Monday, December 28, 2009

Cover Art

While I've had my cover art for a while now, it still makes me smile when I look at it. The cover artist was amazing in creating the right feel for my book, not only taking the comments I put in, she added her own little touches (notice where the handcuffs are.)

I am more than pleased with my cover, I love it. It makes me feel good, and to me, it tells the reader what to expect when they buy my book.

Here's my cover:

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holiday's

No matter what you celebrate - have a very happy Holiday Season with family and friends.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Editing Process

Now I was into full editing process, getting the ms in the best shape it could be with my editor helping me. This was not a quick process, and I didn't want it to be. This was my book being published and I wanted it to be the best it could be.

If that meant we spent extra time making sure every comma was in the right place, words were spelled right, used right and evoked emotion I was fine with that. And I was learning more and more about my writing and how to make my book so much better than it was.

My editor Karen is fantastic, she gave me suggestions on what could be strengthened and left it to me to fix.

I don't care what anyone says as a writer you never stop learning.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The First Week After The Call

It was a busy first week. The title of my novella had to be changed before I could sign the contract, I had a new author package to read, and forms that needed to be filled out. Plus start in on the revisions.

I worked with my critique group and we brainstormed new titles and I sent them to my editor. Once we had the new title, I filled out the contract, signed it and mailed it off.

Then I read the new author package, filled out the forms I could fill out at the time, signed up for author loops and began looking at where I needed to make revisions.

During this time, I realized that while I was spending more time on my writing than ever, it also meant I'd not been spending the time on writing I could have been. Well, that was partially true. What I did was take a little bit of my normal evening down time where I sit back and relax for an hour or so, and worked on getting everything done.

At the end of the week I was a bit more tired than usual, but it wasn't too bad. The weekend I started the revisions in earnest, and while still keeping my eye on my time I started to learn about promoting myself as an author.

My editor and I stayed in contact, I gave her a date when the revisions would be to her. I filled out the last of the paperwork and sent it to her.

The revision had to be to her by the day I promised, as I was going on an almost 3 week vacation that had been planned since April.

I sent the revisions off to my editor by the promised date. Now I could go on vacation with a clean slate. Clean but not clear, I needed to start thinking about the next book and planning it out.

Everything my editor suggested that needed to be revised, strengthened not only the story, but strengthened me as a writer. I found words I used over and over and over again, I deleted them and used better words. I found different ways of saying the same thing, but the new evoked more emotion.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Call or Should I say E-mail

On Friday August 28th, I started reading my e-mail as I normally do, around 5:30 a.m.. That was when I saw the email from the editor at The Wild Rose Press. I opened every email in my in-box except that one. And I finally told myself to stop being a chicken and open the e-mail, if she's passed on the novella then so be it.

I think I read the opening paragraph five times before my brain believed what it said. She wanted to buy my book. I wanted to jump up and down, scream and yell. But I couldn't I was at work and no one knew I was also a writer.

I read the editors entire e-mail, she asked for some revisions and wanted to go to contract if I was willing to do the revisions. I emailed the editor back and told her yes, I would do the revisions and I was happy to become one of The Wild Rose Press authors.

Then I shot off emails to my critique group to let them know I'd sold a book. I had to wait until after 7:30 a.m. to tell my mother, and I called my sister at work and told her I'd sold a book.

It was such a good feeling to tell people who believed in me all this time I'd sold a book.

Monday, November 30, 2009

It's Coming Closer

In the mean time, my critique group had finished reading the Harlequin novel. I started to revise it, and get it ready to send to the editor.

The day job was creating problems, so things didn't move as fast as I wanted, but it was getting better. I finished the revisions, and all I had left to do was the synopsis. I hate writing synopsis.

I put the Harlequin book aside and realized I hadn't heard from The Wild Rose Press. I knew that was unusual based on talking to other authors on author loops, so I sent an email to follow up.

I pulled out the erotic romance novella I sent the query and synopsis on to The Wild Rose Press and realized that I really needed another read through to catch typos and such.

That meant I really needed to put my butt in the chair and write. I started editing the novella, but in the back of my mind I had put a deadline on getting the Harlequin book out the door.

So I took a Sunday afternoon and wrote the synopsis to the Harlequin book, my critique group read it, revised it. Then mailed it off and went back to the novella.

Then I received an email asking me for the full manuscript of the erotic romance novella. I tried not to panic; I still had some editing to do. I finished the edits and sent it off the editor.

I kept busy, I had already written the first draft of another erotic romance novella, and I needed to start plotting out another Harlequin book.

