Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Writing Environment

It's no secret I write best when it's rainy and thundery. I've mentioned that a time or two before. My muse tends to dry up in summer, only peeking her head out when I jab her from behind with my thumb drive. (That came out sounding much dirtier than I intended.)

And I think I finally figured out why I write so well when it's dark and gloomy.

This weekend I took a trip here:

Beautiful, right? Quiet. Relaxing. Serene.

But that's the problem. I'm not writing for beauty's sake. I'm not writing something that's gonna soothe the soul or quiet the mind. I'm writing something that's dark and raw and gristly. I'm writing from somewhere angry, deep inside. Honestly, before I start writing, I sit at my desk and ball all my frustration and stress into my gut, then spew it out onto the keyboard. I almost have to make myself pissed off to write something good. What comes out is not daisies and butterflies, but torture and heartache, toil, toil, boil and bubble and all that voodoo jazz...but it works for paranormal writing. (At least I freaking hope so.)

So this weekend, as my mind cleared and powder from Bear Valley's slopes lightened my spirit, I found it very hard to head back to the cabin for writing time. Because my spirit was so light, the writing was light. I needed a big storm. A storm that was black and ominous...so my writing could match.

I'm starting Book 3 this week...again. Come hell or high water, Chapter 1 will be written by the end of the weekend. It's just too bad the weatherman's calling for a warm front...

What about you? Do you write better in certain weather? In a certain spot or position in your house? Can you write both inside and outside? Or is your muse a fickle creature, like mine?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Moonlight Mania Blog Hop

Moonlight Mania is open to any and all book bloggers--regardless of genre. Though I ask that no one enter Twitter accounts onto the linky list. Blogs only!

Here's how it works. To participate in the hop, you must be a follower of this blog. After you're a follower, enter your-name@ Blog's name (genres you review) into the linky list. For example, Kristin@ pararomance (Paranormal, Suspense) Then once you've entered the linky list, copy and paste the beautiful blog button into a post on your blog.

(I can't seem to get the linky list to work here, so for now I'll just guide you back to the original list over at Nocturnal Reading.

This week's question is: What was the last book that touched you emotionally right before you went to bed? Have you ever read something late into the night that's so beautiful, you can't help but let the tears pour?

The last book I read right before I went to bed was The Ranger. (Take a peek on my sidebar--it's there with a link to Amazon.) I didn't cry my eyes out, but I'm not to the climax yet. I seldom cry when I read, actually. It takes a pretty superb book to make me tear up. The last one that made the waterworks start was Jude Devereaux's A Knight in Shining Armor.

What about you? Read any good tear-jerkers lately? I'm always looking for another good one!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Thursday Mulligan

ETA:Webster's definition of "mulligan"•A mulligan, in a game, happens when a player gets a second chance to perform a certain move or action.

Ever had one of those days where things just don't go right?

Where every step forward is followed by ten steps backward?

Where even the weather, dark and stormy and gray, seems to be issuing some kind of warning about the day ahead?


I'm having one of those mornings.

I feel like I didn't sleep a wink last night. I seem to be suffering from insomnia...at least I think that what's happening. I'm sooo tired. Sooo ready for bed at a decent hour. But I just can't seem to drag myself to bed. I stay up waaaay too late into the morning doing absolutely nothing. (Wouldn't it be fantastic if I could actually WRITE during those midnight hours???)

Usually 5-6 hours of sleep is enough.

But last night my gremlins woke me up on the hour, every hour.

Can I get some milk? I think the tooth fairy came! No...she didn't. How bout now? I have to use the bathroom. I'm cold. I'm hot. Is it morning yet?

By the time 7am rolled around and the perky sun shoved its rays into my bedroom, I was less than enthused. I grumbled my way to the coffee pot...to find I was out of everything--including the energy to run to the store to stock up for tomorrow. Great.

The weather changed. Huge gusts of wind are trying to knock my house down as I type this. The skies are as bland as my mood.

And every time I try to get something productive done, it's a struggle.

I think I'm going back to bed to take a mulligan on Thursday.

Ever had one of these days? How'd you turn things around?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ashton Kutcher, Men's Fitness and...I'm sorry...What was I trying to say?

