Tuesday, July 26, 2011

So...I have a book coming out. Soon!

POINT BLANK releases from Ellora's Cave on August 5. I hadn't really intended to write this book when I did. I was happily writing a different book when these characters started talking to me. I'd always had the seed of an idea in my mind for this, had always been intrigued by the idea of a high school crush that never did burn itself out, but I wasn't going to write it NOW LOL. These characters were just so insistent, I had to stop working on my other project and jump over to this. The result? A quick story about taking chances, hidden desires and not having regrets. I hope everyone will enjoy Rex and Lanie as much as I do.

I don't have the cover yet, but I thought I'd post the excerpt over here. Warning, it contains a hot guy intent on showing the woman he wants to be his just how good he can be. Oh, and it's got some bad words, some very bad words. ENJOY!!

He had her. Alone. Finally.

He stepped in closer to her. Even though the roaring in his head raged at him to crush her against the hard surface of the wall with his body, to imprint himself on her, he was careful not to touch her. Not yet. Even with the heels she was tiny. She barely reached his chin. He’d have to be careful, so very careful of her because he wanted her under him and soon. He was hard, had been since he’d seen her walk into the hall. That hadn’t changed at least. Things might have taken an unexpected turn, an amazing unexpected turn, but it wouldn’t help if he came on too strong, too fast.

She put her hands against his chest and everything in him went still at the contact. His heart slammed against his ribs and he felt as if he’d had the wind knocked out of him. He cupped her face with hands that shook, his fingertips sliding into the edge of her silky hair. His balls tightened in a rush when she opened her mouth a little, his cock a hot brand straining the front of his pants, aching, throbbing, wanting.

“Rex,” she breathed. “About what I said inside.”

He ran a thumb across her full, bottom lip. “Did you change your mind?”


Oh yeah. She sounded so sure. Sure was good. He’d never kissed her before. Not even close, but as he leaned in, it felt familiar, she felt familiar and she still smelled incredible.

Although it just about killed him, he waited. “If you plan on stopping me, now’s the time,” he managed.

She moved her head slowly from side to side, all big, wide eyes and he was gone.

He lowered his head and covered her mouth with his. Her lips were soft, her mouth sweet. The roaring in his head became an inferno that licked through his body when she opened her mouth and her tongue pushed forward against his, hesitant at first and then more bold when he groaned his encouragement. He was rough, he knew he was, but couldn’t do a damn thing about it as he took control of the kiss. He wanted, needed inside her. He used his tongue to tell her, show her what he wanted to do to her body, in the only way he knew how.

“Rex,” she breathed when he lifted his head and sucked on her lower lip.

“Yeah. Again, just like that.”


“My name.” He trailed his mouth along her jaw, down her throat and closed his teeth over the cord of her neck. She shuddered and clutched at him. He closed his eyes against the agony of pleasure that ripped through him as her taste hit him. He hissed when her hips jerked and she made contact with his cock. He wasn’t sure when he’d ever been as hard. He scraped his teeth over her skin again when she arched her neck. “Moan my name again.”

“God, Rex…”

“Yeah, that’s it.”

He grasped her hips in his hands. Jesus, he only had so much control. The small, jerking thrusts were going to drive him insane. Or cause him to do something he might regret later. Just when he thought he could rein it in, the silky fabric of her dress slid freely across her skin under hands that just couldn’t stay still on her curvy body.

Aw fuck.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

RWA 2011 Rocked!! Wanna see pictures?

My biggest accomplishment for this conference? I did it on 2 pairs of shoes. Total!! I'm really not kidding. Seriously though, the high I've been on since RWA 2011 in New York City hasn't lessened a single bit. I look forward to that conference every year and pretty much as soon as one's finished, I'm counting down the days to next year. This conference was a lot of fun for me because it was in NYC. I used to live there for about a year so it was incredible great to be able to be back in the city again. The hotel was located right in Times Square!! I've heard it described as the cross-roads of the world and it's just a vibrant and alive place, any time of the day or night. I loved that I had such an awesome view of it from my hotel room!

