Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Looking forward to Paranormal month with The Wild Rose Press. Last year was a blast so this year should be all the better.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Yeah! My favorite season and holiday is coming at me fast. Got to get busy with my decor! I love this time of year. A northerner at heart, fall is such an awesome time of year. Still warm with Indian Summer yet so very vibrant. Living in Southern Florida, I truly miss it but this is the time of year that is most comfortable in the south. We get cold fronts that give us the most delectable weather. Breezy and much cooler temps from October through just about May. Ahh...Wintering in Florida is heaven.
I want to mention that this week's Author Spotlight didn't work out. Kelley Heckart's new release has been slightly delayed so her spot will move to November 12th. Be sure to mark you calendars of the change. The first and second week of October are open. Any paranormal authors interested in jumping in to be spotlighted? You don't have to have a new release to be interviewed so don't hesitate to contact me ASAP ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) if you are interested in some free promo.
I wanted to take a moment and thank everyone who jumped into the review conversation below. If you have not read this post, please do. It's something that touches all of us as writers and reviewers alike. I've even had two reviewers step up to the plate and talk to us about thier perspective.
An update: The author that I talked about who was given a "0" rating on her book has had yet another review by the same reviewer none-the-less at a different review site! This time she was awarded a 1.5! How is this fair practice?
Reviewers out there, a question. Do you review the same books on different sites? I've never come across this practice before. Please pipe in and let us know what's up with this?
Saturday, September 19, 2009
I've got what I think is a very important, possibly debatable subject, I'd like to discuss today. It's happened to me on two occasions and it actually happened to a good friend quite recently.
The subject is book reviews.
This is a process we must go through and a nailbiting, edge-of-the-seat wait. We never know when that first review will pop up, and we sure as hell don't know how our heart's work will be accepted. So we wait chewing our nails with bellies churning.
Finally, that first review comes out and you've either gotten notification from the review site, which is how I learned of most of my reviews or we finally find a crumb of info after googling our name day after day. Then we sit rigid afraid to actually click the review to see what it says.
Ohmigod! It's wonderful when you click, finally open your eyes, and read it and find it's a positive review. My first one was a 4 from Manic Readers for Curse of the Marhime. I about fell off my seat. My second review came in from LASR and was a 4.5 and Bitten by Books gave it a 4.5 as well. More came in within the same parameters. So it's all good, right? Technically, yes. But...
I'm sure every or at least most authors out there have experienced the nasty hateful reviewer that seems to blatantly and with malice to trash your book and your talent all at once. Fortunately, mine was not the first review I set my eyes on but it hurt just the same. I've had two reviewers write less than complimentary reviews about two different books, that I know of. I won't reveal the review sites, and I will acknowledge that I understand a review is just an opinion. So I am not putting this blog out to antagonize reviewers' opinions. What I do want to do is give authors who have received less than stellar reviews or feel they have been trashed a different point of view in regards to how they react to the bad review.
Two of my peers recently have written to me about some bad reveiws they received and when I read the reveiws I had to admit they could have been handled a bit differently. For one of the authors, it was her first review! I felt terrible for her, but told her that's just one person's opinion. Though I am sure it didn't make her feel any better. In fact, I know it didn't.
Before any reviewers out there that may be reading this blog react, I myself am a freelance reviewer. So I do have a right to voice my opinion on the way a reviewer approaches a review. But I would certainly love to hear your thoughts on the subject.
Again, I will reiterate that I understand that everyone has an opinion and not everyone likes the same things. And to be perfectly honest, I never pay much attention to movie reviews or book reviews because if I did I'd probably never go to the movies or read the book, LOL how do I know if their tastes run along my tastes? Very important point here:)
The two reveiwers that gave me low numbers and had a lot of negative things to say about my books obviously did not like the type of books I wrote(and btw one of them admitted she didn't like the type of romance portrayed). So I ask, why would you read it in the first place? One of the reviewers even got the title of the book completely wrong with the cover art hovering right beside her review! That doesn't give her much creedence at least in my humble opinion.
Now, I'd like to discuss how I go forward with a review job.
