Thursday, August 26, 2010

RWA 2010. I promised pictures...

The RWA 2010 conference seems so long ago now, but I love to go back and look at the pictures. It was an amazing event, so rich in offerings, so diverse in attendees and so much FUN! Just like Nationals in DC last year, I took so much away from this event. It's inspirational fuel to get me through the next year, that's for sure. I didn't take a ton of photos like I know others did. I tend to get lost in experiencing the moment before I think to capture it on my camera, but I'd like to share a few of the memorable ones!

The literacy signing. Even though I attended it last year, it still blew me away. So many authors. So much talent! So few dollars to buy all those fabulous books :). The room was enormous. It's awe inspiring to see so many of our genre all together! I volunteered for the event helping with the exit procedures and water duty for the signing authors. Sigh... Perhaps I'll be in the room next year and someone will be bringing ME water?

Old friends. For those that attended. Nora's (Roberts of course) keynote, it was funny and thought provoking and bluntly honest, like I think she probably is. She talked about the early conferences where she made those special connections with colleagues that have lasted a lifetime. Last year I had that experience with Rula Sinara. We just clicked and stayed in touch over the course of the year. This conference was a great excuse for us to get caught up in person and we had a ball! I think we scrubbed up quite nicely! I'm on the right!!

Famous authors. I have to admit I love to catch glimpses of my favorite authors and I go to their sessions if I can. I've loved Linda Howard for a long time and I'm sure I've read every book she's ever written. Her writing and style has evolved tremendously, but the core understanding of the mechanism of the man - woman developing relationship always intrigues me. She did a very funny and educational session about the 12 stages of intimacy. I usually like to do my 'groupie thing' from afar, but when she announced at the end that she was retiring from public speaking, I knew I may not get another chance. I love this shot. She is so beautiful and she smelled so darned GOOD!

Professional connections. It was wonderful to meet some of the folks from Ellora's Cave. There's nothing that can really take the place of that person-to-person connection and I got to meet EC's Editor in Chief, Kelli Collins and the Publisher, Raelene Gorlinksy. Both smart, insightful women. Here they are in action (L to R) at the EC Spotlight. 

Fabulous parties. The Rita and Golden Heart awards ceremony is such a fun event. It was a formal sit down dinner run much like the Oscars. At least it had that vibe about it. Very exciting for those nominated and those dreaming that one day they might be. It was great to see everyone looking so magnificent and it was an awesome way to wrap up the conference!

I really can't wait for next year. New York, here we come!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

I received my first royalty check!!

OMG. I received my first royalty check. It's true! I'm an author. For real. I'll try not to spend it all at once (considering it was just for the last 2 days of June) LOL, but that piece of paper is further validation for me and another amazing milestone for 2010. It might be lame, but I can't stop looking at it :). Perhaps I won't cash it. Maybe I should frame it? WOW, I'm an income generating author. So there, Mr. Taxman!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Where the heck is Kaily?

I've been AWOL. With the RWA conference, a date night that turned into a long weekend in NY and a family vacation to the land of the Mouse, it feels like I've barely been online. Probably because I haven't! School goes back next week and I'm counting down the hours, eager to get back to some sense of 'normal'. And I want to write and write and write!!

I did manage to accomplish something over the last few weeks. I still need to complete the formalities, but I've sold a second book to Ellora's Cave!!! I'm over the moon. Hopefully PAY UP will have a release date soon and I can post it. I'm excited about this book and I'm totally in love with my hero. I can't wait to share Rio and Carly's story!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Just Published - Nina Croft

Today I'd like to welcome Nina Croft to Just Published. Nina was first published with Shadowfire Press at the beginning of this year, followed soon after by Harlequin and will join The Wild Rose Press as an author! What an inspiring journey so far.

The specifics of Nina's first book are:

Title: Tiger of Talmare
Genre: Sci-Fi Erotica
Words: 30,000
Publisher: Shadowfire Press
Date Published: January 2010
Melissa Stark will take on just about any job as long as the price is right. But this particular job she would gladly take on for free because Captain Zachary Knight has been a thorn in her side ever since she stole his starship ten years ago.

