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Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

Shameless self promotion

So when I signed my Harlequin contract in October, I had no idea how quickly things might move (I anticipated the book to be released in a year or so). Color me shocked and then some when I got notice my book: Baker’s Law would be released in February—2014. Yep in a little over two months.

I haven’t even gotten a cover yet and it’s already up on Amazon (WOOT) as a pre-order. It’s initial release on Feb. 3 is going to be part of a e-book box set  with three other authors (Selena Bowen, Rebecca Avery and Amy Jo Cousins). Of course I’ve already pre-ordered my copy! In May, the four e-book titles will all be individually released.

How exciting is that?!?!

The Harlequin Series Digital First is a brand spanking new line. The first two books will be released in December. It’s pretty exciting—did I already say that? Rolling on the floor laughing

I am working hard—writing every day (often with Amie’s pushing me along, ‘cause I need it!) getting the next book to the finish line. And can I just say, from day one of my “writing career”, selling to Harlequin was number one on my list of goals. I achieved it! And now I can’t wait to make a new list and get rocking on that.

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Two lies and a truth

Okay so that’s not quite right. It’s supposed to be, two truths and a lie. Have you ever played this game? You give three “facts” about yourself, two of which are true, the third being a lie (pretty self-explanatory by the title). I figured I would tweak this game a tad (hence being one truth) and update folks on some news about me. It’s a fun way to get the word out, yes?

Anyhoo… here we go.

1) I am pregnant with boy child #5

2) I sold a two-book deal to Harlequin

3) I got a fairy tattoo on my shoulder

 

Out of the three, which one do you think is the truth? Can you guess or do you hate guessing games? (who could hate guessing games, though?!?)

So what do you think? Going, going….

The truth is:

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I was cleaning out my computer files (I hoard even those) and I found an article I wrote last year that may be of some use. I hope some of this may be helpful!

Some people are new to writing. Some people have been writing for years but never come across a need for information in specific areas. Whatever the case, there are a ton of sites with information you may want to keep bookmarked in your computer—but you didn’t know. Until now…

Maybe you’re ready to send out your first book to a publisher, but you’re not sure about the guidelines such as word count or snail-mail vs. e-mail submissions.  How do you find it? If you write romance, RWA’s (Romance Writers of America)  website (http://www.rwa.org/) has a section for publishers with fairly updated information. First, you do have to login to the member’s section. Then, go to: Member Resources, then Publishers and Agents, you can either click on Publishers , it will show what they’ve been doing lately and click their name for info or click on Market Update to go straight to mailing/subbing info. You can see what they’re looking for. I would, however, suggest you Google, Yahoo and/or Bing the editor you want to send it to first just to make sure they’re still there. (You don’t want to be the one subbed book that is sent to a long-gone, but for whatever reason still listed editor—straight from the slush pile to the trash can!) Agent information is also listed in that section under Agent Update.

Another place you can look at editor/agent info is at: Predators and Editors (http://pred-ed.com/). It will tell you if a place is recommended (by what they’ve gleaned from people dealing with them) or if you should run not walk and stay away.  P & E also has a host of other writing related areas. Remember, though, it’s just another kink in the chain of research before you send off your manuscript.

Also, on agents, try one of these places when looking up or looking for someone:

                        http://www.authoradvance.com/agencies

                        http://querytracker.net/literary_agents.php

                        http://www.aaronline.org/

                        http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/search.html

RWA University has a great calendar of events set up with upcoming courses, check out the website to plan which you will attend!

If you want to know how much you may expect to earn by publishing house, Brenda Hyatt has a wonderful website (http://brendahiatt.com/show-me-the-money/) where she compiles a list every year.

eHarlequin’s website (http://www.eharlequin.com/) has everything from their submission guidelines to pod casts by editors and authors to online classes. It has a huge community of authors (pubbed and not-yet-pubbed) to communicate with (and you can buy books too…).

 Writer’s Digest (http://www.writersdigest.com/GeneralMenu/), much like eHarlequin, has everything from courses to books to advice and so much more. Be prepared to spend some time as both places have so much information to wade through. Oh, and, if you ever get stuck and just have no clue where to start writing for the day, WD has a “prompt” section (http://www.writersdigest.com/TipsPrompts/), try it and see where it can take you.

Romantic Times Book Reviews Magazine (http://www.rtbookreviews.com/) has book reviews (as the name states) but it also has an online community as well as help for aspiring authors.

Like to read articles on publishing and the world around it? Try an online magazine: Publishers Weekly (http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/home/index.html)

Have you heard NANO bandied about? Don’t know what it is? It stands for: National Novel Writing Month (http://www.nanowrimo.org/); the function is to get 50,000 words done in a month (the month of November). Just another way to keep you actively writing.

If you don’t already have your domain purchased, it’s not a bad idea to go ahead and get it. You can spend as little as $9 a year; and you can make your registration private—I pay the additional $8 a year for private registry because people can click on it and see the info associated with it. You can obtain/register your domain at places like Go Daddy, Domain and Network Solutions—Google them for the sites as well as many others . (As someone who has a “.net” web-addy and added my middle name because my name without it “. com” was/is taken… it’s worth it if you think you’ll ever use it).

