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.

View original post 1,156 more words

You’re BOUND to love this

Bound-HighResLyrical author Jen Colly has provided a sneak peek at her upcoming novel Bound, the second book in her series titled The Cities Below.

Oo la la. Tres Bien, no?

Synopsis:

The streets are a battleground for humans, vampires, and demons alike—where survival is a skill, love is a weapon, and the most dangerous act is to care for another . . .

Keir is an assassin devoted to Lady Arianne, the last of her royal bloodline. He is sworn to protect her, and that means eliminating any threat to her life. But while on a mission, he is set upon by a pack of demons, barely escaping with his life.

Cleopatra lives by a set of rules so rigid she no longer knows her true self. But her kind and loving nature resurfaces when she finds a man, bloodied and dying. Moved to help him, she risks her future and her life to save a stranger far below her aristocratic station.

Their attraction to each other is as powerful as it is forbidden. But even as their love grows, Keir keeps his true identity a secret—and this lie is not the only threat to their love . . . or their lives.

Bound will be available on January 31, 2017. But you can pre-order through Amazon or get updates on this and other Jen Colly novels on Goodreads.   

Author’s Bio

Jen

Jen Colly is the rare case of an author who rebelled against reading assignments throughout her school years. Now she prefers reading books in a series, which has led her to writing her first paranormal romance series: The Cities Below. She will write about anything that catches her fancy, though truth be told, her weaknesses are pirates and vampires. She lives in Ohio with her supportive husband, two kids, one big fluffy dog, and four rescued cats.

Learn more about Jen by visiting her at:

Why read on the beach?

beach umbrellas

I spent the weekend at the beach with my husband.

We trudged two tons of stuff from the car to the sand, spread out the towel, planted the umbrella, opened the chairs, sprayed on sunscreen and I opened my romance novel.

The perfect day. For about 5 minutes. I love to read, but my husband does not find any enjoyment in it.

“You want to go in the ocean?” husband asked.

I peered over my sunglasses. “No thanks.”

You want to take a walk?

I marked my place with my finger, peered over my glasses and shook my head. “No thanks. I’m good.”

He sighed. Heavily. “I’m bored.”

Without looking up I said, “Well, you can go into the water. Feel free.”

And then he said something that has perplexed me for days. “Why do you bother to go to the beach, if you just want to read? You could do that at home.”

“But I like to read.”

He repeated, slowly…”You could read at home. And we wouldn’t have to lug all this stuff. Look around. What is everyone doing here? No one’s in the water.”

I was ready to snap out a snarky response, when I looked around…and everyone had their faces buried in paperbacks, tablets or magazines. Still as statues, hiding under umbrellas, coated in sunscreen, totally clueless as to their surroundings.

Why WERE they there? Really. Most people never touch the water. They cower from the sun’s dangerous rays. They don’t talk to anyone, except when unloading or packing up their gear. And they read.

A few adults, usually ones with children, will head out into the waves to cool off or perhaps body surf. Others will help build sand castles. Or toss around a ball of some sort. But the vast majority strive to ignore everything more than a foot and a half from their face.

Is the beach just a giant babysitter, allowing parents some well-earned hours of quiet, while their kids burn off energy? Do we as humans have a natural pull toward water? Or is it a learned behavior–summer equals beach reading?

When I was younger and sun worshipping was still a thing, we would read, slathered in baby oil, while baking our skin to a golden brown (or in reality a prickly, painful crimson). Reading was a device to pass the time.

Now that the sun is a cancerous cur, why do we continue to foster this love/hate relationship with it?

I don’t have any answers…and I’m not going to stop reading at the beach. But I will take a break every so often and wade into the water. Isn’t that why we’re there?

 

Remember to order Dare to Love, an historical romance by Alleigh Burrows. It’s a perfect beach read. :0)  

 

 

editing a document

3 Writing Tips for Novice Authors

editing a documentThe complexities of novel writing

I recently participated as a judge for a romance writers contest. Entrants provided the first 20 pages of their unpublished novel. To evaluate the submissions, judges were provided a scoring sheet with twenty characteristics to evaluate.

That really drives home the challenge of writing a good novel. For novices out there…or even experienced writers who may need a refresher, I thought I’d summarize a few of the characteristics that seem to trip us up.

1. Showing, not telling

You’ll hear this a lot, and it takes some time to master this concept. Good writers work details about their characters’ backstories into their scenes seamlessly, without a “data dump” of narrative text.

Learn to weave the description of the location, characters, and time period into the  story like you’re seasoning food. Sprinkle a little here, a little there, and let the reader discover what they need at a natural pace.

