Let the Bidding War Begin!

writing-at-snowy-window

Let the Bidding War Begin!

Shaaa! I hope.

I finished my next contemporary romance novella last week and spent Easter weekend submitting it to a half-dozen lucky publishers. You may remember from an earlier blog post just how taxing book submissions can be (ha ha, since I sent them April 15/16).

I’ve posted a few extras and excerpts from Counting on Him for your enjoyment.

Here are 5 reasons to love this book: 

  1. The hero, Sean, isn’t a massive, successful, tough, Vin Diesel Alpha male. He’s more of a laid back, charming, Matthew McConaughey screw-up. He lives life on his own terms, doesn’t bother anyone, doesn’t rely on anyone, has gorgeous green eyes and is happily cruising through life.
  2. I wanted to add a little diversity to my book, but I’m about as diverse as a box of tissues. What do I know about the complexities of life experienced by people of color, gender fluidity, refugees of war-torn nations and the like. Nothing! Not. A. Thing. But I did grow up in North Jersey. And 30 years later, the nasally twang of my friends’ Jewish mothers still infects my brain. Not necessarily in a bad way…but it’s there nonetheless. So, I decided my heroine, Gabby, would not only struggle dealing with her life choices, but the anticipated reactions of her Jewish mother.
  3. Stephen King’s On Writing book encourages authors to weave symbolism into their writing. I embraced that sentiment and added a few elements into Counting on Him.
    To mirror the book’s title, numbers are prevalent. Sean counts the floors in the slowly ascending elevator. Gabby counts the weeks before she has to make a decision.
    To build tension through the book, the summer temperatures grow more and more oppressive–until the story culminates in a massive cathartic thunderstorm.
  4. I loved the Gilmore Girls and desperately wanted to live in Stars Hollow, so I gave Roselle a similar small town vibe. The coffee shop has a bell over the door and a big bay window. The town hosts a Community Service Fair in the park. It’s quaint and charming and I can’t wait to revisit it in my next book.

Number 5–The book’s ending is to die for! Sean finds his motivation, Gabby gets her perfect man and they live happily ever after. Isn’t that all any of us want?

SO, now I just have to sit back and wait to hear the accolades from my potential publishers. FYI – I give points for quick responses.

Tick tock, people. There’s a whole world out there, eager to read my book. 🙂

Is your manuscript award-worthy?

Starting March 5, the Valley Forge Romance Writers is accepting submissions to their The Sheila Contest.vfrw Finalist Badge

Participation is open to all romance writers (unpublished, self-published and published) interesting in submitting an unpublished manuscript in the following categories: historical, erotic, romantic suspense, single title or paranormal/fantasy/futuristic.

Entrants enjoy two benefits. During the scoring process, judges provide beneficial feedback regarding 20 writing elements (dialogue, descriptions, grammar, etc.). Many past applicants have used these insights to improve–and subsequently find a publisher for–their story.

Top scoring manuscripts are judged by a professional agent or editor, and the winners receive a certificate and have their names published in RWR magazine

It’s a great deal, so get moving! The deadline is April 8, 2017.


Contest Name: The Sheila Contest
Sponsor: Valley Forge Romance Writers (Chapter of RWA)
Website: www.vfrw.com
Fee: $25 for VFRW members, $30 for non-members

Opens for Entries: March 5, 2017
Deadline: April 8, 2017

Eligibility: Participation is open to all romance writers who are unpublished, self-published, and published. Entry must be the author’s original unpublished work and not under contract.

Entry: First 20 pages of manuscript and up to 5 page unjudged synopsis.
First Round Judges: Three (3) qualified, trained judges, including General, PRO and PAN members. Judges are strongly encouraged to comment directly on the entry as well as overall comments on the scoresheets.

Categories and Final Judges:

  • Single Title: Patricia Nelson, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency
  • Historical: Keren Reed, Loose ID
  • Erotic: Tera Cuskaden, Cuskaden Editorial and Publishing Services
  • Romantic Suspense: Deb Werksman, Sourcebooks
  • Fantasy/Futuristic/Paranormal: Nicole Resciniti, The Seymour Agency.