Continuing the journey next Monday

Monday, November 23, 2009

Almost there

I finally found a new critique group; I'd been without one for over six years. While I had a writing friend who would read my work and critique it for me. She lived in another city, was working full time and writing, and I felt like I imposing on her writing time.

The first critique meeting was more of a getting to know you meeting. We all talked about what we wrote, where we were in our writing careers and where we wanted to go with our writing careers. We also made some rules for our group.

I asked my group if they would read the full manuscript I'd just finished, I really needed input. The first chapter had been put into a few contests, but because it was targeted for Harlequin I needed people who understood Harlequin and alpha heroes.

They read the novel, gave me their input. I was revising that manuscript, when I realized I really needed to be doing more in my career. Writing and submitting one book a year wasn't going to cut it. If I wanted to write for Harlequin and write my erotic romance I really needed to figure it all out.

I sat down at the computer knowing I had an erotic romance novella ready to go and started researching e-publishers.

I liked what I saw at The Wild Rose Press website, their submission policy was straight forward and the novella I had was perfect.

The next day I sent off a query and synopsis.

Continuing the journey next Monday

Monday, November 16, 2009

I Mixed Up the Dates

There are some days I don't know if I'm coming or going. This was one of them. For those of you looking for my new post on my writer's journey, please go back to Sat. Nov. 14th. I posted it on Saturday rather than today Monday.

I hope you're enjoying reading about my journey.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Getting There

While the editor I'd talked to rejected the book, I was on the right track for them, the rejection letter told me I was, and only this book wasn't the right book. Okay, than meant going back to the drawing board and figuring out another book for them.

My writing time was being impacted by the move of my day job, now instead of having a commute of maybe 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes at night, I now had a 2 hour a day commute. And because I work very early hours, that meant getting up at 4 a.m. and not getting home until after 3 p.m. in the afternoon.

I had to find a way to write. I tried writing on the train ride, it didn't work. I thought back to when I first started writing and asked myself how could I write so much then and not so much now.

It just so happened I had signed up for an on-line class given by Margie Lawson called Self-Defeating Behaviors. And all I can say now, is I'm very glad I did.

The class helped me not only identify where my time was going, but helped me realize what was holding me back.

With my newfound knowledge and a plan in place, I was able to start writing more again. Maybe not as much in the beginning, but I was learning that I didn't need every word perfect the first time I wrote it, I could go back and edit it.

I had to make the time to write, no one was going to do it for me. If I wanted to do this as a second career I had to put in more time to it.

I started limiting my Internet and email time, I started writing on my lunch time at work, I started writing on weekends. I also bought an Alpha Smart which I could carry with me.

A year later, I had two completed manuscripts.

Continuing the journey next Monday

Monday, November 9, 2009

Carina Press

I'm breaking my rule of one post a week because this is important news.

Harlequin has announced their new e-book publishing line Carina Press. Their website is:

Angela James has been named executive editor. Angela was with Samhain Publishing.

This is great news for Angela, I'm happy she's found a new home.

Carina Press will take romance, erotic romance, sci-fi, mystery, almost anything except non-fiction and poetry. They will not pay an advance and are DRM free.

I'm wondering how Romance Writers of America (RWA) will handle this new part of Harlequin, RWA's stance on e-publishers has been very limited in the last 5 years. One has to wonder if that is going to change.

Improving, but not quite there

Selling a romance novel was getting tougher. I heard this from everyone. I let it bypass me, I kept writing. I'll admit I was writing slower than every, but I kept telling myself at least one page a day. I didn't always make it, but I tried.

I'd taken on-line classes, met lots of people at conferences, and dealt with my day job. Things were going along good, while I was still getting rejections and I knew there was still an element missing to my writing I hadn't pinpointed yet.

Then life interfered again. My father's health was failing and I put writing on hold for six months until he passed away, then another four months after that while I helped my mother not only deal with the passing of her husband, but getting her financials in order and the house in order.

Reading romance was my escape during this time. And I knew I wanted to give other women this same escape when their lives became difficult.

After attending the RWA conference that year and talking with an editor, I finished up that book and sent it to her. Then I started on the next one. I also started sending my erotic romance to contest, wanting feedback.

The next year was my transition year as I called it. Recovering from the passing of my father, but also knowing that my writing was moving faster than every before.

Continuing the journey next Monday

Monday, November 2, 2009

Still Testing the Waters

Harlequin Presents were still my first love, but learning about erotic romance was more than fun. It was pleasure – in a special way. I discovered authors I'd never heard of, and I learned about romance writing in a new way.

