Beginning January 1, 2013

Stop by and let us know what you think of the new look!

Monday, August 30, 2010

GUEST BLOG: ALLEGRA GRAY

Thank you to the hostesses of LASR for having me as a guest blogger! Especially since I did not turn this blog in as quickly as I’d hoped.

At first, I had several great ideas. This was about a month ago. Then, it started raining. (Literally.) We’re not talking “April showers make May flowers” sorts of rain...we’re talking about the skies opening up and pouring down bucket-loads of rain in quantities I’d never imagined in my high-altitude, semi-arid climate of Colorado.

That was when I stopped thinking of blog ideas and started thinking about building an ark. Or at least thinking about how to stop my basement from flooding. Multiple times.

Several rainstorms and several hundreds of dollars of drainage work and re-grading of part of my yard, and I’m back on task...and trying to think of a way to somehow work this into my next story. :-)

I write historical romance, so modern-day homeowner problems may seem like a stretch for story ideas, but I’ve noticed something over time: what grabs me as a reader and really makes me relate to a story is not the accuracy of historical detail (which IS important, but let’s face it, if I wanted a lecture, I’d sign up for a class), but the little details that transcend time. Things every human can relate to. The things that make characters seem real.

I could easily picture a nineteenth century heroine trying to help save her family home during an unusually rainy year (or a river flooding, if they lived near the bank of a river), armed with nothing more than a bucket, pushing hair out of her face as water streamed down, soaking her dress until the garments grew heavy, the bottom eight inches spattered with mud. Her toes are numb because rain water is freezing (even in summer, and especially if it’s mixed with hail), and her two year old niece is terrified of the storm and doesn’t understand why auntie won’t just stop and comfort her...

Now there is a heroine I can relate to, sympathize with, and root for. She’s doing her best in the face of tough (but not insurmountable) odds, and she’s protecting her loved ones. Of course, if it’s a romance, there’s a love interest as well, but in terms of getting me to care about who a character falls in love with, I first have to care about her.

Sometimes it can be even simpler...the kid on the playground who gets teased for wearing thick glasses, or the brilliant scientist who might cure cancer but couldn’t whip up a grilled cheese sandwich (or any other meal) if her life depended on it, or any one of a million little quirks that make real people, well, real.

So my question to you is:

Who are some fictional characters you love (or who are most memorable to you), and what little, “everyday” details made you fall for them, made them so real to you?

Thanks for stopping by this blog! As a relatively new author, I really enjoy “meeting” new readers and friends online. And for those who leave a comment with the answer to the question above, one of you will be selected at random to receive a signed copy of my first novel, Nothing But Scandal.

Have a fantastic day!

Allegra


Allegra Gray has had a love for stories for as long as she can remember. After years of reading and even teaching literature, she thought, “why stop here?” and began writing her own stories. Allegra launched her career as a novelist with the release of Nothing But Scandal (Kensington Publishing, 2009), to enthusiastic reviews. As the Romantic Times put it, “Gray's steamy passion and well-developed characters will hold anyone's interest.” Allegra eagerly anticipates the release of her next book, Nothing But Deception, in August 2010.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

GUEST BLOG: Ava Bleu

Somewhere Over My Rainbow…


Hello everyone and thank you to LASR for allowing me to guest on this lovely site.

I stressed big time over what to write for my first blog of my first tour for my first romance. It should say something about how I became a published author, right? It should encourage other aspiring writers, don’t you think? It should be enjoyable and meaningful and leave a lasting impression, yes?

No pressure there. :-)

I was sitting at my computer, stumped, when a beautiful jazz rendition of the classic “Somewhere over the Rainbow” broadcast through my speakers. I sat stock straight in my chair.

That’s my song. See, that song and I go way back. Before I ever saw The Wizard of OzI already had the song memorized because my family were the proud owners of the vinyl single AND a battered old white plastic record player to play it on. Jealous? I wore that little machine out playing me some Judy Garland. I felt divinely blessed to be able to lie back on my bed while that song transported me to the place where “blue birds fly…”

Of course, I believe the universe created that song just for me, just as I am certain my road to becoming a published author with its bumps, valleys and canyons has been the hardest road anyone has had to take … ever. I mean, I’ve been writing for years. I’ve had rejections that were so personal I had to cry and days when I doubted I could put two words together, let alone a book anyone would want to read. But my desire to get my book published was greater than my doubts about my writing. I knew getting published would be my rainbow.

