Monday, March 30, 2009
Pollyanna Explains Why Mediocrity Is Not Acceptable
During a conversation with a writer friend who has yet to be published in novel-length fiction, I was appalled to hear her take on publication. She had the idea that she could write a Christian novel, enter it into a contest she’d seen online, win the $10,000 prize plus a guarantee of publication. Then she could write fiction as a way to make money. I was offended on so many levels I didn’t know where to start.
My friend doesn’t believe that most published writers aspire to write a great book. They don’t put that much heart into it and they don’t need to. Every once in awhile a multi-published author comes out with a truly great, memorable book. But the rest of the time, it’s okay to be average. In her opinion, it’s okay to write strictly as a way to make money. You don’t need to put your heart into it, much less your best effort.
Maybe the reason her words gave me such a chill was because they’re true to a certain degree. Multi-pubbed authors are often under pressure to meet deadlines and that doesn’t lend itself well to creating “art.” Or to even creating the best work. Publishing is a business and maybe that’s what’s wrong with publishing. Everyone, including the creators of the product, are forced to look at numbers and bottom lines. How well did your last book sell? That will dictate whether we give you another contract and how big your print run is. Instead of being allowed to create the best book they’re capable of, authors are pressured into marketing the books for the publishers. So what suffers in this process? Most likely the creation of a quality product.
In my idea of a perfect world, all authors would stop buying into the idea that they must market themselves and their work. Most authors will tell you that they are unable to quantify the results of any of the marketing efforts they make, which begs the question, why are we all making such an effort? Personally, I believe readers would still find the best books and the cream would rise to the top. The books would improve because that’s all authors would be expected to do—write the best book they possibly can. Fewer books might be published but the quality might vastly improve.
Instead, what we have in today’s marketplace are a lot of books published and an excess of mediocrity. Publishers have slots to fill, readers have been taught to settle for a book that’s okay instead of ones that are great. The publishers decide who gets the big publicity push and often those books just aren’t that good or that well-written. But a gullible public will buy them anyway because all of a sudden they’re on the bestseller list.
I find it especially sad that someone like my friend believes it’s okay to start out with an “okay” book. Why would a writer, any writer, not want every book to be the best book they could make it? Do we want our readers to arrive at the end of the book, shrug their shoulders and think, “Eh. It was okay.”
When’s the last time you read a recently published great book? A memorable book? One that you raved about and recommended to your reader friends? Has it been awhile since that has happened? This is why mediocrity is not acceptable.
A Month From Miami
They told themselves it was only for a month…
Perrish, Florida was supposed to be just an eye-blink for Kaylee Walsh on her way to a glamorous new life in Miami-minus her sleazy ex-boyfriend. She’s not about to let a little car trouble or an empty wallet throw a monkey wrench into her plans. Not even when there’s a handsome mechanic on the other end of that wrench.
Rick Braddock knows better than to give a second glance to a woman with big-city dreams. But getting Kaylee back on the road means car repairs she can’t afford. So he offers a trade. His services for hers. As a babysitter and housekeeper, that is.
They tell themselves it’s only for a month. But as they settle into comfortably domestic days and intensely intimate nights, Rick realizes what a treasure he’s discovered in Kaylee. And for Kaylee, the lure of Miami is losing its shine.
Then Rick discovers a fortune in stolen gems hidden in her gas tank. Is Kaylee the woman he thought she was-or is she taking him for a ride?
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Immortal Kiss took First Place in the Erotic Category in the 2009 New England RWA Reader's Choice Bean Pot Awards, which were announced at their annual conference this weekend!
Thanks to everyone who has been sending me their congratulations! I really appreciate it, and all the fabulous support I've been getting for the Immortal Series!
Friday, March 27, 2009
1. The snow has finally melted and I can see how brown and ugly my grass is.
2. I can put away the bulky winter coat and sweaters, and realize how much weight I've gained.
3. My husband gets ideas about starting home renovation projects, and I know I will spend the next six months living in a construction zone.
4. Everyone starts having BBQ parties that I can't go to because I'm on a deadline for my Fall release.
Wait a minute, was Spring supposed to be a good thing? Where was I?
5. Oh yeah...I'm going to the Caribbean to spend a week laying on the beach with no distractions other than the cabana boy asking me if I want another rum punch!
He he he...
It's not until May, but I'm SO excited!
I have to get my passport and a new bathing suit, and I have to start running everyday to lose 10 pounds before I leave...totally worth it!
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)
(or Summer, for that matter)?
Thursday, March 26, 2009
JK Coi: Welcome to MJ Fredrick today, she's got some AWESOME eye candy for you all, and a great trip down television's "hero lane" :)
My husband, 17-year-old son and I watch a lot of TV. We talk about a lot of TV, and movies. I started thinking about how women think about heroes and how men think about heroes. I talked to my husband and son about it at dinner the other night and asked what characters they find heroic. Their list:
Jack Bauer from 24. My husband said, "He jump-started his own heart with a car battery."
