Saturday, July 26, 2008

Vacation Kick off -- a Book signing

Vacation started at 5:00 and 1 second last night -- today, the first official day I'm off to a book signing with Carolyn Jewel and Margaret Lucke! I always enjoy these two authors and what they have to say. Different backgrounds, different genres and great conversation and insight.

If you're in the area of Waldensbooks in San Rafael from 2-4 today come by and say hello to us! I'll be debuting the print edition of Indentured Bride and signing Her Eyes as well.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

RWA Nationals and my Pending Pitches

RWA Nationals is in San Francisco this year and I'm thrilled because I get to go. I could have gone past years, but I prefer to stay home and make sure Miss Molly (who will be 20 in September) has her sub-q needs met. So the last week of July I get to attend my first conference and I'm thrilled. It's been an interesting journey to get there.

I registered in January with everyone else and then waited -- patiently mind you -- for the editor and agent appointments to open up in May.

I was thrilled to be able to sign up for one of each because Rita and Golden Heart finalists go first, then PAN and then PRO -- I'm PRO. My agent appointment is with Scott Eagan and I did have the pleasure of sort of meeting him several months, actually almost a year ago when the San Francisco chapter was putting together articles for our book, Writing Romance. He offered to write an article and agents and we scooped him up. Our corrspondence was only a few emails about the book but it felt genuinely friendly. So when I was able to be signed up for an agent appointment with him I was very happy. He's not into westerns - but I was planning to pitch the Spell at conference. Mostly I'm looking forward to meeting him after our initial connection from Writing Romance.

On the first day almost EVERY editor appointment was gone and I received one of the last and it was for Avalon. I love the name -- Avalon -- it goes to my Merlin images. But they don't publish what I write. I considered keeping the appointment just for the experience, but the bottom line was they wouldn't sign me and I wouldn't be happy changing my books to fit with them. More important, there could well be an author out there who has the perfect book for them and he or she might have a chance with them if I stepped away -- I'd rather think that someone landed a contract with them because I gave up the pitch than to have gone to the pitch knowing it wouldn't work. That would be so cool -- that who ever got that slot gets a contract.

So this week, in the middle of all this chat about no handouts at conference this year a message came through that there were some newly opend editor and agent appointments. I went back in and OMG! there was ONE opening with the Tor editor! I couldn't believe it. I type 75-85 words per minute but at that moment I'm sure I was over 100 because TOR is my dream publisher.
You know how you have those 5, 10 and 20 year goals? Tor is my long term goal. They publish the kinds of books, the genres, I write. I'm not holding out a lot of hope for a contract -- there are far more talented and experienced authors out there, but just to meet one of their editors and have the chance to pitch is a golden gift for me. And it just happened. *poof* right there in my lap! I'm so thrilled. It was such an unexpected opportunity and it just happened.

So now I have to wait out the next week at the day job....a signing next Saturday that I'm looking forward to because I'll be signing with Margaret Lucke, and then nationals start on the 30th. All that talent and some of my favorite authors all in one place! It's a reader's dream come true.
And for me as a writer -- being able to pitch to two people I respect -- well I respect Scott Eagan and if dreams come true, I'll have a super pitch with Tor!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Tainted Hero by Michael Davis

Author Michael Davis is giving away a paperback copy of TAINTED HERO. The novel received 5 stars by five review sites and recently made the publishers best sellers list. Visit and follow the instructions on the “contest” page. The winner will be drawn randomly on 7/30/08.”

This looks like a really fun contest! Definitely check it out!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Writing to the Word Count

Over the years I've read a few books where there are scenes that I just go "huh? why is that there?" They just seem to come from no where, like maybe a mistaken cut and paste from another book. Maybe? Then I figured out I needed to go look at the publisher's minimum word counts and began to wonder if in these rare cases of the "huh" scenes if the author had to stop writing the story and write to the word count. It sure seemed like that was what was happening and it sure brought the story to a grinding halt. I could be wrong -- it's been known to happen.
But about this time yesterday I knew I was writing to a word count on a book. I just knew it. I submitted one of my books to an agent and she immediately took a look at the first ten and I will be eternally grateful to this agent because she took the time to tell me what was wrong. You can't improve if you don't know what's wrong. She pointed out two things to me, both easily fixed, or so I thought. The first part was easy. Just add a scene that I'd been thinking about anyway and then, because I was "done" didn't do it. It may not be the best intro scene but I'm working on cleaning it up.

