Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Just Published - Robin Covington (& giveaway)

Today I have fabulous debut author, Robin Covington on Just Published. I've known Robin for a quite some time from online communities and I've had the pleasure of meeting her in person. She's such a sweetheart and I couldn't be happier to see her a published author and doing so well. Robin's published with Entangled and I'm interested to see how it all came about.

The basics of Robin's first novel is as follows:

Title: A Night of Southern Comfort
Genre: Contemporary Category
Words: 54K
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Published Date: June 15, 2012


One night of passion... 

Detective Jackson Cantrell never imagined that one night with an irresistible stranger would turn his life upside down. He’s spent years living in the shadows, but Dr. Michaela Roarke awakened a passion inside him he'd buried years ago.

He never expected the woman would turn out to be the governor's daughter...and his next assignment. The governor blackmails Jackson to secretly watch over Michaela and protect her from a stalker, or kiss his dream job at the FBI good-bye. Swearing to keep things strictly professional, Jackson moves in with Michaela. Too bad his heart can't keep the same promise.

But when the stalker's attacks quickly escalate beyond mere photographs to bodily harm, Jackson must race to save Michaela's life. And he’ll have to figure out how to keep her once she discovers his lie.

So, let's get started with the specifics! How would you describe what you write? 
I write hot, sexy, books where the hero and heroine can't keep their hands off each other. They also think they can fool around and not fall in love and I love to prove them wrong.

LOL. Sounds like a great 'core story' concept. What’s your writing process in a nutshell?
I think up the first line - it pops into my head- and then I canoodle on it until I figure out what it's about and who it's about. Once I have that in my head I figure out the ending and I write a one-page, bulletized plot outline that looks like the rantings of a crazy person.  The I open up the Word document and start with page one and write in a straight linear fashion. I cannot jump around - Although I really wish I could!

And I wish I could write sequentially like that!What has your submission history looked like? Rejections? Manuscripts written? Number of years ‘seriously writing’, etc?
I started wriiting seriously towards publication three years ago.  ANoSC is my second completed manuscript (the first one was terrible dreck).  I had wonderful success with contests, many requests but was rejected many times for many reasons - "not a good fit" or "too sexy".  But, still, I firmly believe that contests are a fantastic way to get excellent feedback, improve your craft and to become acclimated to the submission process.  The comments will toughen you up for the rejections.  ANoSc was rejected twice before it sold to Entangled Publishing. 

I totally agree about contests. How did you pick your publisher?
I write category romance and there are only so many cowboys in that rodeo.  My choices of publisher were limted and once I was rejected there was only so much I could do with that book.  When I learned about Entangled starting a category romance line and that Lori Wilde and Alethea Spirison-Hopson were part of it, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.  I submitted it to them and crossed my fingers and toes.

What’s your ‘call’ story?
I'm a night owl so it was 11:30 pm and I checked my email and saw that I had one from Lori Wilde. It had only been one week since my submission and I figured that it was a rejection with that fast turnaround. I opened it up and had to read it about 900 times before I understood that she wanted to buy my book.  The Main Man was asleep and I woke him up to tell him and he went downstairs and popped a cork on a champagne bottle and we celebrated with a midnight toast.  He went back to bed and I didn't sleep a wink. ;)

Aw, how romantic! Did you have an agent when you sold? Now?
Nope.  No agent and I still don't have one.  I'm a contract attorney in real-life and I have an intellectual property attorney at my disposal, so I don't really see the need at this point.  If I ever branch out into single-title, I'll get one.

What’s it like working with a publisher and editor? Are revisions really as bad as you hear?
My revisions were not so bad.  Now, I trashed an entire chapter - yep, hit the delete key and let it go- because it just didn't work, I knew it didn;t work and my editor (the wonderful Ann Kopchik) was honest with me. Revisions were hard but you have to leave your pride at the door and do whatever you have to do to make your book the best it can be. 

And your ego, right? So, how did you feel the first time you saw your cover? How much input did you have?
I cried.  I didn't see my cover until the day before release because Entangled keeps them close-hold but I loved it on sight. I filled out the cover art form and gave descriptions etc but I actually found the photo and attached it as a "this one speaks to me" suggestion. I was psyched that my cover artist, Heather Howland, used it.  I LOVE my cover.   

Aw, that's so great. What was release day like?
I took the day off and ended up sleeping a lot because I was sick as a dog.  Every couple hours, I would check Amazon and B&N and then go back to bed. It went live around 6:30 pm and then I was on the computer answering emails, FB messages etc. from friends.  It was an amazing day even with the TheraFlu haze. 

Sorry to hear you were sick. At least it was memorable! How did you market your book?
Blogging. Lots of blogging - thanks Kaily!  My publisher has ads on FB and Goodreads and I have them on different romance review sites. I didn't have a huge fan base but I have been amazed by the word-of-mouth promotion for my book. The lady/friend who does my waxing (TMI?) has my cover up in her spa and lots of her clients have bought the book.