I almost lost my mind yesterday. Yup, I was about to turn into the crazy woman at the store, yelling at people for no good reason because, well, what else are you going to do?

I thought I'd deleted my manuscript. All 90,000 words of it.

I have a system I'm comfortable with. I back things up, I do...just not to the extreme other people might. I save on my computer. I save on a jump drive. But...this time I forgot to email the manuscript to myself. I dove into my computer, clicked on Immortal, Beloved and got a two page synopsis. The file was gone.


No problem, I thought. I'll just shove my jump drive in, and pull up that saved copy.

Only I couldn't find my jump drive. I swear, it grew legs and walked away.

Cue P. A. N. I. C.

Now, I realize I probably mailed the manuscript to a handful of critique partners, so I could probably re-download those from the web, but Immortal has CHANGED since then. I'd have to re-edit the entire thing. Go back through it with another fine tooth comb.

This can't be happening.

My house was a destruction zone. It looked like I tested nuclear missles in my living room. (Hello, cheesy Money Pit shout-out.) Seriously. I was ranting and raving, looking under couch cushions (Why, oh-why, would it be there??), and behind my television. I even looked in my dog's bed.

Bailey was scared, hiding beneath the kitchen table with his ears turned down. He was probably waiting for the moment where my head spun around and I vomited green sludge.

But then the Marvelous happened. I found it. My jump drive, nice and safely tucked away in the pages of Notebook for Book3. Because isn't that a perfect place for it? (Oh, my eyes are rolling.)

Anyway, this lost and found and subsequent rant-fest made me think what would happen if I really did lose my jump drive. What if my computer crashed? (I better go back up all those photos NOW.) Or what if the internet crashed, like, permanently? What then?

Heartthrob Ashton Kutcher was recently featured in Men's Fitness magazine. He predicted that the "end of days" is on its way. In order to be prepared for what's to come, he trains in hard-core Krav Maga. He told the magazine:

"It won't take very much, I'm telling you. It will not take much for people to hit the panic button. The amount of convenience that people rely on based on electricity alone. You start taking out electricity and satellites, and people are going to lose their noodle. People don't have maps anymore. People use their iPhones or GPS systems, so if there's no electricity, nobody has maps....And people are going to go, 'That land's not yours, prove that it's yours,' and the only thing you have to prove it's yours is on an electric file. Then it's like, 'What's the value of currency, and whose food is whose?' People's alarm systems at their homes will no longer work. Neither will our heating, our garbage disposals, hot-water heaters that run on gas but depend on electricity - what happens when all our modern conveniences fail?"

Something to think about right?

(NO, I didn't mean think about THAT.)

He may be exaggerating--taking things a tad far for satirical's sake. But we've had day-long power outtages and I see how crazy people get.

The thought alone really made me want to have a hard-copy of everything. Just in case.

But then I found this: an article in the Washington Post (and now, forgive me, I can't find it), that talked about how to make your office completely and uttterly paper-free. The article talked about how to back up pictures on disks. How to scan reports and wanted mail into your computer, then shred the useless paper. How to keep all your important records online--that way (GASP!) they can never be stolen!

I think we're becoming a society consumed by electronic devices and I don't see it getting any better. I'm not complaining. I'm not. I love modern luxury.

But when I lost my jump drive I blew a gasket. I wished I had a hard copy. I wished I'd been smarter.

How do you back-up your manuscript?

PS--I know there's programs online where you can store and "lock" your documents. Anyone know what those are called?

Meet an Author Monday!

Good morning!

Before we dive into the Monday blog hop, I have to tell you...I learned something yesterday.

I cannot write while reading others' work. Period.

Stephen King, in his wildly popular writing handbook titled, On Writing says “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things about all others: read a lot and write a lot,” writes King. “Reading is the creative center of a writer’s life. I take a book with me everywhere I go, and find there are all sorts of opportunities to dip in.”

I think he's right. Of course he's right. He's The King. You must love to read. You must take in as many books in your genre as you can.

But my goal as a writer is to turn out 2-3 full-length paranormals a year. Each one takes me 4-5 months...which leaves a few months in between to plot and outline and synopsi the next. Where in there, is there time for reading?

