Friday, December 31, 2010's a wrap

2010 was an amazing year for me. I became published for one, realizing a dream, even if it was a fairly new one :). I gained a tremendous amount of experience with the craft of writing as well as understanding how the publishing industry works. Sort of LOL. And I made wonderful friends, some I've never even met in person!

So...2010, what did you teach me?
  • Writers are just so friendly & supportive towards other writers. It really is an amazing community to be a part of.
  • I really can tell people that I write hot & steamy romance and the sky won't fall in. Really :).
  • I'm a bit lazy. Yep, I can term it being a perfectionist, I can call it procrastinating, but I have a tendency to be lazy if I can get away with it. There. I said it. The first step is recognizing the problem, right LOL?
  • I actually like blogging and social networking. Who would ever have guessed that?
  • Publishing is a changing and evolving industry and it doesn't look like that's going to stop anytime soon.
  • Marketing and promotion is a bit of a crap shoot. You never really know what works or doesn't. You kinda make the best educated choices you can and hope for the best!
  • Sadly, the romance genre is still looked down on by people in the 'literary world' and the public in general, despite the incredible sales figures.
  • Writing is hard and it's work and it's solitary. Even though I love it and intellectually I knew it was hard, I think you have to live it to really get that on an emotional and spiritual level. It's not for everyone.
  • Being published feels just as amazing as I thought it would.
I haven't firmed up all of my goals for 2011 yet, but thought I'd share the highlights of my thinking for the coming year:
  • Read more! My reading has really dropped off lately and I feel like it could have an impact longer term. I'd like to get back to my favorite authors. I've missed them. The good news is that there is a huge backlog waiting for me.
  • Attend the RWA Nationals conference in NY, possibly RT and probably RomantiCon. There's nothing quite like networking (aka partying) with other romance authors.
  • Turn in 4 - 5 ebooks - hot & steamy contemporaries!!
  • Finish 2 category length manuscripts that are in progress.
  • Flesh out the outline for my first paranormal series and draft the first book. This story just won't give me any peace, so I have no choice.
  • Revamp the look & feel of my website and blog. It's long overdue, right?
  • Add new segments on my blog. Stay tuned!
  • Query agents.
  • Stop dicking around so much on the Internet :).
  • Become Twitter Queen. Well, perhaps not queen, but at least use it more effectively. See point above ;).
Happy New Year to everyone!! Wishing you a year filled with good health and happiness and much reading--romance, of course!

Monday, December 27, 2010

And the winner is...

OK, there weren't many entries, but that's a good thing for everyone who commented, right? I wrote down all the names, picked one at random and the winner is..

R E G I N A   S H I D E R L Y

Congratulations, Regina! You indicated in your post you'd like a copy of PICTURE THIS. If you'd email me at I'll get your book to you as soon as possible.

Hope everyone is still enjoying the holidays or trying to get back to normal, whichever works for you!

Friday, December 24, 2010

A gift...for you's that time of year again. Everyone has their holiday wishes out on the blogosphere, so I'll be brief with mine :). Enjoy the time with family and friends, stuff yourself with good food (I plan to) and look favorably towards the coming year--may it bring you good health and much happiness.

To celebrate, I'll be giving away either a copy of PICTURE THIS or PAY UP (winner's choice) to a random commenter on this post through Sunday 9:00 pm (EST). Tell me what you like about the holiday season (or don't) or what's the best (or worst) present you ever received!

And now...I'd like to leave you with a never before shared excerpt from PAY UP. Warning: it's hot and steamy and adult! Enjoy!!!

    Carly felt odd being in his bedroom. She’d been in his place before, but never this room. This was the room he dressed and undressed in, the room he slept in, the room he…fucked in. Well jeez, she assumed he didn’t always have sex up against the wall of his entry.
     What did he sleep in anyway? He didn’t seem the pajama type. She quickly grabbed a pair of sweatpants, a t-shirt and opened and closed a couple of drawers until she found his underwear.
     Oh God.
     They were all black, snug boxer-style briefs. Every single pair. She laughed. Not a lot of imagination, but hey, he so didn’t need any window dressing. They had to look incredible on him, so why would he mess with perfection, right?
     She felt depraved as she fingered the soft fabric, imagining what the material cupped when he had them on. She’d never much gotten into going down on a guy but the urge she had to look at, touch and taste Rio almost made her tremble. She wanted to lick his length, suck on him, cup and lick his balls until he trembled against her. She wanted to kneel in front of him in submission, his hands in her hair, urging her on until she brought him to the brink. And then she’d start all over again. She’d never let a guy come in her mouth before either, but she knew she’d let Rio. God, she’d insist. Just the thought of it and she was hot, wet and aching with need. What would he say if she won that dumb bet and claimed her prize as a blowjob for him?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tis the season to...

I love this time of year. It's full of fun and hope and optimism for the coming new year. Things are shiny and new and oh so special. It has a magic and a mysticism to it, especially if you have kids and can live it through their eyes. I love in the States how the entire period from Halloween through New Year is just called 'the holidays'. It seems you get through one celebration and then you're immediately looking forward to the next one. It's a wonderful, wonderful time, although my hips could certainly do with a break! This year we're spending our time at home and have no family visiting. Yay us :)!! I think it'll be really nice.