Example from my WIP Counting on Him:

First draft using narrative text

Gabby couldn’t believe David wanted to talk to her. She’d broken up with him because he’d been so controlling. Sure he seemed like the perfect guy, handsome, smart, confident, and Jewish, which was something her mother insisted upon. But he always thought he was right, disregarding her opinions. It drove her crazy.

He’d been surprised when she ended it. And now he was telling her he wanted to get back together. That he was sorry. She didn’t know how she felt about that.

Revised using dialogue:

“I’ve been thinking about you.” David reached for her hand and rubbed his thumb over her knuckles. “I hate the way we ended.”

He locked eyes with hers. They were the color of the Mediterranean Sea, warm and blue. It was what first drew her to him. Her chest tightened. She wasn’t ready for this conversation.

But he was. Flashing her an apologetic smile, he said, “I know it was my fault. I always think I’m right.” He shrugged. “But I’m the only son of a Jewish mother. I can do no wrong.”

Gabby couldn’t hold back a smile. She’d met his mom. It was totally true.

“Why didn’t you tell me you found me controlling?”

She pulled her hand away and wrapped her arms around her stomach. “I didn’t realize it myself. Then, once I noticed, it drove me crazy. I couldn’t let you control my life.”

2. Settings set the mood

Use the setting as another character in your book. Include descriptions of the sounds, scents, lighting, etc. to convey a mood–the ominous hum of computers in a deserted office, a salty ocean breeze reinvigorating a tired soul, or the soft inky blue of twilight bringing the end to a perfect day.

Weather can be a very effective tool, adding emotion to a scene – rain pounding against the window when depressed or the searing heat of the summer sun making an anxious situation even hotter.

The only sound Gabby heard was her sneakers pounding along the trail, echoing the refrain in her head, “Now what? Now what?” As sweat dripped into her eyes, she swiped at her forehead, dragging her a hand through her unruly hair. Stupid humidity. Stupid sweat. Stupid Sean.  

Be strategic when developing your characters as well. Convey their personality through your descriptions of their clothes, car, home, job and accessories. Instead of writing  “David was determined to be successful and  always dressed to impress.” convey that through his description.

David pulled up in his Audi. Naturally, he angled it to take up two parking spots. Climbing out of his car, he pulled off his Montblanc sunglasses and tucked them into the pocket of his crisp lime-green Hugo polo. Everything David owned had a logo.

 

3. Writing natural-sounding dialogue

There are three things to remember when writing dialogue. People talk in short bursts, they frequently interrupt the speaker, and they usually stick to one subject in each statement. I’ll explain.

Uninterrupted speaking 

“Joe, I know you said you’d pick up my car for me, but the repair shop called and said you didn’t show up. So now I have to catch a ride with Sally tomorrow. What happened? And why didn’t you clean up your breakfast dishes? You know I hate when you leave them in the sink.”

Add action tags and Joe’s reaction to make conversation more natural

“Joe, I know you said you’d pick up my car for me, but the repair shop called and said you didn’t show up.” Gabby threw her purse on the counter and glared at him. “Now I have to catch a ride with Sally tomorrow. What happened?”

Joe didn’t look up from his laptop. “I forgot,” he mumbled.

That made Gabby even more angry. Didn’t he care at all? Obviously not, she fumed, noticing the sink was still filled with dirty dishes. Storming over to him, she flicked the laptop closed. “And why didn’t you clean up your breakfast dishes? You know I hate when you leave them in the sink.”

Editing quote by Don RoffI hope these tips help.

It’s amazing how easy it is to spot these unwieldy examples in someone else’s writing, while being totally oblivious of them in your own work.

Don’t be afraid to let others read your work. Tell them what to look for, so they know the type of critique you are asking from them.

Good luck!

 

 

 

Getting published is HARD work

I’m a romance writer. Most people seem to think that’s a fun and frivolous habit.

Sure, writing a “real” book is hard, but romance novels are written by flighty, slightly perverted women who live in silly dream worlds. We sit down, pick out a pair of ridiculous names for our wildly attractive couple and tap out a fantasy.

And because romance novels “are all the same”, we can submit our work to any publisher we choose, and bam, two months later, have a racy cover sitting on our coffee table.

HA!

This is a crazy cut-throat business. And it is a business. Each publisher has very specific requirements, requiring an author to carefully identify the imprints that most closely align with their story. (I found this trope list with over 50 variations! So much for all being alike.)

