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Showing posts from August, 2012

Beautiful Books

by Joanne Kennedy   I love books. Especially old books.I love corner bookstores, boxes of books in dusty attics, and the smell of ink and paper. I love the heft of a big book in my hands, the riffling of pages, the feeling of discovery as you open to the first page, and the look of a well-stocked library. Anthony Powell was right: Books do make a room. E-books are great for both readers and writers. But as bookstores close and publishers struggle, I wish publishers would take a step back in time and capitalize on the qualities people have always loved in books—the qualities nookbooks and Kindle editions just can't replicate. There’s no point in competing with e-publishers to make books that are cheaper, less cumbersome to carry, or easier to distribute. So why not make them beautiful? Wouldn't it be great if we brought back the days when books had beautiful leather bindings and marbled endpapers; gilt decorated covers and quaint illustrations pasted on the front?. I

Thoughts on Writing a Romance Series

by Deb Werksman Editorial Manager, Sourcebooks Casablanca As an acquiring editor I'm always asking for a series concept, a trilogy, or a concept for multiple books that allow for branding and building readership. When I talk about "career arc" I'm looking for what your next, next, next books will be... Here are some things to think about as you conceive and write a series for the romance readership. In today's marketplace, the current/most recent book is going to be the most visible. The booksellers are very focused on frontlist. That means readers have to be able to enter your series at any point. Each book has to be able to stand on its own. Build and (re)populate the world in every book. Never assume readers have read the series from the beginning. Don't explain backstory--give the information in the telling of the new story. Bring fresh secondary characters into every book. Future heroes and heroines have to be desirable/redeemable every time they appear i

Trends and obsessions

Trends aren't just for writing. The new trend is to say you're obsessed with something. Picture Kelly Osborn on Fashion Police saying, "I'm obsessed with those shoes!" Don't watch it? Well, what can I say? That's something else I'm obsessed with. Some people are obsessed with the Twilight novels...or were. Has the trend passed? I'm not sure. I've always been told not to write to trends. But isn't that what happens organically? Who wants to produce a book that no one will buy? Beyond writing, I have another obsession. I'm obsessed with euro beads. That's the generic term for those pricey Pandora bracelets. For those of us who cannot afford the Pandora brand, there are less expensive alternatives and they're just as pretty. I love making them! I've become so obsessed, I can't wear all the bracelets I make. Even though I'm branching out into necklaces and earrings, I still need to give some away to prev

Say Cheese! School Pictures

It’s almost back-to-school time for my kids, and the two weeks leading up to the new school year are always busy. We have registration, open house, freshman orientation, and orientation for parents of freshmen this year. It means a lot of running around and check-writing. You heard right, folks. Our public schools don’t take Visa, Mastercard, or American Express. And you have to write separate checks for each fee; eight checks between two kids! (Don’t even get me started.) But this blog isn’t about the hassles involved with registration. It’s about the part I really like. School pictures! The school takes pictures at registration, so the parents can see and approve the photo. They also take them once more in the spring, so we can see how our kids have changed over the year. I love that!!! This year played out a little differently than in the past, though. I found myself on the verge of an all-out power struggle with both of my kids over what to wear. Here’s how the conve

Finding the Time to Read

by Olivia Cunning Do you know why I became a writer? Easy. I love to read. If you don't love to read, I don't think you have any business writing. Once upon a time, I could sit and read an entire book from cover-to-cover. Some days I'd even read two books in one day. *gasp!* These days, that seems like a modern-day fairy tale. An impossible dream. Unrealistic. I just don't have time! I currently have this book on my nightstand. I got it in my head that I would reread the entire Harry Potter series this summer from beginning to end. Come to think of it, the last book I read cover-to-cover in one sitting was "HP and the Deathly Hallows". It's been years! So in preparation for my intended reading marathon, I replaced several of my hard copies. A few of my original books had "magically" disappeared when I loaned them out to family members. So once I had all seven books lined up on my shelf, I eagerly started reading. I can't wait.

Secret loooovers: that's what we are...

I'm Macy Beckett, and I have a confession. See the pretty cover up there? The one with moonlight dancing over a placid Texas lake? Well, I've been having a secret, obsessive relationship with that book. (Shh! don't tell my husband!) It all started a couple of months ago when the FedEx man delivered a batch of ARCs (advance reader copies) to my doorstep. Sultry with a Twist is my debut novel, so this was the first time I'd seen my work in print form. It was magical. It was stunning. It was A REAL BOOK! It also occurred to me that if I was holding my secret lover, other people were, too. (She gets around, but that's okay. We have an open relationship.) Not only had print ARCs gone out to bloggers and reviewers, but the digital copy was available on netgalley . That meant strangers were reading my book! Commence screaming! That's when the nasty beast Anxiety  wrapped its tentacles around my body, bent me over the sofa, and had its way with me. Holy

