Thursday, December 29, 2011

You Can Tell A Lot About A Person....

Everybody likes to spy their friends' bookshelves to see what they've read. Or claim to have read. The books we read show our interests, infatuations, and aspirations. Or they should. May have to re-tool my To-Be-Read ile for next year. This year was a little heavy on diet books.
  1. Irresistible Forces by Brenda Jackson (Kimani)
  2. The Feel Good Life by Stephanie Rowe
  3. The Sicilian Boss's Mistress by Penny Jordan (Presents)
  4. Unlimited: How to Build an Exceptional Life by Jillian Michaels
  5. The Secret: The Power by Rhonda Byrne
  6. The Dukan Diet by Dr Pierre Dukan
  7. The 17 Day Diet by Dr Mike Moreno
  8. Conquering King's Heart by Maureen Child (Desire)
  9. Texan's Wedding-Night Wager by Charlene Sands (Desire)
  10. More Than A Millionaire by Emilie Rose (Desire)
  11. The Key: The Missing Secret for Attracting Anything You Want by Joe Vitale
  12. Hot Westmoreland Nights by Brenda Jackson (Desire)
  13. What a Westmoreland Wants by Brenda Jackson (Desire)
  14. Here Comes The Groom by Karina Bliss (Supers)
  15. Feels Like The First Time by Tawny Weber (Blaze)
  16. Spontneous by Brenda Jackson (Blaze)
  17. The Writing Life by Annie Dillard
  18. Eat Your Feelings by Heather Whaley
  19. Claimed! by Vicki Lewis Thompson (Blaze)
  20. Ambushed! by Vicki Lewis Thompson (Blaze)
  21. The Naked Mom by Brooke Burke
  22. The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson
  23. The Gabriel Method by Jon Gabriel
  24. Proud Wife by Kate Walker (Presents)
  25. Bossypants by Tina Fey
  26. Afterlives of the Rich and Famous by Sylvia Browne
  27. Kardashian Konfidential
  28. The Everything Thyroid Diet Book by Clara Schneider
  29. Master Your Metabolism by Jillian Michaels
  30. The Insulin-resistance Diet by Hart & Grossman
  31. The Everything Guide to Thyroid Disease by Friedman & Wu
  32. America's Most Wanted Recipes by Ron Douglas
  33. Billionaire MD by Olivia Gates (Desire)
  34. Beat This! Cookbook by Ann Hodgeman
  35. Deliciously Dangerous by Karen Anders (Blaze)
  36. Make Your Move by Samantha Hunter (Blaze)
  37. Cinch! by Cynthis Sass
  38. Once Upon A Scandal by Delilah Marvelle (HQN)
  39. Prelude to a Scandal by Delilah Marvelle (HQN)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Unexpected December

Hanukkah Bush
 I had so much planned for this month. Writing, of course, but also the holiday parties at school for my boys, Breakfast with Santa, The Nutcracker, Zoolights, cookie baking...I'd even intended a little Hanukkah get together for their friends today. And while the shopping for my kiddos is done, extended family gifts are not. And I can't just head to the store. Because...

Working the pole :)
I've spent the week in the hospital. After some testing and a scary phone call, a friend took on my babes at a moments notice, while another drove me to the ER. Where I had to wait for an hour. Made me wonder what scaring me was about.

Then we met with the doctor who explained diverticulitis (it's icky, don't click if you're easily squicked out) can be very scary indeed when it perforates, which is what had happened. Joy. They got my pain under control and loaded me up with antibiotics and stopped all eating. After a few loopy days, we tried liquids, but had to pull back. I've missed some fun things I had planned, but as long as once they let me out, I don't have to come back, all will be good.

Everyone, do something fun for me today, will you?

And Happy Hanukkah!

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Pink Heart Society: Wildcard Weekend : Favorite Category Romances of 2...

The Pink Heart Society: Wildcard Weekend : Favorite Category Romances of 2...: The Pink Heart Society celebrates all things category romance. We asked some of our favorite contributors to share with us the best category romance they read this year...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Las Vegas Weekend - Sunday

Though we were up until the wee hours giggling about how amazing the Katy Perry concert was, I popped out of bed bright and early. I escaped the room to spend some quality time with The Village People...the slot machine game. The cocktail waitress was a doll, bringing me both coffee and mimosas. I love Las Vegas!

Once I thought the other girls might have stirred (OK, so I was up $20 and didn't want to give it back to the machine) I checked upstairs. All it took to get them packed up and ready to go was the promise of brunch at Sugar Factory. The place is simply that good.

We spent the day exploring the free stuff Vegas has to offer - fountains, waterfalls, flamingos, lions, the live statues in the Venetian. We didn't manage to do anything on our agenda -- the roller coaster, gondolas, and CSI Experience. It was a bummer since I know the girls looked forward to it.

We did manage to laugh ourselves silly at Madame Tussaud's wax museum. We texted pix to one friend's husband and daughter...but they weren't fooled. Too bad, since I was all about getting my picture taken in bed with Hef!