You'd think I could read instead of watch TV. Or read while waiting to pick my kids up from school. I thought so too...

Until yesterday.

I'm reading Monica McCarty's The Ranger. It's a Scottish Historical and IT'S FANTASTIC. I'm in her world. I'm there. But when I tried to write the epilogue for my second full-length paranormal in the Crimson Bay Series, I ended up writing in Historical style--flouncy and beautiful and artistic--when I really needed to be rough and gritty and dark. I actually love the scene. I think it's some of the best stuff I've written. But, sadly, it has to go.

I don't know what's wrong with me.

Can you read while writing? Does the style of the book you're currently reading rub off on your own writing? I'd love to hear from other writers in the hop.

Here's how it works:


Follow as many authors as you like. Just follow the Linky list and hop from author to author. The idea is to find as many "new to you" authors as you can, and hopefully some great new reading material as well. Leave a comment as you hop from blog to blog! We'd love to chat with you!


Follow the Meet an author Monday host (Cali Cheer Mom) along with any of the wonderfully talented authors on the list.
You will need to enter your name and blog url into the Linky tool.
Grab our super cute button and place it in a post. (THIS IS IMPORTANT!) If you don't create a post for the hop, your readers won't have a place to comment, and the hop will stop with you. So create a post, paste in the Linky code and start hopping!
The purpose of the hop is to meet "new to you" authors and discover great new reads. Follow as many authors as you can. Leave a comment and introduce yourself!
If you'd like to share the Linky list in a post on your blog ( Please do!) just follow the link and grab the code.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Silent Sunday: After the storm

"A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease."--John Muir

Friday, March 18, 2011

Pensfatales Guest Post

I'm blogging over at Pensfatales today about my "old" childhood. Surprisingly, I went into greater detail about my life than most posts here. Something about those wonderful Pens just makes me wanna open up.

Take a look. Comment. I'd love it if you did.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day! And a Review!


An Old Irish Blessing for you on this beautiful morning:

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

And, if you're feeling up to it, head over to Long and Short Reviews. They posted an awesome review for Dark Tide Rising this week. Rated 4 out of 5 Books!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Where Ideas are Born

I've been asked a time or two where I get my ideas from.

Dark Tide Rising was concrete and fun to write. I went to Humboldt State, lived in Arcata, and spent many days and nights on the same beaches Emily and Mark walked. I've been inside the cave where the murderer hooked Stefanie to the back wall. I've been to the casino where Emily's Uncle Jack worked. I've driven Hwy 101 with its crazy-sharp turns. I've experienced days-on-end rain that is so typical of that area.

But for my paranormal, I didn't have as much to pull from. Sure, it takes place in San Francisco, and I've been there countless times, but the world I was creating was much different. I created an underworld of wicked-cool creatures, like vampires who long to fit into society and shape-shifters who want to keep them oppressed. I created ReVamp, a rehabilitation center for vampires, "acceptable" food sources, closed-circuit vampire television and vampire-specific magazines, etc, etc, etc.

So where did those ideas come from?

I took what I knew, and meshed it with what I didn't.

When I wrote the scene where my heroine was passing through her haven lobby, and caught a glimpse of America's Next Top Vampire on the television, I was actually watching...yup, you guessed it...America's Next Top Model. When my heroine was craving blood and shoved a Blood-Blaster Bar into her mouth, I was on a chocolate fix and eating a bar too...only my chocolaty-nougat wasn't laced with B+.

I took things from everywhere around me. Flower vases on ReVamp's counter are mine, albeit with gothic twists. Buildings are ones I've seen in the city. I could go on and on about the similarities, but I want you to go out and buy the book, come summer.

What about you? Where do your ideas come from?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Why Bookclubs are THE BEST!

Last week I was invited to a local bookclub. The absolutely lovely gals chose to read Dark Tide Rising for February and were reviewing it at the end of the month. They welcomed me into their group like I'd been reading books with them for years.

We talked favorite authors.

We talked favorite scenes.

They asked questions about my book.

They made me delve back into that world I wrote two years ago and really think.

They were smart!

