure there are great books out there that I haven't read because the first few sentences simply didn't grab my attention. The most recent example of one that did hook me...Gena Showalter's THE DARKEST NIGHT. "Every night, death came, slowly, painfully, and every

First Drafts by Tamara Hogan

Can you keep a secret? Vegas rules, right? I hate writing first drafts. There. I said it. I know, I know. I've heard all the writerly bromides: "First drafts are  supposed to be bad." "You can fix anything but a blank page." But the perfectionist who lives in my head isn't listening. She's singing, "Let it suck, let it suck, let it suck!" - to the tune of "Let It Snow" - at the top of her lungs. Being I'm five chapters into my third manuscript, with a good fifteen chapters yet to go, let's just say she's gonna be singing for awhile. Yeah, I know. La Nora's right. Once the first draft has been written, the words can be fixed - but I've learned that I'm one of those writers who loves revising, and sometimes vapor-locks looking at a blank screen. Some tricks I've learned to goose myself out of the blocks a little faster: Step away from the computer. I pick up a notebook and pen, set the timer for

UNDER FIRE - New Excerpt! (By Catherine Mann)

Happy New Year, everyone! Our January blog theme of new beginnings immediately made me think of my next "Elite Force" book coming out in May - UNDER FIRE. While I've posted an excerpt from chapter one of UNDER FIRE in a previous blog, I have not yet posted THE beginning of the book. This blog presents the perfect opportunity! For those of you who have not yet read my "Elite Force" books, they feature Air Force pararescue jumpers (PJs.) There are only approximately 350 pararescuemen in the world, and they're trained for high risk rescues, military and civilian. Land. Water. Mountains. They can hold off an opposing force if needed and stabilize a wounded individual while waiting for transport out. PJs train hard, then train even harder... Ooh-rah! And now, an advance peek at the opening of UNDER FIRE, "Elite Force" book 3, May 2012: CHAPTER ONE: Patrick Air Force Base, Florida: “Kill one. Screw one. Marry one.” Major Liam McCabe almost c

New Year - New Anticipations

The start of a new year is an exciting time. And it always makes me think of things I'm looking forward to in the next twelve months. 2012 looks to be an exciting year and I can't wait to see what lies ahead. But for me, these are the things I can't wait for... 1. Disneyland We're taking a family vacation in February. It'll be the first time my you ngest will see the Magic Kingdom. I can't wait to see his reaction. And since the last two times I was there I was pregnant each time, I can't wait to experience all the rides myself! 2. The release of my critique partner's debut release-- FEVER by Joan Swan ! I have loved this book so long, and I can't wait until readers can get it in their hands. Sexy firefighters, a dangerous conspiracy and a smoking hot romance. FEVER releases in March. Don't walk to buy this book...RUN! 3. My first RT Convention! I've never been, so I'm all kinds of excited. And since ENRAP TURED releases in April--

Keeping it Fresh

By Leah Hultenschmidt, Senior Editor This week, I’ve been doing a big pitch critique over at YA chat lit. Even though the material is all young adult, you might want to check it out for ideas in honing your own pitches: Here’s a roundup of some of the most common questions I had for those who submitted a pitch: · Where’s the hook? What is the element of your story that’s going to make everyone clamor to read it? · Where and when is it set? · Does it fit the category? If it’s YA, the pitch needs to mention that the characters are teens. And for romance, I need a happy ending for the main characters. One comment that came up frequently for me was that I’d seen a lot of similar themes lately. The pitch was strong—it summarized the story, it had a hook, there was a sense of drama, the storyline was clear—but I felt as if I’d read it before. This is always

New Beginnings means Change, By Kathryne Kennedy

As a writer, I deal with change in my stories all of the time. Usually, my hero and heroine are not right for each other at the beginning of a book. They need to change in order to earn their happily-ever-after. But change is difficult, so I have to force them to do so by putting them into difficult situations that will challenge them emotionally—and since I write adventurous fantasy—physically, as well. But I’m pulling all of the strings. In order to have a new beginning, there must be change, and in real life, that’s the toughest thing to do. First, there has to be a realization for the need to change…sometimes just recognizing the need will take you halfway there. There’s an old adage that I love: You can’t keep doing the same thing over and over and expect different results. So. Am I happy? Is my life taking the direction I want it to? Now, realistically, no one can be happy one-hundred-percent of the time. But people should be happy most of the time…life is just too

Beginnings and Endings

By Cheryl Brooks Tarq smelled her before he ever laid eyes on her--a glorious, delectable aroma that curled through his head and shot straight into his bloodstream. Closing his eyes, he inhaled deeply as the effect of her fragrance hit him with the force of a pulse blast, obliterating every thought with the instantaneous ecstasy of an erection so hard it made his head swim. He glanced away from his menu, taking in the shape of her legs out of the corner of his eye--what he could see of them, that is. Her baggy trousers and apron concealed everything about her legs except the fact that she had two of them. "Hi, my name is Lucy, and I'll be your server," she said. "Do you already know what you'd like, or do you need more time? Tarq smiled to himself as he shook his head. No, he didn't need more time. He knew exactly what he wanted. "You," he replied. "I'd like a full order of you ."     Those are the opening paragraphs of my upcom