Not ready to jump into the domain field, you can dip your toe in for free with blogs. WordPress (http://wordpress.com/) and Blogger (http://www.blogger.com) are two, easy to navigate, routes. You can personalize them as much or as little as you have time or knowledge for. They also have multiple pages to be utilized. And did I mention they’re free?

Did you attend last year’s RWA conference? Or the one before that? No… Did you know you can look up the conference handouts online? On RWA’s site (http://www.rwanational.org/cs/conference_recordings_and_handouts), the 2009 thru 2011 handouts are available online (you don’t even have to be logged in).

Just for fun:

I worry about naming my characters after someone who might take offense—I have never deliberately done this, but there are only so many combos of names right? But how to know for sure… I always Google my character names and see what pops up. If you like to waste more time play, try this website: (http://www.howmanyofme.com/) “How many of me”. It will tell you, as the name implies, how many people have that name. Denise McDonald for instance, there are: 268. My kiddo, whose name I spelled a little different than the norm, one or fewer.

Need a little extra push to get words on the page? Try Write or Die (http://writeordie.drwicked.com/), you can set the terms –word disappearing if not fast enough typing on your part or a simple little nudge to move it along (on the site, look to the right sidebar for the timer).

Remember search engines are your friend. Even if you’re not sure what you’re looking for. Try adding words to your search such as author, writer or writing and you may open up a world of knowledge you didn’t even know you wanted to know.

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A new year

It’s a new year, new beginnings, but—same school year. I guess after all the years I was in school and now that my kids are in school, it always seems strange to me to make resolutions during Christmas break. They go back to the same school, same classes and teachers so it doesn’t seem like anything is “new” per se. The only “new” things besides the kids Christmas gifts… I found a couple of new wrinkles around my eyes this morning … and yes, I count them just like I do with the freckles on my youngest. If you have freckles you may understand this—my face (well, most of me) is covered in them. I started getting them when I was 7 and I have hated them ever since. My three oldest boys, when they passed the age of 7, then 8 I left them alone—only a handful between the bunch. My youngest now 10, though, has a smattering more, but not as many as I do—thank goodness. He does have one smack on the tip of his nose—kinda cute…. but oh how I digress…

I don’t make resolutions, because as I’ve said on here before, I tend to balk at being told/suggested what to do even if it’s by me. I am my own worst enemy for resolutions. I don’t know why. Maybe the pressure is too great. Maybe I am just weird… So the new year doesn’t bring in this need to make right what the year before didn’t accomplish. Don’t get me wrong, I do always strive to do and be better. And I do set goals, but they tend to be a right here and now goal. Day by day sometimes minute by minute.

By my weird one day goal, I will say that over the holiday I finished up a manuscript I’d been working on (it’s a Cozy mystery, in first person no less… something a *little* out of the box for me) and I sent that puppy out to a Publisher. We’ll see what happens and I will keep you posted on the progress. All of that was with one day goals. Write X-amount today. Most of the days I did. Some I went way over. Some I only got a sentence or two, but I got through it.

So I am not going to ask you to tell me what resolutions you came up with for 2012. I will, however, challenge you to make daily goals. Even if they’re small. It amazed me how much I got done in little bits  (and let me remind you, two weeks of that time was with the kids home—4 boys are *not* quiet!). But … if you have goals that already work for you… go for it. See how much you can get done in 2012.

Still, it is a new year. 2011 is gone and done. I hope that 2012 is most productive for you all!

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The Cowgirl gets some paper

I love my e-books. I actually had an old, old Palm Pilot years ago. My hubby bought it for me for my birthday. And this was years before e-readers were out there (No Nooks or Kindles). I was reading my e-books everywhere… and the great thing was it was backlit so I could sit with all the lights off, not keep anyone else awake (because, I tell you, when my kids were really little, if there was a light on after bedtime they’d find you… ), and read to my heart’s content. My point is, I’ve dug e-books for a long time.

Still, there’s something to be said for a paperback. And as a paperback hoarder, I love me some in-my-hand books (I think last count I was rounding the 1600 mark—like I said, hoarder). I love the feel and the smell of paperbacks. I love to look at a bookshelf and figure out which ones I’ve read, which ones I’ve reread and which is next. Granted, I am a *little* weird when it comes to books. Back when I only had 3 kids (there’s 4 now) my only out-of-the-house time was taking the boys to the library. I would start at one end of a section and work my way to the other end. I’d read 75% of the books in it, then move on to the next section. Truth be told, I still do that, but my trips to the library are fewer since I now hoard my own collection. I’m sure there’s got to be some program for excessive readers, but as I won’t go, don’t bother to tell me. Smile with tongue out

All this is so you understand why I was so excited to see RHINESTONE COWGIRL come out in print. The only thing better than paperbacks, are *my* paperbacks. Open-mouthed smile and yes, I am totally biased!

dbm-rhinestone-full (6)Poppy Dumphy is Beverly Hills born and bred, and she has everything money can buy-except a connection with her father. After his death, she learns why and leaves her posh life to expose a long-kept secret.

