This month I’m talking about the process of querying, rejections and why I chose a small press for this project.
Since today is my birthday, I decided to let a few of my friends from Facebook interview me. Here are their questions.
What do you feel is the hardest part of the publishing process? (From Vania Rheault)
Rejection – The hardest part for me is finding a home for finished work. I haven’t been brave enough to enter into the Self-Publishing world because that all seems hard to me. So finding a home for whatever completed project I have is hard in the sense a certain amount of prediction for agents and editors on what readers may want a year or more out makes it difficult. I’ll send out a query and then get a rejection and if I’m lucky they will tell me why. Sometimes I get a form letter or even worse that they liked the writing but it wasn’t a good fit.
How are you just so damn adorable all the time? Inquiring minds want to know. (From Lyn Armstrong)
Lyn is biased, her and maybe my husband. I love and miss you, lady.
Do you work plots out with writing buddies or plot all by yourself? (From Marie Johnston)
Normally, I plot by myself. But recently I asked for some input on a finished Regency I just finished and my local critique group helped me come up with a plot (it involves murder) that I will weave back in through the story. This isn’t uncommon for me to finish a manuscript and then change one, maybe two, things, and then have to layer those elements back in.
When you write so many books, what’s your strategy for keeping plots, characters, and settings fresh? (from Natalie Pierce)
It helps that I write in a few different sub-genres of romance. Once you change the setting everything else can be fresh or new based on a new place or time. I have started keeping series bibles so I can remember how old someone is at story X so I make sure to age them by story Y. I usually keep these in either Pinterest, Google Keep, or in a Notebook.
Happy birthday! Let’s see. I’d love to know more about how you got started writing stories. How much of real life is included in your books? Do you have other business ideas you might work on in the future? (from A. Catherine Noon)
Figures A. Catherine Noon would have the most questions. Here we go.
I have been writing since childhood, before my grandmother passed she gave me a collection of stories I wrote for her about the various mythical holiday creatures, like the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, A Leprechaun trying to find Baby New Year. Unfortunately, they didn’t find him because I had only gotten as far as writing their origin stories. I loved info dumps even as a child.
I include much of real life in my contemporaries, including some of my friends (you know who you are). Of course, I changed their names to protect the not so innocent. I’ve used their professional knowledge among which include a pilot, an architect, a nurse, firemen, and of course a writer. Most of my paranormal, sci-fi, and fantasy stories are entirely fiction.
Future Business Projects – Writing Wise I’m working on my Brave the Elements Series – Wind Resistant is my Nano project. I will be querying my Regency this month and maybe a bit in November. I take December off because I find I need the break for the holidays. Non-writing wise – I’ve thrown my hat in on a contest in ND pairing artists and writers. Long Term I’m hoping to get a North Dakota Writers Conference so if you are thinking about something like that my fellow writers, let me know. There are far more of us than the world knows about.
I’m wondering what percent of your writing is actually non-fiction, in a fictional book. (Brian Daly)
It depends on the fiction. In my Steampunk Series, I’d say 50%. I altered parts of the timeline significantly.
My Regency is fairly historically accurate but I did change a few things – my hero knows cane fighting which isn’t really a thing until closer to the Victorian period and was invented in France, not England. So those are pretty liberal. My Contemporaries including my paranormal books are about 25% fiction accounting for characters and the mythology of fairies. But the career choices are based on people I know.
And I would say my Post-Apocalyptic books are 75% fiction the only real elements being geography and locations in the future. 🙂
I hope you’ve enjoyed this Q&A. If I missed your question here leave a comment below and I’ll try to answer it. ~Tina
As you all are reading this I’m on my way to Southern Minnesota to spend time with DH’s family.
This year I’m thankful for my spouse – he’s a great guy and super supportive of this writing thing I do. My two awesome girls who are spending thanksgiving with their fiancee’s in Texas and Montana respectively.
My tribes – Kudo’s to the Word Weavers, Maddy Barone, Mary Jean Adams, Krystal, Laura and Kat. The Founders circle including, A. Catherine Noon, Rachel Wilder, Nikki, Darla, Evey, and newcombers Stacey and Jonni. And lastly RWA Online – Including my old CP Holli Winters, President Karen, and recent ties like Leslie Scott and Misti. You all make my writing better and remind me why I love the written word.
On my writing journey, I know I would not be where I am today without the tribe of writers around me.
Having a supportive partner and family is important too, and I’m fortunate to have that as well.
But when I write myself into a corner, cuz I’m a pantser and we do that, DH is of no help. But I can call my friend Arden Richards, whose not yet published but is the best plotter I know.
I belong to a number of tribes –
The F-M Word Weavers – This is my local critique group. Arden is a member as well. Also in my group are published Authors Maddy Barone and Mary Jean Adams. The wealth of knowledge in this group is wonderful, and my writing has greatly improved over the years thanks to these ladies. I found this group on Meet-up and It helps that most of the group is made up of Romance Authors.