My most favorite part of this time of the year though, is looking forward to the new year. It's time to reflect on what's been accomplished, think about goals met (or not LOL) and start to firm up objectives and wishes for the coming year. I've always believed that you can do anything, be anything if you want it badly enough. Possibilities are endless and opportunities abound. The only limitation is yourself. It's why entering a new year is always so exciting for me. It's almost like the slate is being wiped clean and you can start fresh all over again. It's just up to you to make it happen.

So, while I'll be thinking about my goals and what I want to accomplish for 2011, what's YOUR favorite part of the holidays?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's not about who you know...

I've been involved in several industries before becoming a writer, dealing with the business, IT and consulting arena. Networking, building contacts and fostering relationships was a key aspect--a critical success factor if you will. I'm not talking about marketing and promotion, I'm talking about winning business and signing on the dotted line. It was how meetings were secured, how opportunities came about and how deals were ultimately made. Of course, there are other capabilities that need to be present, but I've witnessed deals being forged on the strength of a relationship alone (and I'm talking big business here). Not so with publishing. At least from what I've seen. It's the only industry I've had exposure to so far where 'who you know' doesn't seem to much matter, at least on the road to becoming published. I still think it's important to get yourself out there and network, but it's not going to get your work published if it sucks and I think it's true whether you're talking editors or agents. For me, that's very refreshing.

You also have to take into account the reputation of the publisher, but I'd think for readers, this should give a level of comfort. Of course, I could be totally and completely naive about this. Or it's possible I just don't know the right people :), but you know...I really do think it's all about the writing.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Show a Zombie Some Love!

I have the absolute pleasure today of handing over my blog to the fabulous Paige Tyler. Paige is a fellow EC author and a very talented and prolific writer. She has a release today and her book..well it's not exactly your run-of-the-mill romance or paranormal. It's...well, why don't I just hand it on over to Paige and she can tell you all about it?

Thanks so much for letting me guest blog today, Kaily!

Readers often ask me how I come up with ideas for my books, so I thought I'd give you a little behind-the-scenes peek at how I came up with my new release, a paranormal erotic romance from Ellora's Cave called DEAD SEXY.

Before I say anything else though, isn't that cover too hot for words?! When the art department sent it to me, I probably gazed at it for a good ten minutes in mouth-drooling appreciation before I could email them back telling the artist it not only rocked, but totally fit the book. The hero is "Dead Sexy," after all!

Okay, back to the story and how I came up with it. First, to set the stage, I need to share a little something with you about myself. Well, about my hubby and me, actually. We love zombie movies, from the George Romero gems to Shaun of the Dead and everything in between, including "Walking Dead," the new series on AMC. You just can't go wrong with a movie full of walking dead people, can you? Well, if you've ever seen a zombie movie (or even you haven't), then you know the creatures aren't the heroes of the film. I mean, how can they be, right? They're all dead and decayed and downright unattractive, not to mention pretty damn scary. Which was why you can imagine my surprise when my hubby suggested I write an erotic romance about a zombie hero. I was like, you're kidding, right? What woman in her right mind would fall in love with a dead guy? No way could that possibly work, or so I thought.

Turns out, my hubby wasn't kidding. In fact, he started working up ideas for the story.

"The hero didn't have to be a zombie all the time," he told me. "Think outside the box - take a little literary license!"

Okay, I thought. I suppose I could be open minded.

My hubby told me that in his out-of-the-box world, the hunky hero got cursed by an evil Voodoo priestess and only turns into a zombie sometimes.

"I'm listening," I said.

"And when he does go zombie, he doesn't have to be like the kind in the movies," my hubby added. "Well, he has to look like one, you know all dead and stuff, but he doesn't have to be a mindless creature or attack humans or eat anything gross."

So, brains are completely out, thanks goodness!

"Think Jensen Ackles or Jared Padelecki, with a really, really, really dark tan - (yes, my hubby knows I've got a thing for the Supernatural hunks!) - well, maybe more gray and black than tan, but you get the idea."

I thought about that for a minute. "So, the hero's dead, but he's still sexy, is that what you're saying?"

"Exactly," he said, giving me a grin as my eyes lit up with understanding.

By that point, my hubby had pretty much sold me on the idea. Of course, I knew if I ran with it, I was going to have to sell it to a publisher, and I knew that could be tough since the hero is a zombie. But I ran with it anyway and ended up with a full-length novel. And it came out pretty damn good, if I do say so myself! I still had to find a publisher for it, though.

About this same time, It just so happens that several of my other books were in the process of being picked up by Ellora's Cave and I thought what the heck? Why not pitch it to my editor there and see what she thinks? So I did, and she told me to send it to her. She was interested to see how I handled the whole zombie-thing. Well, long story, short, she liked it. A lot! My zombie romance with it's dead-sexy hero had a home! I was thrilled and my hubby walked around for a week with a smug, "I-told-you-so" look on his face.

I've been getting the word out there about DEAD SEXY ever since I signed the contract for it and I'm thrilled with the interest from readers who can't wait to get their hands on it! I can't wait for them to read it, too!