I kept writing Harlequin style books, but at the same time I started working on an erotic romance novel. It took me time to complete novels, as my life had changed. Job changes had me putting my writing on hold, at one point for over a year. My father was having health problems, so I was helping my mom with him. And then I had to have surgery for a neck problem.

Once life calmed down, I submitted my first erotic romance. While it took a while, and it was ultimately rejected it was a personalize rejection. I'd also kept receiving other rejections.

I sat down one weekend with a writing friend of mine and said "what am I still doing wrong." She had me pull out every rejection letter I had and she began reading them. And pinpointed the issue – character motivation.

It's one of the most important items in a romance novel; the reader must understand why your character is doing something. While I could tell her the character's motivation, it wasn't coming across on the page.

I couldn’t thank my friend enough. I would have to figure this out. Instead of going back to just reading craft books, I picked up one or two books on character motivation, but I also read the books I enjoyed and started to analyze how the authors were getting character motivation across.

My writing was slow because I wanted to get this right. And while I still received rejections, they were getting more and more personal. I was also meeting with editors, so it helped me bypass the slush pile.

Continuing the journey next Monday

Monday, October 26, 2009

Discovering My Voice

I'd decided to go to the Romance Writers National Conference with another writing friend. On the Saturday night before we were due to go home the next day, we sat in the room talking to each other and I told my friend I'd realized I stopped writing what I loved.

Alpha heroes. Over the years, I was trying to conform to what I thought editors and agents wanted, but at the same time I was squishing my voice. Knowing what I did, I went home with a new attitude.

I'd always loved Harlequin Presents books, and had continued to read them all this time. The hero is always an alpha male. This was why I kept reading them; I loved that kind of hero.

Back to the drawing board. I started developing a book that was more like what I wanted to read. Yet at the same time, I still had other books out there with editors.

Around the same time e-publisher Ellora's Cave became a topic of conversation. I heard about them, but had not ready one of their books. I went on-line and ordered a bunch of books. These were in print books; I wasn't much for reading an e-book (not at that point.)

I had a week off from work and I sat down with these books and began to read. It was more than eye opening, I found another market. These were stories I could write.

Continuing the journey next Monday

Monday, October 19, 2009

Life Gets In the Way

Everything wasn't rosy during these long years. I wrote in starts and stops when work and life got in the way. There were job changes and days when I got home from work totally exhausted and unable to think of a turning on my computer to write.

Luckily I had writing friends, who kept encouraging me and talking with me. My writing had slowed down, but never really stopped completely. I might have to take a week or two off, but I always went back after that. And I kept getting rejections.

It was frustrating at times. I couldn’t quite figure out why I wasn't hitting the mark. I'd been in several critique groups, all of which had disbanded by this time. I was writing without anyone to read my work. All my writing friends had critique groups and most of them met at times I couldn't.

Then a friend and previous member of my critique group called me to tell me she sold her book. I was so thrilled for her, and she really wanted to get back together in a critique group. So we started our own little group.

My productivity improved as did my writing. While my critique partner and I were not always writing the same types of books, we both understand the others genre and worked well together.

More contests, more submitting to agents and editors. More rejections, but what can be called in the business, good rejections. Then my critique partner became pregnant. I knew this would change things, eighteen months after she gave birth to twins, I was without a critique group. I understood her need to be a full time mother.

Continuing the journey next Monday

Monday, October 12, 2009

Learning, Submitting, Rejection, Learning

After I attended my first RWA meeting, I decided I needed to learn everything I could. But that didn't mean only attending meetings, reading craft books, going to the Romance Writers National conference, reading romance books, it meant I also had to write.

You learn a lot by writing. It wasn't easy with a full time job, but I carved out time. The writing was slow because I was reading more craft books than I ever had before. Plus every month I attended my local RWA meeting.

After about a year, I joined a critique group. It was the best thing that could happen. While none of us were published, we were all at different levels of writing. And having a critique group meant I had to produce work. Having a deadline was good.

During the next few years, I wrote more and more. Entered contests, learned, entered more contests. And finally I had something I felt was good enough to send to an editor. Sent it off and…rejection.

I had to be realistic; this was a business after all. I read the rejection letter over and over, not much in it to tell me what I was still missing. I didn't stop writing, I kept moving forward. I submitted to other editors, because now there were more publishers accepting romance, plus there was Harlequin and Silhouette (Yes, at one time they were separate companies and in competition with each other).