In Rowdy, Texas, small-town living suits Cale Hollander to a comfortable T. He runs his ranch, helps his neighbors, and is wary of strangers. The former rodeo bronc buster wants to return to his first love-riding. The last thing he needs is a distraction in the form of a petite blonde.

The pair butts heads at every encounter as intensifying attractions-and mounting suspicions-flourish. Neither is prepared for the other as they fail in their fight with temptation. If they give in, will they both lose all they cherish when the truth comes out? Or can they build a life together better than either ever dreamed of? ** A BookStrand Mainstream Romance

for excerpt:

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My go-to

I’ve been asked several times recently about using real life people for inspiration. At first I said, naw, I don’t. Then I glanced around my desk and realized, I actually have three main men. And I have them at hand all the time. Okay, I just have pictures of them as I don’t *actually* know them. Sure, one of them I have seen up close(ish) and personal, if you call standing behind him in line at a burger joint “up close”. (yeah I totally chickened out when I could have spoken to him. But truth be told the view from behind was quite nice, I must say…) I have told this burger tale many times before as it was the start of THE COWBOY PLAN. It was truly an inspirational moment for me!

He is a cowboy in heart, spirit and by his love in life. He’s also a country singer. (Chris Cagle)

I have dedicated the last 5 or 6 books to him. So, okay, I only used his initials, because again, that whole chicken side of me is afraid that he might find it odd and/or creepy (assuming he ever even found out) and not be thrilled. As I tend to way over-think things, I am sure this is one of the “way past the deep end of thought”. But anyhoo… I have shared that little secret with you so it’s out there now. Winking smile

The second guy I don’t even know his name (kind of makes it even better—so mysterious and in a “I can make him whoever I want…” sort of way, but not in a creepy way, y’know…LOL). I have actually spoken to him, but only briefly and on behalf of my kiddo. Copy of 100_1787 bYou see, he was a “knight” at the local Ren Fair.

To watch him on horseback made every girlie fantasy sigh in the greatest pleasure possible in public sort of way! I could see him in chaps and a Stetson riding off to protect his family or land.

It was inspiration handed to me on a silver plate-d horse saddle Rolling on the floor laughing

My child (that’s the back of #4 boy’s head with “him”) was all distraught because “his” knight was felled in the jousting competition and was convinced he was truly hurt. We went to find “him” afterwards to assure the kiddo, the man was indeed okay. The knight, as you can see, got down and spoke to my son.  (He was hawt to begin with, but his talking to my son bumped him up 1000% In love)

The knight with his dark locks and piecing blue eyes, has the closest placement on my desk. It is such a hardship to have to see him every time I sit at my computer, let me tell you…

The third man—Alex O’laughlin—I don’t know if he’s every played a cowboy. But watching him on TV as he tackles the wrong-doers… Between Moonlight where he was hell-bent to protect his friends from good intentions and bad guys and now on Hawaii 5-0 where he is awesome to watch in hand-to-hand battles (big sigh) he has the kind of fortitude you want your small town sheriff to have to keep his town safe. And he’s not hard on the eyes.Okay so he’s totally hot… so again, no hardship on my part to have a pic of him sitting on my desk.

But let me clarify this all a little. I always have a pretty good idea of what my characters look like so it’s not so much that I look at all these pics for the ideas of hair, eyes etc., but I look at them and think of the girlie, fanning-self reaction I’d get if I came face-to-face with them (okay so me, I’d probably clam right up and act like I didn’t even know who they were for fear of acting like a total fan-girl and embarrassing myself, but still…). I try to translate that into the book when the hero and heroine meet for the first time.

And, who doesn’t want pics of gorgeous guys on their desk?!?!

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Today is the release of my ninth book: RHINESTONE COWGIRL… WOOT!

RHINESTONE COWGIRL

From Siren Bookstrand Publishing

Genre: Contemporary, Western Romance
ISBN: 1-61034-590-8
Length: Novel
Price: $4.99
Publication Date: August 16, 2011 (in e format; print due Dec ’11)

Cover art by Jinger Heaston

Poppy Dumphy is Beverly Hills born and bred with everything money can buy except a connection with her father… after his death she learns why. She leaves her posh life, travels halfway across the country to expose a long-kept secret.

In Rowdy, Texas, small town living suits Cale Hollander to a comfortable T. He runs his ranch, helps his neighbors and is wary of strangers. The former rodeo bronc-buster wants to return to his first love—riding. The last thing he needs is a distraction in the form of a petite blonde.

 

The pair butt heads at every encounter as intensifying attractions—and mounting suspicions—flourish. Neither is prepared for the other as they fail in their fight with temptation. As they give in, will they both lose all they cherish when the truth comes out? Or can they build a life together better than either ever dreamed of?

 

And …..

 

Don’t forget, WRONG TURN, RIGHT COWBOY is now available in print.

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