Dean Winchester from Supernatural. He does what he does for his family. I wonder why not Sam, since he seems more willing to help people no matter what. They both agreed Dean also had better hair ;)
Jake from Jericho. My son particularly liked the way Jake called the new mayor on his policies, daring him to shoot Emily's father. (A funny aside - this last episode, Jake drives his big old car up in front of Emily's, gets out, and my husband says, "Hey, have you seen any demons?" See, because the car is similar to Dean's car.)
Adama and Tigh from Battlestar Galactica. Both honorable men you want on your side in a fight. And did you see the finale????
Angel and Spike. I thought this was interesting. My husband said you always rooted for Spike, even when he was evil, because he was kind of like Wile E. Coyote. "I'm going to get the Slayer!" and then it would all go horribly wrong, but he'd come back for more. And Angel just because he laid it on the line. I asked them about Angel as Seeley Booth on Bones, but while they like him, they don't see him as particularly heroic.
Peter Petrelli from Heroes, who they call "The Floater." Because even though he doesn't have his own defined power, he's willing to risk more to save the world. They said Hiro was great, but he messed up too much.
The Lost Boys generated a lot of debate. My son likes Sawyer and Sayid, but my husband argued they're not heroic. Sawyer might do anything for Kate but not anyone else. And Sayid has that whole torture thing. So my son said Locke was heroic. My husband disagreed because Locke is not looking out for the whole group the way Jack does. And my husband pointed out that Jack is holding Ben hostage, so to speak, to help Sawyer and Kate. What will happen to him once they're gone? He's risking himself, and he's always looking for the greater good. I thought the crying might be a factor for them, but it's not.
House. I don't agree with this at all, but they both said that even though he's a jerk, he does what it takes to help people. But what he said to his supervisor about her not being a good mother just got me!
Mal from Firefly. My dh said we had to put Zoe here too, even though she's hardly a man's man! But they stood up for what they believed, no matter the cost.
They agreed none of the men from Prison Break are heroic, that the Grey's men are all whiny ("See what happens when you want men to have feelings?" my dh asked.) Not Jim from The Office or even Earl, though he always tries to make things right.
Then we moved to movies.
Han Solo and Yoda.
John McClain from Die Hard. My dh said I should put him twice, he's that heroic.
Samwise Gamgee was without question a choice, an ordinary hobbit in extraordinary circumstances. My son added Theodin, but my husband argued that he was shamed into it.
Dumbledore. This surprised me, from my son. But he's right!
Maximus from Gladiator. Even though he extracted revenge, he wasn't just avenging his family, but Rome.
Not Wolverine, not Neo, not Aragorn. Interesting, huh?
MJ has been writing forever. In elementary school, she wrote plays and pseudo-Trixie Belden mysteries. After fifth grade, she wrote her first romance, a Grease rip-off. She continued writing serialized stories throughout high school, then went to college and got married. After completing 20 manuscripts, her first two books were out within two weeks of each other, and both have firefighter heroes! Where There's Smoke is in print from The Wild Rose Press, and Hot Shot, a romantic suspense, from Samhain Publishing has just been released in print. MJ also has a Wayback Texas story from The Wild Rose Press in ebook and an essay in In the Hunt, Unauthorized Essays on Supernatural, available March 2009. Her next book, Beneath the Surface, her 2007 Golden Heart finalist, will be coming from Samhain in September 2009. Visit MJ at mjfredrick.com and marywritesromance.blogspot.com.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
The Setting You Can't Resist
As a reader you're drawn to it. As an author you might have written it at one time or another. It's the romance setting you can't resist.
For me it's the "snowed in" setting. It's nothing new, but when I find a story in which the main characters are trapped together with a blizzard raging outside, it immediately grabs my attention. Whether the characters come together for the first time in the midst of the storm or if they're already involved in a relationship and need the seclusion to recapture their love, I want to know what happens when they're alone together with nowhere else to go.
Once they're inside, forced to share everything, issues will be explored and suspicions might even develop, but it's almost a guarantee that they'll find the best way to keep warm is by making love. Characters in seclusion are in the perfect position to play off each other emotionally. They depend on each other for survival and companionship. Even if they don't get along, it's almost impossible for them to avoid each other, especially when they find each other irresistible.
I'm always ready for a "snowed in" story.
How about you? Is there a situation or setting you can't resist?
Kate Hill is a thirty-something vegetarian New Englander who likes heroes with a touch of something wicked and wild. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in publications both on and off the Internet. When she's not working on her books, Kate enjoys reading, working out, and researching vampires and Viking history. Visit her online at http://www.kate-hill.com
Friday, March 20, 2009
50 Reasons No One Wants to Publish Your First Book
1. Being innovative doesn’t justify writing a Civil War epic entirely in texting slang and emoticons: “ts u hor! i dnt gv dam :< !”
4. Where are the vampires?
5. No, seriously, where are the vampires?
27. You know the talented creative writing professor who told you your work showed so much creativity and promise? Turns out what he really meant was that he wanted you to blow him.