During the day it's spectacular, but at night? Incomparable!

I even had a chance to revisit some of the city. Can you guess where this was taken :)??

It's also important for me to volunteer to an organization that does so much for writers. This year, I signed up to help set-up for the huge literacy signing. This event is open to the public and the proceeds go towards literacy. So many authors, so many fabulous books and I got a bit of a workout. Perfect.

I didn't really know what to expect of the opening session this year, but it really was wonderful. 3 very different authors writing very different books and each one was fascinating. I certainly wouldn't have expected Diana Gabaldon for instance to mention blow jobs, but there you have it! It was a highly entertaining and educational panel :).

The keynote addresses are often a high light at these conferences and this year was no exception. Both Madeline Hunter and Sherrilyn Kenyon absolutely rocked, but it was Sherrilyn that delivered perhaps the most moving and inspirational speech I've heard. You really have no idea when you look at a person what they might have gone through, what they've overcome and how they've triumphed. Now I understand how she could have written Acheron. Not everyone could have written that book. She's my new hero and if I ever complain about writing, someone please pick up one of her books and hit me over the head with it!

The workshops have become less useful for me in terms of craft, but I still get a tremendous amount out of them. In fact, the entire conference is one big inspirational experience from start to finish. What could be better than spending several days in the company of writers and like-minded professionals? It really is a very liberating experience.

Some of the highlights in terms of more 'fun' events were the Romance Divas Divafest. There I connected with people I've only ever met online and got to try a butterscotch martini. OMG yum!

I also attended the RWA Passionate Ink party. Yes, she is doing what it looks like she's doing. But we're equal opportunity.

 And I can't forget the guys either!! I'd only recently joined this RWA chapter but it was SO much fun. Who knew I'd actually learn something useful about Burlesque while laughing my butt off and getting to see some performances that were just great!

I also went to the Harlequin PJ party. No PJs for me, but I was able to connect face-to-face with a number of folks who hang out on the eharl loops. Oh and of course, I can't forget 'naked, g-string guy'. Our window looked directly into the changing rooms for the Broadway show The Lion King. And he was changing. It was right there and it was spectacular. There was no-where else to look. Honest LOL. OK, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!!

The conference ended with the Rita and Golden Heart Awards ceremony. This is our chance to get dressed up, relax, hang with friends and recognize some of our best aspiring and established authors. It's always fun and some of the acceptance speeches are amazing. Meg Cabot did a great job as MC. Yep, even more inspiration!

Here's a pic of me and Rula Sinara! We only see each other once a year, but we make it count!

 And a self portrait :). I look tired, but it was a good tired!

So...I had an amazing time, caught up with new and old writer friends, got inspired and hopefully fired up enough to carry me through to next year!! Anaheim 2012, here I come!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Just Published - Wendy S. Marcus

It is with great pleasure I welcome Wendy Marcus to Just Published. Wendy has hung out here on my blog before and I was able to meet her in person at the recent Romance Writers of America (RWA) annual conference in New York. How awesome is that? Wendy published her first book with Harlequin this year and I'm sure she has some wonderful information to share with us about the process so far. First, the details of Wendy's first published book are:

Title: When One Night Isn't Enough
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Medical
Words: 52,000
Publisher: Harlequin
Date Published: June 2011 (UK), July 2011 (France, Australia)

Nurse Ali Forshay has found the perfect man for her. Dependable. Routine. Boring. Exactly what she wants to ensure a quiet, stable and anonymous life. Then his friend, Dr. Jared Padget, shows up and goodbye fairytale ending. The man’s a schmoozer. A womanizer. A whoo-a-woman-into-bed-using-any-means-necessary kind of man just like her father. And Ali wants nothing to do with him. But he’s so tempting. Thank goodness his temporary assignment at Madrin Memorial is over, and he’s heading out of town.

If only he hadn’t shown up at girls’ night out on the eve of his departure. If only he hadn’t taken her up on her drunken one-time offer. If only he hadn’t come back when he’d promised to stay away…

Sounds like your hero is a bit of a devil. I'm partial to that LOL. Okay, so let's get into the nuts and bolts of how it all came about for you!

