Saturday, November 26, 2011

Special Guest - Lorraine Nelson

I have the pleasure today of welcoming Lorraine Nelson to my blog. I 'met' Lorraine awhile ago now on a writing forum. It's funny how you develop these relationships over time, but may never actually meet in person. The internet has made such connections possible. I knew Lorraine had been writing for a long time, aspiring to be published, trudging the submission and rejection cycle and I was rooting for her to make it almost from the first SO I'm pleased to have her here to talk about her latest release :) with such an inspiring post. Take it away, Lorraine!

Some people (I refuse to name names) have commented on the fact that I’ve left it too late to be a success as an author. After all, my children are all grown up and (gasp!) I have grandchildren.

Do you want to know what I think? It’s never too late to dream and to actively pursue a goal!

Anyone who persists in achieving their dream is a success in my book.

Even if I’d never been published, writing fills a need, a restlessness inside me. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write, jotting down short stories (back then only a page or two or six) or poetry. I love rhyming, making thoughts connect, telling a simple story through words.

When my children were small, I enjoyed reading to them, imparting my love of the written word. I even wrote and published a couple of books and posters aimed at their age group. The learning experience involved in that was unreal…challenging and rewarding in equal measure.

I’d tried to write what I enjoy reading, but with a full-time job and kids at home, I rarely had a spare minute to myself. I applaud anyone who can write with children under foot. I certainly can’t. J

Peace and quiet is the rule of thumb for me.

In the past two and a half years that I’ve lived alone, I’ve written eight full-length novels and three novellas. I also have six novels in various stages of completion, including the one I just started today. Writing involves a continual learning curve. I learn something new with each manuscript I write. I’ve also learned that you can’t always ‘write what you know’, especially when your characters take you in the opposite direction. I’ve had to research oodles of stuff, but it’s all good.

Zakia and the Cowboy was rejected seven times before being picked up by Evernight Publishing. To date, I’ve suffered more rejections than I care to count, but each one served its purpose by making me more determined than ever to succeed. “I can do this” became my mantra. The thought of giving up never crossed my mind. I love writing! Positive thinking is the key. Don’t let the negatives bog you down. Learn from those rejections and keep striving to craft the best story possible.

The day I received the contract offer from Evernight, I couldn’t believe it. It took a few days for it to sink in, but once I received that gorgeous cover, designed by the fabulous Dara England, I knew it was very real indeed.

Since the release of my debut novel in October, Zakia and the Cowboy has been a phenomenal success, appearing on several Bestseller lists and becoming a Featured Title at All Romance Ebooks for three weeks. Better than that were the reader reviews. They’d enjoyed it and wanted more. Luckily, I had more planned. J

Covert Mission: Undercover Cop is Samantha Muldoon and Blake Northrup’s story. It’s the second book in the Thunder Creek Ranch series and I was lucky enough to have Dara design this cover as well. It perfectly complements the Cover for Book 1. I’m eagerly awaiting its release on November 28th, but I’m anxious, too. Will it entertain my readers and give them as much joy as Zakia and Luke’s story did? I think so. I definitely hope so. It was such a joy to write.

I remember falling in love with Blake when I wrote Book 1. And Sam, well, she’s a feisty, independent woman who challenges him at every turn.

Book 3 is written and once it’s edited, it’ll be off to Evernight as well. I’ve started writing Book 4, and the words are flowing great.
Have I left it too late to become a successful author? No, I don’t think so, and according to reader reviews, they don’t either. J

I so love hearing from my readers! It’s important to know what works and doesn’t work for them as I continue to craft stories of love and mystery. You can find me at:!/lornelca

Thank you for having me here today, Kaily. It’s been fun.

Thanks, Lorraine for your wonderful words!! Your journey is one to be admired.

One commenter will receive a free download, their choice, Thunder Creek Ranch, Book 1, Zakia and the Cowboy, or Book 2, Covert Mission: Undercover Cop (releasing Nov 28th). You must be a follower of LORRAINE'S blog to be eligible. So leave your comments and/or questions and I’ll do my best to answer. :)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Why I'm thankful to be a writer

It's Thanksgiving here in the US and we're celebrating it in traditional style. Hubby will cook an elaborate feast, we'll stuff ourselves and then complain about how much we ate for the rest of the day LOL. I've been looking at posts for a couple days that talk about what people are thankful for. I'm incredibly fortunate and thankful for so many things, but at the top of that list is my family. I have a husband who only annoys me like 13% of the time :) and happy, wonderful kids who haven't managed to serisouly injure each other yet. What's not to be thankful for, right?