Best of the Best – 1st place winners from the final round will move on to the Best of the Best round, judged by Best Selling Authors and Booksellers:

  • Kate Welsh – New York Times & USA Today Best Selling Author
  • Mariah Stewart – New York Times & USA Today Best Selling Author
  • Terri Brisbin – USA Today Best Selling Author
  • Joan Silvestro – Indie Bookseller – Book Trader

Grand Prize for Best of the Best: $100

Top Prizes: Certificates, and the 1st through 4th place winners will be printed in RWR Magazine.

For more information please visit our website: www.vfrw.com

Email questions to The Sheila Chairperson, Miranda Montrose at thesheila.2017chairperson@gmail.com

Run to Her

Guest Author interview: Lynn Kellan

Full disclosure — I wouldn’t be a published author if it wasn’t for Lynn Kellan. I met her at a romance writers conference (yes, we have our own conferences, full of wonderful supportive people) and she invited me to join the local chapter of RWA. Thanks to the group’s support, advice and encouragement, I was able to finish, sell and successfully market my book Dare to Love. Love you, Lynn!

Interview   |    Book Description   |   Author Bio   

So, why are we here today?

Lynn Kellan has released her latest book, Run to Her, a contemporary romance with a bit more heat than her prior books.

run-to-her-cover-art-kellanGabriel Antonov is a mechanic who can fix anything. He’s the strong silent type, who keeps to himself. Leigh makes a habit of avoiding men like him. This becomes a problem when she finds herself marooned in his lakeside cabin for the weekend. Gabe’s surprising tenderness is difficult to resist and Leigh gives in to her physical and emotional desires.

Will the secrets they both hide destroy everything?

What inspired you to write this book?

My main characters came to life when I happened on a picture of Wladimir Klitschko (the heavyweight professional boxer) and Hayden Panettiere (a pretty blonde American actress). Wlad is a huge man and has a rugged, Slavic face. He looks like a real tough guy, but whenever he’s with Hayden (who is tiny and adorable), he looks content and at ease. They are such physical polar opposites, I thought it would be neat to write a story about a guy who looked like Wlad and who made his living with his hands (in this case, my hero is a mechanic). The heroine in RUN TO HER is an adorable blonde who happens to be an accountant. At first glance, they look like they have nothing in common…until one secret changes everything.

Initially, RUN TO HER started as an erotic contemporary. The first draft had a ton of sex scenes, which were fun to write, but the story included a secondary plot line that featured the ex-boyfriend and ex-girlfriend of the main characters. When I removed the secondary plot line, the story felt a lot stronger. In the final version, sex still plays an important role in the hero and heroine’s journey, as does their romance.

How is this book different and similar to your previous books?

In all honesty, this book contains a LOT more sex, which is why I’ve begged my parents not to read it!  The male hero in RUN TO HER curses a lot and has made plenty of mistakes, mostly with women. In fact, a one-night stand went terribly wrong and he hasn’t pursued another woman until he meets the heroine, Leigh.

I love stories that take place in rural, out of the way places. RUN TO HER takes place in the suburbs of Philadelphia and in a lakeside cabin nestled in the Pocono Mountains. In ANYTHING YOU ASK  the hero is a deaf man who agrees to a marriage of convenience to save his family farm in the middle of nowhere. CLEAR AS GLASS takes place near the state parks in northern Pennsylvania, where the hero owns a glassblowing factory.

What are you working on next?

RUN TO HER is the first book in The Brothers Series, featuring Gabe, the oldest brother in the Antonov family. I plan to release the next two books in 2017.

TURN TO HER focuses on Ivan, a brilliant graduate student with a past that threatens to dismantle his future. He can leave those bad memories behind once he graduates, but walking away from campus means he’ll also walk away from his gorgeous neighbor–a psychologist who is sharp enough to figure out why he hasn’t been with a woman for eighteen months.

Book 3, called PROMISED TO HER, is about Victor, a former Marine struggling to adapt to civilian life. His “normal” life skids off the road when his car is slammed into a ditch. He doesn’t know if the crash was an accident or attempted murder. Soon afterward, his restaurant burns down. Now he’s maimed, pissed off, and determined to discover the cause of these “accidents.” He agrees to work on a farm, hoping to find some answers, but winds up elbow-deep in lust for the pretty woman who owns the farm. If an “accident” hurts her, he’ll never be able to forgive himself.