Once we’ve picked our publishers, we have to twist our writing into very specific pretzels to meet their submission guidelines. This requires an amazing amount of organization, making sure each publisher gets the three or four uniquely crafted pieces they’ve requested.  For example, when I submitted Catching a Pixie this weekend, I had to develop a:

  • crazed writer4-sentence blurb
  • 200-word summary of book
  • 2-page synopsis
  • full synopsis, including ending
  • query letter listing the trope the book will satisfy
  • first 3 chapters
  • 1000 words capturing the best scene
  • full manuscript
  • marketing plan
  • social media experience
  • publishing history
  • summary of future books in the series

Imagine trying to condense 37,000 words down to 200. Or picking one scene that conveys the heart of the book, the emotion, the humor, the creativity, while still making sense when it is read completely out of context. Gah!

Hopefully, I got all the right pieces to all the right places. And it dazzles the publishers so much that they start a bidding war and I wind up making millions!

But I’ll settle for one email, saying “Hey, we’d like to work with you. Give us a call.” Then I can jump into the rest of the 397 steps to getting published.

Frivolous habit? Definitely not. But fun? ABSOLUTELY!

Romance Writers -Contest Opening

vfrw Finalist BadgeNow Open!

The Valley Forge Romance Writers (VFRW) 2016 The Sheila Contest opened for entries March 13, 2016. VFRW is a local chapter of the Romance Writers of America (RWA) and they and their internationally-recognized The Shelia Contest abide by the regulations and philosophy set forth at the national level.

Participation is open to all romance writers who are unpublished, self-published, and published. Entries must be the author’s original unpublished work and not under contract. Submissions will be accepted in the following categories: Single Title, Historical, Erotic, Romantic Suspense and Fantasy/Futuristic/Paranormal.

Fee 
$25 for VFRW members, $30 for non-members

Important Dates

  • Opens for Entries: March 13, 2016
  • Deadline: April 16, 2016
  • Notification of category winners: June 18

Entry 
You will be asked to submit the first 20 pages of manuscript and an up-to-5-page synopsis, for a total of 25 pages.

Initial entries will be judged by three (3) qualified, trained judges, including: General, PRO* and PAN* members. The top five (5) entries in their categories will be forwarded for a final round of judging by the following publishing professionals:

Categories and Final Judges: 

  • Single Title: Junessa Viloria, Penguin Random House
  • Historical: Stephany Evans, Fine Print Literary Management
  • Erotic: Sara Megibow, KT Literary
  • Romantic Suspense: Alicia Condon, Kensington Publishing
  • Fantasy/Futuristic/Paranormal: Nicole Resciniti, The Seymour Agency

Top Prizes: The 1st through 4th place winners will receive certificates and have their names printed in Romance Writers Report (RWR) Magazine.

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:

  • Madeline Hunter – 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 – Hamilton Book Trader
  • Heather Soligo – Traditional Bookseller – Barnes & Nobles, Christiana Mall

Grand Prize for Best of the Best: $100
(*RWA designations)

For more details and submission guidelines, visit the VFRW The Shelia Contest page. 

A hot Irish rugby star…what an intriguing hero

Sexy. Passionate. Fierce. 

That’s how romance author Cd Brennan describes Padraig O’Neale, the hero in her latest novel In Touch. Released September 1, 2015 by Amazon Digital, In Touch introduces us to the rough and tumble world of professional rugby.

I personally know bupkis about rugby–other than it uses an odd looking football-ish thing and involves something called a scrum–but after reading Brennan’s book blurb, I’m more than willing to learn.

Let me know what you think…

In Touch book coverIrish rugby star, Padraig O’Neale, has fecked up his life and is one angry man. When caught using a banned substance for his back pain, Padraig is excused from both his provincial club and the Irish International team. Right before World Cup selection.

Out of choices, his agent convinces Padraig to play for a small American club in Michigan. Just until things settle down. But when Coach asks the team physical therapist, Gillian Sommersby, to help the newest Blues player with his issues, Padraig finds himself trying every wacky treatment out there from stinky salves to music to yoga.

Like her therapies, the therapist herself is a bit…odd. The cute college grad in Converse and glasses doesn’t seem all that impressed with Padraig’s celebrity status, nor gives a shite about his excuses. As it turns out, she might be exactly what he needs…

Available in print or for e-readers.

Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Pinterest  |  Goodreads


And because I never buy a book without first rifling through the pages, here’s a tantalizing tidbit to tempt you:

Gillian unzipped her bag where she’d placed it on the table and grabbed a small jar of ointment. “I’ll use one of my special treatments on—”

“I’m not interested.” Padraig took a step back.