A short while ago when I was discussing the layout of my website with the designer, I didn’t really know what I was looking for. Somehow she pulled enough information out of me when she emailed me the draft you can imagine how amazed and pleased I was that she had included my rainbow. We hadn’t even discussed rainbows. :-) It was kismet.

But I’ve had a couple of months of perspective … could be I’m wrong about the whole mine, mine, mine thing. Could be other people need the same jolt of hope that song provides. Could be others remember what it was like to put their first baby out into the publishing world. Could be others have had a rough road getting to their happy place, or even seeing it. Maybe my road hasn’t been the hardest, longest or toughest … it’s just been mine so it was the only one I could see.

So, in the event that one of you may need a little encouragement along your path, as a published author—thus expert—I can tell you you are not alone. You have a peer community of authors and an even wider net of people who love and support you (I’m talking about you, LASR!--*wink*). These people know the trials and tribulations you are going through and some of them are currently going through the same. It is possible to get published if that is truly your goal.

I can tell you all these things but if you’re anything like I was a year ago, you won’t be able to hear them. You may be hurting or doubting your skills or crying over a rejection that tore you up inside and these words sound as empty as a carton of ice cream after I’ve gotten to it (licked clean).

I guess I’ll do the only thing I can think that might put you at ease; I’ll tell you about your rainbow and this really great place where dreams come true… ‘cause you know that song was created just for you. Just lie back, close your eyes and I’ll hum a few bars…

See you when you get here.

Ava Bleu


Blurb

The Diva of Peddler’s Creek



African American romance novelist Taylor Beir will stop at nothing to get her mother off her back, including relocating to teach a little boy she’s never met how to read. But Christopher Doubleday doesn’t want to learn. Handsome older brother, Boyd, has an invisible stick up his backside. And she suspects sweet Mary and Jesse are trying transform her into the mythical “good girl” she’s never been; either by power of suggestion or bribing her with endless goodies from Mary’s kitchen.

Taylor may be down—and stuffed—but she’s not out. Someday the townspeople of Peddler’s Creek, West Virginia, will realize their hostility is misplaced and recognize her for the gentle, misunderstood soul she really is. And they will admit that Taylor Beir truly is the best thing to ever happen to their tiny, dirt road, middle-of-nowhere, backwater town of Peddler’s Creek, West Virginia … if they know what’s good for them.



The Diva of Peddler’s Creek is slated to release October, 2010, from The Wild Rose Press.

Ava Bleu lives and loves in the Midwest, countering bitter winters with smooth jazz and tasty edibles. A book-lover, author, artist and photographer, Ava believes creativity in any form is worth celebrating. She can be found in bookstores and the public library camped next to the cookbooks and/or on the town keeping an eye out for hero-material.

You can visit Ava at www.BooksbyAva.com or sign up at Facebook page, DIVAS UNITE, for information on contests, giveaways and tour dates.

Monday, August 23, 2010

GUEST BLOG: PINK PETAL BOOKS

Writing Sweet, Writing Emotional


As someone who has written, edited, and published both sweet and erotic romances, I firmly believe in making the story work on all levels. In a well-written erotic romance, the sexual content tends to drive the plot, and the relationship forward. It's an integral aspect of the story. Remove it, and the entire story might fall apart. When it comes to sweeter romances, it's all about the emotion. There's attraction there, sure. After all, why would the heroine want to have a relationship with the hero if she didn't find him attractive on several levels. However, for me, what makes a well-written sweeter romance is the emotional intensity. In the books that I love, if I don't tear up, or laugh, or even get angry along with the characters, then the story doesn't work for me, and that's regardless of the sensuality level.

It's the emotion that takes any book from a ho-hum read to a book you want to read over and over again. And it's the emotion I look for when I acquire books for Pink Petal Books. I want to be hit by the emotion on the first page and swept along for a romantic ride that leaves me smiling at the end of the book.