Now that I've revealed the story behind the story, I thought I'd share the blurb and an excerpt just to whet your appetite for more!

Romance author Simone Kent thinks she might just have found the most perfect guy in all of New York City - in bed and out. But Drake Parrish is about as far from perfect as any man can get. Eight years ago, he was cursed by an evil Voodoo priestess to live part of his life as a zombie. Since then, he has lived like a recluse on New York’s Upper East Side, afraid to go out for fear he’ll suddenly turn into one of the walking dead.
The sex if the hottest either of them has ever experienced and Simone discovers just how naughty she can be with Drake, while he finds himself feeling things for her that he hasn’t felt in a very long time. When the Voodoo priestess learns of their relationship, however, she comes after him again. She is determined to make sure he won’t have a future with Simone, even if that means killing both him and the woman he loves.

As she led him up the steps to the second floor, Drake found himself wondering if she would ask him in. And wondering what he’d say if she did. When they came to a stop outside the door to her apartment, Simone turned to give him a smile.
“I had a great time tonight.”
“Me, too.”
She caught her bottom lip between her perfect white teeth and chewed on it thoughtfully as if unsure what she wanted to say next. It was probably an unconscious gesture, something she did whenever she was thinking, but to him, it was sexy as hell and all he could think about was kissing her.
Surely, one kiss couldn’t hurt. He desperately wanted to. He hadn’t kissed a woman in so long. It would be nice to see if he still remembered how.
Before he could stop himself, Drake tilted Simone’s face up to his and pressed his mouth to hers.
She tasted just as sweet and delicious as he thought she would. Her lips were soft and pliant under his as she kissed him back, her tongue eagerly seeking his out.
Drake groaned and slid his hand into her hair, deepening the kiss. Simone sighed into his mouth, running her hands up the front of his shirt to grasp his shoulders. The feel of her touch was like a tonic to his deprived soul and he let out another groan, deeper this time.
He ran his free hand up her side and around to her breast, cupping it through the soft material of her dress. He couldn’t stop himself and apparently, Simone didn’t want him to. She moaned and arched against him. He could feel the heat of her pussy through their clothes as she pressed up against his hard cock. Damn, she felt good.
Drake drew her bottom lip into his mouth and gently suckled on it before slowly kissing his way along the delicate curve of her jaw. Simone clutched his shoulders and tilted her head back. He eagerly trailed a path of hot kisses down her neck, then back up, his mouth finding hers again. Simone looped her arms around his neck, pulling him in even closer as their tongues met.
Down the hall, a door slammed, reminding him where they were.
Drake dragged his mouth away from hers, his breathing ragged as he tried to regain control. He had to get it together because he was about five seconds away from doing something really stupid. Like taking her to bed. “I should go.”
Her lips curved into a sexy, flirtatious smile. “Or you could stay.”
God, how he wanted to. But as much as he’d love to spend the rest of the night exploring every inch of her body, he couldn’t take the chance he might go zombie on her right in the middle of sex. Talk about coitus interruptus, And it had already been almost four days since he last turned, which meant he was already pushing his luck.
“You don’t know how much I want to,” he groaned. “But I can’t.”
Simone looked up at him with those big, blue eyes. “Why not?”
“Because I…” He hesitated, trying to come up with something that would sound believable. “I have a column due in the morning and I haven’t even started on it yet.” She knew all about deadlines, so she would understand that. Besides, he did have a column to write, it just wasn’t due until next week. “Rain check?”
She looked disappointed, but she smiled anyway. “Absolutely. How does coming over for dinner tomorrow night sound?”
It would be crazy to agree when he could be so close to having an episode, but he couldn’t say no. Not when she asked in that soft, sultry voice. “Sounds great.”
“Good. Be here at seven.”
“Seven it is.”
She pulled him down for another long, slow kiss on the mouth. “Don’t be late.”
His mouth twitched. “I won’t.” He bent his head to kiss her again, then groaned. “If I don’t go now, I’ll be here all night.”
Simone laughed. “Would that be such a bad thing?”
“Not to me, but my editor at Money Issues might not be too understanding when he doesn’t find my column sitting in his inbox tomorrow.”
She sighed. “Deadlines can be a real pain in the butt sometimes. Okay, go home and write your column. I’ll cuddle up with a bowl of ice cream instead.”
He chuckled. “Sounds better than taking a cold shower, which is what I’m going to be doing when I get home.” He closed his mouth over hers once more. “See you tomorrow night, beautiful.”
Resisting the urge to pull her into his arms again, Drake turned and walked down the hallway toward the stairwell. At the top of the steps, he glanced over his shoulder to see Simone standing where he’d left her, a sexy curve to her lips.
It took every ounce of strength he possessed not to go back and pin her against the door for one more long, lingering kiss. God, what he wouldn’t give to spend the night with her. Man, it was going to take more than a cold shower to get her out of his head.

Hope you enjoyed the excerpt and that you can't wait to read more! You can get DEAD SEXY from Ellora's Cave here.  You can also check out the trailer here.

If you decide to pick up DEAD SEXY, let me know how you like it!