Back then he was a genuine hero and poster boy for the army's hybrid breeding program. Now things have changed. Zach has been accused of a massacre on the planet of Talmare and is being shipped home to stand trial. But certain influential people want to make sure Zach never reaches Earth and Mel and her crew on The Revenge have been hired to intercept him and return him to Talmare.

It should have been easy money. The problem is, Zach is impossible to resist and once Mel gets her hands on him she's doesn't want to let him go. Now those same people are also after Mel.

Nina, how would you describe what you write?
I write romance, mainly paranormal and I’m particularly fond of Vampires. However, Tiger of Talmare is actually a Space Opera – an adventure story set in the future but the focus is still on the romance.

So, what’s your writing process in a nutshell?
I’m still quite new to this and experimenting with techniques, but I suspect I fall in the plotter corner. If I don’t plot, I tend to get stuck in the middle. So now I sort out my characters and outline and even do detailed scene breakdowns with estimated word counts, goals, conflicts etc before I start. Then I give myself a word count per day and try to stick to it. Sometimes I manage it, sometimes I don’t.

That sounds like a great disciplined approach. What has your submission history looked like? Rejections? Manuscripts written? Number of years ‘seriously writing’, etc?
I spent a number of years submitting to Mills and Boons Modern line, which is Harlequin Presents in the USA. I got some very encouraging rejections, overall they liked my writing but I was having issues with the story lines, too much external conflict. Around the middle of 2008, I decided to get serious with the writing. I was reading a lot of paranormal romance by then, so I thought I’d have a go. My first nocturne bite submission was in January 2009. It was rejected very quickly. The second was the following April and was submitted as part of one of the pitch competitions on the Harlequin forums. In the meantime I’d written Tiger of Talmare for an Anthology call at Samhain Publishing. It was rejected there. I was a little uncertain what to do with the story, but then I saw the submission call on Shadowfire Press – they were looking for Space Opera romances – it seemed perfect. So I submitted and was accepted within days. Very refreshing.

Very soon after that (it was a great week!) Harlequin accepted my Nocturne bite, The Prophecy. It was published this February, and I have now had a second bite accepted by Harlequin, and a novella, Bound to Night, coming out with The Wild Rose Press very soon.

How did you pick your publisher?
I knew I wanted to write romance and so Harlequin seemed the obvious publisher to target. But some of my stories don’t fit with the Harlequin guidelines, and with those it was a matter of searching the web until I found a suitable home.

What’s your ‘call’ story?
I’ve never got a call!

My acceptances have all been by email. With Tiger, I sent it out to Shadowfire Press and received an email within days saying they would like to publish it. I was in shock, nothing in the whole publishing business had led me to believe anything could happen that fast – I love Shadowfire!

With The Prophesy it took somewhat longer. I’d seen the pitch competition on the Harlequin forum – write a two paragraph blurb and win the chance to pitch on–line with a Harlequin editor. I don’t remember much from the pitch – I’ve blanked it from my mind, but I did come away with a request for my manuscript.

So I polished it up and sent it on its way. Then I waited. I live in Spain and most emails come in the night, so for a while switching my email on in the morning was an act of true courage. After three months I was totally convinced my poor story must be lost somewhere in cyberspace, so I gave in and emailed the editor. She came back to me right away and said she’d enjoyed my manuscript and it was now with the senior editor for final approval. It was almost enough, but not quite. It was actually another two months before I got the email saying she would like to buy it – I was actually on the harlequin forums at the time, bemoaning the fact that I hadn’t heard anything. So I changed my post straight away.

That's a great story. Did you have an agent when you sold? Now?
No – I’m looking, but it’s painful. I’ve recently completed a full-length aimed at single title, and I’ve started sending out queries, and started getting rejections. But I think it’s one of those things where you just have to persevere.

What’s it like working with a publisher and editor? Are revisions really as bad as you hear?
My revisions so far have been fine, a little stressful because I’m new to it and wasn’t entirely sure whether I was doing the right thing. But my editors have all been great and always say ‘just ask’ if anything’s not clear.