32. Just be thankful they refused to publish it, since the common accepted response to a novel that ends with the protagonist realizing all the terrible things that happened were in a dream (or was it?) is some stern re-editing of your face with a pair of brass knuckles.
38. For the first 20 pages, everyone who reads it is certain it’s the funniest book they’ve ever read. Unfortunately by the 21st, they finally realize you’re actually being serious.
41. When writing erotica, you want to avoid graphic descriptions of acne, cellulite and back fat.
44. If you’re going to make your main character a forensic coroner, you’re obligated to know more about human anatomy than what you learned playing Operation as a kid.
47. The entire point of your book has already been more satisfactorily made in a single strip of Family Circus.
On the heels of this post, I came across the following recently as well, all of which relate in some way to doing what we can to find our niche in the book business with the economy floundering as it is (I'm all serious today, folks)...
At BookEnds on Monday, Jessica Faust was talking about the increase in query letters and submissions due to the economic slump and how it isn't just the unpublished who are flooding her desk with paper these days, but published authors who have found themselves not quite making the cut in these slimmer times and are being forced to reinvent and start again.
Which brings me to the #Queryfail on Twitter, which I believe was orchestrated by FinePrint agent Colleen Lindsay, but involves many editors and agents, including Angela James of Samhain, and Deidre Knight and Elaine Spencer of the Knight Agency. This is a sometimes hilarious, sometimes useful, sometimes horrific recounting of failed queries, but if you have the time and energy to scroll through, there are quite a few gems of good advice.
Will 2009 be the Year of the Ebook?, that was the question being asked at epapercentral.com this week. I found this to be a very good article, and encourage you to take a gander as well.
Yesterday on Writer Unboxed JA Konrath was talking about self-promotion, because let's face it, if your book is out there and you aren't Stephen King or Sherrilyn Kenyon or Kelley Armstrong (who actually does a lot of her own promotion too), then the legwork is all up to you.
With that in mind, my friend Maria Zannini recently had a terrific post about the relevance and usefulness of getting a book trailer made (or even doing one yourself).
Join me on Monday for my guest author Kate Hill, and on Thursday when author MJ Fredrick will be dropping by to visit. Have a great weekend everyone!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Well where do I begin? I felt so free to talk the last time I was presented as a guest author on this blog. I am an author (duh); my first book Proud Souls was independently published in July of 2007. It has been an exciting and daunting journey of struggle, trial-and-error, and feelings of accomplishment. The hardest thing I have ever done in my life--and I have done a lot people--is dare to persue my dream. It has costs me hours of lost sleep, support from those who once proclaimed to love and believe in me, time and lots and lots of money. I wouldn't trade it however for anything. The struggle is what makes me...well...me.
I am working on a new story right now, one that I haven't actually shared with anyone but a few select people. But being my friend JK writes urban fantasy, and her fans appreciate that genre, then maybe now is as good a time as any to share a bit more about this story I have entitled: Borders. And yes, it is indeed a hopeless romance...
Borders follows a man by the name of Warner Roberts and his struggles to become the next great American author. When we meet him early in the story, he is just about to give a live exclusive television interview. He is pushed into answering a question about his life and his choice of home (city where he lives) and he sort of flips out, looking in the camera and declaring to the world [that] he only lives there because the love of his life lives within the city, within her borders. He goes on to say he is waiting on her to come back to him. She is the reason he has become the rebellious and reclusive author...the reason why "...he worked his way up the ranks with vigor and contempt, passion for the arts and hatred for the laws that determined who was rewarded for their efforts and who was disregarded." He is something of a playboy, flamboyant and arrogant but subtle and romantic enough to maintain his 'I love you and now I don't love you' attitude. Needless, Warner throws one of his fits, walks off the interview on live television, finds a young girl on his way out of the studio and plants a long, deep wet kiss on her lips before telling everyone to kiss his backside.
From there we are thrown back four years to the day Warner Roberts met Kimberly Ann Reynolds, or as the world would come to know her: Kay Reynolds, the new superstar of literary romance. They meet one day and stars collide and the power of the universe begins its tug-of-war with their souls and their hearts. She is reluctant to love, probably why she writes romance. It is her escape from the burden of her mundane love life with (the lame) Lane McGregor she meets her soul make, Warner Roberts. The time they spend together is short-lived but passionate and real. They make love for hours on hours over the course of a week. He knows she is the one as does she. And despite his reluctance to settle down with one woman (as for him, there are just so many others to choose from), he takes a chance on winning her heart. But for reasons we don't truly comprehend (nor her for that matter) Kay Reynolds pushes him away every time he gets close to her.
She thinks of him but being so strong in her belief of gaining success as an author, she makes it hard for him to "fit within her schedule." He is more laid back, doesn't care for a watch and kind of "rides the waves where the wind will take him." She comes from a more well-to-do family and he is broke, at least in the early parts of the story. He does become a premier book coach as the story progresses, making money when he can helping others find success as authors. He is a good looking man and he is also a fighter. He spars with local boxers to get extra cash and lives a very private, secluded poor lifestyle. You wouldn't know by how he carries himself but he does. It's the reason why Kay never sees his home. He is always ashamed and worried she will find another reason to stay away from him.