“I can show you some exercises specifically for the lower back, and if you apply this cream twice a day, you’ll notice a change within a week.”

His fist clenched at his side. “I told you I’m not interested in your help. I have a routine that my physio back home gave me. That’s working.”

“You’re not in pain?”

He crossed his arms over his chest. “Nope.”

But she could tell he was lying by the way his eyes had darted to the corner of the room and back before he’d answered. The way they shone, all glassy. The way he walked with stiffness in his step. She wouldn’t take no for an answer. Not anymore.

“Take your shirt off, please, and lie on the table with your head at the far side. I’m sure you are familiar with massage. Head goes down in the center.”

Padraig was staring at her as if she’d grown two heads. Maybe she had a ketchup stain on her tank top. She held the shirt out but saw nothing. Huh.

At his almost imperceptible nod, her courage grew. Just like any client. “Lie here on your stomach.”

He did as instructed and settled his head onto his overlapped hands. She lifted his hips to lower his track pants so they rode low on his bum. Sweet mercy. His ass was divine. Rounder and juicier than a summer cantaloupe.

But she was a professional, and he, a client. And a jock. A deep breath in and out. Gillian uncapped the jar and rubbed her palms with the ointment.

“What the hell is that smell?”

“None of your worry. It works really well. Hasn’t anyone told you the smellier the concoction, the better the results?”

“Just like Rory. You are all mad,” came muffled through the table.

“Crazy knows crazy. Now shush.”

She started at his lower lumbar and moved her hands in sweeping motions up his back, around his side, under his armpits, and finally over his shoulders. She began again at his lower back and kneaded and rolled along his spine, then outward, circling her palms over knotted muscles. Hitching his pants lower, she delved under his boxer band, massaging the top of his bum, smoothing the muscle out and away from his spine.

As normally happened once she was in rhythm, the time ticked by. After a few repetitions along his torso, she stopped to check on him.

He appeared to be asleep. The endorphins released by the massage weighted him to the table, as happened with most of her clients when they fell into a peaceful lethargy. So quiet, she couldn’t hear him breathe. Wide back, broad shoulders, dark, tousled hair. A man any woman would want. Except for Gillian. He was no Lloyd Dobler.

She should really be getting him up and out the door so he could catch his lift from Del, but she couldn’t get herself to do it. So she took a seat on one of the chairs along the wall. Leaning her elbow on her knee and resting her jaw in her hand, she watched him sleep. A dark, manly brow that had finally relaxed. Black, thick lashes. Strong nose and a top lip that came to a defined point.

He was gorgeous, really.

She was so mesmerized that when his eyes blinked open, she screamed. Just like in a horror movie when the corpse comes to life. She had scrambled halfway up her chair when he let out a laugh.

Her hand over her racing heart, she didn’t see the humor, but then, he’d only opened his eyes, which didn’t normally elicit such a dramatic response. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw him move, first to sitting where he waited a few beats, then onto his feet.

As he was pulling his shirt over his head, Del barged through the door. “Everything all right here?”


About the Author

CD Brennan picHaving traveled and lived all over the world, Cd Brennan now enjoys reliving her glory days by writing about them. Feisty heroines with wanderlust or sexy rugby heroes who breathe passion for more than just the sport.

Aussie/Yankee twined, Cd is now settled in Michigan with a rugby player of her own and two wee sons who are still adapting to the snow. A full-time editor and mum, her and her hubby still dream of starting up a buffalo farm. And maybe some chickens and pigs, too. She loves rugby, traveling, and all things from the 80s.

Doesn’t watch TV so don’t chat to her about that, but she loves to hear from readers about anything else! Perhaps some cooking suggestions? She’s desperate in the kitchen! Find her on loads of your favorite places.

 Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Pinterest  |  Goodreads

Back to top

Two-for-one books not a Myth

Myth and Magic cover artDo you enjoy contemporary romance with a splash of danger?

Mae Clair’s latest book, Myth and Magic, features Veronica Kent, who fell in love with Caith Breckwood when they were children, playing games of myth and magic.

She was certain he was the man she was destined to marry, but a traumatic event led Caith to fear their future together. He left Veronica, to save her from a terrible fate. Twelve years later, Caith, now a P.I., is hired to investigate bizarre incidents at the secluded retreat Veronica manages. Returning home, Caith is forced to face his nightmares—and his feelings for the woman he’s always loved.

