Thursday, January 31, 2013

Liebester Award

Clare Adams kindly nominated me for this award.

The Liebster award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. What is a Liebster? The meaning: Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.

Here are the rules for receiving this award:
1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
2. Answer the questions that the tagger set for you plus create 11 questions for the people you’ve tagged to answer.
3. Choose 11 people and link them in your post.
4. Go to their page and tell them.
5. No tag backs!
6. Post an image of the award on your blog. There are many versions available.

Monday, January 28, 2013

In a Corner

After my puzzling response from Mills and Boon, I tried emailing and calling them, but received no answers. At first, I was discouraged, thinking I had gotten lost in some netherworld between the slush pile and the submissions which held interest. My melancholy was somewhat fueled by a bout of bronchitis (I am still coughing two weeks later you guys!) but in a couple of days I pushed past that. I then decided that perhaps because Harlequin and Mills and Boon are two different companies, though they are owned by the same people, perhaps Mills and Boon was prohibited from soliciting work that had not been sent directly to them. 

            With this hope/delusion/dream in place, I decided to resubmit to Mills and Boon. This time I sent the required query and synopsis, but also included a cover letter explaining what had happened, the envelope in which they sent me their submission guidelines hoping that someone would recognize the hand-writing, and the full manuscript. I know it is presumptuous to send a whole manuscript, but I decided to act confident and imply that they had asked for it. Besides, mailing anything over-seas is time-consuming and I did not want to fritter away my opportunity. 

            So, that’s that. Mills and Boon can take up to six months to respond to submissions, so I expect it to be quite a while before I hear anything. 

            Sigh… waiting is no fun. 

            In the meantime, I’ve pushed myself into a corner. I had about sixty page of the sequel to the novel I submitted written. The second novel was originally going to be much more action/adventure oriented, but if Mills and Boon picks it up, that obviously won’t work, especially as I was planning a few particularly brutal action scenes. Now, I don’t know what to do. Obviously, if they don’t pick up the first book I will want to stick with my original plan and self-publish.  

            I need to work on the second book, but I don’t know what direction to steer it right now. To complicate things further, I have a new idea I want to work with, but I know I need to focus. I guess I just need to write something. Even if it’s a haiku, you’ve got to keep yourself working. 

            I’ve been getting many questions about my Twitter account lately. I’ve passed up that magical 2,000 followers and people are getting suspicious of me. Rest assured my tweets are mine, save for the welcome to new followers and daily stats which are auto-generated. I want to show my gratitude to my new followers, but unfortunately it takes too much time to do that myself, so I have enlisted a tool to do it for me. Everything else is typed by my own fingers. I will post more about how I run my Twitter feed later. 

            Thanks to everyone for their interest and support! 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Help! Harlequin + Mills and Boon

Writers, I would appreciate your help right now:

As you know, a couple of weeks ago I sent a submission to Harlequin's NY office. Their website states that it often takes 6-8 weeks for them to process submissions and that one should not give up hope of a reply for 3 months. I sent my submission snail mail which means you can figure it was about 3 days until they recieved it. So, with that in mind, it has been a very short time span since I submitted.

Today, I arrived home to a hand-addressed manilla envelope from Harlequin. It was not my SASE. As you can imagine, I was pretty excited. I opened it up to find a print-out of sumission guidlines from Mills and Boon. Going back to the envelope, I realized it had been sent all the way from the Mills and Boon office in the UK. I did not pay for postage. There is no other note in the package.

I don't understand what has happened here. Do you think they want me to re-submit to Mills and Boon this time? Why would a company pay the $2-3 of airmail charges to sent me a print-out of their submission guidlines which are posted clearly on the internet. I never requested guidlines and never contacted this office.

I am confounded. Help!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Free, Free, Free

Hey guys, this is just a short post to let you know that I am running a promotion today and tomorrow wherein both of my books will be free on kindle. I hope you read and enjoy. If you do, please remember that reviews are an indie author's best tool and leave a few words on Amazon. I'd really appreciate it and I love to hear people's thoughts on my work (even bad ones).