Anyhow, years later as they go through this emotional battle of love and she gets engaged and he finds many woman to replace the sexual void in his life. He keeps up with her life online and she avoids him at all cost. He becomes a very reputable speaker and book coach, travling the US making appearances on television, radio and online, helping others with expertise and insight into the world of books and all things related. Then, like a bad dream, she comes knocking on the door to his office (which happens to be his studio apartment). She offers him more money than any other client--being she has become a very successful and very rich author--to help with another book. He has no choice but to take the money and the job. This helps her keep the relationship professional and it tears at his soul and his heart everyday. He can never truly understand what she wants from him and why, after knowing he loves her dearly, she keeps returning just to run away.
I can't say what else will occur as I don't want to give too much away, but for the most part, you get the premise of the story. I have always been a hopeless romantic myself. I think it comes with the territory of being creative and witty. It goes with being a dreamer. We suffer more for it, but we come up with some really good stories to tell later...stories we live through because we can't have that type of love in our life.
Apart from that people, I still work to push Proud Souls, one reader at a time. It's a long ladder and my pace has been slow. It hasn't been my intent however, I have pushed harder than most people I know but at the end of the day, it's just the way it goes sometimes. I suppose it isn't in the books for everyone who wants to be successful as an author, to indeed become just that. I have my own Internet Radio Show: The Soul of Humanity, where I feature a new guest every week and we stream LIVE over the WWW and discuss the ladder of success and the journey towards seeing your dreams become a reality.
It has been my pleasure to be here... I will answer your questions and elaborate enough to make the world fall in love with me and in one swoop, almost tear it back down again... for that... in a nutshell... is Bobby Ozuna...
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
And yes, perhaps I'm slightly biased, due to a healthy and not at all overblown obsession with Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson, but I really do think this is going to be a cool movie and I'm looking forward to bringing my son. I loved Escape to Witch Mountain when I was a kid. I didn't see it in the theatres, being too young for that, but I do remember seeing it on television when it played in two parts Sunday evenings on ABC many moons ago.
I'm also curious about this one...
I'm thinking if I see it, it will be with a girlfriend since hubby's really really not interested. And if I see it, it's mostly because of the pretty heavy cast of celebs, and because my sister read the book and told me it was good. That's about all I need as a recommendation.
Now, whether or not I get a chance to see either of these movies, who knows. Life seems to be gearing back up again but hopefully I'll be able to make a little time between now and next snowfall. Wait, that could be tomorrow :)
On that note, it's supposed to get cold here again for the rest of the week *sigh*. It's a good thing I pretty much decided that I'm going on vacation.
Hot sandy beaches in the Carribbean...here I come!
Monday, March 16, 2009
J.K.: Hi Brooke, welcome to the blog. As per your website, it seems you’re quite a bit spontaneous. You took off for New Zealand and came back over a year later, having traveled to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, India and Britain as well. What happened there, and do you apply that same kind of spontaneity to your writing?
BROOKE: Hi J.K., thanks for inviting me! It’s a pleasure to be here. I’m a wanderer at heart. I had always wanted to travel and my original trip was to be only three months, split between New Zealand and Australia. I had just completed a Business degree at university and had a holiday working visa for Australia but I didn’t think anyone would actually hire me.
But at the three-month mark, I was down to my last dollars and I walked into a temporary employment agency in Sydney. They gave me a typing test and, despite typing 10 words per minute, they gave me a job! I worked for a number of months until I managed to save enough money to make a second trip through the parts of Australia I hadn’t seen. While hitchhiking, I met a British woman who had just traveled through Asia and suggested that I do the same. I thought about it for a few minutes and decided I would go. I booked airfare to Asia. My airline ticket was for Singapore, Bangkok, New Delhi and then London, England.
I didn’t realized what I was in for. The plane was landing in Singapore at eight o’clock at night, it was dark, I was alone and I was freaking out. My instructions were to take a bus to a certain street and someone would find me and give me a place to stay! I couldn’t go back to Australia or hang out at the Singapore airport with the guards who carried these HUGE weapons, so I took the bus, stood on the street and someone found me and gave me a place to stay for $1US per night. After that, I figured I could do anything.
My travels through Malaysia, Thailand and India were eye opening to say the least, especially as I traveled solo. I arrived in London where I stayed for a month before deciding it was time to go home after a year-and-a half. For my entire trip, I traveled west until I ended up at my starting point. I arrived in Alberta and couldn’t handle the cold, so I flipped a coin on whether to move to Vancouver or Toronto. Toronto won.
Spontaneity seems to figure largely in everything I do. For the vast majority of time, I see or think of something I want to do, think about it for a bit and then I just do it. Writing is a very organic process for me. I set up the basic plot, do research, find out who my characters are (which is more organized and less organic) and then I get out of the way and let my characters run with the story. The characters end up doing things I would never have thought of in the beginning—they constantly surprise me.
