Monday, April 9, 2012

Just Published - Taryn Elliot

Okay, I know. I haven't done one of these for awhile, but it's time to get the ball rolling on them again. I just LOVE to hear about newly published authors, their journey so far and how they've felt about their experiences along the way. I think it's incredibly uplifting for aspiring authors and just plain inspirational for any writer. This week I have the fabulous Taryn Elliot. Taryn just published her first book and I'm so excited for her!! Let's look at the specifics of the first book:

Title: Uncross Your Heart
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Words: 78,000
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Date Published:  March 23, 2012


Sometimes starting over means facing your greatest fears…

Miranda Lyons is adept at pretending to be someone else, someone without a past. She’s able to forget for chunks of time that she comes from a very wealthy, notorious family. She’s given up most of the party-girl vices from her old life, including sex. But that’s before Nathan Cross barges into her life.

To all appearances, Nathan Cross is a simple man—devoted to family and friends, committed to his work. But nothing is simple about Nate’s feelings for Miranda. Fascination quickly blooms to outright lust, and not just for her body. He wants all of her, even the parts she hides from the world. But Miranda’s secrets threaten to drive away the one man capable of both helping her come to terms with her past, and supporting a future with a love that’s all about truth.

You can read an excerpt here!

So, let's get started with the specifics! How would you describe what you write? 
I write contemporary stories showing that the sexy and dramatic can go hand in hand. That love and loss are two sides of the same coin, and that no matter bad things get laughter and strength will always get you through.

Sounds like a great 'core story' concept. What’s your writing process in a nutshell?
Me and a notebook--usually a separate notebook for each story--settle into my bed with my 138 pillows. (only a slight exaggeration) And I free write ideas that come to me. Usually in a list kind of thing that only I can figure out. I scribble in there...a lot. I don't really plot too much, but I usually try to do my Goal, Motivation, Conflict at the very least. Then it's onto the internet. Pinterest is my new playground for finding settings. I'm very visual. Even if the final version doesn't exactly go with a particular picture, it gets my brain humming. Then I set things up in Scrivener--it's a writing program--and as I'm doing that I go through music. Every book has its own playlist. Then it's off I go. I write with friends at coffee shops, by myself into the middle of the wee hours of the morning, and first thing as I wake up. (and then I cry to my CP. LOL Good thing she loves me.) We usually trade work every Friday during our weekly chats. It helps to hold me accountable. Then I try to put the story away for a bit before I revise.

What has your submission history looked like? Rejections? Manuscripts written? Number of years ‘seriously writing’, etc?
I waited a looong damn time to submit. I started writing with publishing as a goal around 2007. That's when I found Cari Quinn, my CP. My first submission was with Kelli Collins - head editor over at Ellora's Cave. It was a Twitter Contest back in September 2010. Unfortunately I wasn't chosen on that story, but she gave me a lot of awesome feedback. A lot of fear got in the way with a HEAVY dose of real-life that dereailed me for a little while. I got lucky with my 2nd submission about 10mos later. I have about 8-10 semi-finished stories in my 'junk-drawer' before I finally got this one right.

Don't we all ;)? How did you pick your publisher?
I decided to go with Ellora's Cave. It helps that my CP has been subbing to them for awhile, so she gave me some pointers. I did my research and based my submission on the house that I read the most at the time. I enjoy a lot of the stories that come out of EC. And I've met a lot of amazing authors through them as well which also swayed me their way. (Kaily, yes I'm talking about you!)

Aw, now I'm blushing LOL. What’s your ‘call’ story?
I was at work when I got the email. STILL have the email. I was hopping around like a lunatic. LOL Luckily my supervisor loved me and let me go squeal in a separate room and make my phone calls. LOL

I still have my first acceptance email as well. never gets old looking at it :). Did you have an agent when you sold? Now?
No, I don't think I need an agent quite yet. I have great resources in the RWA (Romance Writers of America) and my local chapter.

What’s it like working with a publisher and editor? Are revisions really as bad as you hear? 
I got really lucky with my editors. (Yes, that's 2 now.) I'm actually harder on myself for revisions than my editor was. I'll tell you one thing...Misplaced modifiers are the bane of my existance!! I'm better now thanks to Jilly. I'm just getting started with my second editor with another publishing house. He's a real trip. I think we're going to have a lot of fun.

Oh, your editor is Jilly? I LOVE her. How did you feel the first time you saw your cover? How much input did you have?
I had to fill out an 'art sheet' and give the specs on my people and the story. From my experience if you let the cover artist have a few vague parameters and trust them to make it amazing, you'll get your wish. I asked for my couple to be back to front and see some of San Francisco in the cover and voila! I got a great cover. OH and yes...another happy squeal when I got my cover. AGAIN at work. I had everyone at my desk. *blush*

But that's pretty cool. What was release day like?
Insanity!! I didn't think it would be as crazy as it was. There was no sleep, massive emailing and FB and Twitter. Everyone's been so freaking awesome. It was the best and most exhausting day.