While I was still getting rejections, they were getting more and more personalized. And that was a good thing. I also attended my local RWA chapter meetings, helped form another RWA chapter, volunteered for my RWA chapters, and went to National conferences.

A couple of years went by, some years I wrote more than others, but I kept writing, because this is what I wanted to do. I had to do it.

Continuing the journey next Monday

Monday, October 5, 2009

Change in Circumstance

The job I wanted was perfect. It was closer to home, less commute. The hours were stable, Monday through Friday, no weekends, no holidays. I accepted the job. I had to work 45 days in my old job before I could move to the new job (all within the same company).

While that was happening, I attended a workshop on romance writing, and found out more about Romance Writers of America and the local chapter. Within a week of changing jobs, I joined RWA and my local chapter.

Talk about an eye opener. A professional organization for romance writers. I attended my first meeting of my local RWA chapter. Talk about a great group of women, they welcomed me with open arms and started my education not only of the business of writing, but the craft of writing.

And I had a lot to learn.

Continuing the journey next Monday

Monday, September 28, 2009

First Rejection

Several months later I received a rejection letter from Harlequin. Okay, they didn't want the book and wouldn't tell me why. I understand. Well, not really, but I decided to keep writing. Until several years later, I realized that I needed to go back to college. Things were changing in the business world world and within the company I worked for.

I knew it would be almost impossible for me to work full time, go to college at night and write. At the time, work and college were the most important things in my life. But I still squeezed in time to write romance, maybe not as much as I wanted but I still read romances and I was learning, even if I didn't realize it, at the time.

Finally getting most of my major requirements out of the way, I found a creative writing class at the college. I decided to join the class so I could learn more. The class furthered my education and the instructor was a wonderful woman, her own requirement in the class was you had to write one poem during the first month of class, otherwise you could write anything you wanted.

I'll admit poetry was not my strong suit, but I learned. Then I started writing short romantic stories. I learned about story structure and other fiction writing tools. I took the creative writing class for my last three years in college, six semesters in all.

After graduating college with a degree in Office Information Systems (computer software), I was working in a job I wasn't thrilled with and left very little time for anything else. A friend had told me about Romance Writers of America, but the only chapter in my area met on Saturday's and the job I held I had to work on Saturday's.

I kept reading and writing, mostly short stories, not full novels and not with the eye to being published at the time. Then I got a call, a job I'd been looking for had an opening and did I want to go check it out.

Continuing the journey next Monday

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Start of the Journey

I didn't suddenly get up one day and decide I wanted to write, nor was I a writer from the time I was a kid. I was a mid to late bloomer as some may call it.

In high school I enjoyed film-lit class (one of the few) it allowed me to see movies I'd never normally watch, but also I had to write reports on the film. I didn't like the writing part so much, but I learned.

It wasn't until the year after I graduated high school that I discovered reading for pleasure. I was visiting my sister, babysitting her kids, and there was nothing on TV but a political convention. I started scanning my sister's bookshelves, not much there, but there were a couple of Harlequin romance books.

I picked on up, it sounded interesting, sat down and started to read. My discover of romance started. Luckily for me, I was driving back from my sister's home and stopped to visit my cousin, who happened to own a used book store.

Jackpot. I filled up three boxes of books, all sorts of book. Harlequin, Historical and Science Fiction. I quickly discovered I really liked romance books, science fiction had a little too much science in it (at that time it did.)

Soon I'd devoured all the books I'd brought home with me and I found, at that time, the chain stores didn't carry Harlequin books but only the Historical's. And the romance sections were very small. Since I was working, I found a small drug store, which carried romances on those old metal round racks.

I knew every month what day I could go and pick up Harlequin Romance and Harlequin Presents books. In the mean time, I found a couple of used bookstores where I could get older Harlequin books, and Historicals.

After reading for a couple of years and being lucky enough to go to a luncheon put on by Harlequin in my hometown, I decided to put pen to paper.

At the time I started writing, word processers were just starting to come out, and there were no computers. I wrote my first book long hand, and then typed it up using an old electric typewriter. Even now I hate to think of how many typos were in that first manuscript.

I finished it up, and shipped it off to Harlequin in London. I was already working full time so I wasn't worried about quitting my day job, but it was a dream.

Friday, August 28, 2009


Welcome to my blog. This is a new endeavor for me, so please be patient while I get up to speed.

I am an erotic romance writer with her first book to be published soon. As soon as I can share more details I will update my blog and go through my journey into the publishing world.