The second part was she told me that NY houses are looking for 80,000 or better -- I was at about 71,000 and she didn't feel she could sell it below the standard count. I understand that. Totally. That's a good chunk of pages when you run it out. I knew I could take care of that -- the scene I had been thinking about and making some of my descriptions richer. I worked on it the past three days and by this time yesterday was at 79,000 and felt pretty good about it. But I realized I had begun to write to the word count and not the story. It was becoming loaded with junk that meant nothing to me. I put it away.

When I woke this morning as I do most mornings, I knew what I had to do to make it right. I do feel fortunate that my dreams come through that way. I believe my/our subconscious churns away while we're sleeping and resolves most of our problems for us. (I won't digress into the day job). Excited I started to work -- my ending wasn't really the ending. I didn't have the family being happy about the wedding, I didn't have the wedding, I didn't have that last love scene and I didn't have the remaining bachelor do some thinking about his own future. Well duh. Slap myself on the forehead and start writing.

3,000 words later I'm at 82,500 and it wasn't to the count. I cut out about 2000 words I did yesterday to get the count and still came in at 82,500 and it feels good, really good. Of course it needs to be edited. I know I've got a couple of stupid things that someone needs to say to me "excuse me?" and I can probably catch most of them myself reading it over this week. I liked this book before. I really like it now. The original ending was all right -- this, I think, ties up some pesky loose ends and the epilogue leads into book 3 which I REALLY like because it's a time travel!

I really felt blocked trying to get to the count instead of writing the story that needed to be told. Of course Rick, the "star" of book 3 has been pounding through my dreams for over a year, demanding I get on with it. He doesn't want to be married, no, not him, nope, not at all -- just get him a bride!

Now I feel like I can move more solidly into either Her Eyes 2 or Road Trip. Have to see how I feel tomorrow.

I have to work the day job tomorrow -- probably Her Eyes 2 -- it's a time travel with a really disgusting bad guy that when I told Jennifer Cloud how warped it was she was thrilled I was developing a bit of horror to my stories.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Looking for Austin Quinn - America's Hero


In America's Hero Hollywood Actor Austin Quinn plays America's Hero,
Marine Corps Major Cass Winters IS America's Hero

Now is your chance to nominate America's Hero and Help me find Austin Quinn
America's Hero is my newest time travel and due out with Champagne Books ( in March 2009. Austin Quinn is a Hollywood hottie and he has played not only some of the greatest heroes America has seen, he's also played such icons as Achilles and Robin Hood in his movies.

Major Cass Winter is a Marine Corps F/A-18 pilot who just wants nothing to do with the Hollywood hunk. Through a freak incident, both are thrown back in time to before the walls of Troy.

contest with hopefully something for everyone.

Part One is your chance to nominate who represents Austin Quinn. The winner will have his photograph featured on Austin Quinn's page on my website and on his own blog, a $25 gift certificate, $25 Starbucks card, a free download of a Champagne ebook and an autographed copy of America's Hero when it is released. For more info check out the contest page on my website at

Nominations will be accepted and posted from July 4, 2008 through August 31, 2008. From September 1, 2008 through November 10, 2008 (the Marine Corps birthday) everyone will be able to vote on just who is the epitome of Austin Quinn. Please direct any questions to: Austinquinnhero (at) gmail (dot) com.


Part Two is finding who your American Hero is--is he the young man who shovels snow for the elderly lady next door? The woman who volunteers for the literacy project? A firefighter rushing code 3 to a fire? Prizes will include a $25 gift certificate, a $25 Starbucks card, a free download of a Champagne book, and an autographed copy of America's Hero when it is released.

From July 4, 2008 through August 31, 2008 you will have your chance to nominate these heroes by going to Austin's Blog at and entering a comment on who your hero is. On September 1 (Labor Day) the voting will begin for who epitomizes who a true hero is based on the stories told about this amazing individuals. Voting will run until November 10, 2009 (The Marine Corps Birthday and the day before Veterans' Day). (You will need to leave your email so we can contact the winner.) The winner will receive a $25 Starbucks gift card, $25 gift certificate, and the download of their choice from Champagne Books.