Thursday, July 30, 2009

Couple More Tips and an Update

I wanted to start with the biggest tip I ever got concerning writing.


Yes, read anything and everything you can find in your genre, be it romance, sci-fi, western, whatever... read and absorb. Am I saying to copy? No, no, no. But the more you read, you'll see what works, what doesn't work, what publishers are buying.

Okay, so that sounds silly or maybe what you might call obvious. You'd be surprised. I've met plenty of aspiring writers who don't read. Their work reflects that. I've also met and become friends with MANY PUBLISHED writers who READ ALL THE TIME. They do it to improve their craft, to see what's out there, and to find new voices in writing.

So the best advice I can give anyone who wants to start writing is to read and read widely.


I sent a short story to an editor a while back. While you may recall that the editor told me: thanks, but resubmit when you have the bugs worked out.

Well, I worked out those bugs. I fixed the beginning and I think, not totally sure (Who really ever is?), that the editor will like it. She liked it enough to ask for a resub, which I've heard is rare for her. Fingers crossed!

Also, I submitted another longer story about my Air Force soldiers to WRP. I'm hoping for good things. I really feel strongly about the emotional quality of this story and hope it will resonate with readers. We shall see.

So off my soapbox and back to the bat cave.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tips for Writers Part Two

I needed to add a bit of an addendum to my post.

Self Publishing may be the road for you. It may not. Some big authors and some popular books started out as self-published titles. Ever hear of Chicken Soup for the Soul? BUT that isn't to say there isn't some SP that may not be up to par.

Some people don't want their work picked and poked apart by and editor. That's fine for them. But then again, sometimes that picking helps the story and moves it along. Some authors want to keep the feel and voice of their work. By all means, do that. All I'm saying is that editors and the red pen aren't evil. Wordiness can kill a great storyline, just as too many details and too big of gaps between the characters can drag down a heart wrenching piece.

Am I trying to insult SP authors. Heck no! Some of my good friends are Sp authors. I respect their decisions, because everyone is different.

What I am trying to say? As Fleetwood Mac said, you have to go your own way. What may be good enough for me won't fulfill your requirements.

Whatever choice you make, make sure you do your research and are satisfied. If you're happy and willing to make it work, then your dreams will come true.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Read Hot Reads for Summer Nights

I have another editor of my Red Hot Reads. Here are my picks for the month of July.

...and Able Lucy Monroe, Brava, Contemporary

The one you love may not be the one you think you deserve, but when it’s right, it’s right. In the case of Brett and Claire, she’s got to be willing to accept in and he’s got to be... Able.
Mated to a Wolf, Marisa Chenery, Liquid Silver Books, Contemporary, Paranormal, Fantasy

When a woman’s in love, she’ll stop at nothing to get her man. When he’s not sure he’s in love, he’d better watch out. An independent, determined woman will get her mate.
Want to know more? Read Mated to a Wolf and find out.
Another Man’s Baby, Kay Stockham, Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd., Contemporary

Life throws you curve balls all the time. You have the choice: do you duck or do you catch it and make the best of things? How do you handle life when you’re carrying Another Man’s Baby? Read Darcy and Garret’s story and find out.
Forbidden Island, Samantha Gentry, The Wild Rose Press, Contemporary

Sometimes a chance encounter is all it takes to leave a lasting impression. Want to know more? Visit Forbidden Island and learn more.
Man with a Past, Kay Stockham, Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd., Contemporary, Inspirational
He’s got a reputation that he can’t shake. She’s in desperate need of home improvement help. He needs her in order to heal. She needs a Man with a Past in order to move on.
Every once in a while, that one book comes along that stays with you. You think about it long after the last page is turned. A Man with a Past is one of those books.
Solitary Man, Karen Drogin (aka Carly Phillips), Kensington Publishing Group, Contemporary

Some men find that their lives are complete with that special woman. Other’s find happiness on their own. In the case of Kevin Manning, circumstances he can’t control convince him he’s condemned to live life alone. When Nikki Welles intervenes, he’ll find he just may not be Solitary Man material.