So how does an author do that? First, give me characters with whom I can relate. They need to be real characters, fully formed, with good qualities and bad. There needs to be a catalyst that can create change in the character. If the character doesn't grow, doesn't learn by the end of the book, then really, the question arises why did the character have this journey to begin with? And the same thing goes for the hero. I don't think anyone enters into a romantic relationship and doesn't find him or herself changed in some way. It's all about growth and compromise, and all those things that make a relationship work. And we do want the relationship portrayed in the book to work.

When there's an emotional investment on the part of the characters, and on the part of the reader, then the relationship feels more "real". It seems like it could work, because these individuals are invested and have a reason for it to work.

What about if the book is more of a romantic comedy or something other than a heavy drama? That's all right too. Some of my favorite authors of non-erotic romance also write "light." An author can put the emotion into the work and still retain a light tone. That's why we read romance, right? We want to go on an emotional journey. We want to go along with these characters, and we want to know that there will be a happy ending.

I can't wait to read the emotional manuscripts that authors can write, and I know our readers can't wait too. So give me your emotion, and show me what you've got!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

GUEST BLOG: AMY CORWIN

What would you do if you were a young girl, orphaned during the early years of the 19th century? Without a family and references, you’d find pitifully few jobs for women, leaving you to face a desperate life of thievery or prostitution.

This is the question my heroine, Sarah, faced in The Bricklayer’s Helper.

Sarah’s story was based on the actual life of Catherine Wilson, who was orphaned at fourteen and faced a bleak future. Catherine refused to accept the social restrictions of her day and donned her deceased brother’s clothes to find work under the name of John Thomson.

Over the next ten years, Catherine worked at various jobs including, drover, foot boy, and bricklayer’s laborer. However, when her landlady discovered Catherine’s sex, she blackmailed her into marrying her pregnant daughter to avoid the disgrace of an illegitimate child. Catherine reluctantly complied, which eventually lead to her undoing. She could not support a wife, child, and mother-in-law and deserted them, only to be dragged back by parish officers to whom she finally confessed.

Truth is often much stranger than fiction, and it is a wonderful way to find inspiration.

In The Bricklayer’s Helper, Sarah finds herself orphaned and alone—like Catherine—when a suspicious fire burns down her home with her family trapped inside. All she can remember about the horrific event is the warning to “run and hide,” and hide she does. Sarah cuts her hair and dons the garb of a young boy, hoping to survive on her own. In this disguise, she’s obtains a job as a bricklayer’s helper and remains safe for thirteen years.

When work takes her to London, a man from her past recognizes her and arranges a meeting, only to be murdered before they can speak. Desperate that she may be the next victim, Sarah hires an inquiry agent from the Second Sons Inquiry Agency.

William Trenchard, the inquiry agent, is far too frippery for Sarah’s taste. In her experience, handsome men can rarely find more than their way underneath a lady’s skirt, but she’s afraid he may be her last chance. And William is so sick of being labeled a “Bedroom Bantam” that the look of disdain in Sarah’s eyes drives him to prove his worth.

Unfortunately, their decisions may prove to be dangerous to their hearts…and their lives.

The Bricklayer’s Helper
ISBN: 1-60154-793-5
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Sarah has introduced herself as Sam Sanderson, hoping to maintain her disguise and freedom as a man. But William is not entirely sure she’s everything she seems.

“About this 1806 fire?” William prompted his visitor.

“Yes, sir. It was a fire down Longmoor-way. The Marquess of Longmoor’s place. Elderwood it was called back then, while it still existed.”

“And what is this matter to you?”

“I was orphaned by the fire.”

“I see,” William said. “And you would have been, what? About nine at the time?”

“More or less,” Sanderson replied. His glance moved restlessly, focusing on the bookcase on William’s right. There was a brief gleam of interest in the gray eyes before he blinked and caught William’s gaze again. “This major had information about it. I want to know what.”

“Wouldn’t it be better if you conducted your own inquiries?” William asked.

“I thought this place belonged to a gent named Mr. Gaunt,” Mr. Sanderson asked in an abrupt change of subject. “Do you work for him?”

William’s mouth twisted wryly. “We are associates.”

“Then you work for him. Perhaps you don’t have the authority to take on new cases? Where is Mr. Gaunt?”

