Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Release day for Romancing the Hero!

I'm so excited - release day's finally here! Today, The Wild Rose Press released Romancing the Hero, a contemporary fantasy, as part of its Faery Rose line. Romancing the Hero's a novella, but its 70 pages are packed with fun and romance. And oh yeah, I can't forget mayhem. It's nearly as much fun as the romance!

Here's the excerpt:

“Jody Feather?” The deep voice rushed at her like a hot breeze, reverberated through her, and stopped her where she stood.

“Ye—” Her gaze climbed the long legs clad in well-fitting jeans, pumped torso outlined through his tight tee, to the gorgeous model face. Someone might have stolen a cardboard cutout of the perfect hero and breathed life into it, and that’s who stood on her doorstep.

“Yowsa,” she said on an exhale.

He cocked a delighted brow. “Pardon?”

“May I help you?” Please say yes.

“I believe it’s the other way around.”

“Really?” Thankyouthankyouthankyou! “I mean… what do you mean?”

The timbre of his deep voice filled the space between them. “I’m here to help. Use me.”

Wait. This had to be a prank. “I get it. Mimi sent you.”

His brow furrowed. “Mimi? No.”

Patience waning, she heaved a sigh. “Who are you?”

“I think you know.” He leaned a ripped bicep against the doorjamb in a move that seemed scripted—by her.

“No. Tell me.”

“Jake? Ring a bell?”

She might have guessed. “Oh right. Jake Emerson?”

He clucked his tongue. “The one and only. I knew you’d recognize me anywhere.”

“Even at my own condo. Go figure. So why are you here? As a prop for the signing?” Damn, he fit the role perfectly, too. She couldn’t have picked a better actor. She jotted another note to ask Mimi if he could pose for the next cover. A cardboard cutout would be perfect for signings.

“Is that what you need?” he asked with a hint of disappointment.

She peered past him. “No bags?”

“I travel light.”

“Didn’t she tell you? There are several events. Dinner, the keynote, plus the signing itself. You might want a change of clothes.” Though if anyone could pull off wearing the same outfit every day, he could. She could claim it was Jake’s brand, his image, an intentional move to make him recognizable to conference attendees. Mimi always droned on about the brand, the brand.

Besides, who’d notice his clothes? They only wrapped the prize beneath. And what a yummy prize. She had to hand it to Mimi, the marketing genius.

Musing aloud, she murmured, “Where did they find you?”

“They didn’t. I’m Jake.”

“Right. And I’m Lara Croft.” Not even her Halloween costume could turn her into the sexy heroine.

He chuckled. “You’re better than that bimbo.”

Oh boy. “Let’s not get carried away, shall we? It’s temporary.”

“Why? Do you plan to kill me off?”

“Don’t tell me you’ve read the series.” All that and a reader to boot.

“I don’t need to read it. I live it.”

His devilish smile almost blocked out his words, which hit her like a slap.

Yikes. “Listen, Mr…” Rolling her hand, she prompted him to finish.


Method actor, apparently. She’d play along for now. “Sure. Mr. Emerson.”

A car horn sounded outside.

“The taxi.” And she hadn’t remembered whatever she’d forgotten. Too late now. “Give me two seconds.” She hurried to grab her jacket.

“Take all the time you need, baby.”

The endearment brought her to a screeching halt. “Hold on. I get that you’re ‘Jake Emerson’ but when we’re together, address me as Ms. Feather. I am not your baby.” Or anyone else’s, unfortunately. After this weekend, she’d change that.

His mouth curled down in a brief frown. “Pity.”

“Give it a rest.” She’d written this scene in the second novel, when Jake first meets that leading lady. How many scenes had he studied? Hopefully he wouldn’t reenact too many. Sure, she loved her work, but not so much she wanted to live it. Except for certain parts, like the shower scene in book three… You don’t have time for this.

After grabbing her bag, she said a quick goodbye to Frank. “It’s only for the weekend. See you Monday.” She glanced at the man waiting at her door. “Tuesday at the outside.” Never rule out any possibilities. Her parents taught her that. And she’d made it Jake’s motto, one of the reasons fans loved him. Time to make it her own motto as well.

The saying had given her the strength to leap from journalism into fiction. If they only knew what she considered leaping into now… well, she was old enough to face those consequences. And enjoy them while they lasted.

Holding a hand to his sculpted abs, he bowed. “May I carry your bag, Ms. Feather? Or are you too liberated for such a show of chivalry?”

Wiseass. He had that aspect of Jake down pat. “Please. Take it, with my gratitude.” It gave her a chance to follow him down the walkway, and admire his rippling biceps and tight end, made more luscious by his swagger. She paid particular attention. She had to, or she wouldn’t be able to describe it in all its vital deliciousness in a later novel.

Oh yeah, she loved being a writer.

Get your copy today from The Wild Rose Press!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Navigating the Retail Sea

My blog photo makes me sad. When I first posted it, several months after a book signing at my local Borders, the only problem I had with it was that I had no idea who the lady in the background was/is, and I had no idea how to crop her put of the picture. Now, the problem is that the setting no longer exists. Our Borders has been closed for about a month.

As we stood waiting for a taxi outside Penn Station in New York last weekend, we couldn't miss the big, empty storefront where the Borders used to be. Shopping at a nearby mall last Friday night, I found a Books A Million where the Borders used to be. I lingered at the door momentarily, but didn't venture in.

At Target yesterday, I enjoyed browsing the well-lit, neatly arranged book section, which
seemed bigger than it had been before our Borders - just down the street - closed its doors. My daughter, who is a voracious reader - found quite a lot to pique her interest.
Trendy series and books by popular authors graced the shelves alongside works by authors famous for their writing skills as well as those famous for less literary reasons. We left with four books, which my daughter will no doubt devour within two weeks.

