Monday, June 29, 2009
With RWA’s national conference coming up, we thought we’d share some of the ways to make those conference minutes count. Recharge your creative batteries, visit in person with online friends, and immerse yourself with others who feel about writing the same way you do. No one understands an author like another author. We write first, and live in the real world second.
RWA, with all the good the bad and the ugly has value to an author. Lately there has been a lot of brouhaha in regards to the organization. Today, we aren’t going to focus on that, but on those who are going to Nationals, or any other conference.
You invested time and money to rub elbows with established New York Times bestsellers, successful e-published authors, those just starting out, agents and editors. Make sure you have the tools to make the most of your experience.
Of course, there are classes, awards, lunches and dinners. Hone your writing skills in the workshops, take notes, and notice who you are sitting next to. This is your time to network. Say hello, introduce yourself and tell them what you write. From a personal experience, I met an amazing author at RT in Houston. She was my roommate at RT in Orlando this year--Love you Kenzie :).
So let's talk about The Pitch
You’ve made your pitch appointments—be sure you know what they want. Do your homework. Do a bit of digging and make the best use of your ten minutes.
What to know when sitting down to a pitch appointment. The type of story, the setting, era, the genre and if it crosses into a subgenre. Your characters and their goal motivation and conflict. And the conflict of your story and how it is resolved. Be able to explain the full arc of your story in just a few sentences. And what makes your story different from the rest? It’s important to stand out and be memorable when that agent and editor is hearing stories all day long. But before any of this can happen, you need to know your hook. If you can capture the interest of the agent/editor then you have a good chance of grabbing the interest of readers. Be prepared to answer questions. If your book has been on the shelf a year, you need to read it again before you pitch it. Agents and editors will want details if they are interested. It’s best to pitch completed books.
The high concept elevator pitch—it can happen so be ready. What is high concept? A pitch that is easily recognizable storyline and is less than 25 words.
Can you guess the story?
Aliens take the shape of automobiles and attempt to take over the world-Transformers.
James Bond is married to a Desperate Housewife and she stumbles into his secret life-True Lies.
Can you come up with a high concept tag for your story? Give it your best shot. Leave us a comment.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
The winner of the signed copy of On The Run, picked blindly from yesterday's posts, is....drum roll, please....Erotic Horizons. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can arrange to get your book off to you.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Meanwhile, since we're talking about romantic cravings here. I thought it would be nice to take a look at the history of romance. A big thank you to Ask.com for being such a great resource.
What was courtship and marriage like for our distant ancestors? Was it more formal than now? Less formal? Beginning with the ancient Greeks' recognition of the need to describe more than one kind of love, inventing the word "eros" to describe carnal love, and "agape" to mean a spiritual love, take a stroll back through romantic heritage with this timeline of romantic customs, dating rituals, and tokens of love.
In ancient times, many of the first marriages were by capture, not choice - when there was a scarcity of nubile women, men raided other villages for wives. Frequently the tribe from which a warrior stole a bride would come looking for her, and it was necessary for the warrior and his new wife to go into hiding to avoid being discovered. According to an old French custom, as the moon went through all its phases the couple drank a brew called metheglin, which was made from honey. Hence, we get the word, honeymoon. Arranged marriages were the norm, primarily business relationships born out of the desire and/or need for property, monetary or political alliances.
From buying a woman dinner to opening a door for her, many of today's courting rituals are rooted in medieval chivalry. During medieval times, the importance of love in a relationship emerged as a reaction to arranged marriages, but was still not considered a prerequisite in matrimonial decisions. Suitors wooed their intended with serenades and flowery poetry, following the lead of lovelorn characters on stage and in verse. Chastity and honor were highly regarded virtues. In 1228, women first gained the right to propose marriage in Scotland, a legal right that then slowly spread through Europe.
All the Nordic countries have courtship customs involving knives. For example, in Norway when a girl came of age, her father let it be known that she was available for marriage. The girl would wear an empty sheath on her belt. If a suitor liked the girl, he would put a knife in the sheath, which the girl now wore as a sign that she was betrothed.
The custom of bundling, found in many parts of 16th and 17th century Europe and America, allowed courting couples to share a bed, fully clothed, and often with a "bundling board" between them or bolster cover tied over the girls legs. The idea was to allow the couple to talk and get to know each other but in the safe (and warm) confines of the girl's house.