If I get into a book that I truly don't like or the editing is really horrific, I stop reading it. I contact the liaison at the site and ask for it to be reassigned, which fortunately, is an option with the review site I work with. Some don't allow it and you must muddle through the review and do the best you can to be honest but not insult or hurt the author. Not an easy task. Why? Because I never want to discourage an author from persuing the craft and destroying any confidence said author has built within his or herself. It is a big step when a writer decides to submit a book. That writer is putting her/himself out there in a big, personal, naked sort of way. If you are not a writer you would never understand.
I will never give a book below a 3.5 because I just don't think it fair to the author. My opinion, my way of doing things. Obviously not everyone's cup of tea.
One of my peers was actually given a 0! How can you possibly give a book a 0? There is always something good to say about something. That is just moronic. The person who did that should not be reviewing books.
I'd like to hear what your take is on this subject. Many authors also review books so if you do, please pipe in. I'd like to know why it is necessary to blatantly ruin an author's work. I can't believe a publishing company would put out a book that didn't have something worth publishing between its bindings. Is it just me?
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Hi, Helen! Welcome. It's great to have you here. Can't wait to get down to the nitty gritty with you.
Thank you for having me, Dayana! It's always fun to visit you. Don't worry, I'll keep it PG ;). Though I would like to give away a pdf of my most recent erotic release, Montego Lay, to one of your commenters today.
Tell me about yourself. What makes you angry, happy, sad, snoopy dance?
What makes me happy is easy – my husband and my two handsome teenage sons. They mean the world to me. What makes me sad? When my boys are sick, when people I care about are suffering. Angry? People who think the rules don’t apply to them. That drives me crazy! Snoopy dance? A new contract, a great review, watching my younger son win a football game, watching my older son win a music competition.
What works best to keep you focused and on track?
Honestly, a deadline. Better yet, a deadline that others know about. I’ve had great success with National Novel Writing Month, where you have 30 days to write a 50K novel. I don’t want to be the dweeb who can’t make the deadline, LOL. Back in December, I had three weeks to write a 25K novella for The Wild Rose Press’s Lawmen and Outlaws anthology. The Outlaw’s Angel turned out to be one of my best stories, according to my CPs.
hmm...looks like I'm the dweeb. I honestly cannot write under pressure. It just doesn't work for me. I seize up and can't think of anything. LOL Ah well... I truly admire people who can just sit down and write like that. I write when the muse strikes me. Seems you work best under pressure *grin* Do you write to make money or for the love of writing?
I hope to make some decent money at some point. I think all writers want that. But if we were doing this solely for the money, most of us would have given up by now.
LOL can I relate to that! Definitely not something to take on if you expect to pay the mortgage, at least as a newbie in the world of publication. When was the first moment you felt comfortable saying, “I am a writer?”
June 2008, when I got my first contract from the lovely Diana Carlile, Senior Editor for the Scarlet Rose line at The Wild Rose Press. She gave me some of the nicest praise I’ve ever received for my writing. She’ll always hold a special place in my heart for making me feel like a real writer:)
Oh, I have to agree with you here about Diana. She is a wonderful editor. She helped me to make Eternal Obsession a much better story. Where do you hide yourself away to write?
I am lucky that I have a home office. From time to time I’ve been known to work in other places with my laptop, but most of my writing is done in my office.
Most authors are avid readers as well. When do you have time to read? Where?
I read in the evenings, usually while lying in bed. I also always have a book in the car with me in case I’m stuck waiting around somewhere. That way, I always have something to do. If I ever have a spare moment, I’m reading:)
Okay, so we writers do love to sit down and read for enjoyment and relaxation but as an author what would you say is your least favorite thing to do? Allow me to clarify: query, write a synopsis, write a blurb, market, you get the picture:)
Good question. My least favorite thing about writing is submitting. People who don’t write have no idea how difficult it is to put yourself out there, and I’m the thinnest skinned wuss you’ll ever meet, LOL.
Oh, I will beg to differ with you there, *grin* I am really a nervous Nellie when I submit a work. I have truly not gained in the confidence arena even with several published projects "out there." Quite frankly, I am more nervous and worrisome each time I submit. How long did you write seriously before your first book was published?
I started writing seriously in October of 2006, when I had a problematic mammogram. After additional testing, the mammogram turned out fine, but it was a wake-up call for me. You never know what tomorrow will bring. If I wanted to write, I’d better start. So I did. My first book was published in August 2008, so that’s a little under two years.
