Please welcome Dee S. Knight to the Clog Blog! Dee, tell us a little about yourself and your background.
As Dee S. Knight I have been writing for about 16 years, taking breaks every now and then. I’m so glad to have found writing! I’ve worked at many different jobs, but writing is the only one I’ve thought I could do for a long time and be happy. It’s pretty different from book to book—because I get to make things up and do what I want. What fun!! Before and during my writing years I taught high school and also trained adults, worked as an acquisitions librarian, drove a truck cross-country, worked as a clerk and a receptionist, did gift wrapping one memorable Christmas, and headed a technical writing department and edited training manuals. You’d think I couldn’t hold down a job, lol! But in my defense, married to the man of my dreams who worked as a computer consultant, we moved an awful lot. Living various places and doing a lot of different things has given me a rich background to draw from when writing, so I can’t complain.
Dee writes erotic romance and expanded briefly in ménage romance. But as Anne Krist, I’ve written sweet(er) romance, and as Jenna Stewart, historical and ménage romance. It’s all been a kick!
Are you an Introvert or Extrovert? How does this affect your work?
I can deal with small groups—maybe up to eight or so. But any larger and I hide in a corner. Being introverted has never been a problem, though. I’m happy with who I am, and as long as I have a good book available to read, I’m happy being on my own. Well, that’s not quite true—I need the people I love nearby, too. I don’t think spending a lot of time alone has bothered my work too much. As long as I hear about hubby’s experiences and can draw from my own, it all seems to work.
What are your current projects?
I’m trying to finish up Book 2 in the Good Man series, a trio of books about identical triplets. Book 1, Only a Good Man Will Do, Daniel Goodman, walks a fine line between being respectable and staid and being with the woman he lusts after, a former exotic dancer. In the current book, One Woman Only, brother Jonah is a mechanic extraordinaire who wants a second chance with his high school love. The third book, featuring genius brother Mark is still in the planning stages.
Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?
Actually, Vanessa Hart and I started a book collaboration but other deadlines and life swept us up before we could finish it. I later expanded my part of the book into Daniel’s story in Only a Good Man Will Do. I call Resolutions a book written by four friends about four friends. Vanessa Hart, Jasmine Haynes, Leigh Wyndfield and I wrote separate novellas but each story began and ended at a common point, making it a collaborative process. I love that book. And I’ve been in anthologies. Ain’t Your Mama’s Bedtime Stories is a grouping of several short stories all built around fairy tales. Right now I’m in a supernatural anthology coming out this fall from Black Velvet Seductions called Mystic Desire. Several BVS authors contributed, with each short story carrying a supernatural theme.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I do. I had what I consider writer’s block with my paranormal romance Passionate Destiny. I started writing the book in February and by October I couldn’t figure out what to do with it. Finally, I said to myself that if I didn’t have the book finished by Thanksgiving, I’d give up and put it away. Maybe it’s a stubborn streak, but that was the incentive I needed to get it done. I sent it in to Liquid Silver Publishing a week before Thanksgiving! I’m glad I did, too because it went on to be a Romantic Times Top Pick!
How did you deal with Rejection Letters if you received any?
*sigh* Sadly, I have received rejection letters. I wouldn’t mind them if they gave some idea of why there was a rejection. “The work isn’t right for us” is the typical reason, and okay, I eventually have come to deal with that one. I can see where not every brilliant piece of writing, that sparkles with witty dialogue, livable, breathable locations, conflict that cuts like a razor blade, and characters that feel like your next-door neighbor might not be right for every agent or editor… Yes, I can see that, and understand it.
Oh heck. No, I don’t, lol. I don’t deal with rejections any better than any other writer. I scream at the moon for a night or two, figuratively cry on hubby’s shoulder, and complain to my mom about how unfair life is after throwing pillows at the wall. And then I move on. What else is there to do?
I will say, however, that there are ways agents/editors can soften the blow a bit. I was rejected by one agent (who shall remain nameless though her name is burned into my memory) whose rejection letter was folded so many times the letter was an inch or so high and the standard text (“Thank you for submitting your work. It’s not for us at this time. Best of luck in the future.”) looked to be mimeographed!! Yes. It was not printed or copied. It’s like she prepared thousands of rejections in 1965 and stored them up to use over the years. And I know because I was rejected by her more than once. That’s like kicking an author when she’s down. At least add the author’s name, send the letter to a printer, and stamp your name. And fold it right. Be professional, even if you have to reject an author’s work.
How are you publishing your latest book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)
I’ve only used online publishers for my books. And I’ve been with some of the best publishers, really. Liquid Silver Publishing, Siren-Bookstrand, Samhain (when they were in business), and now Black Velvet Seductions. I’ve heard horror stories about publishing houses but have been lucky enough to avoid the problems. I will say, it’s sad that so many publishers are going out of business. I’ve thought about self-publishing, but if you called me chicken you wouldn’t be wrong! 😉
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write, write, write! Learn some self-editing so when you submit your work the publisher won’t find a reason to turn you away. Accept editing with grace (this is sometimes a do-as-I-say-and-not-as-I-do situation). Find a good critique partner. Don’t believe all the praise your relatives and best friends heap upon your book—they’re usually too nice to be helpful when it comes to improving your work. And (did I mention?) WRITE!!
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
I do, thanks! And thanks for hosting me, Tina.
This is from Only a Good Man Will Do, when Daniel, a teacher at Westover Academy, first admits that he’s drawn to Eve Star like a kid to chocolate. He knows she’s bad for his future but can’t help wanting her in his present.
Daniel took his seat in the Academy dining room with a few of the boys from his dormitory. Each table sat six, with a permanent place for a dorm master or table monitor. Each month, the boys rotated tables, assuring they spent casual dining time with their dorm master and others and learned proper table manners. Usually, Daniel enjoyed meals with his young charges. They were more willing than the older students to talk about what happened during the day, and he often picked up on budding problems by listening to their conversations. For this reason, even though late afternoon-early evening was the part of the day he had free, he usually liked to attend dinner.
However, he’d changed his calls to Eve from four-thirty to after dinner, and now Daniel counted the minutes until the evening meal ended. He urged the boys not to tarry after dessert and then cursed the fact he had to walk sedately rather than sprint back to the dorm. Once there, he made sure to lock the doors and get comfortable before punching her number on the telephone face. A minor dorm crisis requiring both him and his assistant had prevented their saying much more than hello yesterday, and today, though he’d just eaten, he felt like a starving man.
“Nothing a little sugar won’t cure,” he muttered, using Southern slang for kisses.
At the same moment, a deep, male voice answered. “Well, honey, you ain’t getting’ it from me.” The man laughed. “Hey, doc. Eve told me to tell you she had to go out, and if she missed you, she’d call back as soon as possible.”
“Hi, Jed.” Of course, Eve shouldn’t be hanging around waiting for his calls, but he couldn’t help the disappointment that hit like a sledgehammer. “Say, why’d you call me doc?”
Jed laughed. “Ask Eve.”
“I’ll do that. Thanks.” Well. Daniel set the phone back on the side table. All dressed up and nowhere to go. He looked at the remaining term papers he had to grade, but reading the opinions of high school boys on any subject, much less Romeo and Juliet, a love story that ended tragically, didn’t appeal. What he wanted was to hear the voice of the woman who’d ridden him hard and put him away wet on Tuesday evening.
My general viewpoint on conferences is that they should be viewed as a working vacation. Part of this is because of what I write and what my expectations are.
The big conferences for Romance writers are RT (Romantic Times) and RWA National (Romance Writers of America). They serve different purposes.
RT is geared mostly towards readers, although they do have some writing classes. I’ve attended this conference as an aspiring author, published author and a reader. I’ve always viewed this particular conference as a working vacation. It was a chance to visit my author friends, Lyn Armstrong and Debbie Cairo. It was a chance to see a new city, visit friends and attend parties. I always attend writing classes there and go to publisher spotlights. I actually met both my publishers (Liquid Silver Books and Resplendence) at RT.
RWA is geared mostly to the business side of things. I’ve yet to attend this particular conference, even though I’m a member. I have attended regional RWA conferences including Midwest Fiction Writers and WisRWA. I found both beneficial to my writing career. Classes tend to revolve around business, craft, and publishing in general.
Some other conferences I’ve attended are Lori Foster’s RAGT (Reader and Author Get Together). This is also a reader geared Con, unlike RT it is much smaller and there are about ten readers for every published author. Lori keeps the author roster small so readers can interact. Maddy Barone introduced me to this Con and we’ve traveled the last two years together.
I’ve attended two local Sci-Fi con’s since I write Paranormal Romance. CoreCon and ValleyCon. I highly recommend if you write in a genre that falls into the genre of SFFP (Science-Fiction, Fantasy, and Paranormal) that you consider attending a local or regional Con. It is a great way to meet readers and I find the communities, in general, to be very supportive of creatives.
There are also many Romance Reader Cons popping up. I ran across this website that might be helpful for those of you writing in the Romance Genre.
I usually attend RT when I can and if I can rope someone into going with me. RWA is still on my bucket list. I’ve attended Lori Foster’s RAGT the last two years. This year, due to my job loss, I’ve cut back on my conferences. I will likely only attend the local sci-fi cons and my annual writing retreat at the end of September.
Overall I love conferences and attend as many as my budget will allow. If nothing else I get a few classes in, meet a few new authors and network. That’s a win in my book.
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.
So drove the nine hours back from #RT13 yesterday, following Speed Dating with some Awesome readers.
In hindsight I think I would’ve gotten a 3-day pass for this particular con having really pushed it physically as an author this year. 🙂
Here’s a brief re-cap
1. Not at RT. 😦 I’m at my M-F job doing month-end from 7am to 7pm. Ugh!
2. Head home, finish packing eat dinner and go to bed.
1. Get up at 1am to drive to KC – hoping to be there by 8 or early morning at the latest. DH & I get delayed by winter storms in IA and end up arriving at 11:00 am.
2. Check into hotel. Get to room and find out the work books are not closed. So I have to work for an hour at said job above. Finish at 2pm. Go get lunch in shops under the Westin.
3. Make it to one panel, Steampunk: It’s not about the goggles, do an impromptu pitch of my current WIP and realize the editor is looking at me like I’m an idiot. Clearly I have to re-evaluate this story. 😦
4. Go to the Book Expo hosted by ARE. Quick run over to Isabella Drake’s table and drop off gift basket for The Sex Goddess Hour friday am, don’t introduce myself so not sure if she even knows who I am other than a crazy lady. 😛
Manage to score some swag from Sylvia Day for a co-worker.
5. Go have drinks with Liquid Silver Books (the highlight of my con) and visit with fellow authors. Robyn Peterman shows up – sweet!
6. Go get ready for the 30th annual ball, Debbie Cairo saves me a seat.
7. Attend the 30th Annual Ball, great speakers but given my long day I start nodding off between speeches. Debbie says we have to leave because I’m snoring. :O
1. Get up at 8am sicker than a dog. DH holding back my hair as I worship the porcelain god. Ugh!
2. Finally manage to recover by noon and we make our way to the shops to find food.
3. Attend one class What rights do you have and how much are they worth? – Really good, decided if I ever go the NY route I would look at the agency that hosted this (Janklow & Nesbit). Smart ladies.
4. Feel bad DH is stuck back at the Westin so go visit him and skip other classes – stupid move Note: Always take classes – that’s what you paid for. DH and I have an early dinner because I heard rumors that there won’t be food at the Vampire Ball.
5. Attend Entangled Publishing’s “Candy & Spoons Reader Event” – another great highlight. I’m pleasantly pleased with the publisher’s marketing techniques and authors seem happy. Hmmm.
6. Attend Heather Graham’s Vampire Ball and guess what? – There’s food. Dang! I have a great time dancing the night away.
1. Already a slow planned day as most events are for readers not writers.
2. I’m up early so DH and I head over to the Sheraton to get some breakky. I go to The Giant Book Fair to get the books I’ve won signed and to see if I can picky of Maya Bank’s and Cathy Maxwell’s latest historical.
3. Standing in line, I meet Rosalie Stanton, who also writes for LSB. We have a nice chat and talk shop. For anyone who knows me – you know I could sit and chat shop all day. I love it.
4. Get into the bookfair and get books signed by YA authors Jus Accardo, Lisa Burstein & Victoria Scott. For my personal collection I score Beth Ciotta, Cathy Maxwell & Katee Robert. Alas Maya is nowhere to be found. 😦
5. Head back to have lunch with DH & Debbie. Go for a swim and get ready for evening parties.
6. Attend Carina Press Cocktail Party – this is a fun event I recommend for anyone attending. It’s a great promo opportunity for their authors and readers get to find some new reads. 🙂 The give-aways are pretty good too. Stay for HQN dance party -got a dress just for this.
1. Originally decided to stay all day but hotel is no longer extending the RT room rate and parking is crazy so DH & I opt to leave.
2. Attend Author Speed Dating – this is a fun event and I would do it again. I paired myself with the lovely Lila Dubios, who is both charming and chatty. A nice match for my reserved self. We meet with readers and they ask us questions. Great!
3. Drive 9 hours back to the Dakotas and drink horrible coffee along the way. 😦
All in all it was a nice RT, but wonder if I should’ve stayed local and attended Corecon instead since I missed out on so much.
Until next time be naughty!
Hello Naughty Boys and Girls! Please welcome fellow Resplendence Author Cindy Spencer Pape. Speaking of Authors…Cindy – Who is your favorite author and why?
I can’t claim to have any one favorite. Early influences would include Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels, then later Jayne Ann Krentz, Elizabeth Lowell, and Linda Howard. More recently I’ve discovered Lora Leigh, Christine Warren, and Christine Feehan. Plus, outside of romance, I adore humorous SF/fantasy writers like Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, and more recently, Jim Butcher, and the occasional mystery.
Q: How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
No, Every book unfolds a little differently. Some of it is plotting, some of it is waiting to see how
Q: Are you working on any books/projects that you would like to share with us? (We’ d love to hear all about them!)
Well, I just sent a book off to my Ellora’s Cave editor, and I have projects under consideration with a few different houses. My current WIP’s include a trilogy with the fabulous Desiree Holt and Regina Carlysle, and my new love, a steampunk romance.
Q: Any recent appearances that you would like to share with us about/any upcoming ones?
I was at Romanticon in October and plan to be at the RT convention in April. Anything in between is still unknown.
Q: Do you have a favorite hero in all your books? For any particular reason?
You know, I love them all, or I don’t think I could write them. A few favorites include Fitz from Crazy for the Cowboy (Wild Rose Press) David from Djinni and the Geek (Ellora’s Cave) and Will from Wings of the Raven (Total-E-Bound). Why? They’re all imperfect, but come through in the clutch.
Q: How hard is it to keep sex/love scenes fresh and interesting?
Always a challenge!
Q: Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Newsletter Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/cspapenewsgroup/
Cian Fey: http://cianfey.blogspot.com
Join me on Saturday when Cindy shares a steamy excerpt from her latest book, “Nailed.”