Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Know what I did last night?

I posted a little while ago that one of my books was selected by a small, local book club and that they had invited me to attend their meeting. Well, it was last night and OMG I had the best fun! I think there's something about the prospect of discussing a hot and steamy read that has inhibitions and tongues loosening LOL. At least for these ladies, unless they're like that all the time :). Of course, it could have also been the alcohol!

They had a theme for the food, which was aphrodisiacs. How appropriate. I can't tell you how elaborate and awesome the food was. I was simply blown away. Not the mention...cucumber martinis and...champagne. Champagne! I think I seriously need to get out more LOL.

Firstly, I wasn't sure which particular book had been selected for them all to read because most of them had read more than one! Yay!! One woman was happy to let me know she'd read PAY UP twice, just to make sure she didn't miss anything the first time :)!! Yay her!

I do think some might have thought that just because I write hot that made me an expert on sex and that I must watch porn. So not true LOL. I got some great comments and questions though and I thought I'd share a sample of my favorites:
  • "You don't look anything like I expected you to look."
  • "Is your husband good looking?"
  • "Are your books your own fantasies?"
  • "How do you do your research?"
  • "How do you start writing?"
  • "How do you come up with that stuff?"
  • "Oh, there's a plot in the book?"
  • "I was surprised that there was a happy ending in a book like this."
  • "Do you think your books will be turned into movies one day?"
I had to stay on my toes to respond to and answer those and others. Overall, it was great to have the opportunity to talk to readers directly and in person, especially readers who might not have read in this genre otherwise. I hope I managed to change perceptions and squash myths, at least in a small way about erotic romance. Ladies, thank you so much for such a fun and interesting evening and the food was simply DIVINE!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

And the rest of the winners are...

I ended up with a LOT of entries. More than I thought I'd have and tracking became...challenging :). Thanks to everyone who commented, followed and friended me! I really appreciate it. Now, drum roll please....

The 4 winners of fabulous Jimmy Thomas calendars are...

                                            Celia Kyle
                                            Regina Carlysle
                                            JoAnne Kenrick
                                            Desere Steenberg

And the autographed copy goes to JoAnne!!

Congratulations, ladies. Again, I'll try and track you down, but send me your mailing details at kaily@kailyhart.com and I'll get your calenders out to you as soon as I can!!! Thanks for playing!

** If anyone is interested in how I arrived at the winners, I dumped all the posts, friend and follow lists into a spreadsheet and used EXCEL's RANDBETWEEN function to return 4 numbers randomly corresponding to the row number of the entrant. I used the same method to determine who would win the remaining autographed calendar. Yeah, I know. I can't help it. There's a post circulating around somewhere about me and spreadsheets. What can I say? I have a computer background and I LOVE spreadsheets :).

The first winner is...

Wow, very few people managed to guess that my favorite month on the calendar was... AUGUST. It was really hard narrowing the pictures down to only 1. Jimmy Thomas is seriously hot and the pictures are gorgeous. I tend to like the ones in the earlier months on the calendar, but August stood out for me. There's a sense of real passion and abandon in the shot, not just from the woman, but also from Jimmy. As a couple they're totally focused on each other which is really hot and there's a sense of action. You can imagine what's going to happen next, right? AND of course..I just love a guy's back. I think a man's back is one of the sexiest parts of his body, especially when it's hard and muscled. You can almost feel the ripple of muscle under his skin in the photo. Whew! Is it getting hot in here??

Anyway, the winner of the first autographed Jimmy Thomas calendar is...

                                 Terra Pennington

Congratulations, Terra! I'll try and track you down, but send me an email at kaily@kailyhart.com with your postal address and I'll get your calendar out to you as soon as I can.

The remaining winners to be announced shortly!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Last Day for my Giveway!

If you haven't heard about my giveaway (and how could that have happened?), today is the last day! It's easy to enter and you can enter multiple times to maximize your chances. All the details are here but if you comment on any of my posts on my blog or on Facebook , that's an entry. If you friend (Facebook) or follow (Twitter) me (if you don't already), that's an entry. If you sign-up to follow my blog (if you don't already), that's an entry. Giveaway closes at midnight Eastern tonight! I have 5 Jimmy Thomas calendars I can't wait to give away, 2 signed by Jimmy himself. For one of the autographed ones, just guess which month has my favorite picture of Jimmy and you could win that one! Technically, it's possible therefore to win 2 calendars. I'll announce the winners sometime tomorrow March 28!! Good luck!!

