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. 🙂

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

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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!

Novelrank – another cool author’s tool

untitled“So, how’s your book selling?”

Any author will tell you, that sentence can drive you crazy. Know why?

Because we have no bloody idea how it’s selling. At least I didn’t. My book came out December 1 and my publisher said I wouldn’t get initial sales figures until February.

FEBRUARY! That means over two months of uncertainty, panic, self-doubt and frustration. I begged and pleaded but they wouldn’t give me so much as a hint. As a data-fiend, this was unacceptable to me. During one of my rants, a writer friend told me about Novelrank.com. I signed up immediately.

You click on the link, register your book, and voila! They show how many books you’ve sold on Amazon in US, CA and UK. It also provides sales rank and reviews. I have no idea how accurate their data is (I won’t be able to tell until I get actual sales figures…in FEBRUARY), but it’s nice to have some gauge.

The downside is, they only track from the date you register. Since I didn’t learn about Novelrank until a few weeks after my book launched, I couldn’t track my initial figures. And they only track Amazon, not Barnes & Noble, iBooks or anyone else. But still.

Super cool. Thanks Novelrank!

 

Update (March 23, 2015):

I was finally able to get a rough estimate on my book sales from my publisher…on March 20!

It turns out, Dare to Love has been selling pretty well.

While I expected to strong-arm about 100 copies to friends and family, my publisher said I’ve sold around 650 (all book channels, Dec. 1 – Jan 31). Novel Rank credited me with about 300 sales (Amazon only, Dec. 16 – Jan 31). So, I’m thinking it’s a pretty good tool.Screenshot (5)