The Gates of Nottingham

So Many Secrets

Sunday, January 6, 2013


I know that many of the people who stop by this blog are writers themselves, most of them struggling through the indie market. So, today, I have a question for you.

What keeps you motivated?

I'll admit that I am not always super motivated. I go through periods where I think, "what is the point?". Still, I love to write and I always come back to it, usually within a matter of weeks. I doubt that I'll ever quit writing for a truly significant period of time.

We all have to start somewhere. For writers it's a blank page, an idea, and hopefully a plan. That's the easy part. The difficult part is all of the rejections and the years of work chasing a dream. Very few people work for free. Cabinet makers don't install cabinets because they love to do it. Writers do write, paid or not, because they love it. By nature of our passion for our work, we make it seem cheap to others.

I follow new people every day on twitter and get followed by new people too. Almost all of them are writers and most of them have not yet been published. With so many great novels floating around, it's easy to see why it is such a fight to sell anything. The longer you're in it, the more clear that becomes.

Yet, we keep trying. Hope over experience. I think that is a wonderful thing. Sometimes people have to look at all of the ways to fail, and still say, "I can succeed."

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Vikings and Harlequin

I mentioned before that I was re-working my Viking novel for a Harlequin Historical submission. Harlequin has a long history of putting emerging authors on their feet. Did you know Kay Hooper started with Harlequin?
Though this is a path I am interested in following, I do not intend to abandon my self-published novels. Just this evening So Many Secrets got its first Amazon review and I could not be more thrilled. I may be entering The Gates of Nottingham in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award later this year as well. I have copies of both novels at home awaiting a book-signing which I had put off because the holidays did not seem to be the best time to do it, so that should be happening this month as well.
I checked the Harlequin website for any novels involving Vikings and found only one short story contained in a volume of three. An Amazon search came up with this. Barnes and Noble produced this. As you can see, there really hasn’t been many novels published through this company with a Viking protagonist.
This seems strange, given the romance genre’s penchant for strong, tall, brooding, dominant, scantily-clad warriors. Just the word Viking produces a strong image and I think that is good for this type of novel. I also noticed while browsing that most of their Viking novels seem to involve the hero and heroine in a captive/captor situation, which my novel does not.
This is why I think my novel would be a great fit for this company. It would be in keeping with their general standards but it would also be something a little new.
So what do the edits involve? Well, I’ve already written ten new pages which push the romantic relationship a little further. My hero, Yngvarr is a quiet man, but I realized that if this was going to work for Harlequin he would need to open up about his feelings more. There were exchanges between Yngvarr and Ceara which were touched on in the early drafts but needed to be fully fleshed out to work in a romance. For example, because Yngvarr is stranded in Ireland with only the clothes on his back and winter is approaching, Ceara knits him a sweater. I mentioned this, but for a romance novel I know it can be a more touching scene. I’m actually going to work on that later tonight.
My physical descriptions were also too weak for a romance novel in the early draft. I described Yngvarr as uncommonly tall and lean, with white-blond hair, a strong forehead, and a slightly hooked nose. Do you see my mistake here? No mention of the muscles! No swooning over his sheer good looks! Don’t worry, it’s fixed. Ceara is, of course, beautiful, but contrary to most romance heroines she is very tall (6’1”) and very curvaceous. What can I say? I have an extremely tall family of women and I think tall women need a shout-out. After all, it can be a little hurtful that most heroines seemed to top out at 5’4” with 5’7” being giantess height. I don’t want my tall girls feeling left out.
I’ve sent Harlequin the query and synopsis already. Their website says they generally take 6-8 weeks to process queries, but it could take up to three months. So, I decided that by sending off the query I would give myself the incentive to really focus on my re-writes. Honestly, in four days, they are practically done. When I focus, I focus.
I’ll let you guys know what happens next!