So his client was sharper than his appearance suggested.

William revised his previously favorable opinion of Mr. Sanderson downward. His voice hardened. “Mr. Gaunt is away. On another case. I assure you, I have complete discretion in the matter of accepting new cases.”

“Then you’re afraid?” There was something in his tone that suggested what he really meant was that he thought William was an idiot.

“I beg your pardon?” William asked, forcing his face into a bland mask.

“Well, you’re dithering, aren’t you?” Sanderson asked.

He wanted to reply that it wasn’t the danger in trying to find a killer that bothered him. It was the ridiculously low payment Mr. Sanderson offered.

However, when William gazed into those gray eyes, he found his anger ebbing and flowing away into sheepishness. The lurking fear in Sanderson’s gaze stirred a deep sense of gallantry in William.

Mr. Sanderson stood and thrust his hand out. “If you can’t make up your mind, then I’ve no need of your services. Good night to you, sir.”

William waved at the chair. “Sit down. I never said I wouldn’t take your case.”

“But you don’t want to, do you?” His shaggy head lifted at the sound of bells in the distance. “And I am missing my supper.”

“In fact, I do,” William said, leaning forward and clasping his hands on the desk. “Now, let’s start again and never mind your supper.”

“Then start,” Sanderson said with startling frankness. “What do you want to know?”

Nonplussed, William stared back before forcing a smile. “Tell me about the fire. That is as good a place to begin as any.”

“I can only tell you what I remember,” Mr. Sanderson replied. “And that isn’t much. If I could remember everything, I wouldn’t need you now, would I?”

Award-winning author Amy Corwin is an insatiable reader and writer. She joined the Romance Writers of America at its inception and plunged into writing despite the time-wasting annoyances of a career as an enterprise systems administrator in the computer industry. She writes Regencies, paranormals, and mysteries, although to be truthful, most of her books include a bit of murder and mayhem since she discovered that killing off at least one character is a highly effective way to make the remaining ones toe the plot line.

Amy’s books have received numerous writing awards and reviews. Her Regency, I BID ONE AMERICAN, received a perfect score of 5 from Long and Short Reviews. Her most recent Regency, THE BRICKLAYER’S HELPER, is now out from The Wild Rose Press in both e-book and print formats and she has a paranormal, VAMPIRE PROTECTOR, due for release in November, 2010.

http://www.amycorwin.com

Monday, August 16, 2010

GUEST BLOG: DANIELLE THORNE

Where Your Heart Is…

If you can tell a lot about a person by the way they speak, can you tell a lot about someone by what they read? Or for a writer, by what they write?

One of the most wonderful things about reading and writing online is getting to know the authors who put their blood, sweat and fears out in the open for everyone to see. It never ceases to amaze me how sweet the authors of sweet romance are, as I come to find out more about them through blogs and interviews. And those sensual writers, wow--are they passionate about living! Like pulling a favorite sweater out of the closet, readers and authors seem to be drawn to books that reflect who they are, what they wish to conquer, or who they some day hope to be.

This idea often leads me to self-introspection about myself. For example, when I stumble into my own chaotic clothes closet with three feet of dirty laundry on the floor (Hey, it helps me reach the top shelves!), I usually go for the chocolate-colored brown knit that zips up the front. If I’m feeling dressy, I have the black embroidered cardigan with the mother-of-pearl buttons. Simple, but laid-back. I want to be comfortable. I don’t rock boats.

In contrast, send me to my e-reader library, and what do I pull up? Soft romances with feminine plots and settings. (That must be the dressy black sweater.) And those adventures with the heroine who must face her fears and tame the brusque, sarcastic hero…that’s my brown zippy sweater all the way.

I can only hope as readers dive into my books, they finish them with a sign of pleasure--satisfied, warm and cozy. A story crosses an unseen bridge between reader and writer. Somewhere, somehow, the heart makes this connection, and for a moment, both are in the same place, with the same hopes and fears.

You can’t share your favorite sweater with everyone you meet, but as long as you can find a good book to write, read, or recommend, I believe people somehow get where your heart is—no matter what you're wearing!