J.K.: That's an amazing story. I wonder if I could do that. Travel alone in a foreign country (or two) like that. I'll bet the adventure would be worth writing about anyway--if I lived through it. In fact, I think I feel an idea coming on as we speak (and I don't even have to leave the house)...Can I call you for research purposes?
So anyway, Pitch Dark is your first book. When is it being released, and how do you feel about that? Nervous?
BROOKE: Cerridwen Press will release Pitch Dark in e-book format on March 19, 2009. And yes, I am nervous now – six weeks before the release date, the whole thing suddenly became real as I sat in a Starbucks – I started shaking so badly I was glad I was sitting or I might have hit the floor.
J.K.: Are you sure that wasn't because of the price of their lattes?
BROOKE: I’ve been using every resource at my disposal to try to get the word out about Pitch Dark. It’s been a little stressful—going where I’ve never gone before.
J.K.: Every resource? Have you tried singing monkeys? They're awesome at showtunes, and will be sure to get some attention--then again, the clean up is hell.
So how long have you been writing? What inspired you to pick the pen up one day and create the particular characters that appear in Pitch Dark?
BROOKE: I have been writing since mid-2003. It never occurred to me to write before then. A friend had introduced me to some very good romantic fiction the year before and I thought I could write a novel. So I did.
My basic question for Pitch Dark was: What would happen if terrorists took out the Saudi Arabia oil production machine (with the largest proven oil reserves in the world)? The answer: They would go after the place with the second largest proven oil reserves—in Alberta, Canada. I based the heroine partially on my years of working with the best and brightest in Information Technology and on my knowledge of the oil and gas industry in Alberta. The heroine is a former hacker for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the hero an ex-CIA covert agent, who now owns a natural resources based firm in Colorado. And I made my hero my perfect man. I’m still trying to find him! LOL.
J.K.: The perfect man? Really? He doesn't even leave the toilet seat up? Hm, now I know it's fiction. What do you feel is the most important thing that a first-time author should know?
BROOKE: I think the most important thing is to go with your gut and to try to not over-analyze what you’re doing. And that getting published is a MUCH longer process than you think.
J.K.: And what do you hope for your writing career in the next few years? Any goals that you have yet to obtain that you have set for yourself?
BROOKE: Well, this sounds totally arrogant but I want to be a New York Times bestselling author. I’m working on improving my writing style to get there. I am a half way through the sequel to Pitch Dark and I am a fifth of the way through a paranormal romantic suspense novel.
J.K.: Sometimes people envision an author’s life as being really glamorous. I like to set them straight, so tell us what’s the most unglamorous thing you’ve done in the past week?
BROOKE: I unplugged the toilet today. Ick!
J.K.: Yep, that's glamorous, lol. So, what genre do you love to read, but you think you’d never actually write?
BROOKE: I love Regency period and erotica romances. But I’d never say "never", so maybe one day…
J.K.: What books are currently on your nightstand?
BROOKE: I have Stephanie Laurens’ “The Edge of Desire”, “All About Love” and “A Gentleman’s Honor” and Francois Neveux’s “A Brief History of the Normans”.
J.K.: Do you have a pesky day job?
BROOKE: Fortunately no. I have enough resources at this point to give all my attention to the business of writing.
J.K.: If you had to write yourself as a superhero, what kind of superhero would you be? What would you be named?
BROOKE: I think I would write myself as someone with paranormal abilities who is working to prevent the fall of civilization, fight crime, terrorists, etc. Name?? Um, Super Geek? The One? Jane?
J.K.: If you were a world ruler and you were given a choice of 3 laws to enact, what would they be?
BROOKE: I was going to say world peace but that sounds too Beauty Queen for me, so I’m going with:
1. Free, quality healthcare for everyone
2. Freedom from hunger for everyone
3. Freedom from abuse for everyone
J.K.: Sorry hon, but that still sounds pretty mushy to me. I probably would have gone with mandatory housecleaning lessons for every man, but maybe that's just me.
Okay, next question: you’re the heroine of your book, why do you fall in love with the hero?
BROOKE: I fall in love with the hero because he’s smart, honorable, honest, courageous, loving, compassionate, understanding, a go-getter, strong mentally, morally and physically and, naturally, great in bed.
J.K.: Naturally. :)
Brooke, thank you so much for being here, and before we go, let us know what’s next for you.
BROOKE: J.K., thanks so much for having me! I am working on the sequel to Pitch Dark, my third novel (paranormal romantic suspense) and working on promoting the first novel.
Brooke London was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and grew up in the hamlet of Sherwood Park, a suburb of Edmonton. She finished high school and then went on to university to earn a Bachelor of Commerce degree.
Ten days after her last exam at university, she took off for a three-month tour of Australia and New Zealand. A year-and-a-half later, after adding Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, India and Britain to the itinerary, she returned to snowy Edmonton. Deciding that she wanted a change of location, she flipped a coin to decide whether to live in Vancouver, British Columbia or in Toronto, Ontario. Toronto won (or lost depending upon how one looks at it).