Monday, December 6, 2010

Just Published - Chloe Cole

I'm excited this month to welcome Chloe Cole to Just Published. Chole's first published book was actually written under the name Christine Bell. Since then, she's branched out and has written several more books, most under the name Chloe Cole. I got to know this fabulous writer on a writing loop and was so happy to be able to feature her here. The details of the first book are:

Title: Pray, Book One in the Wolves of Pray Series
Genre: Paranormal Erotic Romance
Words: 16K
Publisher: Cobblestone Press
Date Published: 8/27/2010

Chloe/Christine, how would you describe what you write?
I’m actually all over the map. I write erotic romance under the name Chloe Cole, so between the two pen names I have eight books contracted right now: Three contemporary erotic romance, one historical erotic romance, four paranormal romance and one steampunk romance. I have a YA novel in the works and I collaborated with author L.C. Chase on an M/M/F novella that we just sold to Loose Id due out on Feb 22nd.  I think the thing that ties them all together is a thread of humor that I bring to the table, even in the darker paranormals.

Wow, you've been busy! What's your writing process in a nutshell?
Until I wrote with a partner, I was a TOTAL panster. But now, after writing a book where outlining and plotting was necessary in order for it to succeed and gel (since we were each writing a chapter, and kind of passing it back and forth), I would have to say I’m somewhere in between. The process of outlining and getting down some background info on the characters was really helpful, and I’ve been doing it ever since. Although, since I’m still a panster at heart, I don’t always follow it!  But a loose guideline does alleviate the stress of “Wait, where is this story even going?” and also clues you in to some plot holes and issues in advance.  The start or creative spark is almost always a situation and almost always involves a certain type of person entering a situation totally outside their comfort zone. For example, with my most recent ms, I was thinking, “What if, instead of fairy godmother’s, grown ups got naughty godmothers who would sort of find nerdy guys who couldn’t find love and teach them how to be irresistible and fabulous in bed? And what if this naughty godmother was actually new on the job (she just got promoted from Tooth Fairy) and so she wasn’t very good at it. OOH, and what if the guy wasn’t REALLY a nerd but had to pretend to be, because he was undercover.” And then, I’m off and running, the characters sort of filling in the rest as I go. Layering is super important in order to make readers connect, so I’m constantly looking at my characters to see if they are just words on paper or if they have quirks, and depth and act and react in a consistent way etc.

LOL. That sounds like some premise! What has your submission history looked like? Rejections? Manuscripts written? Number of years ‘seriously writing’, etc?  
I’ve been super lucky. Although I was an English major in college and had a lot of experience writing, I’d never seriously considered writing fiction until last year. I wrote my first ms in December of 2009 and submitted it cold to Harlequin’s Nocturne Bites line. No crit group, no craft books, and no clue. I got a well deserved form R because it had all the rookie mistakes one would expect given the circumstances (“witty” dialogue tags, plentiful adverbs, “helpful” information dumps, etc.) Then, I found the E-Harlequin site, found my crit group, did workshops, bought books on writing and just really committed to learning the craft quickly. I received three more rejections, because the entire time I was learning, I kept submitting. On July 5th, I received a contract offer for the very first ms I ever wrote (albeit a totally revised and revamped version). Within a five week time frame, I sold everything I had written and had earned the right to direct submit to three different publishers (now I have four). It was a total whirlwind that I am still reeling from! I’m so grateful and pleased with the way things are progressing.

Sounds like a fairytale. How have you picked your publishers?
I had four publishers in mind, and targeted those four. I made sure to learn as much as I could about them, their editors and the books they sold. I bought and read their books, I took notes, I scoured their blogs for information on editors and what they were really looking for and what was hot. Then I wrote for them. Most of the mss that I have sold were sent only to that one publisher because that’s who I was writing it for.

What's your "call story" we all love to hear?
Well, my first sale was an email and I remember walking downstairs to my husband grinning and pointing the computer and my heart about stopped. It was awesome, but I think my first call story is actually more exciting, maybe because it was a phone call, so here is what I wrote on my blog about five minutes after “the call”. You can still *hear* my shock and excitement in the blog post, since I was almost incoherent, lol:

“They want to publish my steampunk romance novella, The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale! My whole body is shaking right now. They want it, Angela James just called me. From Carina Press. On the telephone. And she said it was her and I said “no it's not.” And she said “yes it is.” And laughed. Then I said, "Wait, you don't call with bad news do you?" and she said that no, she didn't. And then she told me that they want to publish my book. At which point I burst into tears. I wish I was kidding about that part, but I'm not. And then I babbled on and on about how I almost emailed her to get it back because of all the goofy dialogue tags and stupid adverbs and how I am taking her editing workshop. I came across very cool, suave, you know? Anyway, it's scheduled for release spring 2011. And I am STILL freaking out!!!”

I called my hubby then, and told him, and just had the best few days of total bliss and happiness. I think it was one of the most exciting days of my life.

Sigh.. That is so awesome. Did you have an agent when you sold? Now?
Nope, and I have yet to even query one. When I write a full length single title intended for print maybe I’ll try to find one, but for now I’m happy on my own.