~daniellethorne

Website: www.daniellethorne.jimdo.com

Follow the Blog! www.thebalancedwriter.blogspot.com

Danielle Thorne is the author of THE PRIVATEER, a 1729 historical about British privateering in the Caribbean and TURTLE SOUP, a sweet contemporary romance set between Atlanta and St. Thomas. Her new shipwreck adventure, BY HEART AND COMPASS, is available now, from Desert Breeze Publishing. Danielle currently writes from south of Atlanta, Georgia. She was the 2009-2010 Co-Chair for the New Voices Competition for young writers, is active with online author groups such as Classic Romance Revival and EPIC, and moderates for The Sweetest Romance Authors at the Coffee Time Romance boards. Danielle reviews for online review sites and edits for Solstice Publishing and Romance Junkies. She lives with four sons and her husband, who is an air traffic controller. Together they enjoy travel and the outdoors, Marching Band competition and BSA Scouting.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

GUEST BLOG: K. DAWN BYRD

10 things most people don't know about me


1. I have a masters degree in professional counseling. I was almost 40 when I finished, so it's never too late!

2. I used to ride a Harley, but sold it to have more time to write. My husband loves to ride and always wanted to stay out all day. When I'd tell him that I was ready to return home, he'd take the longest, most scenic route. I finally decided that something had to go in order to free up time to write. He still has his bike, but I don’t miss mine at all.

3. I own two hairless Chinese Crested dogs. Zippy and Ponchee are the strangest, but sweetest pets I've ever owned. I'm just crazy about them!

4. I judge close to a dozen writing contests a year. It's my way of giving something back to the writing community. Writing contests are near and dear to my own heart because finaling in the Duel on the Delta was such an encouraging experience for me.

5. My favorite vacation is a beach trip. We live in the mountains and always look forward to going to the beach once or twice a year. As wonderful as that experience may be, I'm always glad to return to the mountains when vacation ends. There's no place like home.

6.One of my favorite hobbies is antique shopping. My husband loves antiques and it's something we can do together. You never know what treasure you'll find.

7. I'm an ebook junkie. After learning how to download the Kindle to my netbook and the app to read E to my Blackberry, I was hooked. I now read only E.

8. I love sour foods...dill pickles, lemons, sour candy, etc.

9. I'm not a social butterfly. I'm shy in large groups, but love meeting new people. Once I warm up to someone, I can carry on a conversation with the best of them. Some may say too much so!

10. I'm an animal lover, but think I'm becoming allergic to cats. We visited friends over the weekend who have them and I itched all the way home.



K. Dawn Byrd is an author of inspirational romance. Queen of Hearts, a WWII romantic suspense, released in April and was Desert Breeze Publishing's bestselling novel for the month. Killing Time, a contemporary romantic suspense released August 1, also with Desert Breeze Publishing.

K. Dawn Byrd is an avid blogger and gives away several books per week on her blog at www.kdawnbyrd.blogspot.com, most of which are signed by the authors. She's also the moderator of the popular facebook group, Christian Fiction Gathering (http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=128209963444)

When not reading or writing, K. Dawn Byrd enjoys spending time with her husband of 14 years, walking their dogs beside a gorgeous lake near her home, and plotting the next story waiting to be told.

Monday, August 9, 2010

GUEST BLOG: ANGELIQUE ARMAE

Crafting the Paranormal Hero from the Heroine’s View

My favorite type of hero is the alpha bad boy. Toss in a few magical powers, a tortured past, and a dark, dangerous setting, and I’m in heaven. But when I sat down to write my most recent novel, Shadows of the Soul, a paranormal romance featuring a demon huntress and a Prince of Hell, I was faced with a bit of a challenge when it came to creating my hero. I knew I wanted to write about angels, but to make them super sexy the white fluffy winged species was definitely out of the question. But so too was making them evil creatures that had fallen.

I solved the dilemma by creating Grigori who were born to a repented fallen angel father and a mortal mother. The hero of Shadows of the Soul is Nicolai Valentine, a prince of Hell who fights evil. His blood line is tied to both Heaven and Hell which gave me the perfect opportunity to create a tortured soul trapped between two ethereal worlds and the human realm. Nicolai deals with very real, very mortal problems (two brothers who don’t see the world the same as Nicolai, plus the loss of his young sons and wife) while also battling evil. He’s prince to a realm he’s fighting to destroy. I also had to show this character strictly through my heroine’s eyes as the book is written in first person from my heroine’s view.