Wow! That's pretty impressive. My first novel was pubbed I believe four years after completion, but I have to admit some of that was me being discouraged and shelving it a couple of times then beginning the entire process of submitting again. How long did it take you to get your first project sold?
I started submitting in June 2007, and sold my first story in June 2008, so exactly one year.
How many manuscripts had you written by the time you had your first publication?
Quite a few. Six novels, three shorts, one novella, I think.
Why do you write?
That's the million dollar question, isn't it? Because I don't feel complete if I don't. This drive to write has been a part of my psyche for so long that I'm not sure I can explain it any better than that. Many times I've told myself, "gee, wouldn't life be easier if I didn't have this need to write?" Yes, it definitely would be. Writing is not easy. Not only that, it's fraught with rejection and subjectivity. So why do we do this again? LOL
Wow! did you hit the nail on the head with that one, Helen. I know I could have wallpapered my office with rejection letters with my first novel. Then after you finally do break through and get sold, you get trashed by reviews. LOL A writer really does drop their heart out for all to trample, but boy isn't it wonderful when you get those stellar reviews or letters from readers that 'just love your books.' Do you have an upcoming release?
Montego Lay, an erotic short, released last Friday (September 11) at The Wild Rose Press Wilder Roses.
Here's the blurb:
Vacationing at a Montego Bay nude resort, Lisa Brooks finds herself volunteering in a bondage demonstration on the beach. She’d like to continue the instructions with the Jamaican native, but the gorgeous resort employee has other duties to perform. Though disappointed, Lisa accompanies a friend to an erotic casino night where the chips are free and redeemable for sex. A night for a mysterious encounter? If only she could buy the island hottie she really wants.
I have two upcoming releases. The first is in your favorite genre, Dayana, dark paranormal. Blood Wolf was one of the winners of The Wild Rose Press’s Got Wolf? Contest and will release on October 9 in a two author anthology. This is one of my favorite stories and favorites heroes, so I’m very excited! My next release is a very hot western ménage called Slow and Wet, and is my first release with Ellora’s Cave. It’s coming on November 24.
Here’s the blurb for Blood Wolf:
When mysterious Damian MacGowan saves Suzanne Wood from a gang of thugs in a small Scotland town, she's beyond grateful. But his possessive need to be near her troubles her. Damian doesn’t understand why he’s drawn to Suzanne. He knows only that he must have her, or he will die. As the two get to know each other, love blossoms. But Damian has a secret, and an enemy, that may keep him from Suzanne forever.
Definitely sounds like a must have. Tell us about your Hero. Do you have a favorite, if you’ve written multiple books?
My heroes are all very different, and I love them all:) If I had to choose favorites, I’d go with Bobby Morgan in The Outlaw’s Angel and Damian MacGowan in the upcoming Blood Wolf. Both are fiercely passionate and capable of great love, yet they’re a little tormented. Very sexy!
Thank you again for having me today, Dayana! Readers, remember to leave a comment and you may win a pdf of Montego Lay.
Helen Hardt is an attorney and stay-at-home mom turned award-winning romance author. She met her real-life hero in law school, and they live in Colorado with their two teenage sons. Helen writes contemporary, historical, paranormal, and erotic romance. She is currently contracted with The Wild Rose Press and Ellora’s Cave. Her non-writing interests include Harley rides with her husband, attending her sons’ sports and music performances, traveling, and Taekwondo (she’s a blackbelt.) Visit Helen at http://www.helenhardt.com/ and http://www.helensheroes.blogspot.com/.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
It really hit me like a ton of bricks in that moment just how fragile life is. Your entire existence as you know it can change in the blink of an eye. Well, fortunately, Donnie did not have any bleeds and his extremities and speech are coming back wonderfully. Tonight he was speaking full sentences and he is walking better and greater distance. So we are so very thankful. I can't tell you what a wonderful improvement this is over Sunday morning in the ER.