Oh, and PLAY ME just went live on Amazon. Love that!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

WIP It Wednesday & New Blog Features!

That time again. Already!? It's good actually, because it means I have to make sure I have something interesting and 'worthy' to share :). Before I post the snippet though, I wanted to draw attention to my left side bar on the blog. I updated it to include a summary of all of my regular blog features. These have been going around and around in my head for awhile. I'd like to be sure the content of the blog has substance and remains interesting and hope this does that. I have another idea I'm going to kick around for a bit longer, but if anyone has any feedback or input, let me know! My regular features will be:

WIP it Wednesday
Each (or every other) Wednesday I'll share a snippet from my current WIP. Unedited, of course :), so don't shoot me!

Just Published
Monthly, I'll drill down with newly published authors about how they did it, what worked, what didn't, and get them to share their pearls of wisdom.

How I Write
New! Each month I'll do a post about writing-sometimes craft, sometimes promotion, hopefully useful!

Ask a Writer
New! Randomly, I'll do a post and invite you guys to ask me anything. Well, not anything, but anything to do with writing and publishing and being an author. It's pretty broad. Not sure how this will work because there are a lot of lurkers (yeah, you!), but I'd love to see your questions!

And now for the snippet. I just worked on this page before doing this blog entry. Enjoy!

     He kept looking at her, his gaze steady on hers.
     “Is this some kind of test, Lexi?”
     “Test?” she snorted. “We’re not—I mean, we’re—”
     Jeez, exactly what were they?
     She took a deep breath. “I don’t have any hold on you. I don’t expect any. You can do whatever you like.” She shrugged. “Go for it if you want.”
     “Yeah?” He glanced back toward the two women. They noticed his interest and motioned him over. Oh God. She should have kept her mouth shut. Why couldn't she ever keep her mouth shut?
     “Know what I want? Right now?”
     Her stomach knotted. He stepped to her and his voice lowered.
     “I want to...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Comments about PLAY ME

I still feel kinda weird doing this, but it's part of being a writer and I know I need to get with the program in that respect. Right? I haven't received any 'official' reviews yet from review sites (it's still early days) but I've received a lot of great comments directly and from readers online about PLAY ME. Really, these mean a lot more to me than those official ones, although I'll take them too! I know it takes a lot for a reader to reach out to an author or post something on line and I really, really appreciate it. So...I thought I'd share my favs:

Thanks again.... keep writing.... I love your voice.... I love your men!!!! - Rita

and my FAVORITE kind of Hero---a little grouchy, a little edgy, and a whole lot of marshmallow when it comes to that RIGHT woman.  - Taryn

This is my third book for Kaily and I can't wait for more! They keep getting better and better! - Jennifer

Interesting people, funny dialog, and hot sex. I thought it was great. - Leslie

There was plenty of well written dialogue as well as perfectly delivered lines throughout to keep the reader entertained. There’s also plenty of hot, steamy sex. - Dreama

Thanks so much, you guys!!! It's very touching and makes me want to write just that much faster :).

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

WIP it Wednesday

This is my second edition of WIP it Wednesday and I thought it only fair. Last week I introduced Nash from PIN DOWN (tentative title) so now it's Alexis' turn :). She didn't start out fiesty and snarky. Really. She just developed that way, but I'm having a lot of fun with it. Nash doesn't really know what to do with her. Well, he does...but perhaps that's for another day :). ENJOY!

     “So, you got a name?” he asked.
     She lifted her chin ever so slightly. “Alexis. My friends call me Lexi. You? You can call me Alexis.”
     He laughed. Again with the beat skipping thing. What was up with that?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Giveaway Time!