The most difficult thing for me was one of my editors requesting that I lose some of my English dialect, as their books are mainly aimed at the US market. It’s quite straightforward knowing what Americans say as we watch so much American TV over here (I love 24!) the hard part is knowing what Americans don’t say, but we do. Luckily, I have some great American CPs with my critique group, Passionate Critters, who were a huge help. But I reckon I’m definitely due a trip to the states to do a bit of research.

Being Australian I get that, although I've been in the US a long time! How did you feel the first time you saw your cover? How much input did you have?
I loved my cover for Tiger; it was almost exactly what I’d asked for. The only thing I was a little disappointed about was I wanted my hero to have stripes!

I also loved my cover for The Prophecy, though it was completely different from how I envisaged it.

I’ve found my input to be limited. We fill out an Art Fact Sheet which gives a lot of information about the hero, heroine, important scenes and so on, but after that it’s really up to the publisher. Luckily, so far I’ve been very happy with my covers.

What was release day like?
Weird in a way, quite anticlimactic. I only clicked onto the Harlequin site about a hundred times – honest. Maybe because I live so far from everywhere, it’s hard to feel involved.

How did you market your book?
I’m going to whizz past this question as I’ve done very little marketing, and I’m feeling guilty about it. But that’s going to change. Honest. I’m working on a plan.

LOL. What’s the most surprising thing you learned during the publishing process?
Actually, how fast things can move. You get so used to long waits during the submission process, but things can move faster once you’ve been accepted. I signed my contract for the Prophecy in October and the book was out in February. However I’m sure the process is a lot longer with print books – hopefully I’ll find out one day.

What do you think were the factors that got you published?
I think it varied. With Tiger, I absolutely loved writing it, it was great fun and I basically wrote what I wanted with very little constraint other than word count. I think the enthusiasm comes out in the book and that’s maybe what got it published.

The Prophecy was slightly different, in that harlequin have quite precise guidelines. I read everything I could, loads of bites, interviews with editors and really tried to give them what they wanted.

What’s your 5 year plan look like?
My next big thing is obviously getting a full-length novel accepted. Eventually I’d love to be in a position where I’m contracted to write so many books a year. The whole concept of being contracted for a book you haven’t written yet just blows me away.

After that I’d like to branch out into single title.

Genre wise, I’ll probably stick to paranormal and science fiction as they are so much fun to write, although I’d love to have a go at an historical sometime - maybe an historical paranormal.

So, what’s next for you?
I have a novella, Bound to Night, coming out soon with The Wild Rose Press, and a second Nocturne Bite, The Darkness, coming out in October. I have a couple of full lengths submitted (keeping my fingers crossed) and am currently working on a Science Fiction novella.

That's fabulous! What’s the best advice you can impart to writers aspiring to be published?
Don’t give up.

That's great adivce! Thanks, Nina for being here today and sharing your story, how you did it and what you've learned. Best of luck with your pursuits for a bigger book and your goal for single title. I wish you all the best!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Meet Isabel Roman

Well, I'm back from RWA Nationals pumped and jazzed, inspired and humbled. And buried in revisions LOL! I'll post some thoughts and some pictures on the conference when I get a chance, but first a treat, something a little different. I have Isabel Roman here today talking about the hero from her lastest book, Sex & Subterfuge. Isabel has been on this amazing, whirlwind virtual blog tour. Comment on her post here and be in the running to WIN a Vice Versa beaded fashion purse, a summer shawl, and a box of Godiva chocolates. Yum!

Take it away, Isabel!

Lucien Harrington, Earl Granville, Viscount Harrington. Who is he and why did I choose to write about him?

There are so many different types of heroes in romance novels these days. I have noticed that one of the more popular is the anti-hero or the bad boy tamed by a good woman. Lucien is not the bad boy, though he has his wicked streak on occasion.