Anyway, I've been struggling between the job, helping my friends, and other responsibilities this week so the blogging has sort of halted. I did want to toss out a quick reminder that Helen Hardt will be here in the Author Spotlight this week, so please drop on in and check us out. Helen writer really hot, hunky heros and very spicy erotic romance. Don't miss her.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Hello, Celia and welcome! It’s so good to have you hear with me today. Please tell us about yourself. What makes you angry, happy, sad, snoopy dance?
Here’s a thumbnail sketch of “me.” I’ve been happily married for a long time, my children are responsible, successful adults, and my grandsons are the light of my life. Friends are very important to me—I value our time together and our history. Dishonest people, especially those in high positions, make me angry. Lost or abused children, throw-away animals, and lost love makes me sad.
Oh, I have to agree with you here. Liars, abused children and abused animals put me right over the edge. I really don’t understand the mentality of someone who can harm helpless children and/or animals.
Love lost is just plain heartbreaking. But when it is found, omigod! What a gloriously wonderful thing.
Snoopy dance? A contract, a good review, nice royalty checks, a finished manuscript, and completed edits!
Ditto! I can definitely relate to that one:)
How many books have you written?
I have twelve complete manuscripts—one released, two have a release date. (Snoopy dance here.)
Congratulations, Celia, on your releases. That is wonderful. Any yes, Snoopy dancing required and expected.
Also, I have six WIPs—ranging in length from 10,000 words to 50,000 words. I know, I know, that’s not smart. Staying focused and on track is a problem. I have too many ideas.
I will have to admit I am in the same boat, LOL But sometimes things just nag at your mind and you just gotta sit down and quiet the muse. Go with it and get the story down as it comes to mind. Otherwise, its lost. I don’t think a writer can help that.
Do you write to make money or for the love of writing?
If I said to make money, you’d probably laugh. When I make enough money to buy my new coveted Mercedes completely with my royalties, then I’d consider replying: “to make money.” No, really, I write for the love of it. I’m having the time of my life.
How long did you write seriously before your first book was published?
I like this question.
Answer: Four years. I do one thing at a time—get married, have children, go to college at age 26, learn golf at age forty, retire early, have fun and travel…and then sit down and begin to write stories. I have no idea why, except I became bored during a convalescence period and my husband placed a laptop in my lap! He said, “Here. Learn how to use Word or something. I know you. You need something new.”
After studying the program a couple of days, I pulled up a new document page, and to practice what I’d learned, began to write a story. That one became a Western Historical, titled Texas Blue, to be released January, 2010. This will be my third published novel.
Wow! That’s a great story, Celia, and so unique. Please tell us all about your upcoming release.:)
I thought you’d never ask! Now, it doesn’t have shape-shifters or ghosts or vampires in it. Is that okay?
Of course, Celia, we’re not partial here. I love all kinds of books.
My next release is a Contemporary Western for the Wayback, Texas rodeo series by The Wild Rose Press. Title: Showdown in Southfork. A humorous sexy romance.
Ooohh…now that sounds fun.
Where can we find your upcoming release? When will it be available?
Showdown in Southfork is a short novel available in pdf, September 16, 2009. Please find it on the The Wild Rose Press website, Amazon, or any other romance source.
What TV shows do you watch?
Television is a disappointment these days, but since I only watch it two hours most nights, I do have a few favorites: Dark Blue, the Closer, Raising the Bar, Dateline Mystery, The Cleaner, The Mentalist, and HGTV.
Ho, baby! Tell me those men on Dark Blue are not the hottest! Can I tell you I will not miss a show. Everything stops for that one.
Fun question (possible blackmail material down the line, LOL) What is the most uncharacteristic thing you have ever done? Please, no censoring? I have no qualms about placing a content warning on my blog!
Honestly? Write romance novels. Not one person, friend, acquaintance, or family member could imagine my writing romance stories. Generally, my life is very conventional— high school teacher, remain married to one man for all these years, attend church, bible lesson teacher to women. People think of me as the sweet, kind soul, gentle to others, honest with no vice, loyal, and rather quiet. Even my husband still can’t believe I’m a published romance novelist. But he’s proud---and he bought my book and asked me to autograph it and he liked it! That one act touched me more than any review or glowing report I’ve received.
Sounds like you’ve definitely found your soul mate. Family support is such a wonderful thing to have, especially your spouse. It keeps you going, doesn’t it?