Romance Writers of America – I highly recommend this group if you are looking to establish a career in the Romance Writing Industry. I’ve been a member since 2004 and belong to an online chapter. I met my first critique partner Holli Winters through RWA. If you want to learn more about this particular tribe I recommend, if you have Netflix, that you watch “Love Between the Covers”. First time DH watched it with me he said, “Sounds like your writer friends.” Yes, yes it does.
Of course there is also Mystery Writers of America, Horror Writers Association and Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers or America. As I do not write in these genres, I’m unfamiliar with their membership.
Romance Divas – I’ve recently joined Divas, but I have friends who have been members for years and rave about the mentorship and learning there. It seems too that Divas is on the leading edge of trends within the Romance Industry. Also they are FREE, so that is helpful for those watching their budget.
Marketing for Romance Writers – Despite the name, more than Romance Writers belong to this community. If you follow my AuThursday interviews, many of the writers are from this group. This group is also FREE.
Writer Zen Garden – I’ve been with Writer Zen Garden for about five years, brought in by my friend and founding member, A. Catherine Noon. Writer Zen Garden has authors of different genres. They are wonderful for writers just starting out and maybe not so Romance focused. To me the focus is very creative and wonderful cheerleading group. And Guess what – also FREE.
I continue to join groups as I see what they have to offer and if it is a good fit for me. I highly recommend that if you aren’t a member of a tribe that you join one. There is something about the writing journey that shouldn’t be done in a bubble. I mean you can, but there are so many options to connect with people and learn, why wouldn’t you.
The groups above have helped me through Writer’s Block, Rejection, Plotting, Marketing, Networking, and supporting me through my writing journey. I can’t imagine writing without my tribes.
A night of mystery, of romance, of possibilities…
Do you dream of what such a magical night would entail? Then join the Nice Girls Writing Naughty for Masquerade de Naughty, and help us create a night full of fantasies!
At Masquerade de Naughty, readers will vote on each key element in a joint effort to “build our own masquerade”. You choose the look, feel, and intensity of each piece of the fantasy from the authors’ suggested options. While we’re indulging in decadent decisions, meet and chat with the authors behind the masks.
This party comes with mysterious heroes, magical settings, and perfect prizes (for readers of romance!). Our grand prize winner will receive her very own Masquerade: a gift set of masquerade-themed items and books for the ultimate masked indulgence.
One week from today the Nice Girls Writing Naughty are hosting a party…We hope you can be there. Below is your invitation
All the fun will take place at:
If you are not already a member please join for all the fun. ~Tina
Registered this morning and attended a great class put on by Sylvia Day. Here’s an interview with me and A. Catherine Noon as I report live.
Feel free to send me your questions via e-mail, twitter or FB, and I’ll gladly report back.
Caution: M/M Sexy Teaser ahead. Includes some language.
TJ slipped into the bathroom and took care of business. He got all the way back to his chair before he realized it.
He wasn’t alone.
He whirled, the Beretta from under the console cold in his hand.
“It’s me, Teej. It’s okay.”
Mother fucker. Craig leaned against the wall to the left of the door. TJ hadn’t even smelled him!
“I can be unnoticed if I want to,” Craig murmured. “Don’t be scared.”
“I’m not scared.” TJ flushed, shame and rage chasing away the afterglow. He put the gun back without taking his eyes off Craig’s face. “And why exactly can’t I smell you? I’m a freakin’ weretiger.”
Granted, he wasn’t the best in Neal Harrison’s squad of former-Marines-changed-into-tiger-shifters, but he had a decent nose on him.
“My mom’s a witch, remember? I know all sorts of tricks.” Craig pushed off the wall with his hips and undulated toward TJ. The leather pants moved like a second skin and TJ felt like his eyes locked on the swell at the crotch.
Craig certainly wasn’t small, that was for sure.
Fuck, man! He hauled his eyes up but the fucking guy wore no shirt under that black silk vest. A silver herringbone chain hung to just below his throat. TJ sank to the chair.
Part of his mind noted Craig’s nipples were a lot darker than Dillon’s, like dark cherry cola.
The monitors, Teej, look at the monitors.
He spun his chair and gripped the armrests with slick hands. He couldn’t get enough air, dammit.
He called me Teej.
Craig’s hands slipped onto his shoulders and he jumped.
“We know you watch us,” Craig whispered in his ear. His breath tickled, both TJ’s ear and things all the way down.
“I have to, it’s my job –”
“Shh,” Craig interrupted.
TJ started to argue, to deny it, but Craig’s mouth closed on his flesh. TJ froze.
“You taste good.” Craig licked the skin under TJ’s earlobe. “We want you to watch us. We want you to join us.”
A bolt of panic went through him from his throat to his ass. “What?” His voice came out all breathy and weak-sounding.
“Don’t wait too long, Teej.”
“Why? The offer’s only short-term?”
Craig leaned forward, his naked chest hot against TJ’s arm and shoulder. Craig stroked a hand over TJ’s buzz cut and cupped the back of his head. His mouth came up flush against TJ’s ear.