They really knew romance and talked openly about their obsession with certain heroes. It was so refreshing to sit back, talk about writing and romance and publishing, with people who "got it". Being President of the San Francisco Area of Romance Writers, I meet tons of people in the industry. We talk writing. We talk about trends and where the market is likely to turn next.

But I'd never seen the Bookclub side of things. These ladies LOVE books. (Apparent by the 4-5 books a week admission by one of the gals.) They get irritated when a publisher lags between releases. (With E-Pubs on the rise, this could be solved...interesting change when books can be released within six months of contract.) They want more author involvement. Steamier covers. Tighter plots. Sizzling connections between the hero and heroine.

Although that's what the author/writer wants too, the bookclub gals really don't have much sympathy for falling out of those expectations. As a writer, I think it could be easy to forget what your readers want. I think it could be easy to get sucked into the "what I want to write" vortex and forget your readers and what they want. It could be easy to sit in front of your computer screen every day and forget to reach out--whether its via twitter, facebook, blogging, or face to face time with bookclubs, readers, or librarians--but it's so important!

I think meeting with readers is what fuels the desire to write...at least that's what happened with me. After meeting with the lovely ladies of the Tracy bookclub, I came home with a desire to write something that they'd love. Something they could gush over.

I hope that feeling never leaves.

Thank you ladies! I had a great time and hope you invite me back.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Monday Blog Hop!

Happy Monday!

Authors! Have a book out? Are you under contract for publication? Make sure you join in the hop. This is a great way to network your blog and let readers know who you are!

Here's how it works:


Follow as many authors as you like. Just follow the Linky list and hop from author to author. The idea is to find as many "new to you" authors as you can, and hopefully some great new reading material as well. Leave a comment as you hop from blog to blog! We'd love to chat with you!


Follow the Meet an author Monday host (Cali Cheer Mom) along with any of the wonderfully talented authors on the list.
You will need to enter your name and blog url into the Linky tool.
Grab our super cute button and place it in a post. (THIS IS IMPORTANT!) If you don't create a post for the hop, your readers won't have a place to comment, and the hop will stop with you. So create a post, paste in the Linky code and start hopping!
The purpose of the hop is to meet "new to you" authors and discover great new reads. Follow as many authors as you can. Leave a comment and introduce yourself!
If you'd like to share the Linky list in a post on your blog ( Please do!) just follow the link and grab the code.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Loss of a Teardrop Diamond and Emotional Pulls

I decided to watch The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond tonight. It's an unfinished screenplay by Tennessee Williams about a snobby debutante who bribes a hunky plantation workers' son (played by Chris Evans) to escort her to a series of coming out parties.

I watched, skeptically, as themes of euthanasia, abortion, drugs, division between laboring classes and sex before marriage were tossed about the screen.

As much as I enjoyed the scenery...

...I just felt the characters lacked depth. Sure, I felt for the bored, rich girl that no one liked. I longed for her to be redeemed. I wanted to see the workers' son, for once, not swallow his pride, but stand up for what he really wanted. I didn't know if the two leads were going to hook up in the end.

The movie just didn't pull me in.

Until it did.

Like one minute from the end. [Spoiler alert]

They're standing side-by-side on a levee, overlooking a river tinseling with moonlight. They refuse to look at one another. He's angry at his position, at her, at what she's asked of him time and time again. She's longing for his love, but doesn't know how to show it.

She asks him for a kiss.


She turns toward him, a tear rolling down her cheek.

His gaze slowly follows as it runs to her chin. His eyes linger on her lips. He's holding his breath. He turns away.

Her breath is punched out of her. Knowing he's rejected her for the second time in one night, she walks away, defeated. But the instant she turns, he grabs her arm.

My stomach caught.

She glances at their hands, at him, tears falling freely to the earth that's bound him into such a lowly position. He pulls her close.

Cue credits.

The message I took from this movie wasn't Williams' stance on abortion or sex before marriage or drugs or euthanasia. It came back to writing. It only takes one scene...one emotional tug...one stomach catch...for your writing to shift from meager to spectacular.