Thank you so much for joining me today. Best of luck with all your upcoming releases.
More about Celia.
As a fifth generation Texan, I love the rich history of our state. Even though my degrees are in science and education, I use our ancestors and their accomplishments for endless characters and situations to create love stories.
Although my husband and I travel, no place on earth is more precious to my heart than our home in the Texas Hill Country, surrounded by acres of live oaks and whitetail deer. Romance novels are not my only form of reading material, but they are my favorite, and I wouldn’t leave home without several tucked away in my luggage. Organizations and a writing group (The Write Girls) have provided information, encouragement, and guidelines to help me on my exciting journey. What fun it is!
Find Celia here:
Yahoo Group: The Book Spa (as a moderator)
Find Celia’s books here: The Wild Rose Press
Monday, September 7, 2009
Wow! Today has been a flurry of activity for me. Busy...busy...busy:)
As most of you know, autumn is my favorite time of year. I love the colors, which are bred within me even though I've been transplanted in the South for twenty-five years. I am a Northern girl at heart. Autumn colors and snowy Christmas' Most of all though, I absolutely Love Halloween:)
September is when I begin my home decor transformation and Labor Day has always represented the Fall for me, soooo...I've gone and transformed the house into Halloween central. Well...not completely but I've got the traditional autumn colors, and a lot of the traditional Halloween decorations situated around the house. Inside only for now. Geez, I've even beat Target to the punch. That is amazing.
Here's the tough part. You know how when you decorate, you also have to clean? Yeah, you guessed it. I busied my self today with fall cleaning chores such as shampooing the carpet, cleaning windows, dusting, mopping floors, and moving furniture around. Can I tell you, I'm beat! But the house looks so beautiful and like a completely different space. Vibrant and warm. Good karma is radiating all around.
Now I'll continue to add little touches and, of course, work into decorating the outdoors as well. I'll share another little tid bit of information. I take my vacation from the day job every year on Halloween week. That's love, LOL
I did work on some writing stuff today but I didn't set the world on fire. Too busy with all the other stuff. I am working on a new story that I anticipate being released next Halloween, at least I hope. I have to sell it first*grin* Actually, truth be told, I have to finish it before I do anything else, LOL
Anyway, that's what I've been up to this holiday weekend. What have you all been up to?
Oh and one more thing. Traci Hall who was the author spotlight will pick the winner of her book on Tuesday as she went to a conference this weekend given by Heather Graham in New Orleans--lucky girl *sigh* Can't wait to see who nabs the book.
Talk to you later.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Traci Hall is a friend and a fellow Florida Romance Writer member. I met Traci over three years ago when I wandered into the Super Saturday celebration our local RWA chapter, the FRW. At the time, she was President of our RWA Chapter and did a mighty fine job of it! The rest as they say is history.
Welcome, Traci. It’s so nice to have you here today.
Tell me about yourself. What makes you angry, happy, sad, snoopy dance?
I am simple
I have to tell you, I follow the same rule of thumb with frowning. I prefer less wrinkles, especially as that number climbs each year, therefore smiling lots is the only option!
So tell us, how many books have you written?
Wow! That is quite an inventory. Are they all published?
Thank God, NO, lol. I wrote a book about a 19th century heroine who was raped by the local sheriff. She had a blind son, and an MIA dad who turns out to be the star of the traveling show just come into town. (hanging head)
Ho! Boy! Which brings to mind my next question How do you decide on a topic?
Usually something will ignite the creative spark and a title comes to mind, which then leads to theme and plot.
Hmm…so you title your works before you actually have written the story? Interesting. Titles are usually the hardest for me.
What works best to keep you focused and on track?
Duct tape my ass to the chair, and self-bribery of diet coke, sunflower seeds and Good and Plenty candy.
LOL Unique tactic and dangerous! Have you ever tried to get duct tape off of anything? My preferred bribery is chocolate―dark chocolate:)
Do you write to make money or for the love of writing?
I love money, don’t get me wrong, but so far writing has been a break-even affair. Book marks, travel expenses, and don’t get me started on an hourly wage:)
I hear you, Traci. Anyone who thinks writing/publication will gain the average newbie fortunes is delusional, LOL I write because I love to see my stories build on those blank pages.