When I conceived Lucien, I didn't have to suffer over how much alpha maleness to pour in or unnecessary bravado. He just happened easily. Lucien Harrington is not intimated by much. He has absolutely nothing to prove to anyone—he’s confident, aggressive or caring as the situation demands, and has followed his own path without regret.

He can mix with the highest of nobles or the lowest of seamen. When he encounters a woman who is stronger in magicks than he, he doesn’t scoff or run, he relishes it.

Lucien is one of those protagonists who approaches life with the ease that confidence gives. When he sets on a task, he does not stop until it is accomplished. He is a gentleman, but he is still a sexual creature. As a Druid, Lucien is far less judging of sexual activities than his Victorian counterparts. Morgana Blackthorne puts that judgment to the test and she is not disappointed.

For me, the mark of a good romance hero is the lingering desire to find just such a man. I know I would be happy with a Lucien and I certainly hope my readers will be too!

You can read  Dark Desires of the Druids: Sex & Subterfuge available now in bookstores! Also be sure to check out my free Dark Desires of the Druids: Choose Your Own Adventure story!


A master magicker, Morgana Blackthorne has a tenuous hold on her following. When a strange Englishman arrives on her doorstep with news of other druidic magickers, and magicker problems, she’s intrigued but suspicious. There hasn’t been contact between the American and European druids in over a hundred years. Plus she has her own worries and doesn’t need the handsome earl adding to them.

Lucien, Earl of Granville, left England to seek out the Blackthorne Druid line and discover what they’ve been up to since contact was lost. Once he and Morgana meet, their mutual attraction distracts him from his purpose. Embroiled in her problems, he finds himself more concerned with her welfare than is practical for a passing affair.

When I invited you into my bed, it never occurred to me I wouldn’t want you to leave.

There are darker forces at work and the hunger of a weak magicker desperate for power. Will Lucien convince Morgana of his true feelings before things spiral out of control? Or will the surrounding subterfuge tear them apart?


“Lucien Harrington,” Jacobs, her butler, intoned, “the Earl of Granville.”

Smiling, Morgana swept out of the circle, stepping into the foyer, and greeted her guest. His timing was off, but as the magicker she knew him to be, not suspect.

“Welcome, Lord Granville,” she said, offering a slight curtsy.

He was tall, with dark blond hair, dark blue eyes, and a sharp nose over which he looked down at her. Her eyes traveled over his face, down his body, clothed in immaculately tailored Savile Row, back to his face. Arousal pooled hot in her belly.

She’d never wanted any man. Yet Morgana wanted Lord Granville. Her skin prickled at his nearness, her womb clenched with want.

Forcing her mind off his body, she studied his face. Briefly, want flashed in his eyes and she smiled a truly wicked smile at him. It was gone as fast as it’d shone and she returned to studying him. There was grief hidden deep in his eyes, along with suspicion and weariness. Tilting her head, she wondered what caused those emotions. Suspicion she could easily understand. It’d been more than a hundred and thirty years since their families had any contact. Though, since he’d sought her out, she should be more suspicious of him.

“Mistress Blackthorne,” he bowed over her offered hand. Flicking a glance behind her, he said, “I hope I’m not interrupting.”

“Not at all,” Morgana smiled. She could all but feel David’s displeasure. Suppressing a giddy smile, she took Lord Granville’s arm and led him into the parlor. “We’re about to begin the New Moon Ritual. Do you still practice it in England?”

Looking up at him with guileless eyes, she waited for his confusion, gratified when it sparked briefly in those bottomless depths. Damn them all. She could be as gracious as she liked, but in the end, resentment bubbled to the surface. They’d abandoned her ancestors to indentured servitude and hadn’t bothered to contact any of them since.

“I’m afraid we lost that custom when we lost the valuable Blackthorne line.”

Morgana raised her eyebrow at him as they entered the parlor. Wasn’t he the diplomat?

“Would you care to join the ritual, Lord Granville?”

He bowed again and smiled. “It would be my pleasure, Mrs. Blackthorne.”

Thanks Isabel. It was a pleasure having you here and I love your measure of a hero! You can find out more about Isabel and her stories here.