How would you describe what you write?
I write fast-paced, sexy, contemporary romance. I’ve been told I have a sardonic wit and my characters have a real spark. I write banter and sarcasm, humor and emotion. My heroines are straightforward, and they go after what they want.

So what’s your writing process in a nutshell?
I am a pantser. I don’t recommend it! Sometimes, - usually in the murky middle of my manuscript -  I think it would be so nice to have an outline to follow so I would know where I’m headed. But my characters grow and develop as I write. Each one is unique, and while I know where I want the story to go, my characters decide how they’re going to get there.

As a contracted author with Harlequin, I must submit character profiles and a synopsis of each book for approval before I begin a new project. I am NOT a fan of the synopsis. How can I know specific details of a story I have not yet written. But I muddle through. (And usually stray from my synopsis by chapter two!)

Yeah, I hate the sucknopsis as well LOL. What has your submission history looked like? Rejections? Manuscripts written? Number of years ‘seriously writing’, etc?
I started writing seriously in 2007. I sold in October 2010. (During that time I took several months off after my father died.) WHEN ONE NIGHT ISN’T ENOUGH was my second completed manuscript. (But I also had two novellas and three short stories completed, as well as several other manuscripts in various stages of completion.) I can’t say I have dozens of rejections, simply because I was very careful where I submitted. But if memory serves, I was rejected by The Wild Rose Press, Ellora’s Cave, Samhain, Kensington, Harlequin Superromance, Silhouette Special Edition, Harlequin Spice Briefs, and Women’s World Magazine.

LOL that's quite a list! You said you were careful. How did you pick your publisher?
I targeted Harlequin because I liked their books and they have a great website with wonderful information for new writers. (And because you don’t need an agent to submit.) I submitted to my favorite lines. But it was purely by chance that I stumbled upon a pitch contest for Harlequin Medical Romance and decided to enter. At the time I didn’t know much about the medical romance line of Harlequin, but never one to pass up an opportunity, I gave the pitch my best shot. And was 1 of 5 winners!

Sigh.. What's your call story?
For me, ‘The Call’ came as an absolute shock. I’d been working on revisions for six long months and had completed the third version of my final draft on a Wednesday. So when my phone rang on Friday, my agent’s voice was the last one I’d expected to hear. She said, “How are you doing?” I said, “Good.” She said, “Real good?” I said, “Just good.” She said, “Well you should feel real, real, real good because Flo (my editor) wants to buy your book.” I don’t recall much after that. I didn’t scream or cry or carry on. All of a sudden the thought of being published, of people I didn’t know reading my book, scared the confidence right out of me! After I hung up with my agent I waited for my editor to call me from London. I don’t remember one word of that conversation. Thankfully she followed up with an e-mail so I knew it wasn’t just a dream.

In my post “call” excitement I made the mistake of getting out of the car when I went to pick up my then 13-year-old daughter from school. As soon as I spotted her I smiled and waved. I could tell she wasn’t happy about me talking to the teacher monitoring dismissal. When she got within hearing distance I yelled, “I sold my book.” (I’d waited years to scream those words. In hindsight, maybe yelling them outside the junior high school wasn’t the best idea.) Rather than a cheer on my behalf followed by a loving embrace, my daughter looked around like who is that crazy woman yelling at? I pity that kid. When she got closer she avoided eye contact and mumbled, “What are you doing out of the car?” as she walked right past me without stopping.

Reality slap. First sale euphoria put to an abrupt end.

LOL. Bet it still felt good! Did you have an agent when you sold? Now?
I hear of this happening all the time. I signed with my agent and finaled in the medical romance pitch contest in the same week. So technically, I did have an agent when I sold, but I’d already caught the interest of the editor I eventually sold to.