Book Description: Run to Her

She avoids men like him. He needs a woman like her. But their secrets could change everything…

Gabriel Antonov is a mechanic who can fix anything, even a woman’s hesitance. His talents have earned him the well-deserved reputation as a player, but when a routine one-night stand goes wrong, he’s haunted by what he’s done. Nothing can free him from those depraved memories, until he meets Leigh Nelson.

Leigh avoids strong, silent types like Gabe, who is stronger and quieter than most. The only man she’s focused on is her father, who is suffering from a devastating health crisis. She’ll do anything to help him, but the stress is getting to her.

Gabe can’t outrun his gut-deep craving for her. Problem is, she’s running from him. When they’re marooned in his lakeside cabin, he might finally catch her…if he can admit why he’s falling apart without her.

Grab your copy of RUN TO HER for $2.99 at:

Available in print, too. See www.LynnKellan.com for details.

Author Bio

Lynn Kellan believes men and women aren’t that different – we both want to be with someone who will empty the dishwasher. To test her theory, she fell in love with bad boys, burly athletes, battle-hardened Marines…and married a chemist who is manly enough to tackle every household chore.

Lynn writes sexy contemporary romance about strong men who have a weakness for smart women. She’s won numerous writing contests and served two terms as President of her local Romance Writers of America chapter, but she feels a true sense of accomplishment whenever she doesn’t embarrass her teenaged kids – which isn’t often.

4 Analogies for Skiers and Writers

snowy-trail-at-okemo

I love skiing, but I hate being cold. That may seem like an untenable conflict, but it’s actually not. You see, I have spent considerable time and energy (not to mention money) creating the perfect layering philosophy.

For you novelists out there, you’ll appreciate how this philosophy aligns with writing strategies:

  1. Double layers. To stay warm in single, and low double digits temperatures, make sure every body part is covered with three or even four layers. Camisole, shirt, sweater and jacket on top and socks, leggings, long underwear and ski pants on the bottom.
    For writing, I equate double layers to the symbolism you should weave through your writing. By adding repeating themes or elements, you can give your reader a jolt of pleasure when they recognize a pattern–it’s like finding a prize on a treasure hunt. In Dare to Love, Nivea’s favorite flower was the forget-me-not. I used it to represent her hope that Dare would not cast her aside, and it provided a nice tangible element that ties them together throughout. Nivea’s wedding dress is blue and Dare gives her a handkerchief embroidered with the delicate flower.  
  2. Make sure all your layers are smooth. When wearing so many layers of clothing, it’s hard to bring everything together smoothly. But there is nothing worse than stepping out on the slope and realizing you have a big wrinkle in your sock, right under your left heel. And it’s driving you crazy. But you’d have to take off six layers of clothes in the freezing cold, to smooth it out. So, while you’re dressing, make sure everything is comfortable before adding another layer.
    Writers – figure out your pacing. Your readers want a satisfying conclusion. But they don’t want the ending to feel rushed. Build the attraction, draw out the conflict and then develop a satisfying resolution. Readers want the hero and heroine to overcome challenges, but deserve each other in the end.
  3. Tuck everything in. Shirt tucked inside leggings, gator tucked into jacket, glove liners tucked into sleeves. The cold will creep into the smallest openings and drive you nuts.
    Writers – don’t leave the reader hanging. If you mention a person/place/situation, make sure there’s a reason. If your heroine references a crazy Aunt Doris in chapter two, be sure she pops up in chapter 17 to offer unexpectedly sage advice or to diffuse a tense situation. Readers don’t appreciate dead ends…unless they serve as a teaser for your next novel.
  4. Fill your pockets – On the mountain, you are at the mercy of mother nature. The cold will make your lips freeze, your nose run, your eyes tear. You’ll get hungry, thirsty and tired. But you will also see amazing sights you’ll want to share with your friends. This is where the ski pockets come in. My jacket currently contains:  chapstick, tissues, ski pass, money, my license (hot chocolate with Kahlua is da’bomb!), hand/foot warmers, trail map, cell phone, a PB&J sandwich (because ski food is expensive!) and a small flask (ditto).
    Writers – get the tools you need. There are a number of great books to help you–Stephen King’s book On Writing  is my favorite. Find a writing chapter, support group, or writers conference where you can learn the finer points of writing dialogue, researching, copy editing, creating a plot board, etc. For romance writers, joining Romance Writers of America (RWA) is vital. You can register for online workshops, conferences, contests and chapters around the country. There are message boards where you where you can ask questions and share advice.  Plus you can find the best resource–a critique partner. No matter how smoothly the story sounds in your head, it is most likely not translating as seamlessly on paper. Creating a support network of writers will help boost you up when times get tough, cheer you on when you have doubts and celebrate when you finally achieve your dreams.