The Warlord’s Woman, Tracy L. Ranson, Siren Publishing, Historical

She’s the heir to the Scottish throne. He’s bent on vengeance and punishment. Theirs is a marriage made quite a bit lower than heaven. Can Catherine handle the tough situation? Only is she’s willing to be The Warlord’s Woman.

Happy reading. Enjoy!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Tips for Writers

Someone asked me where to start... I sort of covered this the other day, but feels this needs another go-round.

Myth one: If you write, the editors will love whatever you do as long as you have an original voice.

Truth: Not quite.

If you understand the mechanics of writing and are willing to withstand the bluntness of a GOOD critique partner, you have a chance. BUT don't think you'll get the first thing you write picked up on the first go. It doesn't happen often. Many of the big writers started out doing magazine articles, writing short stories for free publications, writing shorts for low paying publications. You have to evolve and grow as an author. If you make it right out of the box, good for you, but you are part of the slim minority.

Myth two: You'll make lots of money right away.

Truth: Wrong.

Truth is, once you sign the contract, you'll have at least a year before you see the financial fruits of your labor. Even then, if you sign with a smaller publisher, the sales won't be the same as a NY publisher - that's just common sense. You may have great sales, but to make the zillions, it takes time.

Myth three: Self publishing is just as good as a standard publisher.

Truth: Ummm, no.

There is a "law" that states the money runs down to the publisher. It's true. If you have to pay someone to publish your work, then your best interests aren't at the heart of the work. Theirs is. They want to make money and take yours. Am I stepping on toes saying this... probably, but if you're paying someone to publish, then they make the money from your payment and the royalties of your work. You get what's left. That's not much. Plus, the larger publishers tend to look down on self-publishing. You may have quality work, but ANYONE can self-publish, so there's a lot of garbage going up against your work.

I have some more myths, but I'll save them for another day.

If you want to write, by all means, go for it. I'll be the first one to back you up, but if you do, take your time and do it right. Use spellcheck, use a thesaurus, have blunt people look at your work, take criticism and improve.

Remember, no one gets it right straight out of the gate, otherwise, editors and proofers would be out of jobs.

So, back to my bat cave.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Thank God For CP's

A story isn't a story without a heart. You can't tell a great story without some sort of emotion behind it. Lies many times are told in order to protect, evade, or get around something. Fables are repeated in order to teach a lesson. Books are written to entertain.

All are true and must have heart behind them.

You can write a great story, but if your heart isn't in it, then the reader can tell the story is flat. When writing the story, if you don't feel something, you know the story is flat. I was once told (actually more than once) that if the love scene, no matter how g-rated, better make you squirm. If it doesn't, then the characters aren't squirming either. It's true. If you aren't' feeling it, then they aren't either.

So thank God for my CP's. I know, I say that a lot, but I truly think my work wouldn't be as rich without them. Right wouldn't be the same without my CP's. Same for Learning How to Bend. Yes, she caught a couple of big ones that I missed. Yikes!

I also wanted to share another tidbit of info. Someone asked me for advice. He wanted to start writing and didn't know where to start.

Where do you start?

I told him: write.

Sounds a bit simplistic, doesn't it? It's not. Before you can walk, you gotta crawl or scoot along the floor. Same thing goes for writing. Before you're going to write that great American novel (or whatever genre you choose), you need to practice your craft. Yes, it's a craft. Just like art is a craft and you must practice to get any better at drawing or painting or whatever, you must practice writing. Blog, write the stories as they pop into your head no matter how choppy they are, journal, and just plain write down the bits and pieces of stories.


You'll go through many versions of that GAN (Great American Novel) before it's even ready to go to a CP. But the more you practice, the better you'll get. You'll never be perfect on the first draft. No one is, no matter how big they are. Everyone needs to go through a second, third, and sixth draft.

But enough of my soapbox. I'll have more advice from the front line tomorrow.

Have fun. Practice.

Keep reading!


Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Second Free Read!

When I wrote Best I've Ever Had, I got quite a few emails asking about Blaine. What was his story? Why did he dislike Sam? Did he find love?