After working at stockbrokerages for three years, she went back to school to learn how to program computers. She worked for over a decade in Information Technology and is very happy to be writing full-time now.
Brooke has completed one romantic suspense novel, which is to be published by Cerridwen Press on March 19, 2009. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Toronto Romance Writers.
Alyssa Tiernan must protect her grandfather’s cutting-edge, environmentally friendly oil sands extraction technology—and his life. Forced into dealing with her grandfather’s chosen partner, Connor Donnelly, a wildcard business mogul and ex-CIA spy, she knows she can’t trust him.
Connor resents that she has the final say on his multi-million dollar partnership. When someone tries to kill them both, they are thrust together and their mutual attraction sparks hot enough to heat the sheets to searing intensity, despite their mutual distrust.
Together they race between his headquarters in Colorado and the oil sands of Alberta to stay one step ahead of the terrorists who are determined to stop them at any cost.
It will take their combined cunning and courage to survive the explosive and treacherous covert world of espionage, betrayal, terrorists and spies. But even if they do, can they survive the secrets they are keeping from each other?
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/people/Brooke-London/1076014482
MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/brookelondon
Cerridwen Press Website: http://www.cerridwenpress.com
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Well, I searched long and hard for something sweet or funny or sexy to bring you this weekend. An image or a video, something that would mean I didn't have to actually write a blog today. Yes, I'm being very lazy.
But I think I deserve it. It's been a busy week at the day job, but at home I'm all about lounging around this week. My book is done, I don't have the edits back yet (although my editor has been emailing me non-stop, which I love because in between the "we'll need to fix this and tighten that and..." there also seems to be a healthy dose of excitement that's got me all tingly).
But anyway, besides doing some critiquing for friends--which I haven't had a chance to do in a while--I'm reading and watching television, going out to dinner with the girls and catching up on my sleep. I even turned in my computer for an overnight checkup. Can you believe it? The thing was out of my sight for a full 24 hours.
So technically, I should be starting a new book--or at least working on the one that's already in progress--but I really don't wanna. Not for another few days at least.
So that's it. What about you? What's new in your world this week?
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Charlie’s laws of writing:
1. When you have an idea, you don’t have time to write. And vice versa. If you get a brilliant inspiration – at last you know how to sort out that wretched scene that’s been bugging you – you have to take the kids to the orthodontist, prepare for that key meeting and the dinner won’t cook itself. When you do have a whole afternoon for the computer, you just stare at the screen, unable to string a sentence together.
2. The muse flits by at the worst times. You’re driving down the motorway or struggling round the supermarket and suddenly you can hear in your head an absolutely brilliant scene. There is nothing at hand to record it, so you rely on memory. By the time you find pen and paper, the deathless prose and sparkling dialogue you created have dissipated into slushy twaddle.
3. Logic? It’s left the building. You slog away with a round of author chats, promos, competitions, etc. This has zero effect on your sales. Disheartened, you do no promo for a fortnight – your Amazon ratings soar.
4. Your muse suffers from ‘My Sweet Lord’ syndrome. If you have a brilliant plot idea/character name/book title, someone got there first.
5. The whole publishing business drives you nutty, but you still come back for more. ‘Nuff said.
Charlie Cochrane was dragged kicking and screaming into publishing, after years of saying ‘No!’ Now she thrives on editing, promoing and all the other things she never realised went on. She can be found eyeing up calls for submissions (something she wouldn’t have dreamed of a year ago) and has even stepped so far out of her comfort zone as to produce a story about gay werewolves. I have to add my werewolves are terribly well bred and behaved, as are most of my leading men.
The chairman rapped the table with his gavel. “I bring this meeting of the South Kensington Lycanthropes to order.” Anyone observing the handsome, studious faces around the table would have felt there was no apparent disorder to deal with. The only indications that this wasn’t some dry, Oxbridge departmental meeting came from the occasional, anxious glances which the participants cast over to the windows, where a bank of cloud obscured the night sky. And the fact that their clothes were neatly piled behind their chairs, ready to be claimed the next day, should it prove necessary to go home without them.
“Gentlemen, we begin with a paper on the Red wolf, Canis lupus rufus. ”
Rory’s mind began to wander. He’d heard many a paper—scientific, historical, literary—over the years, as they’d waited for the leaden English skies to clear, and this one didn’t enthuse him. Not like the occasion when someone had presented a cogent (in their eyes) case that Esau had indeed been one of their brethren, which would explain the hairiness, a thesis countered by another member who’d sworn blind that Esau had been a Neanderthal. Harsh words and blows had ensued, turning to snarls and bites as the moon had broached the clouds, illuminating the room. Things rarely got that exciting.
