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!