Go to Long and Short of It's Whipped Cream site. My free read Saturday Night Special is up TODAY! How cool is that? And yes, it is about Blaine.

Plus, I love the cover. Way to grab the tiny detail to make a fabulous cover, Judy!
And yes, the story does have a race theme to it... did you expect less from me? : )

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ever Have One of Those Days?

Ever had one of those days where no matter how hard you try, you can't seem to make ANYONE happy?

Ever had one of those days where you thought you made a funny joke and NO ONE laughed?

Ever had someone decide you'd been wronged, so they try to avenge the wrongdoing?

Ever wanted to just hide under the first rock until the season changed?

Welcome to my little piece of heaven. I wanted to blog and got busy, so I forgot. I wanted to blog hop and see what everyone had to say... forgot.

Saw the family... Are family reunions designed to make you want to rip your hair out? Maybe it's just that wonderful July weather... Who knows.

Well, now that my rant is over...

Going to get back to When You're With Me. It started out as No Strings Attached, but as the story has drastically changed, the name changed in time. He's an undercover cop and she's a stripper. It's fun to write because I've become attached (no pun intended) to the characters, but time has been short, so it's hard to get into the story, get out, get in... yada yada yada But I like having the art references because then I DON'T have to do research. Plus, I think it's incredibly sexy to bare your body and soul for an artwork, not just as the model, but also as the artist. (But then I also liked the love scene in Backbeat where Stu Sutciffe (Stephen Dorff) and Astrid Kircherr make love while painting on each other. OOh lala!)

As for the garden, bean time is almost over. Canned six more jars and vacuum sealed eight bags. It's worth it because then that's less to buy later, but a pain in the neck now to do. Oh well.

Back to the bat cave...

Friday, July 17, 2009

One of those days...

As I watch the news, I see that I'm not the only one having a so-so day. Tiger Woods didn't make the cut for a major tournament. Jeremy Mayfield got popped for meth and is fighting to keep his NASCAR career. Paris Hilton's fighting to keep her name in good light in a court hearing.

Wow! I mean, I don't want anyone to have a crappy day, but it's nice to know I'm not alone.

On to better things...

My characters in When You're With Me just don't want to behave... Imagine that. They really, really want to make whoopee, but it's too soon.

My pal Kiss told me never to have the characters sleep together too soon or the reader will close the book. She's right. If they screw around really early, then you have a pretty good idea they're going to end up together. But then again, isn't romance a bit formulaic? I don't mean that there's a specific formula you must follow to write a romance. What I mean is, the hero and heroine, in most cases, will end up together in the end. If they don't, you feel cheated.

So... now I'm off to figure out how to get my characters to behave for just a little longer and not make it sound like it's forced.

Any thoughts? Let me know.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ever considered becoming a reviewer?

Do you like to read romance?

Do you like to voice your opinions?

Do you want to learn about new authors and publishers?

Then become a reviewer for Long and Short of It Romance Reviews!

Here are the facts straight from the LASR homepage:

Are the reviewers paid?
Not in actual currency--all reviewers are strictly volunteers. BUT: you get to keep all the books you review--both eformat and print (some of which may be autographed). We also have an incentive program that includes gift certificates, free books from our library, free advertising and more.
What type of books does The Long and the Short of It review?
We review short stories and full length novels with strong romantic elements -- both erotic and non-erotic. We do plan on adding other genres in the future.
Do I have to review erotic romance? Can I only review erotic romance?
You're welcome to review whatever you like -- you're the one who chooses what you review! If you only enjoy sci-fi romance, that's what you may select. If you prefer inspirational, then you may review only inspirational. If you only like erotic romance... go for it! We never assign reviews.
What do you expect from your reviews?
Our reviews are positive (no snark allowed), honest (yes, you can mention things you didn't care for as long as the overall review is a good one), casual and conversational. It is also critical and informative. Don't just tell us you liked something, tell us why as specifically as possible.
We don't like to give away too much plot, but you can give a brief summary and then make your points about theme, character, style, etc. Your sample reviews should follow the length, style, tone of the site --- that's why the best thing to do before reviewing is to thoroughly read the reviews and features on our sites.
Our reviews usually run 250-500 words, but can be longer (preferably not too much shorter).
Do you require your reviewers to read a certain number of books per month?
We request you read/review a minimum of 2 books or short stories per month -- though we welcome it if you read more! You may review books from our requests database or books you've purchased or borrowed on your own.
Is there a turnaround time for a review to be written?
We prefer that all reviews are completed within 1 month of requesting the story/book. There are always exceptions, but that is our standard guideline.
Are the reviews edited?
All reviews go through a basic editing process. Our editors will change or correct any poor grammar, sentence structure, etc., while remaining true to the original review's content. If any more in-depth changes are needed, you'll be contacted by an editor requesting said changes.
Are International reviewers welcome?
Provided they are comfortable with writing in English, yes. Of course, only eBooks will be offered for them to review due to postage costs.
I'm sold! How do I apply?
If you are interested in reviewing for us, please send us an email with a sample book review of a title you've recently read and enjoyed. Please feel free to take a look at our reviews to get an idea of what we're looking for in a review.

Go on! Email them today and mention my name. You won't regret it.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009


It's that time once again. Oh yes it is. What time do you ask?


Green bean time!

The Dh LOVES to garden and since one row of beans is more than enough to feed the family... he plants THREE rows...

Now I'm a sport and I know we can use whatever we can to save money, but when it comes time to can and bag all those blasted beans, well, that's when the job falls to me.

But then again, like vacuuming the floors today, I got a great story start for one of my secondary characters in my novel. It's probably been done somewhere, but my heiress/movie star (not Paris Hilton) finds that the bright light of Hollywood isn't where it's at and goes to Crawford to start over and figure out who she really is... She finds she likes working for others...

Probably sappy, but I don't care.

Well, back to the beans.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Oh Those Wonderful Synopsis... Synopsi... Synopsis'... Those Thingys That Condense Your Story...

Well, the revisions to You'll Think of Me are almost done. A few tweaks here and a few tucks there.

Now I have to do that blasted synopsis.

A friend told me that the synopsis can make or break the story. She's right. If the synopsis is poorly written or doesn't hook the editor then you might not as well have written it.

But I also know that there are those editors who skim the synopsis to see what's going on without really paying attention to the mechanics of it. They want to get to the actual piece of writing - they want the skinny and go straight to the story.

Note: you can't write a crummy synopsis and plan to get an editor who doesn't look at that part of the submission. Reality happens and most of them read the synopsis. If you have a chunk in the synopsis that doesn't show up in the story, they'll know. That might even break the deal.

So, I must get back to the synopsis. (If you can't tell, yes, I'm procrastinating.).

Toodles and wish me luck.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Friends Rock!

So I sent in this manuscript I thought rocked... Well, it's great... heart warming, heart wrenching, really makes you think...

Sent this MS to an editor... she liked it... well, not enough to contract it... yet.

So I have hope? Yes. She wanted me to resubmit and looked forward to it. Empty flattery? Maybe, but it made me feel good. Will I resubmit? Oh, heck yeah. Can't let the opportunity grow cold or let it get away.

But I have to admit, I was a bit down yesterday. Yes, the nip of thanks, but not right now gnawed at my ego.

Now to my main point. I have these wonderful people otherwise known as my friends and my Cp's. Chele really helped remind me that I didn't start writing just make a bunch of money (though I wouldn't mind it) and I didn't do this just because I think I'm such a fabulous writer (I might be, but hey, my ego can take only so much fluff and pins).

Anyway, I wanted to remind everyone that even when those pesky letters come and say "Thanks but well, not right now", don't let it get you down. Yes, you should feel that pang of fear when you send out your baby for perusal by an editor. But you should also know it's not the end of the world if you get that no.

Keep trying! What's the worst that can happen? The next one sells? Keep trying and know that even the NY writers get turned down sometimes.