The other thing I'm incredibly thankful for is being a writer because it's only relatively recently that I even knew it's what I wanted to do. I've already had one successful, rewarding career. It was challening, engaging, satisfying and even fun, but it wasn't my passion, it didn't drive me, it didn't consume me, I didn't need it. That's what writing is, all of that. It's the career of my heart. And this is why I'm thankful for being a writer:

  • There's no dress code. If I like, I can wear my PJs all day. Of course, the kids don't like it when I have to do drop offs at school that way, but the additional sick pleasure I get from torturing them is just an added bonus.
  • I get to work from home. All the time. Within shouting distance of the fridge, the coffee machine and the left over Halloween candy. Okay, okay, that's not exactly a perk LOL.
  • I'm the CEO of my own business. I'm my own boss and get to set my own hours, develop strategy and decide where I'm headed with all of this. I don't answer to anyone. Of course, that means if I slack off I have to kick my own ass.
  • I get to write about sex. A lot. I get to come up with the ways my characters will get it on and how they'll get off. And I have to be careful. They can't get too much, too soon. What would be the fun in that?
  • I get to construct the perfect man. Every book. Alpha? Check! Hot? Check! Knows his way around a woman's body? Check! Sacrifice anything for his heroine? Check! Sigh....
  • I get to hang around online. What!? Hey, it's 'marketing and promotion'. Right? Regardless :), it enables me to interact with people I never would have otherwise, readers and writers alike, and I LOVE that immediate connection. Of course, if I do it too much, see point number 3 above.
  • I am the grand ruler of the entire universe!!!! In my books, that is. I decide everything, down to the smallest detail about my characters and who they are, what they want, how they act, their dreams, goals and fears. I get to torture them mercilessly before I give them their happily ever after, but I haven't heard any complaints from them so far.
See? Pretty cool, huh? That's what I'm thinking about today - how thankful I am that I'm doing what I love, surrounded by people I love.

H A P P Y   T H A N K S G I V I N G to those who celebrate it and if not, why not be thankful for soemthing anyway? I'd love to hear what YOU'RE thankful for!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Just Published - Kelly Boyce

It is with great pleasure I welcome Kelly Boyce to Just Published this month. I stumbled upon Kelly on the interwebs and realized she'd recently had a release from Carina Press. I'd never included a Carina Press author on this segment before! Huh. How could that have happened? I made haste to rectify that as quickly as possible and here she is :).

The details of Kelly's first published book are:
Title: The Outlaw Bride
Genre: Western Historical Romance
Words: 79,200
Publisher: Carina Press
Date Published:  April 18, 2011


What would you risk to keep a promise?  Katherine Slade has two goals: to escape her outlaw husband and to find the family of the man who died saving her life. Taking the place of a mail-order bride isn't part of her plan—until she's forced to continue the charade and become Sheriff Connor Langston's housekeeper to stay out of jail. Pretending to be another woman is hard, but Katherine's real challenge is resisting her growing attraction to the handsome lawman...

Falling in love is the last thing Connor needs, even if the rest of Fatal Bluff wants him to. His hands are full with a band of outlaws threatening the safety of his town, and a child to raise. But Kate has a way of getting under his skin and into little Jenny's heart. Soon Connor can't get the fiery beauty out of his head—along with his suspicion that Kate isn't who she claims to be.

When Connor learns the truth about Kate, is there any way for this outlaw bride to become the sheriff's wife?

What an absolutely gorgeous cover. It really is beautiful. would you describe what you write?
For the most part, I would say my writing is an emotional story tempered with humor. I like to explore some darker elements, but inevitably humor always crops up to keep things from getting too mired down. I love stories with a redemption theme and seem to be drawn to writing them. I’m a huge history buff, so my natural inclination is to set my stories in the past, however I read books across the board in all types of genres and styles and while I love historicals, I have no plans on writing strictly in the historical genre, but plan to branch out into others, mainly YA, which is where I started, and contemporary. I also have a legal thriller kicking around in my cranium that I may need to deal with eventually. I find this helps keep my writing and ideas fresh and the process more enjoyable.