Well, Carter reflected, casting a surreptitious glance around the room, we’re hardly an exciting bunch. Most of his associates worked in museums or universities, although one particularly enterprising lad had secured a job behind the meat counter at Harrod’s. That was one way of mixing business and pleasure. None of them were employed in the field where men who shared their other inclination—the non-lupine one—were often to be found. What was the point when, by accident of the lunar calendar, you might be taking the stage as Romeo and find yourself appearing more like Chewbacca?
Wolves of the West, from the Anthology Queer Wolf
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
So not only am I finished writing Forever Immortal, but I even did a first read-through of it and now it's off to my editor.
I have to admit to being pleasantly surprised when all is said and done.
The process of getting this book written felt like pulling teeth at some points. There were days I couldn't get more than a dozen words on the page, and that in itself would take me hours.
I thought that going over what I wrote would have been torture. I expected to find loads and loads of things that needed to be fixed. But as I was reviewing the book I saw it for the first time as a whole...and it really really works! It's not that I didn't know where I was going, or that I didn't like what I was writing, but the stilted, stunted progress I seemed to be making had me thinking for sure that I was going to have to do major major revisions.
Has anyone else ever been surprised this way about a project--whether it's a book you've been writing or otherwise?
When the death of an Immortal triggered Gideon Bennett’s life-changing physical transformation over five years ago, the easy-going research scientist was forced into a world of violence for which he was ill prepared. Now a seasoned warrior, the memory of his one massive failure and the face of the woman he couldn’t save haunts him still and has made him hard. If only he believed in second chances…
Lyssa James wasn’t looking for trouble when she set out to enjoy a night on the town. She just wanted to escape for a while, to leave behind her dead-end job and obnoxious ex-boyfriend. What she got instead was a first class ticket to a demon hell dimension where she’s been trapped for five long years, years spent remembering the face of the man that couldn’t save her. If only she could escape…
Then providence intervenes, giving Lyssa the opportunity she’d been waiting for, access to the very portal that had swallowed her whole and taken her life. Miraculously, when she comes out the other side, she finds herself facing the same Immortal that botched her rescue five years ago. If only she could turn back time. If only life wasn’t so complicated. If only she was still human instead of the very thing Gideon’s sworn to destroy. Demon. If only…
Monday, March 09, 2009
Thanks, JK, for having us here today. For the readers who are unfamiliar with us, I'm Donna, and my writing partner is Bree. Together, we publish under the pen name Moira Rogers, mostly paranormal romance and urban fantasy, some erotic and some more mainstream.
I love music. My big dark secret is that I would love love LOVE to be making it. Unfortunately, though I come from a fairly musically talented family, I can't play anything. And, uh, the only time anyone ever wants to hear me sing is when we're playing Rock Band. But that's okay; I believe in using what you're given, and I was given words.
I love writing. It's something I would do even if no one contracted my work, and Bree's the same way. I know this because we both wrote for years before we ever even thought of submitting to any publishers. Of course, there's nothing more exciting than having someone pay you to do the one thing you love more than anything else.
When Bree and I start a new project, one of the first things I do is make a playlist. Whether the songs are for one character, one book, or an entire series, I need those songs. They go on my iPod. I listen to them while I plot, develop, and write. I burn them to CD and listen to them in the car. I drive everyone around me nuts.
So of course I have a Southern Arcana playlist. Some of the songs are for particular characters (while Magic Man is our first hero's song, Read My Mind is the theme song for someone who won't show up until the third book) or events (Change is on there because of something that happens in the second book, the one we're writing now). Others are just for mood. Taken all together, I think they do a respectable job of giving an overview of the universe--the way things feel.
Read My Mind - The Killers
No Myth - Michael Penn
Irish Drinking Song - Dropkick Murphys
Lil' Red Riding Hood - Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs
Magic Man - Heart
Blue - The Jayhawks
When It Don't Come Easy - Patty Griffin
Hush - Deep Purple
Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) - Marilyn Manson
Dracula Moon - Joan Osborne
Superstition - Stevie Wonder
Beast of Burden - Rolling Stones
Change - Deftones
Kashmir - Led Zeppelin
Supernatural Thing - Ben E. King
Secondhand Heart - Will Hoge
Days Like These - Janis Ian
The first book in the Southern Arcana series, Crux, is now available from Samhain Publishing.
To find her destiny, she must trust him with her life…and her heart.
Southern Arcana, Book 1
Jackson Holt makes a decent living as a private investigator in New Orleans, home of one of the largest underground supernatural populations in the United States. He and his partners have never met a case they couldn’t crack…until a local bar owner asks him to do a little digging on her newest hire.
New Orleans is the fourth destination in as many months for Mackenzie Brooks, a woman on the run from a deranged stalker. After all, any man who shows up on her doorstep claiming to be her destined lover has more than a few screws loose. But crazy doesn’t explain why he always finds her no matter how far she runs.
When her well-meaning boss puts a PI on her case, Mackenzie comes face to face with the incredible truth: magic is real, and whatever spell has kept her hidden and separate from the paranormal world is rapidly deteriorating.
With time running out, she has no choice but to trust Jackson as he struggles to uncover the truth of her past—and her destiny.