To celebrate the release of PLAY ME tomorrow (March 11), I wanna have some fun! I have 5 calendars to give away. Yes, 5!!! The calendars feature the fabulous Jimmy Thomas. Jimmy has been on over 1,000 romance novel covers (and counting) and epitomizes the romantic hero, regardless of genre. His pictures are also smokin' hot and trust me...not a hardship to look at. Who wouldn't want a new image of Jimmy to drool over appreciate every month? Just don't blame me if you end up leaving one month showing way past it's end date :). On top of all that, Jimmy seems like a really nice guy and he loves animals. BTW, 2 of the calendars I'm giving away are autographed by Jimmy himself!

So...here's how the contest will work for 4 of the calendars:
  • It starts now and runs through March 24 at midnight (eastern).
  • I'm extending the end date to Sunday, March 27 at midnight because I'll be on a school field trip to the Miami-Dade fair all day Friday. I'll post winners on Monday March 28!! More chances to win, right?
  • Comment here on my blog or on Facebook on any of my posts during the giveaway period to earn 1 entry.
  • If you follow my blog (or already do), you get an additional entry.
  • If you friend me on Facebook (or we're already friends), you get an additional entry.
  • All the entries will be put into a jar (or a barrel, depending) and 4 will be drawn randomly. One of these will get the autographed calendar. Obviously, the more entries you have, the more chance you have of winning.  
  • I'll announce the winners on my blog on March 25 (once I figure out how to track all this LOL).
  • I'll ship anywhere :). This is not just limited to US/Canadian residents!
So, what about calendar number 5?? I'm doing something special/different for the final autographed calendar. To be in the drawing for this one, simply check out Jimmy's calendar site here and let me know which of the calendar months (January through January) has my favorite picture of Jimmy. Easy, right? If there is more than 1 correct answer, I'll draw a winner at random from the correct entries. Same time frames as the giveaway above and winner will be announced on March 25 as well.

Clear as mud, right? Thought so :). Have fun!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Introducing a new blog feature - WIP it Wednesday!

I've been thinking lately how I could do more with my blog. The Just Published features prove to be VERY popular. Even though there's not a great deal of comments, there are a LOT of lurkers that stop by, which is thrilling.  I'm not sure, but this might be more interesting and informative to other writers and/or those aspiring to be published. I have a few ideas still to work through, but so far I've come up with WIP it Wednesday. Every (or every other) Wednesday I'll post something from my current WIP. It won't be large, but I'll pick from the page I'm working on or from a section that's particularly struck me as I've been writing. Already, I sometimes post a line I liked or a small snippet on Facebook or Twitter, but doing it here will give me more room to work with and I can leave in all my punctuation! I'm hoping this will serve a couple of purposes. It will (hopefully) provide visitors with a glimpse of what and how I write (keep in mind these will be unedited snippets!). Plus, it will make sure I actually HAVE something to share on these days :).

I'm loving the book I'm working on right now. It's tentatively titled PIN DOWN, but that could change. Possibly at any moment. It has a hot (of course), 'militaryish' guy named Nash who thinks the last thing he needs is to have ties to any one place. Or any one woman. Until he meets Lexi. She turns him on. Okay, that doesn't surprise him, but she also makes him laugh and that almost knocks him on his ass. Look out Nash because pretty soon a certain town with a cute, sharp-tongued blond looks awfully appealing!

Hey, I think I might have just written a partial blurb! Thanks, guys!! Anyway, here's the snippet:

     “You got a nick name then?” Lexi tried again.
     “Yeah, you don’t want to know.”
     “So, what should I call you? ‘Oh, baby, oh yeah, baby’ might get a bit old after awhile. Besides, I like to be more original than that.”
     He laughed. He couldn’t help it. He couldn’t say when he’d met someone who could make him laugh as much as she could. Not that he thought she was trying to. She was just being herself.
     “Nash. You can call me Nash.”

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Just Published - Elaine Golden

It's with great pleasure I welcome Elaine Golden to Just Published this week. Elaine just had her first book published with Harlequin in February and will follow-up with two more books that are already scheduled this year! What a success story! So lets delve into the details of Elaine's first book and her journey to publication.