Every time I go to Las Vegas, I come home with a list of things I want to do next time. I can't wait to go back!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Las Vegas Weekend - Saturday

Here's the part where I share what not to do on a girls weekend in Las Vegas when you have ADD.

Do NOT leave your phone in the car on the way to the airport. Then, your friendlies won't be too keen on letting you wander the city alone, since they don't have a way to reach you and they do not want to have to call your husband and explain that they lost his sugarmama. You have to do what they want to do, even if it is shopping and you don't like to shop in Las Vegas. (Oregon has no sales tax, so I don't like to shop anywhere else, no hard feelings Vegas, I'm just cheap like that)

Do NOT forget to put the battery in your camera before you leave the hotel room for the day. You'll have to lug around the heavy camera, and since it's your only form of distraction from shopping... your ADD will flare like it hasn't in decades.

Lesson learned. My frustrations aside, from the moment we woke up, Saturday was all about the Katy Perry concert that night. I may have influenced my lovelies to go to Sugar Factory for the best breakfast ever. And they might have explored the Forums Shoppes and Miracle Mile. I think we even managed to find a cute waiter at RiRa for dinner.

But it was all about Katy. We love Katy. Some of us went a little wild for Katy and bought new outfits. There were hot pink wigs. Feather earings. Lots of mascara. And a bedazzled bra.

And did we ever LOVE that concert! Such a fun combination of Candyland, Alice in Winderland and Wizard of Oz. The amazing staging and fabulous music came together to create a magical event. Such a great time.

After the concert I was too keyed up to go back to the room, but since we were in our own hotel, the girls trusted me enough to let me hit the slots. I got to spend quality time with my favorite game - Invaders from the Planet Moolah! I love slot machines. I always wind up breaking even, so for me they are like video games. Great for camling my frazzeled mind. The champagne helped too.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Las Vegas Weekend - Friday

After much planning, scheduling, and bargaining, my favorite group of desperate housewives managed to book a weekend in Vegas all to ourselves! No husbands, no kids... Heaven, is that you calling?

We packed a whole lot into our 3 days, which proved how much I love Las Vegas. There is never a dull moment in that city. Plus, since the town never shuts down, you can do as much as your lack of sleep allows!

The trip started out in style with a limo ride from the airport. Our driver even gave us a tour of the strip, and took our picture at the Welcome to Las Vegas sign.

After a fab lunch at RiRa Irish Pub, we headed to the Minus 5 Ice Bar. Talk about hilarious - I was expecting some kind of sexy igloo with a cozy lodge and floor length mink coats...but I got a walk in freezer with ice sculptures and coats and hats made out of muppet fur! The drinks were tasty and the bartenders were fun, but the chick with the camera was quite the sourpuss. I really wished they'd let me bring my camera in, the whole experience would have been much more fun had we managed to get more than one photo. The place is really only good for photo ops...and if you can't get that...

And then I got married. HA! The girls didn't want me to pack along my laptop, so I did some hands on research while I was there for the marriage proposal book. Checking out wedding chapels is a part of my job...not even going to pretend I didn't enjoy every minute.  

The first night we took a helicopter tour of the strip. I've never been in a helicopter and it was amazing...for me. It made one of my chickies claustraphobic, and another nearly lost her Irish pub lunch in her ice bar muppet fur hat!

Once our tummies settled, we needed a Pampas Brazillian grill. We magically got a private dining room and the servers came in with swords of meat for us to try. Faboosh. Definitely a place I'd take my husband or brothers to.

After a round of shopping, it was time to get this set of Mommies out of their heels. We're used to sneakers...or in my case...socks!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Pink Heart Society: Male On Monday - 12 Men of Christmas

The Pink Heart Society: Male On Monday - 12 Men of Christmas: You don't mind hearing about handsome men again, do you? Pink Heart Society editor Jenna Bayley-Burke is sure you'll understand her current...

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Pink Heart Society: Must Watch Friday :: 12 Men of Christmas

The Pink Heart Society: Must Watch Friday :: 12 Men of Christmas: Tis the season for Lifetime Holiday Movies! There is nothing better on a bustery winter day than cuddling on the couch with a good romance. ...

Primal Chocolate Bread

Apparently, the kiddos and I are enjoying primal quickbreads! We're baking almost every day - two loafs at a time! I love to bake, and the way the house smells when something delish is in the oven. And I love that my kiddos haven't even noticed they're getting less grains.

Primal Chocolate Bread

Heat oven to 325. Grease your small loaf pan. Mix together ::

1/2 cup almond butter
2 eggs
1/4 melted butter or coconut oil
1/4 cup applesauce
2T cocoa powder
2T honey or maple syrup
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
Pour into the pan and bake for 40-45 minutes

Primal Cheese Bread!