What’s it like working with a publisher and editor? Are revisions really as bad as you hear?
Publishing is all abut patience. Which is unfortunate, because I have none! The good part is, you get these small little “wins” along the way that make it all bearable. List of those wins:
  • Having the courage to submit
  • Request for a full
  • Contract offer
  • Cover reveal
  • Edits
  • Release day
With regard to revisions, so far I’ve haven’t been asked to do any major revisions or big developmental edits. I know that won’t always be the case, but I think I will handle it okay when the time comes, because I have a lot of respect for editors and what they do. So far, I’ve felt that each ms was stronger after their input so I hope that trend continues. Once I have a contract, I always (ALWAYS) meet or beat my deadlines. I make sure I follow the publisher’s internal style guides once I get them, and spend a lot of time making sure that I make the editor’s job as easy as possible. My goal is to have the editor want to offer me another contract and want to work with me again. I try to always be professional, cooperative and pleasant to work with, even if I don’t agree with every change etc. It seems to be working, because I have a very good relationship with them all so far.

Makes sense. How did you feel the first time you saw your cover? How much input did you have? 
I cried. It was just overwhelming and so exciting! And actually, for my first cover (and that particular publisher on the whole) I had a lot of input. Their cover art form is very long and very detailed. So far I have loved my covers!  I know for some of the other publishers, I will have less input, but my expectation isn’t perfection. I just hope that my covers reflect the tone of the story inside.

So, what was release day like?
Stressful, nerve-wracking, nauseating and AWESOME!

How did you market your book?
Luckily, I had already established myself within a lot of different online communities so I had a lot of help with promotion. Other writers offering to have me come and do interviews, guest blog etc. I ran a contest that was a BLAST with giveaways etc. and I plan on doing that for most of my releases. Then I sent out copies for many review sites, made sure family and friends knew about the release on Facebook. I’m also on Twitter (_ChristineBell) and I blog about writing (

It sounds like you were prepared. What’s the most surprising thing you learned during the publishing process?
I think I expected editing to be more painful that it has been. Although my first experience with Pray was intense, it was really such a learning experience and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I think I learned more from Darcy Quinn, my editor for that book, than I had in months of reading craft books, articles etc. She was great and I think that she is directly responsible for my ability to turn out a pretty clean manuscript now. Of course, I still get edited, *grin*, I just don’t make as many of those newer author mistakes anymore. I had the impression that many authors disliked editing because it changed the work, etc. but I’ve been so lucky to have fabulous editors and I have yet to get a ms back that wasn’t better after edits.

What do you think were the factors that got you published?
I can say almost unequivocally that my voice was the biggest factor. Early on especially, I was very lucky that the publishers I subbed to were willing to overlook a lot of new author issues because they liked my voice. They took a chance on me because they heard something there, even though the work wasn’t as polished as it should have been. Another thing that worked to my advantage is that I never stopped writing, submitting and working towards my goal. It’s really easy to write a book, submit it, get a rejection and walk away or take a year off before trying again, or shoving it under the bed. It’s a lot harder to look at it again, admit your mistakes, rewrite it, and submit it again. And again. And again. You have to be willing to take your lumps and use every bit of feedback as a learning experience and use it to grow as a writer. I think I did, and still do, that.

Yeah, I think being able to take feedback and really internalize it is essential. And hard LOL. What’s your 5 year plan look like?
I want to keep writing novellas because I really love it, but I also want to try to write one single title each year because I want to explore other genres (YA, chick lit etc.)  I’m hoping to kind of sneak it in there, just committing to 2k words a week and then at the end of the year spend a month editing and polishing. I love my current editors and publishers so I don’t want to stop writing novellas. So far, I’ve been on schedule with my goal of getting one novella published per month, and I am scheduled through April, but I have to write pretty non-stop to keep that pace so we’ll see whether my plan works or not! There’s no rush on the single title, if it takes me 18 months, so be it. Then I would just try to cut that to 12 months for the next year. In five years, I hope to be able to quit my day job and focus on writing 100%.

Sounds like you're very focused and goal orientated. So, what’s next for you?
I’m very excited for my super steamy Christmas Quickie coming on out Dec. 9th with Ellora’s Cave called Unwrapping Lily. Then on Jan. 12th, I have another coming out with Ellora’s Cave called Naughty Godmother, which was so much fun to write. I have a bunch of others coming down the pipeline through spring. I’m pretty diligent about updating my website, so all of my covers and release dates can be found at

What’s the best advice you can impart to writers aspiring to be published?
In order to do this, you have to love it. It’s not usually an easy road and it’s not a high paying profession for the majority of us. It’s hard work and writing is just the tip of the iceberg. Blogging, networking, website management, tax and financial management, contracts and negotiations, cover art and blurb forms, promoting yourself and your work, editing, revisions…if you break it down to an hourly rate you it would be…You know, just don’t do it. Don’t break it down to an hourly rate. Trust me. But if you truly love it, let it infiltrate every part of your life, read about writing, write about writing, take workshops, read blogs, read books and write write write. Then submit submit submit. Take the feedback you get from editors and a trusted mentor or crit partner (and most of us need those) and apply it, then write some more. This is often said, but it really is the truth: A published author is one who won’t quit. When you get knocked down, get back up and do it again. For a great, inspiring book about becoming an author, I always suggest Stephen King’s On Writing.