LOL. I'm so glad it was memorable! How did you market your book?
I've been pretty lucky with people willing to help out. (case in point, you've been so supportive). And my CP, Cari Quinn has given me a lot of pointers. I've sent it out to a few reviewers and will be doing a few interviews. I haven't bought any ad space as of yet. I'm weighing the pros and cons of that at the moment. 

Aw, thanks :). What’s the most surprising thing you learned during the publishing process?
It takes time. It takes soooo long to get from contract to release date when you're starting out. At least it feels like forever. I've been told to be patient. Not my strong suit. LOL I've learned that I have to let the book go and focus on the next one until edits roll through or you can make yourself insane.

And epubbing is SO much faster than traditional for the most part! What do you think were the factors that got you published?
That I was ready. A lot of personal stuff happened at the end of 2009 into 2010. I learned that life is way too short not to go after what you want. Doubts and fears aren't going to get in the way of dreams if you have a really great bunch of people in your corner. That and Cari is a bulldog. She keeps me fighting through the doubt.

I agree a support network is a key factor. What’s your 5 year plan look like?
5 years ago I had a sure and solid game plan, but the publishing waters are a little murky these days. The big 6 are looking less of a sure thing and smaller houses are climbing the best seller lists because they are willing to take risks on new authors that are hungry to get their work out there. Right now, I just want to keep getting contracts and strengthen my readership as well as my craft. I think I'm going to try my hand at Romantic Suspense and possibly some paranormal. 

Good for you and yeah...publishing is certainly changing. So, what’s next for you? 
I've started working with Entangled Publishing. As a New Year's present I got another SQUEE worthy email from them for ASHES AND WINE which will be coming out in April from their Ever After line with a second book in the works thanks to a great supporting character that needs her story told too. I'm also working on book two for Ellora's Cave. Nate's brother, Matt, will have his story out later this year.

Congrats!! I've heard some good things about them so far. What’s the best advice you can impart to writers aspiring to be published?
WRITE. Write the story that moves you. Chasing trends will make you crazy, but if you write stories about characters you love and a story you can't wait to work on then I bet you'll find magic. And find people that believe in you. I definitely wouldn't have gotten this far without my family and friends. Lastly, you need to read. All too often when you get into the writing zone you think you don't have the time to read. You need to read. Not just to know what's going on in the publishing world, but it keeps you sharp. Sometimes it's just to see and absorb the storytelling side of things...plotting, character arc, etc...but also to see what NOT to do.

It's amazing how often this advice is similar. 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: Cari Quinn, my CP. We'd never be bored. We'd tell each other stories all day long.

Animal: Stu, my dog. He's totally a mama's boy lately. He's technically my brother's dog but he sits next to me as I write all night long.

Food: Mac and Cheese, but since there's no stoves on a desert island...I'll go with Pineapple. ;)

Book: Born in Fire by Nora Roberts - I've read this book umpteen times. Maggie and Rogan are my happy place. Nora is why I'm a writer.

Music: Matt Nathanson's catalogue - He's my fave musician. He's a poet and absolutely enamored with music. All that passion comes through. And he's the sweetest guy ever. (I've met him.)

Personal Item: My Dad's wedding ring. I've been wearing it since he passed away.

Aw, that's so sweet. Taryn, I've really enjoyed learning more about you considering we've 'chatted' off and on online for awhile now! Thanks so much for being on Just Published and I'm so glad I've been able to cheer you on!! Good luck with the upcoming release!!

If anyone would like to learn more about Taryn or her books, particularly to find out what's coming up, you can find her here:

Sunday, April 8, 2012

My RT Loot!

I'll be attending RT (Romantic Times Booklovers Convention) in Chicago this coming week and I can't wait. While I'm there, I'll be signing at the 2 book fair and giving stuff away. I'll have pens and trading cards. The boring, run of the mill stuff ALTHOUGH the pens are a nice, bright pink LOL! As always, if you'd like trading cards, all you have to do is send me an email request and I'll mail them out to you!

I'll also have what I think are pretty cool buttons. If you won't be in attendance and you'd like one, shoot me an email and I'll send you one :).

AND this guy. He's cute, right? He's a tiny puppy about 3 inches high with a  "Kaily" shirt and he's actually a magnet for holding papers on a magnetic board!! I thought this was SO cool. I've never seen a notice board holder like this before. I'll be giving him away at the book signings, so make sure if you're there, you stop by and say "Hi"!!