Wow, that's awesome. I find myself a good story is a good story, regardless of genre. What’s your writing process in a nutshell?
I am a mad plotter. For me, plotting the story and the characters out beforehand is the fun part and it really helps me get a handle on these people and what their issues are. I often follow a story structure such as the 3 Act Structure and Blake Snyder’s Beat Sheet. I also like to story board my outline as well. I’ve just downloaded Scrivener and can’t wait to start using it. However, once my outline is complete, it is never written in stone. When I’m writing things will come up and I’ll realize there’s a better way to do something or a better direction to move the story in. When this happens, I’ll usually stop and map it out, to make sure I’m not getting off track and that the new idea works best. Then it’s back to the writing again. I never do character interviews, but I will do an extensive backstory on the hero and heroine and the villain as well.

I'm a supporter of the detailed character backstory as well :)! What has your submission history looked like? 
I started writing at age 8, but I wrote my first manuscript when I was 18. A YA murder mystery that I would still love to go back to and revise. My next manuscript was a western historical romance I wrote in my early 20s. It’s still a story near and dear to my heart, so that one will be coming back of storage for a revision sometime in the near future. After I finished that manuscript I really didn’t know what to do with it, or where to go. I entered it into a contest a publisher was having and didn’t win (might have had something to do with all the head hopping, backstory dump and the fact it was over 600 pages long!). After that, real life took over. I picked away at my writing here and there but it wasn’t until I was laid off from  my job of 15 years in 2002 I had a change in perspective. I realized writing was what I was meant to be doing and I really needed to get on that. My mom gave me an interview Julianne MacLean did  in our local paper. I tracked her down and asked for some advice and she led me to RWA and our local chapter Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada. That was a huge game-changer for me.  I started writing The Outlaw Bride. The manuscript won or placed in a few contests, I had requests, it was either rejected or the editor/agent changed houses, moved, left the business (I was starting to think I was jinxed!). Eventually I set it aside. Westerns were a hard sell and not too many publishers were buying them. No problem. I had this great idea for a 4 book Victorian series with an over-arching  plot of murder and intrigue linking the four stories together. I entered Desire & Brimstone in contests, won and placed in several, had requests, was asked to take part in a documentary, Who’s Afraid of Happy Endings, as one of the featured authors along with Kayla Perrin and Kathryn Smith. Eventually, the manuscript was rejected by a handful of agents and a couple of editors (or the editor/agent moved, left the business, etc). I realized the story still needed work, so I set it aside to write another western historical (currently under consideration) and the first of a 3-book series set in Regency England. I also wrote first drafts of a contemporary and a YA. The road to publication has not been easy. There is a big learning curve and a lot of rejection along the way. I think the key is to know this going in and accept it as part of the job. Learn what you can from it and move on. Understand it isn’t the end of the world, just a bump in the road. Drive over it and keep going.

I think there are very few authors who had an easy road to publication. I think it makes success that much sweeter. How did you pick Carina Press to publish your first book?
I really loved The Outlaw Bride and I knew it was a story worth telling and worth selling, but most publishers seemed to want regency and only a few were taking westerns. I’m a strong believer that a good story is a good story and will eventually find a home, so I never gave up the idea of selling The Outlaw Bride. I had initially been reluctant to go the e-publishing route, but as it started to gain a strong foothold I re-evaluated my opinion and realized it was a growing force and I wanted to be a part of it with a reputable publisher. When Carina opened for business, a friend, Lilly Cain, published with them and was impressed. I looked into them, liked what I saw with respect to the fact they had the Harlequin muscle behind them, a well-respected Executive Editor in Angela James, and a solid platform. I sent The Outlaw Bride to them as a full and crossed my fingers.

Well it worked! And how. What’s your ‘call’ story?
I was at work when I got the call. I was on my work phone talking to then boyfriend/now husband when my cell phone rang. I saw the number, hung up on my boyfriend and took the call. It was Angela James calling me to tell me they loved The Outlaw Bride and wanted to publish it. I think my first words to her were – “That was totally worth hanging up on  my boyfriend for!” (He’s since forgiven me!) Naturally I wanted to scream and jump around but since I was at work and didn’t want my co-workers to think I’d completely lost my mind, I was relegated to doing a happy dance in my chair along with a few arm pumps. After I hung up I sat in my chair in a total brain freeze for about five seconds staring at my computer screen and trying to figure out if that had actually just happened. Then, when the brain freeze wore off, I called my boyfriend back to let him know what had happened then emailed and called the rest of my friends and family to give them the news.