Happy writing. Happy 2017!

Reality mirrored my manuscript

 

lax-sticks-in-fieldLast week I submitted my manuscript to prospective publishers, and two days later, I went to my college homecoming. In a bizarre twist, the alumni lacrosse team descended upon our tailgate. One of the attendees brought a green pick-up truck.

Why is this bizarre? Take a look at this snippet from chapter 3 of my upcoming novella Catching a Pixie:

The north field was packed with cars, but I managed to spot my brother gathered around a grill with his lacrosse teammates.

Typical guys, they were all in T-shirts and jeans, not a sweatshirt in the bunch. Meanwhile, I was still bundled up in a coat and mittens—thankfully, since the beer I was holding would have turned my fingers numb.

We waved at him before settling into a pair of blue canvas chairs a few spots over. We’d only been there a few minutes before Gabby turned to me and said, “That guy is totally checking you out.”

I whipped around. “Where?”

Keeping her hand near her lap, she pointed across the way. “Down there. See Sean by the grill? There’s a tall guy to his left, sitting on the bed of the green pickup truck.”

I glanced over. Hmm, cute. Well built, nice smile, not bad. But also, not looking at me. “No he’s not.”

She shrugged. “Well, he was.” A minute later she nudged me again. “Linds, he is definitely checking you out.”

I peeked over again and this time he was looking. Our eyes met and he flashed me a smile. Squee!

lax-tailgate-horiz

It looks like my imagination isn’t just vivid, it’s incredibly accurate as well. There were blue chairs as well, but they were farther down the row…where Lindsay and Gabby would have been sitting.

AND there was a younger player with curly brown hair and long eyelashes who was the mirror image of Sean–the hero of my next book Counting on Him!

I would have loved to have gotten his photo, but wasn’t sure how to start that conversation. “Hey, I’m a romance writer old enough to be your mother. You look just like the sexy hero in my book. Do you mind if I take your picture and post it on my blog?” Yeah that wouldn’t have been at all creepy. :0

Should You Self-Publish or Traditionally Publish?

I am struggling to decide whether or not to keep torturing myself finding a publisher.

My current manuscript is 40,000 words, which doesn’t fit in with most submission guidelines. Plus, it’s a romance novella that doesn’t bash you over the head with conflict in the first five pages. I have been repeatedly reminded this violates the ironclad GMC model of romance writing.

But maybe there is a market out there for readers who don’t want to be force-fed drama. They’d rather see a relationship build at a realistic pace, before plummeting into heartbreak and despair. Just because it doesn’t match the standard publisher’s formula, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t see the light of day.

A.G. Young’s blog raises some other valid points as to why I might want to go the self-pub route.

A Writer's Path

Doors

by A.G. Young

So today we’re talking about if you should Self Publish or Traditionally Publish that baby you have been working on for months or years. This of course is no easy question to answer, and also very highly personal to each writer. So I am going to discuss my opinion on the matter. And a little forewarning, because of the topic of this post, this is going to be a long one.

Before you can answer this main question, you must answer a few others first. Let’s see what those are.

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Respect The Reviewer 2: How to Find, Contact and Stay on the Good Side of Reviewers

I’m new to publishing and didn’t realize there was a whole strategy and network to obtaining book reviews. This blogpost, written by a reviewer, outlines the how to’s and how-not to’s for authors, helping them find, submit and communicate with this key audience.

Happymeerkatreviews

Here’s the second Respect the Reviewer article I’ve written (the first can be read here).  This is for all authors out there.  While some tips might be obvious others you may not have thought of, either way I hope some of these tips will help you find a reviewer and go about contacting them the right way.  🙂

respect cat

All authors know the importance of getting book reviews. Not only can a good book review encourage others to buy your book but if you get enough of them your book will be listed higher on amazon (or so the rumour goes). But how can authors go about contacting reviewers? And what’s the right or wrong thing to say and do when asking and waiting for a review?

I’ve been reviewing books for some time now and take this ‘job’ very seriously. I recognise the need to give an informative and honest…

View original post 3,216 more words