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Archive for April, 2009

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009
Over At Access Romance

I am blogging today at Access Romance about a little problem I had yesterday. Think of it as HelenKay v. the sprinkler system. Check it out.

Monday, April 27th, 2009
Spotlight on Leslie Parrish

The other day I asked if people would follow their favorite authors if they jumped genres. Someone mentioned Leslie Kelly’s upcoming turn in dark romantic suspense writing as Leslie Parrish. Gotta say that I’m super excited for Leslie’s new romantic suspense series. The first title, FADE TO BLACK, comes out July 1st. I already have it pre-ordered.

I’m following Leslie to a new genre for a few reasons. First, I love romantic suspense. Always looking for new favorite authors in the genre. Second, Leslie is known for her sharp, flirty and fun contemporaries. I want to see how her writing voice translates in a novel with a darker tone. But, really, I would have pre-ordered the book if I hadn’t already because of an article I read about her in this month’s Romantic Times. In it, Leslie talks about the problems she had in selling single title contemporary romance. It was really brave. Authors don’t talk about how reading tastes change, marketing fails, or whatever, and what that does to their careers. Leslie stepped up and told a story that many single title contemporary authors could tell. I admire her for being honest. Also think it says something about her staying power and professionalism that she didn’t wallow. Nope. She switched genres and tried again. Don’t know about you guys but I’m cheering her on, hoping this new series is a huge seller.

Saturday, April 25th, 2009
Something New

I’ve been playing around with writing a different type of book from anything I’ve written before. It’s still a romance but a change in tone and type. I know Erin McCarthy and Lori Foster have done it. Others have made a transition from romance to mystery. For me it would be a matter of staying in the romance genre but definitely different.

So, my question: are readers willing to follow authors who try a new thing?

Friday, April 24th, 2009
Love Those Key Words

Several folks searching for “Monkees Slashfiction” have somehow gotten my website instead. I’m figuring those folks were pretty disappointed because there’s no Monkees slashfiction to be found here. My apologies.

One question…Monkees Slashfiction? Really?

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009
A Wedding Story

Imagine you’re at a wedding and one of the guests starts going a little nutty. She throws a drink on another guest and then declares, for all to hear, that she’s been sleeping with the groom and the bride is ruining everything by marrying the dude.

Yeah, of course it really happened. The story is here.

The groom denied everything. The bride is suing the woman who messed up her wedding….because lawsuits are always the answer. [sarcasm] Oh, and did I mention the guest who caused all the trouble was the groom’s boss? Uh-huh. Classy.

I wish I had written all of that as a synopsis.

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009
True Crime

I’m one of those authors how gets character and plot ideas from the news. The horrible story of the Craiglist Killer is a ripe for a book. The suspect is an engaged, good-looking med student. Could be that he’s also an engaged, good-looking killer med student. He has that “clean-cut, it can’t be him” quality about him. Yeah, those types are always trouble. Ted Bundy, anyone?

It will be interesting to what we find out about this guy over the next few weeks. Also wondering how long it will be before we see a Craiglist serial killer mystery novel. It’s inevitable now.

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009
Thriller Author Fight

I’m probably not supposed to find this story funny but I do. It’s called British thriller writers mount challenge to US ‘production line’. In case you don’t want to follow the link, well, let’s just say the Brit thriller authors are issuing a bit of a challenge. The first two paragraphs of the article sum it up nicely:

British thriller authors have joined forces to challenge what they are calling “the reign of the production-line American thriller writers” such as James Patterson, John Grisham and Dan Brown.

Advised by Jeffrey Archer, the writers – Matt Lynn, Martin Baker and Alan Clements – hope to restore British thriller writing in the tradition of John Buchan, Ian Fleming and Hammond Innes to what they believe is its rightful prominence. “The tradition of thriller writing should never be allowed to die, not least because we are better at it than anyone else in the world,” said Archer.

The Brits also set out five principles for writing thrillers:

1. That the first duty of any book is to entertain.
2. That a book should reflect the world around it.
3. That thrilling, popular fiction doesn’t follow formulas.
4. That every story should be an adventure for both the writer and the reader.
5. That stylish, witty, and insightful writing can be combined with edge-of-the seat excitement.