“I can’t make Dillon wait much longer, Teej. So make up your mind, or he’ll do it for you.” He kissed TJ’s scalp. “We know you want us.”
TJ squeezed his eyes closed and tried to just breathe. Breathe, dammit, breathe.
Craig’s left hand cupped his face, the palm hot. TJ didn’t resist as he moved his head, thinking Craig just wanted TJ to look at him.
Craig kissed him.
And holy shit, but the cameras didn’t show the half of Craig’s talent.
His tongue slipped past TJ’s lips. He tasted like strong peppermint candy and then Craig flipped the fucking mint into TJ’s mouth. Craig hands felt hot enough they nearly burned, and he used the one on the back of TJ’s neck to press them together. It lasted a lifetime, but Craig pulled away all too soon.
He spoke from inches away. “We want you, TJ. Please stop making us wait.” He held TJ’s eyes a moment longer and then squeezed the back of his neck.
His hands left an impression of heat behind and TJ watched him walk out.
Don’t go, he tried to say. Wait, God, please…
The door, when it closed behind Craig, seemed mocking.
Fuck, dammit, fuck!
Join me next week when I interview Romance Author Adam Mann. ~Tina
Please welcome my fellow Writer Zen Gardener, A. Catherine Noon. Tell us Ms. Noon, what books have most influenced your life most?
That’s an interesting question. It depends on the period in my life, really. The first book I remember reading was about a cat who lived at a firehouse. I fell in love with that cat and with books. I had trouble figuring out how to find good books for myself at the library, until I stumbled on Phyllis A. Whitney. I devoured everything she wrote for young adults. After that, it was on to fantasy with Tolkien, Terry Brooks, David Eddings, and Lloyd Alexander. I found Anne McCaffrey and Steven Brust and from there I was hooked. It wasn’t until I read Piers Anthony, and the “Author’s Notes” he included in the Incarnations of Immortality series, that I started to really want to be an author. I’ve always been a writer; but Anthony made it clear that I could be a “real” author.
Q: How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
I don’t use formulae, because I like change. What interests me is consequences: what happened? Why did it happen? Who did it affect? I typically start with an image, of a person or a place or a feeling, and build from there.
Q: What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
Quiet time, a keyboard and word processing software, and paper with an assortment of pens and pencils.
Q: What do you think is the biggest misconception in erotic romance fiction, and the m/m sub-genre?
I loathe the term “mommy porn.” It’s insulting and degrading, and belittles women’s fiction. The other misconception is that, “Oh, romance is all formulaic.” People that say that haven’t read in the genre, period. The days of the formula story are long over. Readers are sophisticated and even in the Harlequin “lines,” the quintessential “formula” books, the stories have to be engaging and nuanced.
Q: Are you working on any books/projects that you would like to share with us? (We’ d love to hear all about them!)
I’m working on the next Chicagoland Shifters book, which features TJ Butler. What’s exciting to me about this project is that I decided to take the gloves off. TJ’s father is a Texas Baptist minister who tried to “cure” TJ of being gay by using electroshock therapy. TJ ran away and joined the Marines. When he went overseas in the second Gulf War, he was attacked by a Siberian tiger shifter and left for dead. All the men he’d led were killed by their attacker, except for TJ. He’s a bundle of PTSD.
So many stories that have PTSD characters seem to gloss over the fact that it’s a life-changing disorder. One doesn’t get over it, one simply learns to cope with it. Some days are better than others. There is no magic band-aid or drug that will “cure” it, any more than there is one for homosexuality. But how do you make that character sexy and compelling? It’s not my intention to write a dark story, just a dark character. It’s a challenge.
Q: You’ve finally delved into the world of self-publishing, tell us a bit about that?
We decided to self-publish our popular Chicagoland Shifters series because it gave us the creative freedom to explore the characters in our own way, to tell the story that we see. There are real consequences for any actions, and we wanted to tell that story in a real way that we hope readers will connect with.
It’s hard to self-publish, because you’re launching your own product. You’re in charge of all the pieces of the puzzle, not just the writing. I see first-time authors doing it and wouldn’t suggest that for anyone right now, because you need to have a following in order to be successful with it. There’s so much dilution in the market that it’s hard for new authors to get themselves heard.
Q: Who designed the cover for “Cat’s Cradle”?
That would be Dayna Hart, who also designed my website and the Noon and Wilder site. She’s amazing.
Q: Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
The Chicagoland Shifters:
Book 1 BURNING BRIGHT
Book 2 TIGER TIGER
Book 3, CAT’S CRADLE
The Persis Chronicles:
Book 1 EMERALD FIRE
Book 2, EMERALD KEEP
The Emerald City Shifters:
Book 1 SEALED BY FIRE
Book 2 SEALED BY MAGIC
Other Fun Stuff:
Check out COOK LIKE A WRITER
Join me on Saturday, when we read an excerpt from on of A. Catherine Noon & Rachel Wilder’s books. ~Tina