Myth and Magic goes on sale June 9, and if you purchase it June 8-10, you can get a second book Eclipse Lake for free! (You can actually get it for free without buying M&M, but why would you?)
Eclipse Lake cover artEclipse Lake by Mae Clair

Ellie Sullivan, a nature photographer for a national magazine, has a habit of ping-ponging across the map. Her latest assignment leads her to Eclipse Lake where she becomes caught up in the enmity between Dane, his brother Jonah, and a vengeful town sheriff. When freshly-discovered skeletal remains are linked to an unsolved murder and Dane’s past, Ellie is left questioning her growing attraction for a man who harbors long-buried secrets.

MYTH AND MAGIC (Kensington Publishing) goes on sale June 9, 2015, but you can pre-order from these bookstores:

Amazon.  |   Barnes and Noble.  |  Kobo.  |.  iTunes   |.  Kensington Publishing

 

 

To learn more about Mae Clair, visit her:

Website

Blog

Twitter (@MaeClair1) Google+

Facebook Author Page

Amazon Author Page

Kensington Books Author Page Goodreads  

Pinterest

Dare to Love cover art

DARE TO LOVE – on sale for $1.99

Dare to Love cover artGet it while it’s hot!

Dare to Love, my regency romance novel is on sale for a limited time. It has earned 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, so don’t even think it’s being “put in the back on the discount rack, like another can of beans” (thank you Billy Joel).

Nope. It’s a charming, amusing, challenging novel featuring Lord Dare Landis, a handsome heartless rake, and Nivea Horsham, the sweet plump sister of Landis’ best friend. She has worshiped him since she was a young girl, but he knows better than to trifle with an innocent. Especially since the Horshams are the closest thing Dare has to family.

Much like Johnny Depp in The Libertine, you will not like Dare Landis in the beginning. He is a right bastard, cold and arrogant toward everyone–friend or foe. But there’s a reason.

And once Nivea discovers that reason, she is even more determined to win his love.

Don’t be concerned that Nivea is nothing but a wilting wallflower. She is surprisingly strong, secure in her own beliefs. Her only weak spot, being the unattainable Lord Landis. Unattainable, that is, until the fateful trip to her family’s country estate.

Please take a peek and let me know what you think. Reviews are always appreciated!

Thank you to Lyrical Press/Kensington Publication for believing in me. While this was my first romance novel, it will not be my last!

Even Historical Demon Hunters Need Love

Deception book coverA.S. Fenichel has unveiled the cover art for Deception, Book Two In The Demon Hunters series.

Due for release in July, this Paranormal Historical Romance is available through Lyrical Press/Kensington Publishing.   

When Demons threaten Regency London, only a Lady can stop them.

Lillian Dellacourt is beautiful, refined and absolutely lethal. She’s also the most feared and merciless demon hunter in The Company. She’s come a long way from the penniless seamstress’s daughter sold to the highest bidder, and it wasn’t by trusting a man, let alone an exiled Marquis with more on his mind than slaying the hellspawn . . .

For Dorian Lambert, Marquis de Montalembert, being sent to keep track of Lillian is no mean task. He’s wanted the fiery vixen since he first heard of her five years ago. But wooing the lady while fighting the demon uprising is no easy feat, especially when the lady’s tongue is as sharp as the Japanese sai blades she favors for eviscerating the spawn of hell.

These two will have to learn to trust each other fast, because the demon master is back, and he’s planning to turn Edinburgh into a living hell…

Pre-order through:   Amazon     Barnes & Noble      Kensington

Enter a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author:

A.S. Fenichel gave up a successful career in New York City to follow her husband to Texas and pursue her lifelong dream of being a professional writer. She’s never looked back.

A.S. adores writing stories filled with love, passion, desire, magic and maybe a little mayhem tossed in for good measure. Books have always been her perfect escape and she still relishes diving into one and staying up all night to finish a good story.

Multi-published in erotic paranormal, contemporary and historical romance, A.S. is the author of the Mayan Destiny series, Christmas Bliss and many more. With several books currently contracted to multiple publishers, A.S. will be bringing you her brand of romance for many years to come.

Originally from New York, she grew up in New Jersey, and now lives in the East Texas with her real life hero, her wonderful husband. When not reading or writing she enjoys cooking, travel, history, and puttering in her garden.

Find A.S. Fenichel

Web Site- http://asfenichel.net/

Blog – http://asfenichel.net/blog/

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5154640.A_S_Fenichel

Twitter – https://twitter.com/asfenichel

Tsu – https://www.tsu.co/ASFenichel

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/A.S.Fenichel

Google +1 – https://plus.google.com/113195747154467378107/posts

Pinterest – http://pinterest.com/asfenichel/boards/