Product Warnings: This book contains devious schemes, epic battles, forbidden love between a shapeshifter and a spellcaster, nosy secondary characters, furniture-endangering sex and a woman fighting to choose her own destiny.
Saturday, March 07, 2009
Ok, I'm a geek, I admit it! But you have to watch this!
*parental guidance suggested due to language*
Thursday, March 05, 2009
First, I’d like to thank J.K. Coi for having me. J.K. and I share a publisher. Although the two of us have yet to meet in person, we’ve definitely bonded over our love for hot alpha males and strong, kick-butt heroines. So, here I am, filling in as J.K.’s guest blogger!
In honor of the release of The Temptation, the latest book in my Forbidden series, I thought that perhaps I’d share a few wonderfully weird and random facts about the book.
First, I should tell you a little bit about the book. Yes, there’s an alpha male and a kick-butt heroine. See sexy male chest below on the cover. Do I find irony in the fact that my werewolf apparently waxes his chest? Not at all.
There’s a fine line between man and beast…one only the heart can cross.
A year ago, Jacob Madison got more than he bargained for during a rock-climbing trip to Yosemite. A freak accident left him badly injured, at the mercy of the elements—and the wolves who rescued him. If it hadn’t been for them, he’d be dead. He’d also still be human. Now he’s back, hoping to find out who he is and what he’s become. Instead, he finds smart, sexy Allison Connelly.
A forensic psychologist, Allison is newly divorced and proudly standing on her own two feet…until an unexpected storm shears off the snow bank she’s standing on. She plunges down an icy ravine, thinking she’s heading for oblivion. Then she lands in the arms of a tall, dark Texan. Jake.
Brought together by circumstance and bound by passion, secrets from their past threaten their future before it can begin. And somewhere in the mountains lurks a rogue Were turned serial killer. Whatever the danger Jake’s inner beast poses to Allison, there’s only one way to protect her—unleash it. Even if it costs him her love.
Warning: This book contains raging winter storms, truly inspiring sex, a kick-butt heroine, and one very hot, dirty-talking cowboy…who’s sometimes furry.
Read an Excerpt
10 Wonderfully Weird and Random Facts about Forbidden: The Temptation
1. Much of The Temptation, my very first werewolf novel, was written in a coffee shop named after an iconic vampire – Lestat.
2. The forth book in the Forbidden series was not supposed to feature Jake. The hot, dirty-talking cowboy made an appearance in The Revolution and seduced my muse into giving him his very own book. Jake can be very persuasive.
3. In an act of revenge my vampire Dell, sexy secret agent and sorcerer decided to pop up in The Temptation and steal the show for a few pages.
4. Baylor University, which is where the epilogue takes place, is my alma mater and where I met my husband.
5. Pine Ridge Ranch was loosely based on place I vacationed with my family near the Grand Canyon a few years ago.
6. In addition observing wolves locally at the San Diego Zoo, I watched Wolves: A Legend Returns to Yellowstone and A Man Among Wolves with Shaun Ellis, over and over. I think that Shaun Ellis scares me more than the book’s villain, Roane Devlin.
7. I learned about the Pawnee creation story a few years ago while on a tour at the Library of Congress and used it as the basis for Roane Devlin’s belief system and the motivation behind his killings.
8. As part of my research I used handouts my son received and notes he took while attending a workshop on how to blow things up at DragonCon. If they repeat that one this year I’m definitely going. Too much great information to miss.
9. My son’s friend Ryan asked me to put him in one of my books. That was the inspiration for the character Ryan. I expected him to have a small, bit part. I should have known better. The real Ryan has yet to discover that I make him wear an apron in the book. I’m not sure how he’s going to feel about that.
10. I’m currently spending my days with Wesley Atherton, the psychiatrist who introduced Allison to Dell and the supernatural world. He’s going to be the hero of The Sacrifice, which will be out this fall.
Available now in eBook at:
Linden Bay Romance
All Romance eBooks
My Bookstore and More
Coming Soon in Print!
To find out more about Samantha Sommersby and the world of the Forbidden, visit the author’s website http://www.samamthasommersby.com or MySpace Page http://www.myspace.com/samanthasommersby.
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
(http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons)
Yes, I still feel yucky (and I'm still whining about it), but I think I managed to bribe the angel of death to come back when hell freezes over. I'll live.
In the meantime, I turn my head and a whole 'nother month just disappears. I guess I didn't notice because in my Buckley's-induced delirium I was madly working to finish my book.
Just in time too. My editor was getting antsy. She still is, seeing as how I begged her to let me have a chance to look it over at least once through to fix those little plot holes and the things I may have written in my fuzzy flu fog. But at least it's finally finished and WOW, is it AWESOME! (You'll just have to trust me)
So what are you looking forward to most about Spring?
Check out Authors and Books today to read my interview, and join me at The Romance Junkies on Wednesday, 9PM EST where I'll be chatting with fellow Linden Bay Authors and giving away free books!
And pop on back here Thursday to chat with my guest, author Samantha Sommersby.