Thanks to that one scene my opinion of the movie completely changed. What girl wants to beg a guy to kiss her, only to be turned down? It's not a stretch to imagine the total embarrassment she would feel. What girl wants to have to convince a guy to be with her time and time again? It's not a stretch to imagine how desperation would taint her spirit.

It wasn't the strong, universal themes from the movie that will stick with me...it was the simple guy/girl dynamic. The dynamic I can relate to on a very real level. THAT'S what got me. Not the complex plot. Not the stunning imagery. Not the controversial themes.

Just the simple human emotion.

Now to figure out how to elicit that emotional tug from a reader...if you come up with a simple fail-proof formula, be sure to let me know. Until then, I'm going to netflix some other movies that'll help me finish up my insane-plotting sessions for Book 3.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

"That John Denver is full of shit, man."

And so are the people who said writing a book is a piece of cake.

When people find out I'm a writer, they say one of a handful of things--after the "Really? That's cool":

1-"So do you practice the scenes in your novel with your husband, or what?" (By the creepy eyebrow raises, you'd know immediately what kind of scenes they're asking about.)
*To which I answer "No more than the murder scenes." If we "practiced" the scenes in the books I've written, Husband should be deathly afraid of water, caves, alleys in San Francisco and women with dark curly hair. *ahem


2-"I have this fantastic idea for a book! Do you want to hear it so you can write it for me?"
*To which I enthusiastically listen to an unbelievable and totally awesome story line about which I have no desire to write myself. The idea may be the best thing I've ever heard, but if it's not originally mine, I won't do the book justice.

Believe it or not, I've also heard a naive few say:

"It must be pretty easy to stay home and sit in front of the computer for hours on end and write, huh? Especially with an English degree."


Easy and Write should NEVER be in the same sentence.

I kinda thought this writing gig would get easier over time, when in fact, I think it's the opposite. Stakes raise. You've learned how to make your book shine. Now you have to put the proof in the pudding. People (your agent and editor) are depending on your book being The Best Thing You've Ever Written. (Or at the very least, better than the last one you wrote which got you representation in the first place.) Pressure builds. Because not only do you have to write your heart out, applying every single thing you've learned over the course of your writing journey, you now have to do it quickly. Of the four books I've written, it's never taken me longer than four months to write a book and another month to edit it...but can I guarantee that for the next one? No. I can't. But I have to. So I will.

Whoever said writing a book was easy was full of shit, man.

I have the third book in the Crimson Bay Series plotted out. Mostly. I introduced the hero and heroine in Book 2. I know them. I like them. I know what they want, and what has to happen to make sure getting what they want is the most difficult thing for them to accomplish. Well, I sort of know that. And even though I know where my story is inevitably going to end up, and what my turning points are along the way, that starkly white first page is still daunting as heck. I thought about writing page one, line one today...then decided to clean out my refrigerator instead.

Whoever said writing a book was easy was full of shit, man.

Whether I jump into Book 3 the next day, or the day after that, I know one thing for certain: it never gets easier. Writing is hard. It's not for the faint of heart. It's not for the insecure. It's not for the weak-minded or feeble-willed. Even though I feel that way from time to time...especially when faced with the impatiently blinking cursor...

Beginning...starting out...this...is the hardest part for me.

What's the hardest part of the writing process for you?

Monday, March 7, 2011

In which I admit, Yes, *duck and cover* I'm very shy...

I wrote my last post in a wild and giddy flurry of excitement. I mean, google has been BLOWING UP with news about Avon's new ebook line, Avon Impulse (Did you see where it mentioned my two book deal???) and I barely pulled myself away from the buzzing internet search to toss up a post about the press release.

But I think I forgot something very important...I wonder what it could've been...

Did I forget to mention how downright THRILLED I am about the TWO BOOK DEAL I signed with Avon Impulse? (HOLYHORSESHOESHOWDIDTHISHAPPEN?)

Did I forget to mention how humbled I am to be picked up by such a well-established publishing house who is on the cutting edge of the e-pub revolution?

Did I forget to mention how uber-supportive my family, friends, and writing peers have been through this whole crazy roller-coaster of a process?