So thanks to Chele, Kealie, Kiss, Elaine, Ang, Marianne, and all those others who tell me to keep going when I want to give up. Thanks a bunch!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Hot Reads for Summer Nights

Here are my suggestions for a great read for a hot summer night or an afternoon at the beach:

Club Shadowlands, Cherise Sinclair, Loose Id., Contemporary

She’s stranded in the rain with a sinking car. He’s in charge of the club, but not about to share control. What happens when they meet on a dark and stormy night? Come to Club Shadowlands and find out.

Her Noble Destiny, Annie Marshall, DCL Publications, Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

She’s an Army nurse in a war zone. He’s a Scottish laird recovering from the loss of his brother. Who knew that 600 years, a Fae Queen, and circumstances beyond their control would bring them together? And what will happen when she can’t see her champion? She’ll learn Her Noble Destiny.

Magical Riffs: Rock Hard Seduction 4, Tonya Ramagos, Siren Publishing, Inc., Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

They share a past. A few weeks during one magical summer that neither of them can forget. Once they parted, neither thought they’d come together again. Who knew Magical Riffs would be that clasp to bind them once more?

Taking Chloe, Anne Rainey, Samhain Publishing, Contemporary

He’s a workaholic and she’s fed up. She wants her marriage to work. And he? Well, Chloe’s not sure what he wants. When Merrick realizes he’s close to losing Chloe, he decides he’s not taking no, he’s Taking Chloe.

Undercover Lover, Jane Leopold Quinn, Siren Publishing, Action/Adventure, Contemporary

He’s her fantasy lover. He’s also an undercover cop. She’s the object of his dirtiest desires. She also lives in the next building. What happens when they finally meet? Read Undercover Lover and find out.

Solitary Man, Karen Drogin (aka Carly Phillips), Kensington Publishing Group, Contemporary

Some men find that their lives are complete with that special woman. Other’s find happiness on their own. In the case of Kevin Manning, circumstances he can’t control convince him he’s condemned to live life alone. When Nikki Welles intervenes, he’ll find he just may not be Solitary Man material.

Hot-Wired, Jennifer LaBrecque, Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd., Blaze 0-60 series, Contemporary

She wants to plan the perfect wedding for a client. He wants to prevent the wedding at all costs because he’s convinced the groom isn’t totally honest. Problem? They keep butting heads until one wins or they both end up satisfied. What’s going to happen? Read Hot-Wired and find out.

I hope you enjoy! Happy reading.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Do Writers Have Spare Time?

Do writers have spare time?

In a word: no. A couple of my writer friends tell me they eat sleep and breathe writing. If you aren't writing, then you aren't creating.

In another word: yes. Where care you get great ideas? Go to a movie, read someone else's book, paint a painting, stroll the zoo or museum, walk down a city block in a small town or a large city. Heck, you could get inspired by folding your laundry...

I know, that sounds goofy. You may ask: How can that be? Simple.

You make time for other things. I've found that yes, writing can take over your life. If you are lucky enough to have a housekeeper (I'm not) and a nanny (What's that?) then you probably can devote your life to writing. If you can do all that, then great, because I'm not knocking it or you. I wish I could spend my day doing nothing but writing.

Or you have a life in addition to the writing and work on the side. Neither way is right or wrong. It's a matter of what works for you.

In my real world, I have laundry, dishes to wash, tumble weeds of dog fur floating under my couch, the cats fighting with the dogs, and an active 6 year old who love dinos. Sometimes, I'm lucky to get an hour to look at m computer.

Am I complaining? Far from it. I like my life and I wouldn't trade it. Individuality is the spice of life. If we're all the same, then things would be boring.

So, back to my bat cave and maybe once I fold the two baskets of laundry and clean up the front room, I can work some more on You'll Think of Me.

Well, I hope so anyway.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Dinos, Private Time, and Lolly-gagging

Took the tot to the zoo. We have these realistic anamatronic dinos at our local zoo and my son is gaga about them. He chanted "I'm not afraid" through the whole exhibit. Couple of years ago, the dinos scared him. This year, he LOVED it.

So did I get much done?????