Dating back to 17th century Wales, ornately carved spoons, known as lovespoons, were traditionally made from a single piece of wood by a suitor to show his affection to his loved one. The decorative carvings have various meanings - from an anchor meaning "I desire to settle down" to an intricate vine meaning "love grows."
Chivalrous gentlemen in England often sent a pair of gloves to their true loves. If the woman wore the gloves to church on Sunday it signaled her acceptance of the proposal.
In some parts of 18th century Europe a biscuit or small loaf of bread was broken over the head of the bride as she emerged from the church. Unmarried guests scrambled for the pieces, which they then placed under their pillows to bring dreams of the one they would someday marry. This custom is believed to be the precursor of the wedding cake.
Many cultures throughout the world recognize the idea of matrimony as the "ties that bind". In some African cultures, long grasses are braided together and used to tie the hands of the groom and bride together to symbolize their union. Delicate twine is used in the Hindu Vedic wedding ceremony to bind one of the bride's hand to one of the hands of the groom. In Mexico the practice of having a ceremonial rope loosely place around both
So, what’s the romance like in your life? How did you and your other half meet? What’s the most romantic date you’ve ever had? Leave me a comment to throw your name in the hat for a signed copy of On The Run. And here's a taste of that for you.
ON THE RUN When Robin Fletcher saw her sister brutally murdered by her wealthy, abusive husband, she grabbed her five-year-old nephew and ran. Months late, living in Memphis with new names and a new life, their sense of security is shattered. First Andy is diagnosed with aplastic anemia. Then fate sends them directly into the path of the killer. Can Andy’s doctor who’s captured her heart protect her or will she again have to go ON THE RUN? Excerpt: Taking the highway into Oregon might have been easier on her, but she was sure that was the first route C.D. would check. Instead, she cut east immediately into Idaho. Besides, evading C.D., she had a specific reason for coming this way. Tomorrow they’d get to Helena, where she had important business to take care of. Things that would help keep her and Bobby safe. Robin had only a vague idea of how long they’d been driving but it felt as if she’d been doing it forever. Her eyes were gritty from lack of sleep and her muscles rigid with tension. It didn’t help that she was constantly watching for some ca to run her off the road or but her off. She’d been lucky enough to find a couple of drive-through’s where she fueled up with coffee. Caffeine raced through her system like a wild horse, revving her up and making her edgy. She slid a glance at Bobby, wrapped in a blanket and buckled into his car seat. What a lucky thing he was sleeping so heavily. Still, she knew they needed to find a bed pretty soon. And food. Starvation wouldn’t be a pretty way to die. By the time they reached Kellogg, Idaho, she was more than ready to stop. She pulled gratefully into a motel whose sign blinked ‘Vacancy’ in big red letters. It was the most welcoming site Robin had seen in a long time. Nervously she left Bobby in the car while she registered, keeping one eye on the parking lot, terrified that any moment she’d hear the screeching of brakes and C.D. would leap out of his car. At last they were in their room at the back of the motel, well hidden from the street. She toted in her duffel bag and laptop, then tucked the little boy into bed. After that she treated herself to a shower. Tired as she was, she still needed to wash away the strain of driving nearly three hundred miles at night. All she wanted was to wash the fatigue from her muscles before she climbed into bed. But as the hot spray beat down on her physically and emotionally exhausted body, her control disintegrated and tears began to cascade down her cheeks. She was thankful that the drumming of the water against the tiles drowned out the huge gulping sobs that wracked her body, so Bobby couldn’t hear. She cried as she had never cried before in her life, tears of despair and grief. And self-condemnation, that she hadn’t been able to do anything to save her sister. She didn’t think that particular guilt would ever leave her. Jamie! Oh, Jamie! How did I let this happen to you? The water ran cold before the last shudder died from her body. She drew in a long breath and blew it out slowly. Her heart ached unbearably, but she had a responsibility now. A mission, and she would not fail, no matter what. Keep Bobby safe and away from C.D. Create a whole new life for the two of them. This would be her tribute to her sister.
And visit me at:
Monday, June 15, 2009
My Space, blogs, Yahoo loops, live chats, websites…
An author has an arsenal of options available to them—so choose your weapon.