Title: An Imprudent Lady
Genre: Historical Romance, Regency era
Words: 15K
Publisher: Harlequin Historical Undone
Date Published: February, 2011

Elaine, how would you describe what you write?
It’s all about the romance for me. Historical romance is my mainstay –any era, really. I love them all. I’ve written Regency, Westerns and Medieval manuscripts. I’ve also recently begun to dabble with a Steampunk series (playing with Victorian mores in a fantasy setting). I’m most comfortable writing in the third-person and strive to write in a style that’s evocative of the era, while still making it engaging for the modern reader.

Sounds quite unique. What’s your writing process in a nutshell?
Oh, I’m a plotter. Must know where my story begins and ends. I’ve tried, even during NaNoWriMo, to pants and I fail miserably. Every time. When I plot, I generally break the story down into three main sections, creatively titled ‘beginning’, ‘middle’ and ‘end’. Heh. I then try to sketch in the story’s major turning points (generally 3 of them) which are major shifts in the plot –events where the characters cannot return to where they were at the beginning of the story.

Now, with that said, I don’t feel like I need to plot every single scene in minute detail. I think writing would become a bit dull if I carried the plotting that far. Once I know where I’m going, I allow the story to take little detours along the way so I can discover things about the characters or greater detail about plot points. I haven’t had much success with character interviews, or profiles.

Sounds like a great way to develop a really solid outline. What has your submission history looked like? Rejections? Manuscripts written? Number of years ‘seriously writing’, etc?
I’ve been writing off and on for about 20 years, but only began to seriously write in about 2006. I’d discovered the wonderful world of the online writing community and suddenly realized I wasn’t alone in this endeavor. I’ve trunked a couple of novels and have three other fulls in progress at the moment. My first actual submission was in May 2009 and I sent it to 3 publishers –1 rejected it, 1 requested the full (then went out of business) and 1 bought it.

So the first manuscript you ever submitted, you sold? I hate you! Only kidding :). How did you pick your publisher?
In this instance, I did specifically write the story for Harlequin. I’d read about their new Undone! short story line and I thought I’d try my hand at a short. I’d been struggling with plot development and getting bogged down in the full-length storyline, so thought this would be a great way to hone my writing style. And, wow, did it ever! I learned more about plot, story and developing my writing voice by working on such a concentrated storyline. The other publishers I sent the manuscript to were epubs only, and I selected them because they were all short story friendly. But they also appealed to me because I’m a huge proponent of the epublishing movement –I buy only ebooks for myself and have anticipated the rapid acceleration of ebook adoption at large.

Yay for ebooks and I agree. Writing short is a great way to boil down your writing. Every word has to count! What’s your ‘call’ story?
For such a momentous event, in retrospect I have to say it all went down very quietly. It was a Friday morning, I was in my office and my cell phone rang. That phone rarely rings during the week, so when the number on the display was unknown I had no idea who was calling. But a very nice British voice greeted me –I recognized the name right away because I’d just gone 2 rounds of revision communications with her. I quietly walked across the room and closed my office door because my brain had begun to go blank and I wasn’t entirely certain if I was going to start screaming or crying. In the end I think I just babbled. She guided me though the conversation and asked me if they could please buy my story?

I think I forgot to say yes. Sorta like when my husband proposed, if you can imagine. In both cases, they had to ask me, was that a ‘yes’? Of course!

Since no one at the office knows that I write (and I prefer to keep it that way for the time being), my celebration was limited to a quick call and babble session with my husband, and then I had to idle down and deal with mundane day-job stuff for the next 8 hours. When I got home I had to re-read the emailed offer confirmation to be certain it wasn’t all a dream. Then my husband and I celebrated over a pitcher of margaritas!

I love stories like that and margaritas is a great way to celebrate! Did you have an agent when you sold? Now?
I don’t have an agent, but I plan to look for one this summer now that I’m focusing more time and attention to longer manuscripts.

So, what’s it like working with a publisher and editor? Are revisions really as bad as you hear?
It’s fascinating to see more of the publishing process. Working with a publisher is a bit of hurry-up-and-wait activity –there are periods of lots of activity and deadlines, then periods of silence. So it’s a definite practice in patience!

I love working with an editor; I’ve found it very give and take. Basically, she sends over notes about what’s working or not in the manuscript, but always leaves it up to me how to digest the feedback and what changes to make as a result. The feedback is always insightful and informative and serves to make the stories stronger. If I decide not to incorporate something I generally include an explanation on why and, so far, we’ve been able to easily strike an accord.