LOL. I love hearing call stories!! Did you have an agent when you sold? Now?
I didn’t have an agent when I sold. I didn’t need one for Carina Press. I don’t have one now either, although once I finish the manuscript I’m working on now (the regency historical) I will start shopping around.

What’s it like working with a publisher and editor? Are revisions really as bad as you hear?
My editor, Elizabeth Bass, was so incredibly awesome. She really made the process painless, and by the time I sent The Outlaw Bride to Carina, it had been through about 6-8 revisions already, so it was pretty clean. There were a few minor revisions, but nothing extensive. So my first experience in that regard was pretty good. Carina Press has been wonderful to work with too. They’re very pro-author, work to promote you, give you plenty of guidance on how to do things etc. Overall, my first foray into the publishing world has been very positive.

So glad you had such a great experience. How did you feel the first time you saw your cover? How much input did you have?
I filled out a sheet…which has a name that I forget at the moment! I’m not sure how much of it was used in the process, but I loved the cover they came up with, so it was all good. That was my main fear – getting a cover that made me cringe. So to get one I loved was a huge relief. I also loved the fact I was able to keep my original title too.

The cover really is awesome. What was release day like for you?
It was exciting to wake up in the morning and realize – Wow, today is the day my book is released! It’s a little surreal. But again, real life. I still had to get up and go to the day job and deal with all of that. It added a little perspective. We had my husband’s son that night so we couldn’t go out to celebrate – again, real life, right? But we had a bottle of wine and I had congratulatory emails from my friends etc. And the thrill of knowing what that day represented to me – the first release day of many!! – was a nice high that lasted all day long.

How did you market your book?
I will say marketing is not my forte. I’m working on it, and I’m learning as I go, but it’s an ongoing thing. Carina do a blog post and Facebook notices etc from their end which was great, but I also had to hit the social media market and get the word out there. I did a blog tour, I tweeted, my website had been revamped, my Facebook page was given a workout, joined Goodreads, attended the RWA National conference. I did a few marketing things locally as a group with my RWAC crew (strength in numbers!). I’m still working on the marketing as well all these many months later. I think it’s essential to keep your name and your book out there and find new ways to reach new readers. I’m currently reading up on new ways to market your book and hoping to get some new ideas.

Yeah, it's also one of those things that is impossible to assess what really works and what doesn't, right? What’s the most surprising thing you learned during the publishing process?
I’m not sure I learned anything new about getting published only because I had good friends who had gone before me and they were such a great wealth of information and advice. Also, working with Carina was a wonderful experience and an easy one. As for what I would do differently, I wish I had Book 2 in the Fatal Bluff series ready, or at least almost ready to go, when I submitted The Outlaw Bride, so there would have been less time between releases. But at the time I was in the middle of another book, then after conference I had several requests for other books, and I’ve discovered there are not enough hours in the day!!

Yeah, right? What do you think were the factors that got you published?
I think the first thing that worked in my favor was perseverance. I really believed in my book and that a good story would find a home. I never lost sight of this fact and continued to learn my craft, improve my writing and my knowledge of the industry and just kept plugging away until I found the right home for The Outlaw Bride. The second factor was having my manuscript in the absolute best shape I could get it in. By the time I sent it to Carina, there was nothing left I could do to it to make it a better story. That manuscript is going to be your calling card to publishers and it’s essential it is as good as you can make it.

I actually think perseverance is one of the most critical things for a writer to have. What’s your 5 year plan look like?
I just finished working on my writing plan for the next two years and it’s looking pretty busy. The Fatal Bluff series has 4 more books in it which need to be written. The regency series has a request on it, so that needs to get done, as well as Desire & Brimstone and a YA series. So all of those need to get done and get sent out. Another goal I am working on is to have enough product out in the market to justify dropping my day job down to part-time to allow for more writing time. But that will depend on what I can accomplish in the next two years. My plan is to target all areas of publishing – traditional, e-publishing, and eventually self-publishing, and as I said earlier I expect to be writing in several genres, not just historical. In 5 years my ultimate goal will be to be writing full time with at a minimum 3-4 releases per year in varying formats, to be a recognizable name in the industry, and to grow my craft so my writing continues to improve.