Hourly wage? Did you say we should be charging an hourly wage?! *grin*
When was the first moment you felt comfortable saying, “I am a writer?”
I remember going to a Florida Romance Writers conference back in 2003, and I walked around wide-eyed at the way people talked about writing like it could be a business. I had no clue – about anything! One of the first things I learned from that conference was to take myself seriously – which meant practicing saying – before being published - “I am a writer”.
Oh, I do remember the wonder of that first meeting! You were the chapter president at the time and how great you were at it. You welcomed me like I was a long lost friend. We have a wonderful group at the FRW.
Thank you!!! You were so friendly that it was easy to be nice:)
What type of stories do you like to write and why?
I like writing stories about families, and about possibilities. I like action, and happy endings. Always happy endings!
Where do you write?
I have a very small house, so my ‘office’ is a corner of our bedroom. It works for me:) And my hubby knows better than to complain about the book piles and post it notes.
LOL I can definitely relate to that. Where do you go to think?
The beach – the inspiration comes in (prepare for bad joke) waves, lolol
LOL good one! Do you have an upcoming release?
Yes, Something Wiccan This Way Comes is the second book in my Rhiannon Godfrey series(the first being, Her Wiccan, Wiccan Ways) – Rhiannon Godfrey is a teenaged girl who has recently moved to a small town. Her parents are Wiccan, but she is still searching her heart for her spiritual path. She’s psychic, almost fifteen, and confused, lol, as only a teenager can be. I really love this girl *grins*
Where can we find your upcoming release?
Amazon.com is the easiest way to order, although Barnes and Noble and Books A Million carry it on their websites too.
When will it be available?
September 1st! Here’s the purchase link:
Something Wiccan This Way Comes
What’s a girl to do when trouble finds her at every turn?
A Rhiannon Godfrey story.
Being different is nothing new for Rhiannon Godfrey. Neither is hiding who she really is to all but a select few. So far she’s managed to walk that line, but now someone is spreading rumors that the Godfreys’ New Age store is really a front for witchcraft, complete with cauldrons and eyes of newt.
The whole town is turning against them—even Rhee’s boyfriend is suspicious. Then there’s her ex-crush Matthew, who just showed up uninvited on her doorstep carrying a single suitcase—and a heavy secret.
Rhiannon tries to be good, she really does. But it’s hard when trouble pounces at every turn, and her unsuccessful spells seem to prove that science is the only path to enlightenment.
Hiding her gifts and running from confrontation is easier than standing up for what she believes in. But this time, there’s more at stake. And the possibility she may have to find the inner strength to banish one friend in order to save another.
More about Traci Hall:
Traci Hall writes young adult paranormal stories, and medieval paranormal romances. She is an active member of FRW, and she lives in Southern Florida with her family – you can contact her at email@example.com or visit her websites at www.tracihall.com or www.traciehall.com
Thank you, Traci, for taking the time to join me today. I’ve really enjoyed talking with you. Wishing you well with you series and your newest release.
Thanks for having me – it’s been a blast! By the way, I will be drawing a name over the weekend from all visitors who’ve left comments for their choice of print or ebook copy of Something Wicked This Way Comes, so tune in on Monday for the winner.
Oooohhh, that sounds great, Traci. Have a wonderful weekend! Thank you all for joining us today. Don’t forget to check in here on Monday to find out who won Traci’s book.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Traci will be joining me here, Thursday, September 3rd for the debut of the weekly spotlight feature. And Traci will be giving away a lucky winner's choice of print or digital copy of her newest release, Something Wiccan This Way Comes!
Each week a new author will grace my blog and tell us all kinds of stuff about themselves. Why not add this blog to your list of favorites haunts. Also, if you haven't already done so, I'd love for you to sign up to Dayana's Happenings. Just click on the Yahoo Groups icon on the right sidebar. Get first notice of new events, releases, contest information, and newsletters.
Also, September's newsletter will be coming soon! I'm a bit behind but will have the newsletter ready within the next few days. I'm really excited about all this new activity here and hope you are too.
If you are a published author and want to participate in the "Author Spotlight" feature please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd be happy to accommodate you. I'm booked now through November and as far out as April, 2010.
Gotta go for now, but I'll catch up with you all again soon:)