I had a blast writing my heroine, Isabel Godfroie Heart. As a demon huntress trained in angelic warfare, Isabel is assigned to translate a series of ancient texts written in a language forbidden to my hero’s bloodline. Hidden within these texts is the antidote to a supernatural disease. A disease Nicolai accidentally unleashed on earth.

My heroine is faced with many challenges along the way, but the one she enjoys most is stripping away the layers of Nicolai’s soul, learning secrets she never imagined. In the process she also uncovered a few secrets of her own. Secrets that once learned change her world forever.

Writing my hero strictly from my heroine’s view was a task I’d love to repeat in a future book. It gave me an interesting view into my heroine’s world, to see the hero I created through her eyes only. It also allowed me to have a ton of fun with dialogue and character reactions, as these were the primary ways my heroine learned about my hero. It’s also the only way readers learn my hero.

What trait do you like most in a bad boy hero? In a fearless heroine?

Bio: Angelique Armae is a native New Yorker who's as zany as the city she grew up in. As a child her favorite toy was Emerald The Witch, a small doll with green eyes, green hair and purple skin.

Miss Armae's books and novellas have garnered numerous awards and nominations, including the Sapphire Award, P.E.A.R.L. Award and Word Weaving Award. Her books have also been featured on Midwest Book Review's Book Watch TV. Angelique's first novel, COME THE NIGHT, made Fictionwise's Best of the Best list, rounding out the top five best selling dark fantasy books of the year.

Aside from writing, Angelique also dabbles in digital art. She is the recipient and two time nominee of the Dream Realm Award for best cover art.

When not working, Ms. Armae enjoys traveling, learning about the ancient Celts, exploring history and learning new languages. Angelique studied history and French literature at Skidmore College.





Wednesday, August 4, 2010

GUEST BLOG: LIZ FICHERA

New Me, New Motto
By
Liz Fichera


I started 2010 with a new motto. It fit my snarky mood. Here’s my new mantra:

When you can’t enter through the front door, kick in a window!


Because that’s how I felt at the start of 2010. I needed to ratchet-up my writing career. Same old, same old wasn’t working.

I’d spent 2008 and part of 2009 watching a young adult novel that I loved get kicked in the shins, abused, and generally rejected over and over by probably every editor in New York City. It was brutal. I heard everything from the familiar, “Love the voice, but it’s just not right for me…” to “Thanks, but no thanks.” I learned the hard way that young adult novels without words like boarding school, vampire, werewolf, fairy, or zombie weren’t exactly popular among editors.

Unfortunately, I don’t do normal. While I love a good werewolf or vampire story as much as the next person, it’s not what my heart desires to write.

During 2009, in order to maintain what little sanity I had left, I decided to tackle something new. I wrote a historical romance novel, my first. But it had to have all of the things I loved: Native American characters, epic themes, suspense, a strong heroine and, of course, a love story. CAPTIVE SPIRIT was born. And I had so much fun writing it. Writing the book literally saved me. In fact the research that I did for the novel at the Phoenix Heard Museum was almost as fun as writing the story because I learned so much about the Hohokam Indians, but that is another topic all together.

Then in November of 2009, I began to see tweets and news articles for a brand-new Harlequin digital imprint called Carina Press. I loved their motto, “Where no great story goes untold.” Angela James is the Carina Press Executive Editor and I began to follow her tweets. Who knew Twitter could be so useful?

Most of all, I also liked how Carina was not afraid to shake up the traditional publishing model. They seemed less about trends and more about good writing and stories. I was, to say the least, intrigued. And at the start of 2010, I was determined to shake up everything about my writing career, including where to submit.

So sometime after New Year’s, one of Angela’s tweets flashed across my laptop. “Send us your historicals!” she tweeted. “Our editors are hungry for historicals!”

Humph, I thought. Why not send CAPTIVE SPIRIT?

I quickly polished up my query, the dreaded synopsis, and my manuscript and sent it off into cyberspace to Angela with a single, hopeful, heartfelt keystroke.
By mid-March, I got “The Call.”