The best advice I can give you is to do something you enjoy. If you’ve never been a blogger, don’t enjoy visiting and posting on other blogs, then don’t start a blog. If you don’t like a lot of email in your inbox, then posting to yahoo loops isn’t for you. The Internet is limitless in its reach, but it can also be overwhelming. Don’t try to do everything, but plan the best use of those marketing minutes. And if something isn’t working for you, move on. You can easily take the pleasure out of writing by trudging through promotion hell.
So starting with the basics
· A signature line – Every email you send is an opportunity to tell someone about your book. However, don’t overwhelm your contact. A simple signature line will include your name, website, and perhaps the title of your current release. If you don’t have a website, use your publisher’s website, but make the website link to your book buy page.
· Blogs – Blogs are free and easy to use, but the important aspect is to be consistent and be persistent. It takes time to build a readership.
· Websites – They should do more than look good. Most authors have a website, but are you using yours as a promotional tool? It’s nice to have photos, signing dates, release information and buy buttons. But your website can do more. Showcase your talents. This is a reader’s first taste of your work. Give them excerpts and give them a reason to return. One option would be to offer a free short story to anyone who signs a guestbook. Hold monthly contests. This is a great way to start building a mailing list. Also, update your page. New reviews, new releases, any news should be posted.
· My Space – A promotional juggernaut, but it doesn’t have to be a huge time drain. Check your page once a week, spend thirty minutes a week requesting friends and utilize the features. One of the things My Space can do is increase your presence in a Google or Yahoo search. But in order for it to work you need to post on other My Space pages and have “friends” post on yours. Some important things to think about when setting up your page. Use as many key words about your writing in your heading and in your content as you can. For example, if you write suspense, when someone does a My Space search for an author who writes suspense, you want your name to pop up. Suspense, author, romance, and any other word that helps distinguish your work—these are key words that need to be in your profile. If MySpace is your marketing tool, make sure it is working for you.
· Live chats – Many review sites have chat rooms and many publishers have chats. The Wild Rose Press holds a weekly chat in their website chat room on Tuesday nights at 9 pm ET. These are great places to meet readers. When hosting a live chat, be sure to let your author personality show through. If you write romantic comedy, you’ll want that light jovial tone to come across. This is a way to let readers get to know you the author.
· Yahoo loops – Do you start your own or work with what’s out there? Once again this boils down to time. Most review sites and publishers have Yahoo loops for promoting your books. However, I think one of the best solutions is combining forces. If you’re going to start a loop, ask a few fellow authors, writing in similar genres, to join you. Then you aren’t alone in keeping the loop active. (I also think this is a good idea for starting new blogs.)
· Twitter, Bebo, Facebook, the list is endless. These sites are very user friendly. These sites are also free. Like all public venues, it is important to make a strong professional page.
However you choose to market your work, be sure it reflects you as a writer. Think about whether you want hot, nearly naked men on your website if you write inspirational romance. When someone visits your website or other promotional spot, they should instantly recognize your brand. Branding helps a reader understand who you are as a writer and what they can expect from your books regardless of the genre.
The Wild Rose Press
White Rose Publishing
Monday, June 8, 2009
We all know that in order to take our writing from a good story to a published book, we need an editor. But who is she exactly and what does she do?
Today, to satisfy our editor cravings, we have The Wild Rose Press, Scarlet Rose, Senior Editor Diana Carlile in the hot seat.
Diana is my editor and I can tell you, she wields her red pen and creates magic with my words. She is also Liza and Desiree's editor so we are very excited to have her here today.
Diana, thank you for sharing your time and knowledge with us today.
Thanks for having me, KyAnn.
Tell us about the Wild Rose Press or The Wilder Roses to be exact.
I see on the Wilder Roses website that the Scarlet Rose line publishes many genres. As the senior editor, you must watch for what will work in the ever-changing erotic market. Are you looking for anything specific now? And do you have particular personal preferences?
Well, I love a good m/f/m ménage. Cowboys are always hot. I’d like to see more interracial (African American males would be nice) submissions and of course, a ménage with two delicious men catering to one lucky woman is welcome. Also futuristic/fantasies. And did I mention ménage?
What do you think about the current erotic historical market? What time periods or settings are you looking for?
Regency is a great era, but we also see a lot of Scottish medieval. Westerns are on the rise. My guess is that cowboys, both past and present, know how to give a gal a wild ride. Any historic time period works for us, but I believe the above mentioned are the most popular.