Great advice! You're right. I think perserverance is a critical factor on this rocky road. And I don't want to calculate that hourly rate either :). Now for some fun! If you were stranded but could only take 1 thing from each of the following categories, what would it be & why:
Person – Since I can only take one person, that means I couldn’t take my kids, so I don’t have to feel guilty about saying that I would take my husband. He’s the person I have the most fun with, and I love him to pieces.
Animal – A cow. So we could have milk or at leas a nice steak dinner. Oh! Or maybe a chicken is better?
Food – turkey chili.
Book Fool by Christopher Moore. I love to laugh and that book is hilarious.
Music – Can I jut take my whole Ipod?
Personal Item – Hnm…a deck of cards maybe. We love to play poker, gin rummy, 500, etc. I do love lip gloss too though, because I hate having dry lips, so it would be a toss up. ACK! WAIT! Do we have WiFi??? If so, then my laptop.

Chloe/Christine, it was great to learn more about you and to hear about your incredible journey so far (you prolific thing you)! Thank you so much for agreeing to be on Just Published and sharing your views and advice. I wish you much success and mega sales!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Latest News and...Wanna Win an eReader??

I was surprised to learn today that PAY UP is up for Book of the Month over at Happily Ever After Reviews. Woot! It's got some pretty stiff competition, but head on over and check out the awesome line up of books. You might see one you'd like to vote for ;).

I sent off my RWA Golden Heart entries this week. Yep, that's plural. Although I'm published, I'm still able to enter this year based on the eligibility criteria. It will be my last opportunity though, so I figured I'd go all out. I won't know anything until March, so I'll forget about it until then. Or try to :).

We're also having a fabulous contest over at Passionate Reads, the group blog I contribute to. There are daily opportunities to enter to win an ereader (winner's choice of either a Nook or Kindle) and we're giving away an ebook each day of the contest. Make sure you check out all the ways you can enter to maximize your number of entries and chances to win!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Coming soon...

I've thought recently about what I could add to my blog to make it more interesting, more beneficial, more substantial. I've been turning an idea around in my head for awhile. Of course, I don't consider myself to be an absolute expert by any means, but I've learned a great deal on my journey to date about writing, becoming published and marketing, so...I thought I'd start a new blog feature called 'How I Write'. This is not meant to be cut and dried advice or instruction about the 'dos and don'ts' of writing. This is intended as a way for me to share some tips and tricks I've picked up and developed that have helped me write both novellas and full length novels. I also plan to include my thoughts around getting published and share what I've learned about marketing and promotion that I wish I'd known when I first started out. It will also simply provide an insight into one author's process end to end and how stories come about. Hopefully, it will be of interest and use to readers. If there are any suggestions for what to include or address, let me know. I plan to launch this in January!

Also, thanks so much to everyone who voted! PAY UP was voted book of the week at Whipped Cream!! Yay!!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010


PAY UP is up for book of the week at Long and Short reviews!! How awesome is that? The recognition around something I've created will never get old. It just won't. There are other great books up there as well. Go over and vote!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Although I've lived in the US for many years, Thanksgiving is still a bit of an odd holiday for me. I didn't grow up with it as a child, it wasn't ingrained in me through those informative years so I do feel a bit removed from it in a way. We still celebrate it fully and fairly traditionally, but I take it as an opportunity to really think about how fortunate I've been and what I truly have to be thankful for.

So, what am I thankful for?
  • A happy marriage, when so many are in disarray or fall apart these days. 
  • Healthy kids, when so many others are fighting terrible sickness and disease.
  • My own health (knock on wood).
  • That we have food on the table and never have to go hungry when so many around the world fight for every scrap they can get.
  • That I have the luxury to pursue my dream of being a writer and author when so many don't get to experience their dreams.
  • The fact that I have readers! I'm so very thankful that my books have been well received, have gotten great reviews and the reader comments I've seen just...ROCK!
So, what am I doing on Thanksgiving? Hubby is in full feast mode and is cooking a Turducken. Yep, that's a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey. Should be...interesting :).

For those of you celebrating the holiday or those just taking the opportunity to think about the things they're thankful for like me--Happy Thanksgiving!

What are YOU thankful for?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Writers, Professionalism and...the Internet

There's been a lot of discussion about this topic lately on loops, forums and blogs. It's a topic that each and every writer, aspiring to be published or already published, should take into account when they post anything on the Internet--on any of the social networking forums and media. That stuff says around forever, you know? What people say and how they say it, reflects on them (and that could be a positive or a negative thing). I'm regularly amazed at what some people post and the language they use. We all constantly hear that the first thing an editor or an agent does when they're considering a submission seriously, is to Google the writer. Really? You want an editor or agent to see that? What is out there on the Internet is sometimes the only way an editor or an agent can perform a 'compatibility test' if you will. How easy is this person to work with? How reasonable? How professional?

Me? I try not to post anything I wouldn't have issue with anyone seeing. I try to strike a balance between providing insight into me as a person so that people can get to know me better, but not revealing too much information, if you know what I mean :). I consciously try not to post anything of a religious or political nature. I believe everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and why should I feel the need to push mine onto anyone else? They're not relevant to my books anyway. I do my best not to offend anyone. Sure, I write hot and steamy romance. Some consider it 'erotic', but I think I can still have a professional persona, I don't have to 'live up to' that moniker. I want this to be a long term career, after all.