So, what’s next for you?
Next up for me is to finish Book 2 & 3 in the Fatal Bluff series, tentatively titled The Widow Bride and The Scandalous Bride respectively. These two books will tell the stories of the other two mail order brides on the train Kate Spade rode into Fatal Bluff on. After that, there is a certain bounty hunter and saloon owner who will each get their own books. I am also completing revisions on Book 1 in my regency series, An Invitation to Scandal, which will be sent out to a publisher on request. I also have a western historical under consideration with another publisher, so fingers crossed that works out.

That's awesome. What’s the best advice you can impart to writers aspiring to be published?
I think the best advice I can give is to treat it like a job. I get up at 5am every morning to write before work because that is the only way I can fit it into my schedule and make it a daily habit. It isn’t something you can just pick away at and hope it works out. Write every day, or at least 5 days a week. Hone your craft. Learn the industry. Don’t buckle under rejection, it’s a temporary setback, not the end of the road. And no matter what, keep going. Keep trying. Keep learning. And keep writing. Perseverance is key.

Great advice. I love that. 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 I’d take my husband. He’s a lot of fun to hang out with.

Animal – I have a 2 year old golden retriever, Cedar, who is the biggest clown out there. I’d take him for the entertainment value alone.

Food I’m trying to figure out how to combine wine, bread, cheese and chocolate into one word… I’ll go with cheese. I’ve never met a cheese I didn’t like.

BookOh wow…how do you pick just one?? Elizabeth Chadwick is one of my favorite authors so I would likely pick the next book of hers I had to read.

Music I’m currently a big Adele and Christina Perri fan, so probably one of those. Of course that would mean belting out the tunes along with them which might have my husband swimming for the next island…

Personal ItemMy knitting (it’s my other obsession next to writing).

You can find out more about Kelly from her website or connect with her on Facebook or Twitter!


Facebook: Kelly Boyce, Author -

Twitter: @KellyLBoyce -!/KellyLBoyce
Thank you, Kelly for being such a good sport and answering my totally unsolicited email! I've enjoyed getting to know you and I loved hearing about your journey so far and your fabulous plans for the future. I wish you wonderful successes moving forward!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

WIP It Wednesday

Yeah, I know, I've neglected my blog a bit over the past month and I STILL have to get up a post about the time I had at RomantiCon. It was awesome by the way :). But I've been writing. A lot. So that's all good, right? AND I made it through Halloween without eating too much of the candy myself. Now to just throw out a bit each day without the kids actually noticing. Wish me luck on that one!

Hopefully, the books I've been working on will be worth the wait. The one I just typed 'the end' on today (Yay!!!!) is probably the book I've most enjoyed writing to date. It's got the requisite alpha hero and the strong, but vulnerable heroine, but it overlays a more involved and detailed plot. I'm really excited about it. The below snippet comes from that book (warning, it's a bit naughty!). Did I mention it's book 1 in what I hope will be a 5 book series? No? Well, this would be my first series and I've had a blast working on the overall story arc. Each book has it's own hero & heroine, but there's a broader story unfolding with a little bit revealed in each book along the way. Book 1 is Seth & Devon's story. He's rough and rugged, rude and crude, but by the end of the story he'd do anything, sacrifce anything, for Devon. And he very nearly does. Sigh... ENJOY!


“Touch it. Feel it,” he rasped, when her wide eyes dropped to his cock. “Be sure this is what you want inside you.”
She swallowed, wet her lips. He could be easy on her, but she needed to be sure. He needed to know she was sure. He jerked at the contact when she clasped him gently, softly. It was an effort just to keep his eyes from rolling back in his head. The pressure wasn’t nearly hard enough, not the way he liked it, but it didn’t matter, his knees just about buckled with the pleasure all the same.
“I just want you inside me, Seth,” she whispered, raising her gaze to his. “You, with your....."

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

And the winners are...

By spreadsheet random number generator (RANDBETWEEN for spreadsheet freaks like me LOL), the winners of my Halloween giveaway are:

Kathryn Merkel

You each get to choose any one of my ebooks!! Let me know which one you'd like (Picture This, Pay Up, Play Me or Point Blank) by email to kaily @ kailyhart . com and I'll send it right off to you. If you'd like to check out an excerpt first, you can see them all here.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween if you celebrate it where you live ,and if not, I hope you at least got to over indulge with the sugar (although I really could have done without that).