Did I forget to mention how unbelievably lucky I am (BLESSED is more like it) that I get to work with Amazing Agent Nalini Akolekar? (That's her superwoman name, but don't mention it off of this blog--it's top secret. She's got crazy-good powers of publishing behind her.) Now, as if I wasn't blessed enough already, I also get to work with Esi Sogah from Avon's star-studded line-up of editors!

Did I forget to mention how my phone is vibrating constantly from the congratulatory emails and I'm sure my terrier, Bailey, thinks it's possessed as it shimmies across the living room end table. (You should see the quizzical looks he's throwing around.)

Last, but not least, did I mention that today has truly been a dream come true?

I didn't mention *any* of that?


Avon Introduces New Digital Imprint: Avon Impulse

Give in to Impulse:
Avon Books Introduces Digital Publishing Imprint
Avon Impulse Launches March 2011 with e-Original Romances

NEW YORK, NY, March 7, 2011 – Today, Avon Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, announces the debut of Avon Impulse, a new imprint dedicated to digital publishing. The new imprint will feature e-books and print-to-order novels and novellas by existing Avon authors, and will seek new talent to nurture in an e-book marketplace that finds Romance experiencing expansive growth. “Romance readers have been among the first to embrace books digitally,” says Liate Stehlik, Senior Vice President and Publisher of William Morrow and Avon Books. “Their passion has encouraged us to introduce a line of romance e-books, which empowers Avon to publish more quickly, with an eye to what’s trending in fiction.” The new imprint is looking to publish multiple titles each month, eventually releasing new content on a weekly basis. The Avon Impulse brand has grown organically from Avon’s existing publishing program and offers authors all the strengths of Avon’s widely respected team. Books will be acquired by Avon editors, and will benefit by targeted marketing and publicity plans, as well as powerful sales platforms.

“What sets Avon Impulse apart,” affirms Stehlik, “is that authors are signing to work alongside the Avon team, and will benefit from the same platforms that Avon authors have always enjoyed.”

As part of the imprint’s publishing strategy, each Avon Impulse e-book will benefit from a dedicated “five-point” marketing and publicity platform, helping build awareness in the competitive marketplace. Plans include cross promotion, digital marketing and publicity, social media outreach, interactive assets and coaching, as well as targeted online retail placement strategies.

“Without traditional printing constraints, we can edit, market and release e-books more quickly, allowing unprecedented speed to market,” says Carrie Feron, Morrow/Avon Vice President and Editorial Director. “The Avon Impulse imprint also allows us greater flexibility in the length of books we can publish – from novella to full-length fiction, and enables us to explore new themes in romance.”

“There is so much opportunity right now within the romance genre,” Stehlik says. “Readers have found a rich array of fresh content using digital and e-reading devices. It’s crystal clear that we can nurture great talent via Avon Impulse’s e-book publishing platform – and that there is already a very dedicated fan base of savvy digital readers.”

The line launches with A LADY’S WISH, an original e-novella by Katharine Ashe; on-sale 3/15/11; and then features ROYAL WEDDING, a historical romance short fiction anthology by Stephanie Laurens, Gaelen Foley and Loretta Chase, timed to coincide with the nuptials of Britain’s most beloved young couple. Later in the season bring four releases from Lavinia Kent and a prelude to Karina Cooper’s Avon debut, Blood of the Wicked. Jaime Rush launches a brand new series with a digital short; and a full-length paranormal romance novel by author Kristin Miller will be released in the summer.

Avon Impulse is currently in the acquisition and production process for e-books to be published in 2011 and 2012. “We are actively looking to acquire for Avon Impulse,” says Feron. Authors looking to submit to Avon Impulse can find guidelines and an online submission portal at www.avonimpulse.com. “We are looking for quality submissions across every romance subgenre,” says Feron.
Avon Impulse e-books will be made available at all online retailers, everywhere in the world where English-language e-books are sold. For those seeking a hard copy of individual Avon Impulse titles, print-to-order books will be available from online book retailers.

For more information on Avon Impulse, and a detailed FAQ, visit www.avonimpulse.com.