Now, in the spirit of believing in free speech and everyone being the master of their own destiny, people can post anything they like, of course. I just hope they've thought through clearly all the possible ramifications and that it's a conscious choice. If so, that's fine. If not, oh-ho!

Is it just me or do others see this as well?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Almost finished another one...

I'm polishing my latest WIP to turn into my editor. Actually, I've been doing that for ::cough:: quite some time. Really, I should have been done with it by now. Really. I know I'm a perfectionist when it comes to certain things--things that really matter. And my books and stories really matter. I like to tweak until I'm wringing just the right amount of emotion out at a particular point, until I'm satisfied I've represented the hero and heroines feelings well enough, until I have the thread of passion and tension just right. I know all that, but it's more than just trying to make the story as good as it can be. I have an idea about the 'feel' of a book when I start. It's hard to describe, but I'm aiming to create that certain 'tone' I have inside my head and it's quite different for each story. Sometimes it takes awhile to get that just right. I have a hard time letting go of my characters and their stories as well. I write heroes I could fall in love with and  heroines I can relate to, that I can cheer for. I do extensive character maps on them and they become three dimensional. I yearn to give them their happy ever after. I need to be able to turn in a story that can do justice to them, you know? Sometimes it's an effort to say "I'm done", leave their world and move onto the next story hammering away in my brain.  LOL Yeah probably sounds like I need therapy, right? Anyway, PLAY ME is almost done :). Gabe and Lily are an unlikely couple (on the surface), but oh so right for each other. I can't wait to share them with you!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Promotion. What the heck REALLY works?

Every author is out there on the Internet and hitting up all the social networking sites and loops trying to promote their books. I look at some of the loops I originally joined and wonder if they're really just full of authors advertising their latest release? Are readers really on these things? With the increasing popularity of ebooks, I suspect publishers are getting out more and more books, faster than ever. It's a tough climate to make your book stand out from everyone elses. And of course, a depressed economy means the competition for decreasing dollars spent is even more fierce. So, what actually works in getting your message, your name and information about your book to the people who could be your potential readers? The issue with book sales of course, is that it is months before you know from your publisher how your book has sold. The delay is even longer for sales made through 3rd party book sellers. The process doesn't provide the right data in a timely enough manner to adjust any strategies in a hope of influencing sales, even if there was a way to determine what worked and what didn't. I'm really just starting on this journey of understanding options for promotion, utilizing marketing dollars effectively and judging what might actually produce results BUT I don't approach any of this with the goal to sell a particular book. I want a long term career as an author, so I focus instead on trying to raise awareness about who I am, what I do and the kind of  books I write. I'm attempting to build a brand and concentrating on establishing a back list of books. I think that's the best use of my time right now, but who really knows?

If you're an author what have you found effective (or not) when it comes to promotion? If you're a reader, how do you find new authors and books generally? Do you think you're influenced in any way by 'advertising'?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Just Published - Maisey Yates

I have the wonderfully talented Maisey Yates here today on Just Published. I've 'known' Maisey for quite some time from the eharlequin forum and had the pleasure of meeting her in Orlando at the National RWA conference. She was sweet and funny and yes, she talks a lot :). Maisey, I know how busy you are, so thanks so much for being here today! Your story is amazing. Would you share with us the details of your first published book?

Title: His Virgin Acquisition
Genre: Contemporary Romance/ Harlequin Presents
Words: 50,000
Publisher: Harlequin Mills & Boon
Date Published: North American Publication Oct 2010

Daring Proposal...

When Elaine gives her business presentation to Marco De Luca she thinks she can be cool, calm and collected. She's wrong! The fierce tycoon can see straight through her shapeless suits and scraped back hair to get right under her skin...

Ruthless awakening!

She may have proposed marriage as the perfect business arrangement, but suddenly Elaine's not quite so confident. Marco's made it clear that he's no modern man- if he takes a wife, he wants a ravishing beauty by his side, obedient and willing day...and night!

He quirked a dark eyebrow at her. "You don't allow men to open doors for you?"

"I can open my own doors." She was being pigheaded, and she knew it. She let men open doors for her all the time if they offered.

She saw a glint of something dangerous in his eyes. Something exciting. "Yes, I'm sure that you can. But as of today you are my woman. And that means that I will treat you as I would treat a lover, bella mia."

He purred the endearment and she felt it vibrate all the way down to her toes. Her knees wobbled slightly and she gave in, sinking into the cars plush leather seats to avoid giving herself away.

An arrogant grin lit his handsome features. "Now, let's go find you a ring. Something to show the world that you are mine."