Beginning a new manuscript

January is a time for new are Mondays. I don't bother trying to start a diet on Jan 1st, because it's my anniversary. Less than a week later is my birthday, then we go away for our annual post holiday brain thaw in a warmer climate. This year we went to Panama. (See the gorgeous waterfall I posted on You Tube last week.) But today, Monday the 15th, it's time to buckle down and get back to reality. I have a head start this time. The book began to pour out of me a couple months ago, so I wrote a few pages. I liked the characters and incorporated them into the story I had been writing before deadline. (First in a new series. It's a spin off of the Strange Neighbors books. The new series is called Flirting with Fangs.) I finished book 1 right before vacation and sent to to my agent for her feedback--then I was able to relax for an entire week. Whew! How often does that happe

Beginning a new manuscript

January is a time for new are Mondays. I don't bother trying to start a diet on Jan 1st, because it's my anniversary. Less than a week later is my birthday, then we go away for our annual post holiday brain thaw in a warmer climate. This year we went to Panama. (See the gorgeous waterfall I posted on You Tube last week.) But today, Monday the 15th, it's time to buckle down and get back to reality. I have a head start this time. The book began to pour out of me a couple months ago, so I wrote a few pages. I liked the characters and incorporated them into the story I had been writing before deadline. (First in a new series. It's a spin off of the Strange Neighbors books. The new series is called Flirting with Fangs.) I finished book 1 right before vacation and sent to to my agent for her feedback--then I was able to relax for an entire week. Whew! How often does that happe

A New Beginning: "Cowboy Crazy"

New beginn ings, for me, mean new cowboys. And in June 2012, I'm introducing readers to my hottest hero ever in "Cowboy Crazy." If you have any doubts about that, take a look at this cover. Sourcebooks has given me some great cowboy covers, but this is the best ever. Who can resist a battered hat, workingman's abs, and a sense of humor? Not me--and not my heroine, Sarah Landon. Sarah's a country girl who's determined to go cosomopolitan. She's sworn off cowboys for life, but when her boss introduces her to his brother--the family renegade--that resolution, along with her hard-won professionalism, is tested to its limits. Here's their first meeting: Lane Carrigan filled the doorway, standing with his legs slightly apart and his arms folded over his chest. He was taller than his brother by a couple of inches, but what caught Sarah's attention was the uncanny vibrance of his blue eyes. Eric had those same eyes, but in his aristocratic face they

Chapter One (and Two and Three) by Shana Galen

I love starting a new book. I know a lot of writers struggle with novel beginnings, but I usually find the first three chapters the most fun and the easiest to write. There's something so exhilarating about beginning a new book. The story is fresh, the characters are new and undiscovered, and the adventure is just commencing. It's not always easy to get that first sentence or first paragraph right, though. Sometimes at the end of a book, I go back and write the first few pages again. I'm sure everyone has their favorite first lines. Here are a few of mine. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. Pride and Prejudice --Jane Austen It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter

New Beginnings: Good and Bad (well, to the mom in me...) by Judi Fennell

Friday the 13th... Ah, my lucky day. And I hope it stays that way. I have some things going on writing-wise that i cant yet share, but im hopeful they'll be nee beginnings. More to follow on that later, hopefully. Other new beginnings for this year include a Kid starting college. I don't like to share a lot of info about my family (the PR is for my career, not theirs, and we like to keep their private life private), but as this Kid will be an adult this (another new beginning), I figure I can mention the college thing. This, of course, is HUGE for our family. Will said Child/Adult commute? Live there? Be too far away for Mom's liking? I now know how my parents felt, and omg, time to go give them a hug. Luckily, I still can. And I have to hug the Kid of course. (Kid is getting tired of the hugs...) Other new beginnings - big changes at my Day Job and today is the day we will find out about them. It will affect the direction of the company, though, hopefully, NOT my job

A New Introduction… Beth Pehlke, Sourcebooks Publicist! + a Giveaway

by Danielle Jackson, Sourcebooks Casablanca Publicist  I’ve mentioned a couple of times over the last few months that Sourcebooks Casablanca recently welcomed a new publicist to the mix: Beth Pehlke! She is wonderful and it is so great to have another romance team member in the publicity department. Oh and if you’re wondering—yes, Beth (on the left) and I are standing with a cow in our photo! That is one of the Chicago Cows that were all over the city of Chicago in the late 1990s/early 2000s! Dominique bought one of the more literary themed cows [rumOr has it she Outbid some very famOus ChicagOans… One VERY famOus One], and it lives in the area of our building we call the bull pen! Anyway… I thought a fun and easy way for us to get to know Beth was to invite her on the blog and do a little interview, and put her on the other side of blogging. On with the interview: DJ: Tell us a little bit about yourself! BP: Oh goodness, let’s see. I’m the youngest of three dau