The Wilder Roses publishes several popular series. Can you tell us about Destination Pleasure?
These are Rosette length stories (7500 to 20,000 words) in which an American heroine is on vacation or working in a foreign country and encounters erotic pleasure with a hot foreign hero. The hero can be American but with ties to the destination.
And the Cougar Club?
Titles of all length accepted should contain the theme of older woman/younger man. The age difference must be within fifteen years.
How many books do you publish per month?
We publish one title per week every Friday. Holiday titles release on Wednesdays.
Is there any story line that you feel has been over written? A story that you don’t want to see again because you’ve already had ten cross your desk this month written about the same thing.
I love all types of stories, but the heroine who is an author or photographer, which allows her the freedom to go anywhere and settle with the hero anywhere has become too convenient. That doesn’t mean I would reject a great story simply because the heroine is an author/reporter/etc. I’d just prefer the conflict that comes with a profession that might make it more difficult for the h/h to stay together.
Is there any advice you can give to a new author looking to publish with The Wild Rose Press?
Make sure your manuscript has been proofed, run a spell check, and check the Wild Rose Press submission guidelines for the line you are targeting.
For Scarlet, make sure you write a romance with highly erotic sex scenes. Be aware there is a difference between erotic romance and erotica. If you aren’t sure what that means, you can check out our Scarlet Free Reads in the Wilder Rose Bookstore. www.TheWilderRoses.com
Thank you for stopping by today, Diana. Now let’s go grab a cyber cocktail.
And if anyone would like to share sexy male cock-tales. Stop by www.groups.yahoo.com/group/thewilderroses for Friday night cock-tales.
Monday, June 1, 2009
Happy Launch Day Romantic Cravings - Hot For Teacher by Liza James is Available NOW from eRed Sage!!
High school teacher Tessa Marshall is celebrating her 40th birthday at a club with her sister when the hunk of her dreams walks through the door. He's tall, dark, and oh-so handsome. He's also ten years her junior, which makes him the perfect candidate for a night of smokin' hot birthday sex. Immediately, she senses this man is special, which scares the hell out of her since she knows nothing can ever come of it. With regret, she slips from the room while he's sleeping, intending never to see him again. Scott Chapman is captivated by Tessa, and though he swore off relationships several years ago, he finds himself instantly drawn to the beautiful older woman. He takes her back to his hotel room for the birthday night of her life, and soon realizes their connection is deeper than he'd imagined. When he wakes up the following morning and discovers her gone, he's disappointed. They both find out, however, that fate has a mind of its own...
Tessa was about to go get herself a refill when a familiar hot body stepped into her line of vision. He smiled, setting her pulse to racing yet again. "Hi. I was wondering if I could buy you a drink, maybe sit and chat for few minutes?"
"Um, sure. Okay." Pffft. Smooth, Tessa. Real smooth.
"So what are you drinking?" He reached out for her glass.
She creamed in her panties as that deep masculine voice washed over. "Chardonnay."
"Back in a flash."
Good Lord, his mere voice was enough to send her pink parts into overdrive. Just imagine what would happen if his lips and tongue joined the party. Did she say if? Make that ‘when’, because Tessa knew exactly what she wanted for her birthday. To be sucked and fucked until she didn’t have enough energy left to lift her arms.
He returned and set her glass on the table before taking the seat Marla had vacated.
"Thank you." Tessa met his gaze and smiled, growing wetter by the second. The urge to slip her hand beneath the table and plunge two fingers into her aching cunt was nearly overpowering. Squirming in her seat, she gave herself a mental shake, unable to remember the last time she’d been this turned on.
He propped his forearms on the table and leaned in to confess, "No thanks necessary, my motive is purely selfish. I want you, and I intend to have you, by any means necessary."
Tessa stared at him for several beats before bursting into laughter.
He grinned. "Not exactly the response I was hoping for. Guess I’m not as smooth as I thought I was."
Once she’d brought it down to a chuckle, Tessa admitted, "Sorry. It’s just...for a moment I felt like I’d stepped into the pages of a romance novel."
He leaned back in his chair and picked up his beer. "That bad, huh?"
"Not bad, just...unexpected." She took a sip of her wine and studied him through lusty eyes. "Be nice if you tossed me your name. You know, just in case I need to scream it out later tonight."
HOT FOR TEACHER by Liza James available NOW from http://www.eredsage.com/!!