Okay I can tell there will be sparks in this story! So, let's get to it. How would you desribe what you write?
I write Harlequin Presents, which means a strong alpha hero, a heroine who can hold her own against such a man, glamorous settings and lots of passion.
I like dark conflict, and I feel that needs to be balanced with humor. I think life is funny, love is funny, and I bring that to my books. Of course, I like to make people laugh, but I like to make them cry too. :)
What's your writing process in a nutshell?
Hmmm...I'm a plotser. Meaning I fall somewhere between the plotter and the pantser. I never know precise events and scenes. I plot the character journey. I figure out each character and what their internal conflict is. Take the hero as an example, the beginning of the book is the starting point, I know who he is, what issues he brings to the table, then I have to figure out what he needs to go through to work through those issues, and to be someone who can be in a happily ever after relationship. Then I take the heroine and do the same, and I figure out   how they can help each other arrive at that end point.
What has your submission history looked like? Rejections? Manuscripts written?
*looks around nervously* His Virgin Acquisition was my first manuscript. I entered the Instant Seduction contest with a chapter that was never more than a chapter, and while I was waiting for the results of that comp, I started writing HVA.
Three rounds of revisions, with wait times in between, totaling twenty months, and I got The Call. While I waited, I wrote. I wrote a lot. Twelve additional manuscripts, most of which won't see the light of day, but taught me SO SO much.
So, how many years have you been 'seriously writing'?
I've always written, but not seriously at all. I seriously started about three years ago when Harlequin announced the Instant Seduction contest.
LOL and how did you pick your publisher?
I love Presents. Love them. I read over three hundred of them the first year I discovered them. And of course that was what I wanted to write! Then I found out Harlequin took unagented, unsolicited submissions, and I needed that. I was too scared to write anything though, because I was too scared to submit. But when Harlequin announced the Instant Seduction contest I thought, I can do a contest. I didn't place, I didn't get any feedback. But by the time the comp was over I had a half finished MS and I knew I had to see it through and submit it. So I did.
Whats your call story?
It was very early in the morning, and I'd gotten up to use the restroom (ahem...nine months pregnant at the time) and I made a stop to check my email. I had one from my editor, who I hadn't heard from in months. Crap. Emails are never good news. So I opened it. Just a couple of lines: Would you mind if I called so we could chat over your manuscript?  I emailed her back quickly with something super smooth like: yesyesyesyes.  I tried to eat breakfast, but I was both starving (pregnant) and sick to my stomach (nerves). My husband was just staring at me, open-mouthed and saying I was going to be a Presents author. Maybe, I said, I don't know what she wants to talk about!  A half an hour later the phone rang and she offered me a two book contract with Presents.

It was amazing. Surreal. Incredible. And for the rest of the day I kept asking my husband if I'd dreamed it again, because let me tell you, I spent a lot of time imagining that call!

That is such an awesome story. Did you have an agent when you sold? Now?
I did not have an agent, and I still don't. For the moment, I'm happy with that.

Whats it like working with a publisher and editor? Are revisions really as bad as you hear?
It's amazing! Always exciting. And as for revisions...I love them in a way. They always strengthen my work, and I want to deliver the strongest book possible to my readers. That means rolling up the sleeves and rewriting if I have to so I can get the very best out of each MS.

How did you feel the first time you saw your cover? How much input did you have?
With category, we didn't really have any at the time. (though that's changing in our editorial office) But I was thrilled. I love the cover. There's so much involved in it for me. Presents was my dream, and to see my name on that cover, in that style, with that branding, was a realization of that dream.

So, what was release day like?
Well, my very first release day happened in August, overseas, but people were so nice and sent me pics of my books on the shelves! I was so nervous, realizing people were reading it. It was just incredible. Still is.

How did you market your book?
I do a lot of blogging and twitter work (heh). Harlequin has been great that way. They got me a very good interview on Valentine's day in The Guardian, they let me do an interview in romance magazine, the iheartpresents blog is another fantastic source for us. And truly, with category, the brand itself is such a huge factor in the exposure you get. A big help to an unknown author!

Whats the most surprising thing you learned during the publishing process?
I don't know that I've been surprised yet. I'm just sort of absorbing it all. Everything is new to me, and I love learning all I can. Conversely, I also just love doing what I've always done: keeping my head down and writing.

What do you think were the factors that got you published?
Right MS, right editor, right time. Talent is important, but there's a luck factor involved. With my MS, there was a twist that my editor connected with and she was willing to work with me to help make a better story because she saw a little something there that she believed in. If not for her, I wouldn't be here now.

What's your 5 year plan look like?
I know I want to be writing Presents still. I love it. I'd maybe like to add another line, as I am a fast writer. For now, category suits me. As a reader, it's a format I connect with, which makes it so much fun to write. I write what I want to read in a lot of ways.

So, what's next for you?
Ah, so many things! My third book will be out in the UK in February and is called The Inherited Bride. I loved writing that book. It was all about forbidden love and lust. Desire vs. duty. It was a theme I so enjoyed.

My second book, which released in the UK in October, will be released in North America in April under the title An Accidental Birthright. And, in the UK in April my fourth book, Marriage Made on Paper will be released. (Confused? I am...)

Well, perhaps not so much confused as in awe! That's amazing. You must be so excited. What's the best advice you can impart to writers aspiring to be published?
Try. Aim for the publisher or agent of your dreams. Submit. Don't let fear stop you.

That is such sound advice. If you want to write and be published you do need to get yourself out there. It can be a hurdle, though! Maisey, thank you so much for agreeing to be here and for the insights you'e shared. Your story is truly one that fairytales are made of!

If you'd like to reach out to Maisey you can find her at!