I had been having coffee with my girlfriends at Starbucks and hadn’t heard my cell phone ring. Angela left a message on my voicemail telling me that the Carina Press acquisitions team loved CAPTIVE SPIRIT and wanted to publish it.

PUBLISH?! Say what?!!

When I first played her voicemail, I seriously got dizzy, mostly because I began to hyperventilate. I had never heard the words “loved” and “publish” in the same sentence, not unless they preceded that horrible, ugly, troll of a word “but.” I must have replayed Angela’s message twelve times.

Now five months later, I am one of the Carina Press launch authors. CAPTIVE SPIRIT was published on June 28, and I couldn’t be happier working with such a hip group. Best of all, I’m writing again and loving it more than ever, all because of one single, important change.

I know that sometimes it can feel like you’re trying to plug a leak in the ocean, but what changes have you made that have nudged your writing careers in the right direction?
**********************

Liz Fichera lives in the American Southwest by way of Chicago. She likes to write stories about ordinary people who do extraordinary things, oftentimes against the backdrop of Native American legends. Her debut historical romance novel CAPTIVE SPIRIT is available from Carina Press and wherever digital books are sold. Please visit her web site at http://www.lizfichera.com/ where she keeps cool stuff like a first chapter excerpt, book trailer, and more of her favorite quotations.


Monday, August 2, 2010

GUEST BLOG: CHARLOTTE McCLAIN

In my life, there are 3 deadly phrases.

1. I wonder if I could pull that off.
2. You know what would be funny?
3. What's that over there?


A friend of mine delights in challenging me. At lunch one day, we happened to be watching a riding competition where one of the riders was named Kent Farrington. My friend threw down the gauntlet. “Isn't that a great romance hero name?” To which I responded: “That's a pretty hefty name. I wonder if I could pull that off.”

This is where we get to deadly phrase number two. Undoubtedly while doing laundry, because that's when my goofiest notions hit me, I started mulling over the phrase 'one ring to rule.' It connected with wedding rings and comicons. I've spent a lot of time at comicons as booth bait. During my stint, I knew a guy named, I kid you not, Ryder Wyndam. He later wrote Star Wars books for middle readers. Swapping out one exotic name for another, I had a hero and a punchline. The heroine was easy. I knew the Wicked Witch of Comics. The tricky part was making her sympathetic.

I think it took me two days to write the story which I did entirely so I could send it to my buddy with a note saying, “HA!” That was it. My whole plan for the story. Write it, send it to my audience of one and store it on my hard drive for eternity. This is where the story should have ended.

Trolling a writing forum, I found a thread started by Renee Rocco and, didn't actually think, but you know it's going there, what's that over there? Lyrical Press had changed their submission guidelines and was now accepting shorts with word counts down to – I forget. It was lower than the word count of One Ring To Rule which I had been tinkering with to improving my craft. Just because I didn't plan on doing anything with it, didn't mean I shouldn't make it the best little nothing it could be, right? I opened my big mouth on the thread and said that I was working on something that would fit. Renee responded that she'd be looking for it.

It occurred to me that I should find out who this person was. I assumed she was just another member. Except she wasn't. She was (and is) Lyrical's publisher. I'd opened my big mouth and committed myself to submitting.

After I cleaned up One Ring to Rule, I sent it in on the Wednesday night before Fourth of July weekend. This was me being clever. I was going to be offline starting around noon the next day so I wouldn't be obsessively checking my email for the expected rejection for at least four days.

The next morning there was a message in my inbox from Emma Wayne Porter. It had a contract attached.

And that's where the story begins.

Charlotte McClain is a literary omnivore. Two years spent overseas honed her ability to enjoy all sorts of reading material from board books to history tomes. She writes as she reads and revels in putting her characters in difficult, painful and goofy situations, all at the same time. She believes that in any good relationship each partner should help the other be the best person they can be.

When not reading or writing she loves to travel, though it doesn't like her. Her strongest memory of the Philippines is hanging over the side of a boat saying, "Look! Little blue jellyfish!" She has been motion sick in nine countries on four continents. Rumor has it she also belly dances, but no one has ever seen it.

She is married to an artist and musician who also has a good sense of humor, but don't tell him she said so. You can visit her at her website.