Sounds like a great relationship. How did you feel the first time you saw your cover? How much input did you have?
Well, before it goes to the art department, I filled out an art fact sheet for them. It consists of character descriptions (hair color, eye color, other physical traits), story themes (lost love, first love, redemption, revenge, etc) and even key scenes to describe. All of this is taken into consideration by the art department when they select the artwork for the cover.

It was so exciting to receive that cover, to see how they would represent the story to a buyer. I was pleased that they chose to convey the study scene (a turning point in the story) and Charlotte’s rose gown. I’ve got a poster-sized version on my wall over the computer now, as inspiration!

What was release day like for you?
Well, without physical copies of books to sign (since it’s an ebook only line), we ended up inviting some friends to hang out at a neighborhood pub and countdown till midnight, when it would be available for download. I had postcards printed with my cover so there’d be something physical to hold and talk about. Even the waitresses joined in the fun!

That sounds like such fun. How did you market it?
Ah, well, being an ebook it’s all about online marketing. I try to use Twitter and guest blogging for meeting new audiences and offering giveaways. I’m also blogging on my site, Goodreads and the Amazon author’s page. But mostly it’s about participating in online communities, being a member of the writing and reading community and generally talking with people that have had the best success. I did try a brief promotion with Google AdWords (I received a $100 promo gift card from my internet provider, so decided ‘why not?’). Other than a number of hits from certain key word searches, I can’t say if there were definitively any sales tied to it, though.

That's great information. I always like to hear what avenues authors think work (or not). What’s the most surprising thing you learned during the publishing process?
I’ve been most surprised by how very small the industry is.

What do you think were the factors that got you published?
Aside from having a good story to tell? I think it was showing that I could take and adapt to criticism. That original manuscript went through 2 separate revisions before an offer was made, and in retrospect I think that was as much about getting the manuscript into tip-top shape as much it was about seeing how I processed and executed the revisions.

Sadly, I think some people never resubmit. I think others refuse to revise. I think being open minded and willing to adapt is an invaluable trait if you’re serious about being published.

Great advice. I do think the revision process is sort of a trial run in how an author will work with a particular editor. So you're going to be a multi-published author. What’s your 5 year plan look like?
Short term my focus is on finding the right agent and selling a full length manuscript. My 5-year plan is more about building my name and backlist to the point that I’m able to write full time.

Awesome! What’s next for you? 
That first sale turned into a series with Harlequin, called the Fortney Follies. So, March 1st is the release of book two, A DISGRACEFUL MISS, and book three has been accepted for a tentative June release, though it’s currently untitled.

Congrats!! What’s the best advice you can impart to writers aspiring to be published?
Never forget this is a business. Treat it like one. That means networking, being open minded and flexible, and behaving like a professional. Remember my comment about how small an industry this is? Never forget it.

Now for some fun! If you were stranded on a desert but could only take 1 thing from each of the following categories, what would it be & why:
Person My hubby. He’s my best friend and lover. Don’t know if I could make it without him, and I could totally enjoy being stranded with him!

Animal I’m not a big pet person, so this would be a totally practical animal. Like a chicken for eggs. Or something. Just so long as I don’t have to keep up with it. Or feel guilty because I didn’t play with it enough. I spend too much time in my head, and I’m lucky to keep up with the husband and myself.

Food Chocolate. Life’s just not the same without a little chocolate in it!

Book The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett. I’d really want to have the whole series, but could make do with just the first book. Dunnett was such a rich, complex storyteller that every time I read it, I discover something I missed on earlier reads. It’s a favorite of both of ours.

Music Anything by the Counting Crows. There’s just something about Adam Duritz’ voice that I love to listen to.

Personal Item A guitar. I don’t play but my husband does, and I sure do love to listen to him play.

Ah, practical and romantic! A great combination. Gorgeous picture, by the way!
Elaine, thank you so much for being here today. Best wishes to you for your upcoming releases and achieving those goals. You really are an inspiration! If anyone would like to get in touch with Elaine or learn more about her or her books, you can visit her here: