AuThursday – Leslie Scott

Please give a warm welcome to my fellow RWA Online member Leslie Scott.  I’m so happy to have her joining us.  Leslie, Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Well, I’m a full-time writer and homeschool educator of my gifted ten-year-old son (he teaches me math and dissects sheep brains, no kidding). I’ve been a writer my entire life (winning awards and contests all through school), but it wasn’t until about five years ago, I decided to actively pursue my passion. Since then, I live and breathe the characters and stories I write. Nothing, to me, is more exciting than a good story (whether I write it or not).

Currently, I write spicy Contemporary and New Adult Romance through The Wild Rose Press, though I’m hoping to dabble in a more quirky paranormal romance series soon.

What excites you most about your current WIP?

When you read my new release (The Finish Line) you’ll be introduced to the heroine’s snarky baby sister, Breanna. My current WIP is the third novel of the Arkadia Fast series and Breanna’s novel. She’s cocky, sassy, and all sorts of fun! Also, rather than street racing (the backdrop for the other two novels in the series), Breanna takes us into the world of big-time drag racing. So, not only is she a different type of character for me to write, but the world is brand new for me.

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

Nah, not usually. As long as I’m writing something, I’m happy. Some days I can throw five to ten thousand words to a page. Other days I’m lucky to hit five hundred.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

No. There was a time when I was a jerk about this and said I didn’t believe writer’s block existed. But then, I read where a famous author said if you get writer’s block then something is wrong with your story and you need to fix it. That got me to thinking. When I first started out there were a lot of half-finished manuscripts (maybe one day I’ll revisit those, lol). Because in truth, I had no real grasp on what conflict really was. Not so much that I could complete an entire novel. Once I figured that out, finishing them became easier. If you’re stuck, there’s a reason.

For me? I don’t allow myself to get stuck. I live by the rule of three. At any given moment, I have at least three projects going. If I can’t figure something out with one, I move on to another. Currently: I have a novel (the third of my Arkadia Fast series) in first draft stages, a novel, and novella in edits with editors, a romantic suspense novel I’m revising to submit, and a proposal I’m working on submitting. It sounds like a lot, but it keeps me motivated and inspired.

How did you deal with Rejection Letters if you received any?

I’ve only ever submitted (unsolicited) one manuscript. With that manuscript, I received a mixed bag of rejections and requests (and eventually multiple contract offers from small presses). A few I laughed (form letters that had zero relevance to the submission), a few I rolled my eyes (like that one editor who told me I needed a critique partner before I submitted again, not realizing that my critique partner was a bestselling romance author), and one, in particular, was like a punch in the gut.

The gut-punch came after weeks of a back and forth with the editor and her enthusiasm for my writing and my novel (we’re talking BIG house) only to get a form rejection with no personal response. Then a friend pointed out to me that just because you’re rejected doesn’t mean you aren’t good. It means at that time, that particular publisher doesn’t have a place for your novel.

I suck it up and keep trying. I make sure to be polite and kind and grateful that an editor took the time out of their busy schedule to talk to me and especially they read or make comments on my manuscript. I make those connections because I never know when I might have exactly what they are looking for.

Can you tell us your story of getting “the call” (or e-mail)?

It’s a depressing story, actually. No party, no celebration. I was sick as a dog, sitting in the waiting room at the urgent care clinic when I got the email. I looked at it, made a strained attempt to smile, coughed up half my lung, and then went back to see the doctor. I told my doctor I just sold my first novel and she celebrated with a little dance. But me, I was too sick to care in that moment.

About two weeks later it finally hit me. From then on, it’s been rather busy and non-stop. My dream has become reality, it’s a surreal and amazing thing.

How do you relax?

Writing or reading, usually. Both relax me and make me happy. There are a lot of other things we have to do as authors, so sitting down for the sake of just writing takes my mind off those responsibilities as well as everything else that comes with being an adult.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

In the words of Nora Roberts: ASFK. Ass to seat, fingers to keys. Get your butt in the chair and write. Never stop writing.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

My website:  http://lesliescottromance.com

On facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lesliescottwrites

On twitter: @leslieSwrites

Join me on Saturday when we read an excerpt from the Finish Line.~Tina

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AuThursday – Kryssie Fortune

HOWR by KF Banner

KF author photoTell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m first and foremost a reader. It’s an addiction. I also love words—the way they go together and paint pictures fascinates me. That’s why I write. I’m a Brit who doesn’t drink tea, read the Times or have a stiff upper lip. I cry at romantic movies and weep for characters in books.  I live by the North Sea on the East Yorkshire coast and make a point of walking on the beach every day.

How do you make time to write?

I write anywhere. On the bus. In the car—as long as I’m not driving—and on planes. Once I decided to finally put pen to paper, I couldn’t stop. Writing’s my second addiction. The third, and most important, is my husband and kids, so as addictions go, I’m okay, I guess.

How did you deal with Rejection Letters if you received any?

I’d love to say I shrug them off and ignore them. Honestly? Get real. I hate them. It took me a while to find my writer’s voice, and I honed my skills with magazine articles. I had about a 50% success rate but when someone turned me down, I hurt. Fortunately, I’ve not had one of my books rejected. If I did, I’d take a serious look at the manuscript and consider what I’d done wrong.

What genre are your books?

I started out writing paranormal romance. I’ve almost finished the first draft of my next stand-alone Scattered Siblings story, To Submit to an Overlord. In a new venture for me, I’ve written a very naughty Regency romance, but we won’t even start the edits for a while. My other books are contemporary romances, one – Taken by Twin Doms – set in a pleasure hotel and the other four—my Heroes of Westhorpe Ridge Series set in a fictional North Carolina Town.

What draws you to this genre?

I love all romance genres as long as they have happy endings and no cliff hangers. Each time I finish a book, I think, This is my favorite genre. I love the escapism of a well-crafted romance.

How did you come up with the idea for your series, HEROES OF WESTHORPE RIDGE?

Boy, was it hard. Back in Autumn 2016, my publisher, Loose id, put out a call to their authors for three linked holiday stories. I couldn’t think of anything for weeks and I’d decided to pass. Three weeks before the deadline, I came up with a decent storyline, but I had to write fast. I have this great relationship with my editor and I kept telling her, They’re coming. Two months later, I had three novellas about former military men trying to rebuild their lives in the North Carolina town of Westhorpe Ridge. There’s an evil great aunt who is still pulling the heroine’s string from beyond the grave, millions of dollars to inherit, and husbands to find. Although the books are hot and explicit, to me, story always comes before sex. The mobsters, spies, and would-be murders add another dimension to the romance.

What are your current projects?

So many. As I said, I’ve almost finished the first draft of To Submit to an Overlord. I have a vampire story just itching to be told. I always write in the third person, but this one might be a first person story from the captive heroine’s point of view. Then there’s this romantic suspense series I’ve been making notes for. Oh, and another Regency romance.

Are you an Introvert or Extravert?  How does this affect your work?

I can put on a confident, outgoing veneer, but inside I’m an introvert. The first time I gave a book reading, my bones turned to jello. I’m proud that I did it though.

Kryssie loves to hear from readers. Here are her social media links:

Facebook  

Twitter    

Blog      

Website   

Or you can email her direct on Kryssie.Fortune@aim.com

Do you have a sexy teaser you’d like to share with us?KF_HeroesofWesthorpeRidge3D

She slowly lowered the zipper on the front of her catsuit. He whistled in a breath when he saw what she wore beneath it. White lace stretched over her breasts before the boned and laced bodice flowed over her flat stomach. Once she’d hooked her thumbs in the catsuit, she wriggled her hips and pushed it over her thighs. It pooled around her ankles, and as she stepped out of the folds, she kicked it over by the wall.

When she reached to unlace the front of her basque, he snapped, “Leave it.”

Again she smiled behind her cat mask, happy she’d made the right choice.

Master Jay lifted a blindfold from the table next to his chair. Lace trimmed and made from thick satin, the blindfold offered a chance to lose herself in a euphoria that blocked out reality and let her drop into subspace. Once he slipped it over her eyes, she concentrated on nothing but her desires and the way he filled her with wicked longing.

He beckoned her closer. “Come here and straddle me. I want a lap dance first.”

Abigail moved toward him, hips swaying as she rested one hand on his shoulder and walked around him. Once she stood behind him, she leaned toward him and ran her hands over his chest. The movement made the smooth blonde ends of her wig whip around his shoulders.

She repeated the action twice more before she completed the full circle around him. Rotating on the spot, letting him study her heels and basque before she took a step away and turned until she had her back to him. Running both hands down her right leg, she gave him a long look at her lace-covered ass. She stood slowly, but when she heard his breath hitch, she repeated the action, running her hands over her other thigh and down her leg until she held her ankle.

Tossing her head, she let the ends of her blonde wig slide over her body as she flowed upright, taking the move into an overhead stretch that emphasized her narrow waist and generous breasts. She turned toward him, hips swaying as she moved in so close she stood between his legs. The way he sat there unmoving felt like a challenge. She might be submissive by nature, but she liked how he made her work for it.

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Writer Wednesday – Find your tribe

Writing-GroupOn 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. 

~Tina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writer Wednesday – The importance of options

Since starting my Agent Quest at the beginning of September, I’ve sent out 11 queries and received 5 rejections and 1 No response (although the website said if I don’t hear from them in 3 weeks, it was considered a pass).   I’ve only had one agent request a partial, all others have been rejected simply on Query or the first few pages. I currently have 5 queries out there and am prepping another letter to send off, as I like to have 6 queries out at once, since this is a time-consuming process. 

I admit I wish I was getting more feedback, like “we aren’t searching for a Steampunk Romance”, or “No one is looking for this,” or “You’re writing needs work specifically in these areas.”   Unfortunately most have simply been, “we are going to pass on this project.”   

“Why?  Why are you passing?” I wonder. 

Last week, I talked about my looking for Beta Readers and this is why.  So I can find out if its something in my writing that isn’t working.   My concern is that the writing is fine, and I’ve missed the market on Steampunk.  If that’s the case, even if I decide to go direct to the publishers, I may have a difficult time finding a home for this manuscript.   It makes me question if I should write something saleable for NaNoWriMo or work on the next book in this Steampunk series.   

I have been researching Indie publishing for the very concerns I listed above regarding the market for Steampunk.  I personally love the genre mixed with romance and feel there aren’t enough books, but maybe I’m in the minority on this one.  Although by all accounts, this seems to be a loyal fan base if you get “it” right, and there is a significant amount of self-published (indie) books in the genre.  I feel if I did go the self-published (Indie) route that I’d at least have a chance to succeed (or fail) based on readers. 

But I digress as this post was about Options.   Even though this process has been long and tiresome, I do still have a good portion of my agent list to work through and then after that my editor list.  I’ve decided to give my agent search until January and then I’ll be querying publishers directly.  That list is pretty long too. 

To give myself options when I go to find either an agent or publisher I make an excel spreadsheet of what they are looking for and what is important to me, so I can expedite the list, so really when I can the rejection I’m not so dejected. 

I admit my experience with publishers (especially digital presses) is that they know exactly what they want and the turn around on query, and usually the manuscript is much faster.   Many publishers now take the full manuscript so there is very little waiting.  

Well I should write that next query letter, so I can hurry up and wait. 🙂 

~Tina

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writer Wednesday – Rejection

I got my first rejection from an agent last week.  Less than 24 hours after I sent my query.

Was I surprised?  Yes and No.   Yes that it was so quick, and No that it happened.   It was a form letter and I likely received for one of two reasons:

  1. The agent is not  acquiring new authors
  2.  My packet wasn’t proper.   And my packet was incomplete…I noticed after I hit send.

I can not stress the importance of following the rules when agents and publishers lay them out for you.   In my case the agency wanted the first 5 pages and I misread it to be query letter only.    Now was I rejected for not following the rules, possibly.  I’ll never truly know, but I guarantee I always wonder.

Some of you may think this is nitpicky on the publisher’s or agency’s part, and maybe it appears that way.  But the rules are an indicator of what will maximize an agent or editors time.   And truthfully if my query sang all on its own, perhaps I would’ve received a gentle reminder about the missing pages.  Or I stated my query well enough that they knew a Stempunk Romance was not on their #MSWL.

Unfortunately for me, at this agency, a rejection from one agent is a rejection from all.  It is too bad, as the agency represented many authors I love and respect.  Sigh.

There are more agents ahead, and I assure you I will be diliegent in following the rules going forward.   🙂

~Tina

#AuThursday – Marie Lavender

Marie Lavender LogoTell us a little about yourself and your background?

Well, I am a multi-genre author of 22 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, dramatic fiction, literary fiction and poetry. And the list just keeps growing. Some of my works in progress include comedy, time travel or dystopian tales.  I come from the Midwestern U.S., and I live with my family and three cats. I’ve pretty much always known I wanted to be a writer, at least since I was old enough to officially write stories.

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?

I’m actually more introverted, though my writing career has forced me to be more public than I’m accustomed to. I guess you could say it’s a bit harder to put myself out there, but I do it anyway. I’ve had several radio interviews, I host three blogs and I have moderated lots of major book giveaways. I like meeting new people. Now and then, I still get nervous, though.

How do you make time to write?

When I’m balancing a side job and family obligations, it can be difficult. I usually aim to work a little on my current project every day, even if it’s a paragraph or a scene, or just researching different aspects of the story.

What excites you most about your current WIP?

The book I’m currently editing is Blood Instincts, a futuristic paranormal romance/urban fantasy which is also book two of the Blood at First Sight Series. I adore the characters, and designing the Other World. I’m very excited for fans of Second Nature, the first book, to read its sequel!

How did you deal with Rejection Letters if you received any?

Oh, I received quite a few when I was submitting Upon Your Return, my first historical romance, to agents and publishers. Whenever I’d get a rejection, I forced myself to feel more determined. I just sent out another five submissions to other places. Perseverance is a good quality to have in this business. And my persistence paid off. Not too long after that, I received my first book contract!

Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?

Actually, I have. I am in the midst of writing a romantic suspense novel with another writer. It’s titled Certain Death.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

They can find me at my author website, through my blogs at the MLB blog, the I Love Romance Blog, or Writing in the Modern Age. They can follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. I also have an author newsletter, which I send out monthly, so feel free to subscribe!

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share for Saturday?

DoHpromo15

Sure! This one is from my new release, Directions of the Heart, a modern romantic drama collection, which just came out on July 25th!

Join me on Saturday as we read an excerpt from “Directions of the Heart” by Marie. ~Tina

AuThursday – Daryl Devore Drops by

Please welcome Romance author Daryl Devore to the Clog Blog.    Daryl, Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I am a retired high school teacher who gets to indulge in what once was a hobby. I have 2 pen names. This one – Daryl Devoré – writes hot romances and the other – Victoria Adams – writes NA romance and sweet adult romances.

How do you make time to write?

I retired! As a teacher and a mom there just wasn’t much time. I snuck moments in when I could, but as I said, it was just a hobby.

What are your current projects?

I have 1 book – Darien’s Desire (Two Hearts One Love series) that will be released in June.

Then I will send the final book of the series in.

I have a Christmas story that is written and will be sent to publisher after the book above goes in.

Let’s see – oh, yeah, I have a medieval fantasy with a dragon that’s been sitting on my hard drive for years nagging at me – I really must finish it.

And lastly, I have a flash fiction, sweet, time travel romance that needs to be rewritten and divided into 2 smaller books.

Then are 10 or more files with book ideas and partial chapters waiting on my hard drive.

I see you write A BILLIONAIRE STORY series. What are your thoughts on writing a book series?

That one was an accident. My first book was A Kept Woman and billionaires weren’t all the rage yet. Then my fifth book – FL.E.S.H. was also a billionaire story. My publisher then got the bright idea that I could do a series. As I have changed publishers, I have no idea if I will continue it or not.

My other series – Two Hearts One Love – was again an accident. I wrote the first book and hit a wall. Two years later, while meditating in yoga class the answer smacked me in the forehead. Make the stuck story into 2 stories. Brilliant. I finished book 1 – What Happens in Bangkok – and when I started book 2 I realized – yikes, there’s a book 3! Book 4 tried to notice but I got everything finished in book 3.

So my thoughts on writing a series – they’re hard. I had to keep back checking to make sure things happened. And I never ever thought I’d write a series and now I have 2.

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

The most difficult part – what does life really feel like for the other sex. My name is Daryl, so I’m guessing most people think I’m male – but I’m female. Daryl, when it rhymes with Karl, is the feminine version. It’s an old Celtic name. But I digress. In a sex scene, I have to imagine what a male experiences when doing something, like kissing. I’ve had 2 male editors and neither has complained, so I guess I’m doing ok.

How did you deal with Rejection Letters if you received any?

IF?!?!?! At first, it hurt and then I progressed to where it’s that publisher’s loss.

I have had some insulting rejections. The person may not have meant it to be that way – but telling me my book was only good enough for an ebook was not what could be considered a compliment.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

I have several mantras. I adore yoga and many come from there, but I’ve included one of my life mantras and one of my writing ones.

Life 2writing 2

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Join a critique group. Either online or a local group. Make sure there are experienced authors in the group. Also, make sure they critique your genre. If you write sci-fi don’t join a romance group. Unless romance is a main part of the story. There are different ways the stories are handled between the different genres.

Biggest advice- if you join a group and it doesn’t feel right to you – get out. I’ve been through probably 10 critique groups. And the one I am in now, I’ve been a member for 6 yrs.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Blog – https://daryldevore.blogspot.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Daryl-Devore-Erotic-Romance-Writer-280168402052520/

Twitter – http://twitter.com/daryldevore

Google+ – https://plus.google.com/u/0/107866370365154406917

GoodReads Author Page – http://www.goodreads.com/DarylDevore

Amazon Author Page – http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B004TJ1354

LinkedIn – ca.linkedin.com/pub/daryl-devore/58/b42/792/

Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=Daryl%20Devore

Join me on Saturday when we read an excerpt from Daryl’s book, “What happens in Bangkok”. ~Tina