These all work for me. It’s the idea of a Brit v. American thriller author smackdown that cracks me up.

Monday, April 20th, 2009
Pretend It’s Sunday

Yes, I know I said I’d announce the TAMING THE FIRE book giveaway winner on Sunday. I could come up with some excuses for my tardiness, like, I was doing copyedits, or reviewing final galleys or judging a few more contest entries or writing my Harlequin Intrigue – all things I should have been doing. But, actually, I was sitting by a friend’s pool reading Jill Sorenson’s CRASH INTO ME. Very sorry for being late but, man, I had a good Sunday.

Now as I get back to the million writing-related things I need to do, here’s the winner….Brandy W. Huge congrats!!! Email me with you address and I’ll get that out to you in a few days.

By the way, CRASH INTO ME is awesome. Go buy it.

Friday, April 17th, 2009
Wanna Win Something?

I just sent out all of the giveaway prizes I had stacked up over the last few weeks. So, naturally, I’m gonna give something else away. This time it’s an early copy of TAMING THE FIRE by Sydney Croft.

He came to the underground London club for a night of extreme sex play with the enigmatic “Mistress Rik.” But the special agent known as Trance is really on a search-and-rescue mission to keep her alive. Part predator, Ulrika “Rik” Jaegar possesses feral powers that make her a danger to others—and to herself. That’s why the Agency for Covert Rare Operatives (ACRO) wants to recruit her to their side….To do so, Trance will have to pull off the impossible: capture and control Rik, both woman and beast.

On the run from the deadly agency that changed her into a pleasure-seeking shape-shifter, Rik uses sex to rein in her own raging desires. Operating on pure instinct, she trusts no one…especially the magnificent alpha male with the power to seduce her into submission. An undercover agent with unique hypnotic gifts, Trance is surprised by his instinct to hold Rik and keep her safe—but he has a job to do. And as he hunts her down, as Rik and Trance are thrust into the ultimate game of domination and submission, they’ll enter a place where surrender is their sole hope of survival—and the only thing that can tame the wild beast in both of them.…

Interested? All you have to do if you win is post post a comment here and then post a review/comment along with a copy of the book’s cover on your blog, website, MySpace page, etc. If you don’t have one of those, you can post the review/comment here on my blog. U.S. addresses only for this one. I’ll pick a winner on Sunday. Good luck!

Thursday, April 16th, 2009
Contest Judge Perspective

I’m currently judging unpublished manuscripts in three different contests. Some general thoughts:

1. Do not end the contest submission in the middle of a sentence. If you are allowed 30 pages then figure out a natural breaking point, one where the reader will want to keep on reading, and end it there. It’s fine if that’s on page 29. The point is to end strong. If it means slightly editing your submission so that the POW! moment is right there near the end of those 30 pages instead of on, say, page 41 then do it.

2. Point of View – I am begging unpublished folks to use only one POV per scene. I know there are famous authors who head hop. You aren’t them. You do not want to give a reader (ie, potential editor) a reason to think you don’t get the basics. And, believe me, seeing the POV switch for one or two paragraphs and then jump around again makes it look as if you don’t get the basics.

3. Let’s just pretend there’s a ban on prologues. Act as if editors have forbidden them. Side note: If I see one more 15+ page prologue I’m gonna scream.

4. If you have 30 pages for your submission and nothing happens in those 30 pages…well, your book is in trouble. Read many submissions where the writer introduced many characters and had them have mundane conversations, but nothing other than “hello” was happening. Honestly, I just don’t think an editor is going to keep reading.

5. I had this scenario several times: 40-ish woman’s husband dies, it’s now three to six months later and the woman sees some hot man and turns into a frothing pile of goo. My question: is this really happening out there in the world? Just seems to me there’s a more subtle way to have this lady find new love.

Now, don’t anyone start thinking “she’s reading mine” and get all mad. Chances are I don’t have yours. In fact, I have one more contest to judge. But if you’re doing any of these things then think about what I said. I’m not an expert, but I do read and most of what I read in the contest submissions made it too easy for an editor to reject. I’ve gotten rejections, so I know about those.