What then? As long as she wants to read the hot and trendy titles, we should have no problem keeping her bedside table well-stocked. And for the more obscure titles, well, there's always Amazon, or a half hour road trip to our closest Barnes and Noble.

But within five minutes of our house, there is a small, independent bookstore. When we first bought our house 17 years ago, this bookstore not only had a twin across town, but it also occupied a much larger retail space, with a beautiful - and beautifully stocked - children's section. Some time ago, however, its twin closed, and the store closer to o our home moved to a more intimate location. I don't remember whether or not this coincided with Borders' opening, but against all odds, this small, local store remains, tucked away in a strip mall, surviving with less than half of the space, stock and clout that Borders

And as much as I know how this blog should end - with the loyal, local author reformed and making her purchases at the underdog bookstore - the bottom line is that the number of books we purchase makes this conclusion unlikely. Has the demise of Borders awakened my sense of duty, nudging me to make sure that at least some of my purchases are transferred to this independent bookseller? Yes. But when Target and Amazon discount their books, and Barnes and Noble sends me coupons, it's tough to plunk down full cover price in a small store that will probably have to special order the title I want because their inventory is so small and select. And they can't afford to make that inventory any larger because even people like me, who recognize the importance of their fiesty little business are turning to giants like Amazon because they ship books to my doorstep.

I don't know what the answer is. As much as I hate the fact that the whale that swallowed up so many small bookstores has now sunk into the depths of the retail sea, and as much as I champion - and admire - the minnows that remain, buying all my books as full price special orders just isn't going to happen.

So talk to me. Please. Tell me what your answer is, because while I know I will make a renewed effort to visit that miraculous minnow of a bookstore, I know that all of my purchases won't transfer there.

Not as long as there are discounts and door-to-door service.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Book Giveaway

Do you have room for a free book? As a promotion for the re-release of The Keepers of Sulbreth, book#1 in an epic fantasy series, I'm giving away a precious print copy to one lucky winner in the book-a-day giveaway over at The Romance Studio.

I know The Keepers of Sulbreth isn't a romance novel, but TRS is such a great promotional site I wanted to get the title of my book in front of all those users of that great destination.  And if you must have a romance, there are numerous romantic subplots in the series.  Not all have happy endings, however.

Do you enter book contests? Have you ever won?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

2nd Annual Harrisburg Book Festival

Hi All:
The Midtown Scholar is planning for the 2nd Annual Harrisburg Book Festival the weekend of November 11 - 13. She is thinking that instead of a huge group of writers and tables, it might be better to gather a group of published authors to participate on a panel from 12:30 to 1:30 on Saturday, November 12th.
We'd have to develop a theme, but she is thinking along the lines of improving your writing or how to get published.
Catherine has asked me to coordinate a panel. Are there any of you who might want to participate. Please let me know.
Thanks, Don Helin

Sunday, October 9, 2011

All aboard the crazy train!

I didn't think it possible, but life got crazier. Waaaay crazier. And it necessitates my time online growing even shorter than before.

I hate to skim through loop emails, but now even skimming's going to be rare, though I really miss keeping in touch with all the wonderful authors on the loops. And please accept my apologies in advance for not visiting blogs as often as I used to. I'll do my best to keep up, but until the end of the year, it's going to be really tough.

Which brings me to the final boarding stop for the crazy train: should I attempt NaNoWriMo? If I'm going to get any writing done at all, I need to carve out chunks of time dedicated to that, and only that (and if need be, wield that carving knife against intruders! Just kidding... I think!)

Last year, I couldn't participate in NaNoWriMo because hubby and I belatedly and deservedly celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary (three years late, to be exact!) by going on a ten-day cruise. As much as I loved it, I really missed writing. And I missed the challenge of NaNoWriMo.

This year, as crazy as life has been, I may just sign up again. It will be with the foreknowledge that I won't make it to 50k, but my philosophy is: nothing ventured, nothing gained. I'll end up with more done than I would have if I don't sign up, so signing up will force me to be more structured with my time. Theoretically, at least. :)

How do you handle time constraints? Share your tricks!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Are Published Writers Divas?

If I'd had a crystal ball, I would have made a prediction about an anthology I've been editing. Several well-known authors have contributed stories. Very exciting, except I was worried about dealing with divas.

And I definitely am.

They fight every suggestion made by me or the other editors, copyeditors, and proofreaders. Even when five people on the editorial team insist something isn't working, they totally ignore the suggestions. They skip over requests for edits, so the manuscript has to be sent back multiple times requesting the same rewrites. They're so tied to their words that they argue about even small changes. Exactly what I was expecting, except...

The writers who are doing this are NOT the big-name authors.

The multi-published authors are a dream to work with. They turn in their edits on time and do a wonderful job on any requested rewrites, making the story stronger each time. They say "thank you" for the suggestions and say that the edits have improved the story. And every single one of them ends with a final line something like this: "If this doesn't work, please let me know, and I'll be glad to rewrite it."

So who are these divas I'm working with? They're the pre-published writers, the newbies, the ones who have had two magazine stories published in local magazines. They're the ones who are so puffed up about being included in an anthology with "real" authors that they cling doggedly to every word, every idea. "If this story was good enough to get me accepted, it should be ready to publish as is" is their mantra. They fail to realize that most editors accept on potential, not perfection. And sadly, they're making a name for themselves as being hard to work with, which may mean this could be their only shot at publication.

So while my peek into the crystal ball was accurate, the details were murky. I've learned that far from being divas, published authors are willing to work at their craft and seek ways to improve what they write. Which, most likely, is the real reason they're published.