I took pictures, yakked with pals, and didn't write a thing....

Spent time with the DH and went out to a kid-free dinner. Thought we were going to see the new Transformers movie. Watched Live Free or Die Hard instead. Not my idea of a hot movie, but it was time together without a zillion questions or a marathon of the Land of the Lost (The original one - Sid and Marty Kroft series).

Did I get anything done????

Still, sadly no.

Then I got the final Galley for Right. Then, I got something done. Oh, buddy, did I get something done. Yes, I want to get the thing right and promptly. I want to show I'm professional and hardworking. You know, to prove I can work well under pressure.

So, now it's back to the bat cave to work on a final draft for You'll Think of Me. I hope to submit it early next week.

Cross fingers for good luck and that it'll garner a contract.


Friday, July 3, 2009

Aren't Black and White Movies Great?

Pop the popcorn and turn down the lights. It's movie time.

I'm a sucker for a love story and the best ones I've found are the old black and white movies of the '30's and '40's. The men were dashing and the women, though a bit conforming to the times, knew what they wanted from their men.

There's a certain appeal to those movies that draws me in. Is it the alpha male who looks good brandishing a gun and then sweeping the heroine off her feet? Is it in his kiss? Or is it that he comes across polished yet gruff? Maybe none and maybe all three...

I think my favorite heroines are the ones from the gangster movies, you know, the ones with Cagney and Robinson. Women like Jean Harlow and Joan Blondell who know how to get their men to do what they want and still manage to look alluring while doing it. I loved Harlow's character in Red Dust. She's supposed to be a woman of the evening, but when Clark Gable's within her grasp, she's not afraid to grab with her claws. Or how about Lauren Bacall when she's determined to win her way into Bogart's heart in To Have and Have Not?

But I think my favorites happen to be Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Only Angels Have Wings. Jean Arthur portrays women who can stand on their own with intelligence and grace. Women in movies these days don't have nearly enough grace...

I'll get off my soapbox now.

Which movies are your favorites?

(Oh, and my all time favorite movie happens to be Field of Dreams.)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ever Felt the Blues?

Okay, so I'm not that down today. But that Elton John song came on the radio (yes, i still listen to the radio) - I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues - and it made me think... ever had the blues so bad it felt like the greens?

I'm knee-deep in two WIP's. One that's nearly a complete rewrite and the other that's close to submission state. The problem? I think I have the I'm getting close and getting nervous feeling flowing through my veins.

I'm critting some works for my CP's and that's helping a lot. Not because they made mistakes - not at all. It's because its refreshing to look at someone elses work and know the blood, sweat and tears invested in the piece. It renews my spirit that we're all in the same boat.

Well, back to the bat cave to work more on the WIP's. Good luck and great reading.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Editing and Critique Partners

Call me a dork. I like the editing process. I like the critique process. People all have different opinions on the world and writing is no different. The trick is to combine all these views together to make a cohesive piece of writing that others want to read.

Elementary, my dear Watson... or is it?

My current WIP that went to the critique partners is starting to trickle back to me. One CP said it was great and she loved it. That helps in that it tells me I'm on the right track. It was at least liked and not suffered through.

Yet another CP told me to slow the love scenes down and add more emotion. I can do that. She also said it was a genuinely likable story with characters she rooted for. Again, that's promising.

The third CP so far has given me plenty of comments (she says its only her opinion - but trust me, her opinion counts for a lot when it seems to match the editors). This CP is blunt, but fair and constructive (which I think all CP's should be).

Keep this in mind, I have at least three CP's because I know that we are all human. One might find something that the others don't and so on. Also one might read a certain section and say its great and another might find the fatal flaw in it that makes that section stop or become choppy.

Does that mean that one's right and the others aren't? Heck no! That means that there are good things and wonky things that need to be addressed and they are there to help me before I subject some poor editor to a piece of writing that wasn't ready to be looked at, but now is ready.

Now I need to figure out how to work all these opinions into a decent piece of writing that an editor will read and smile (oh, and want to contract it).

So back to the bat cave.