What’s it like working with a publisher and editor? Are revisions really as bad as you hear?
I love my editor. She gives me excellent feedback and is very attentive. She doesn’t tell me how to change things, just what isn’t working for her and why. And, while I’m not a fan of revisions, they are necessary to write a good story. Here are two of my favorite quotes:

“Writing is rewriting.  A writer must learn to deepen characters, trim writing, and intensify scenes.  To fall in love with the first draft to the point where one cannot change it is to greatly enhance the prospects of never publishing.”  Richard North Patterson

“Books aren’t written- they’re rewritten.  Including your own.  It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn’t quite done it.”  Michael Crichton

I've always loved that last one. How did you feel the first time you saw your cover? How much input did you have?
The first of my covers that I saw was the UK 2in1 cover and I LOVED it! I actually love all of the covers for WHEN ONE NIGHT ISN’T ENOUGH. I have them posted on my Facebook author page. (See link below.) I didn’t have any say in any of my covers – although there’s an art fact sheet authors or their editors fill out. Even so, my heroine doesn’t have blond hair, a pierced nose, or an affinity for sucking on heart-shaped lollipops.

What was release day like?
Release day was nothing special partly because my book first came out to Harlequin Medical Romance subscription members about 6 weeks before my official release. Then it went up for sale on the UK Mills and Boon website four weeks before release day. And on the day it went out on store shelves, it happened over in England. And I wasn’t there to enjoy it. (But friends sent me pictures!)

How did you market your book?
I market my book on my blog and I’m currently on a thirty-stop blog tour to promote it. At each stop I give away a book and have mailed them around the world! I also have bookmarks, business cards and pens. I set up two library book signings in my local area and I completed two magazine interviews, one for a Harlequin publication, the other for Love Letter Magazine, a German romance magazine.

Sounds busy! So, what’s next for you?
My second Harlequin Medical Romance, ONCE A GOOD GIRL, is coming out in the UK in December 2011. I’m still waiting for the U.S. and Aus/NZ release dates.

That's awesome. Congratulations! What’s the best advice you can impart to writers aspiring to be published?
Write. Don’t talk about it or complain about it. Just do it. Finish your manuscript, submit it to agents and editors, and while you’re waiting to hear back, start on your next manuscript.

Very sound! Now for some fun! If you were stranded on a desert island but could only take 1 thing from each of the following categories, what would it be & why:
Person  Channing Tatum. I think the reason is obvious.
Animal My dog, Buddy. Because he’s always happy to see me, he loves to cuddle, and he’s very protective of me.
Food Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Nuggets with Almonds. Because dark chocolate and almonds both have health benefits. (And if the chocolate melts I can spread it on….. I’m sorry, am I getting too detailed?)
Book I refuse to pick just one. And to tell you the truth, if I’m stranded on a desert island with Channing Tatum, I doubt I’ll want to spend my time reading!!!
Music Anything by Carrie Underwood. Because I love her music!
Personal Item Mouthwash. Because I’d want my breath to smell fresh for Channing.
LOL. Yeah, me too! You can read an excerpt from WHEN ONE NIGHT ISN’T ENOUGH here. The book is currently available for purchase at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Mills & Boon Aus and Harlequin. You can learn more about Wendy at her website. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Goodreads.

Wendy, thanks so much for being here today. I loved your call story!! Best of luck with your writing and your books. I look forward to keeping in touch with you. Okay, now Wendy has a question for YOU and a giveaway!

So what’s your experience with medical romance? Have you ever heard of them before? Have you ever read one? If so, what did you think? If not, why? And would you be willing to make mine your first? Do you watch medical drama on television? If so, what’s your favorite show? One lucky commenter will win at copy of the 2in1 UK edition of my book which includes a complete novel by Janice Lynn!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Contest! I'm giving away...

...a $25 Amazon Gift Card! I'm over at Whipped Cream Reviews all week with a different post each day. Stop on over to see how to enter and you might learn something interesting about me with each of the posts ;).

Friday, July 1, 2011

I'm at RWA 2011 this week and...

Having THE time of my life! What's not to love about hundreds of writers all in one place talking about books, writing and how to be better at it? This is my 'girls weekend' I look forward to every year, but it's also so energizing, inspiring. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook as I post about the conference. I'll be posting here about it next week as well. Off to another day of heaven!