HarperCollins, one of the largest English-language publishers in the world, is a subsidiary of News Corporation (NYSE: NWS, NWS.A; ASX: NWS, NWSLV). Headquartered in New York, HarperCollins has publishing groups around the world including the HarperCollins General Books Group, HarperCollins Children's Books Group, Zondervan, HarperCollins UK, HarperCollins Canada, HarperCollins Australia/New Zealand and HarperCollins India. HarperCollins is a broad-based publisher with strengths in literary and commercial fiction, business books, children's books, cookbooks, mystery, romance, reference, religious and spiritual books. With nearly 200 years of history HarperCollins has published some of the world's foremost authors and has won numerous awards including the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, the Newbery Medal and the Caldecott. You can visit HarperCollins Publishers on the Internet at http://www.harpercollins.com.

**Did you all catch that?!? My Crimson Bay Series will kick off this summer! I'm so excited and can't wait for you all to dip into my paranormal world!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Writing Sunday with Ray, Jude and Willie

I'm gearing up to start Book 3 in the Crimson Bay Series. Ray LaMontagne (a new find for me), Jude (a long-time favorite) and Willie Nelson (who doesn't love him?) are really helping me out as I finish up some minor plotting details. Combine the three songs--Hold You in My Arms, I Know, Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground--and you may have an idea as to the concept of Book 3...

Now excuse me while I open up my blank word doc and rotate these three songs to get me goin'. Happy Rainy, Inspirational Sunday to You.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Things, they are a-changin'

Borders are closing across the country. Some of the Big 6 publishers are letting retailers like Amazon determine a book's listing price once they purchase it from them. Other big-wigs are putting a cap on how many times an ebook can be circulated in libraries.

All this ebook madness makes a debut author wonder how these changes effect the publishing process. Is "breaking in" the same as it was five years ago? How 'bout last year?

An internet presence used to be non-essential. You could write book after book on the mid-list, build your career through buzz of readership and never send a Tweet. Now, though, I feel the pressure to Tweet, Facebook, Blog, Blog Tour, Guest Blog, Interview, etc, etc, etc, to build my internet presence as forcefully as I can. The publishing houses take a risk each time they sign a debut author. These risks are becoming even "riskier" with the shaky economy. So building a platform (visa-vie internet presence) becomes that much more important.

But what about all the time spent building the platform and gaining the followers? Couldn't that time be better spent honing the craft and polishing that manuscript? Couldn't that time be spent networking in person? Couldn't I start the new book or edit the last? I've heard a few established authors say all the internet hoopla is a "time-suck". I've heard authors say "Write your book, find an agent, and if it's good enough and marketable enough an editor will pick it up."

Things are changing.

Authors are spreading themselves thin trying to keep up with the demands of "breaking in". Writing a kick-ass novel doesn't seem good enough anymore. As a debut author, I think you have to come with more than a kick-ass novel to the table. Sure, there are those best-selling, right-out-the-gate smash hits...but I think as the publishing industry spins on its top, waiting to find out when things are going to stop spinning and how things will be when we finally land, those are going to be few and far-between as well.

Ebooks aren't going anywhere. The internet isn't going anywhere. CDs and VHS tapes are old-news. Although print books will take longer to phase out (God, please let them take longer to phase out), I don't think anyone in the industry can deny ebooks have caused a literary revolution.

It's not enough to write your book, find an agent, then find an editor.

You have to ask the question: How do you make yourself marketable?

With the way things are changing, I'm gonna make some bold statements here: Publish an ebook with a reputable company. Network. Market the hell out of it. Write the next smash-book. And the next. When your sales begin to climb and you build an e-readership, you make yourself sellable to the bigger publishers.

Or you could blog until your little fingers fall off. Build up your followers and unique hit count until you reach a million. (I've heard 20+ comments per post is the benchmark for success.) If people are reading your blog, chances are they'll read your work, right? (I've also heard for every 10 hits, there's one sale. Do the math on your own blog and see what you come up with.)

I guess what I'm getting at is, for the mid-lister wanting to break-in, it's not so much about your book anymore. It's about you. What can you do to sell your book? If they publishing houses are risking thousands of dollars on your career, what are you doing to make YOU worth the risk?

Whatcha think? Am I off-base? On target? I'd love to hear insight from both unpublished and published authors on how you think "breaking in" is changing.