The Rules for Grown Ups by Shana Galen

I was probably born to be a teacher. My grandmother was a teacher and my aunts were teachers and from as far back as I can remember, my mom would say to me, “you should be a teacher.” This was inevitably during a time when I was bossing my little sister around. Hey, some people just need more direction, right? I did become a teacher and taught for eleven years. There were definitely aspects of teaching I did not care for, but there were some I embraced without fail. The rules was one of these. Before my first year of teaching, I spent many hou rs thinking about my classroom rules—how many would I have (not too many!), how would I write them (as positive “Do” statements), and how would I enforce them (detention!)? I probably should have been thinking about what to do when a student cursed at me and threw his shoe at my head, but I was 23 and had no experience with inner city kids. The hero of my ne xt book, When You Give a Duke a Diamond , which releases September 1 st , has n

Reading aloud...for an audience

Last weekend I was invited to be the guest reader at the Katherine Susannah Prichard Speculative fiction awards. The Katherine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Center (or KSP) is the oldest writers center of its kind in Australia and is set in the hills (we only have one lot of hills in Perth). It is a lovely old house with accommodation for the writer in residence. The idea of a 4 week funded writing retreat is so tempting, but I can’t see hubby or the kids letting me go for that long…maybe when they are older. While it was a thrill to be invited to read at the awards, it was followed by what will I read! These people aren’t romance lovers, and yet everything I write is either romance or has romantic elements. My next thought was, arg! My first solo reading and my longest . And they are going to be a tougher crowd than the kids at bed time. I’ve had lots of practice reading aloud every night for the past…well enough years that the kids appreciate story and comment if nothing hap

Reading, the Real Theatre of the Mind

from Mia Marlowe ... I've heard it said that radio dramas were "theatre of the mind." Listening to radio stories wasn't a passive activity in the way movies or stage plays are. The story didn't merely wash over you. It was an active sort of entertainment. Listeners had to populate their mental stages with all the characters and action they could only hear. They had to build the settings and put the characters in motion in a world they alone could see. Radio dramas were good mental exercise, but IMO, books are what really provide this experience. With only ink on a page, readers have to collaborate with the author to populate the story with flesh and blood characters, to build a whole world filled with sights, sounds, smells and textures. But what happens when the world is so different from what a reader is used to? One of my intrepid Dutch readers had no trouble imagining Brandr, my hot, fire mage hero. Of course, the wonderful cover helps there. But s

Read, read and read again!

Gone With the Wind is my all time favorite book and I reread it about every ten years. That means I’ve read it at least four times since that first time I got my hands on a copy that looked like this in 1968 and seen the movie too many times to count without taking off my shoes.   At twenty, I was a young mother with a child who wouldn’t sleep at night and the book was thick enough I figured it would take me at least a week to read it. I was wrong! I got so caught up in the story that I read it in three days. I fell in love with Rhett Butler and if Husband would have agreed our son would have been Charles Rhett instead of Charles Lemar. I loved Scarlett’s spit fire determination and sassiness and decided that if I ever wrote a book (which was my secret dream) that all my heroines would have a back bone of steel and just as much sass as Scarlett. The first line about Scarlettt O’Hara not being beautiful but having so much charm caught my attention. I wondered if the author pict

HOT Cowboys + Giveaway by C.H. Admirand

It’s official, cowboys are HOT…for those of you who have read a western romance, this isn’t news, but for those of you who are new to western romances…the cowboy is THE quintessential American hero. They work from dawn til dark and get up again to do it all over again the next day. There are no days off…the land is a harsh mistress, but they love working their spread…their land, caring for their animals/herd, and if they are lucky enough have a good woman to stand by their side through it all. This is where I come in ready to give one of my favorite hero-types a shot at happily ever after!     Cowboys can be tough as nails when they have to…with a marshmallow center that they only show to a select few. Add a tall rangy frame, broad shoulders, and working-man’s hands and you’ve got my attention. Toss in a few character flaws and you’ve got a kick-butt story. What’s not to love?     Although the third book in my hot cowboy trilogy, JESSE, released

Upcoming Releases and Blog Tour Schedule for Savage Hunger! by Terry Spear

Creating books is only part of the process of being an author. Creating fun ways to promote can be another. The other day, one of my fans had a really neat picture of herself with wolves, inspired by me, she said. Thanks, Donna! So off I went to check out the site and low and behold, I sacrificed hours of writing on JAGUAR FEVER, my bad (though I did get 3,000 words written yesterday), but I got hooked on making up a new profile picture for Facebook, and some more for guest blogs for the upcoming book tour. So here's what I came up with. imikimi - sharing creativity Yep, it's my brand. Wolves. imikimi - sharing creativity  But now I have jaguars too. Sometimes finding the right picture can be a chore, if you're like me and don't have many very nice ones, but I found one that could work for the picture so there you have it! Me in the jungle with one of my big cats. Now, figuring out which one of them it is, will be the really tough part. I also updat