What’s the most surprising thing you learned during the publishing process?
That so many people really do want you to succeed. We hear so much about evil agents, terrible publishers etc but I have also met so many people who genuinely want you to succeed.  I try to surround myself with positive people like that and ignore the jerks.

That's a great approach. What do you think were the factors that got you published?
Timing. Timing. Timing.  My book literally landed on the right desk at the right time.  Entangled was looking for new authors and I pushed send on that email so fast, I looked like one of the slo-mo characters in the Matrix. I was ready and didn't hesitate.  Cherry Adair talks about working hard so that you are ready when the opportunity comes to you. I worked hard to improve my craft and I submitted my book knowing that it might be rejected but also that I had no chance of getting it published if it stayed on my computer.

Yeah, there is a luck factor BUT a book still has to be good. What’s your 5 year plan look like?
I think I would still like to write category romance because I just love the genre.  But, I think by then I will want to try my hand at single-title and see how that goes. 

Good for you and yeah! What’s up next for you?
I just sold a Christmas novella, "Secret Santa baby" to the Flirt line at Entangled.  I have two projects - a paranormal and a super-sexy category - in acquisitions for the Covet and Brazen line at Entanged.  And, right now, I'm writing the book proposal for the three sequels to ANoSC.  Each of the "The Boys" in that book get their own HEA.

Congrats!! I love series and connected books :). What’s the best advice you can impart to writers aspiring to be published?
Keep writing. Use contests strategically to ge your books out of the slush pile and on an editor or agents desk.  Finish the book, polish it and send it out.

Great advice of course. 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: My husband.  I'd be guaranteed a fun time because he is so hilarious. (and he;s a former Naval Officer and went through survival training - we would be okay)
Animal: A chicken.  The incredible, edible egg!
Food: Ghiradelli caramel chocolate squares.  Why not?  You gotta have something sinful to eat.
Book: "Life After Joe" by Harper Fox.
Music: The Bruce Springsteen collection - not including anything post "Tunnel of Love" He became too preachy after that record . . . Just sing, dude. Don't preach at me.
Personal Item: A razor.

I hear ya on the razor! Robin, thanks so much for being here on Just Published today. It was so great to learn more about your journey and experience your path to publication with you. I'd wish you much continued and awesome success, but I know you're already well on your way. Big hugs!!

If you'd like to learn more about Robin and her books, please check her out:
website:  http://www.robincovingtonromance.com
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RobinCovingtonRomanceAuthor
Twitter:  @RobinCovington

AND Robin will be giving away a copy of her ebook to one random commenter through Thursday 5 p.m. EDT. Why don't we make it easy by asking: What makes a book a GREAT book for you?

Friday, July 6, 2012

I Got Cover...

Book 1 in my new Fabric of Fate series now has a cover! I love the swirly atmospheric effects over it and of course, I love the hot pink :). HOW did they know LOL? I think the hero is channeling a young Ryan Reynolds perhaps :). This will be my first paranormal romance and it's the first book of a 5-book series. I've always loved paranormal, but was a little hesitant about jumping into this genre at first because of the world building. In my mind, it has to be rich and strong for it to work effectively and I wasn't sure I was really ready when I started writing. But of course the ideas and the characters just wouldn't leave me alone and at the end of the day, I had no choice in the matter. When I think about paranormal stories, vampires and shifters immediately come to mind. It was important for me to ensure my paranormal series had a unique paranormal element in it, so you'll find no blood suckers or weres in these books! It's something a little (but not too) different.
As I've been thinking about promotion, I came up with the following for the series tag line:

A secret ancient race of humans with fantastical abilities, the Vadïm are on the brink of extinction. Will fate alone determine their future or can they carve out their own destiny?

I think it encapsulates the entire series arc at a high level! Although the cover's not there yet, the book is up for pre-order on site such as Amazon, B&N and other book sites that sell ebooks. How exciting is that?  Now, I only have to wait another 52 days for its release. How should I pass the time do you think?

The Vadïm are coming!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

You never call, you don't write...

I know, I know. I've been absent of late from the blog. I've been doing fly-bys on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date, but it just isn't the same. Life and reality have gotten in the way of my author-writing life. How DARE it, right?

I've been hard at work on the second book in my new Fabric of Fate series (book 1 releases at the end of August). I know I say this about all my heroes, but I am SO in love with the guys in this series. Sigh. Swoon. Drool. I hope you're going to love them just as much. I've also been thinking about promo and all that other stuff that takes away from actually writing time.

I also managed to get away for a week with the kids to Disney. And *gasp* I even managed to get in some reading. Can you believe it? I read the latest Jill Shalvis (Lucky in Love) and Tangle of Need from Nalini Singh. These are two of my all time favorite authors and I love to switch it up when it comes to genres.

What have YOU been reading and enjoying lately??