My new favorite recipe for quick-breads works for savory loafs too! You can only imagine how relieved I am. Makes me want to make some tomato bisque or broccoli cheese soup...or even a grilled cheese sandwich.
Primal Cheese Bread

Heat oven to 325. Grease your small loaf pan. Mix together ::

1/2 cup almond butter
2 eggs
1/4 melted butter or coconut oil
1/4 cup apple sauce
1/4 cup shredded cheese
1/2 t baking powder
pinch of garlic powder, onion powder...if you have it

Pour into the pan and bake for 40-45 minutes It good! Next time, I think I'll make it was parmesan and a pinch of dried oregano. Bread is back!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Woah There

Yes, I need to post about Las Vegas and Thanksgiving and such...but DOOOOD. The neighbors tree is in my yard! Yelp!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Primal Cherry Almond Fudge Bread

I love cherry almond fudge ice cream. I miss it, but not enough to deal with the post-sugar hangover. Instead, I tried to recreate the flavor in a quick bread. Since my standard recipe uses almond butter, that was covered. For fudgy flavor I used mini-chocolate chips. Now cherries...

There are two options. Soak dried cherries in hot water, and puree. Or, if you have fresh or frozen cherries, place them in a saucepan with a bit of water. As they cook, smoosh the cherries with a fork. When they are rich and syrupy, puree. Either way makes a tasty cherry mixture for this recipe, topping pancakes, or serving over simple sauteed chicken. Yum.


Heat over to 325. Grease your small loaf pan. Mix together ::

1/2 cup almond butter
2 eggs
1/4 melted butter or coconut oil
1/4 cup cherry puree
2T honey or maple syrup
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Once that is combined, stir in the juice from 1/2 a small lemon or a 1/4 of a large one. About a teaspoon. Pour into the pan and make for 40-45 minutes.

My little diva seemed to like this one best...but it could be all the chocolate. Either way, I'm glad to have found a way to lessen the amount of grains she eats.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Primal Applesauce Bread

After months of no bread, I seem to have an addiction to the promal variety. This version is amazing toasted with butter.

Heat over to 325. Grease your small loaf pan. Mix together ::

1/2 cup almond butter
2 eggs
1/4 melted butter or coconut oil
1/4 cup applesauce
2T honey or maple syrup
1/2 t baking soda
1 T cinnamon

Once that is combined, stir in the juice from 1/2 a small lemon or a 1/4 of a large one. About a teaspoon. Pour into the pan and make for 40-45 minutes.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Las Vegas Plan

I'm thrilled to be spending this weekend on a girls-only getaway to Las Vegas! I love Las Vegas -- the vibrancy and expectancy of the place. And this time I get to see it through fresh eyes since two of the chicas have never been.

We have big plans...which makes me wonder how many we'll actually get to on our adventure We each chose one thing to do...and I've been wondering what this says about our character...

Moi:: Minus 5 Ice Bar -- because it looks cool on TV. And I get to wear a fur coat and a Russian hat.
Tease:: Helicopter tour -- because we've never been on a helicopter, and she's never been to Vegas so why not see it in all its glory! (did I mention she has horrid motion sickness?)
J:: New York New York roller coaster -- this is my friend who went ziplining with me...she likes this stuff. It's her birthday, or I might skip it.
YaYa:: CSI Crime Scene Experience -- I think she's always secretly wanted to be a Charlie's Angel
Lass :: Brazillian restaurant -- Bring that sword over here, I want some meat!

I swear, we are all perfectly respectable, happily married-with-children ladies... which means we're due for some fun. Which is probably why we're looking to work in Coyote Ugly (think they'll let us Zumba on the bar?)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Workshop Notes :: Writing Sex with Delilah Marvelle

After missing my local RWA group meetings for an entire year, I decided I needed to go and check in with my local writerly peeps. And because this month's workshop promised to be a scorcher. After all, Delilah Marvelle writes sizzling historicals, who better to talk about writing sexy?

Here are my notes::

What really makes for an interesting sex scene is delving into your character in a way you don’t in the rest of the narrative. We are different people when the clothes come off. What changes when you are stripped down to basics?

• Have a plan with your love scene. What are you digging for in that love scene – kinky, steamy, rough, soft, emotional, make-up…what?
• Do a sexual arc for your characters. This is reflected in love scenes. Who are they and how do they relate to their partner.
• Be original. Don’t worry about writing the perfect love scene. They don’t always need a bed, to be completely naked.
• Use the language the character would use. Just because they are having sex, doesn’t mean they have a different background
• The end result is not the climax itself, but what the reader takes away from the scene once the climax is over.

When a love scene is written really well, you learn something about the characters. In a love scene you should be exchanging something unexpected between the characters. Some kind of revelation. Doesn’t have to be huge, something a reader would miss if they skim the scene.

Dialogue in a sex scene has one person – to express mutual desire and affection. Talk, look, be dirty. Humor is always helpful, makes things pop.

Less is sometimes more, especially when it comes to dialogue in a love sceen. You Tarzan, me Jane applies. Centers on looks, desires, feelings.

Erotic Inspirations – erotic photography (these images are from Duclerck free erotic magazine)

Love scenes should be a 3some not a 2some the writer should be that involved

Be a sensualist, find your inner French girl, slow your thoughts down and bring out those moments, make it special.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Primal Banana Bread

Last week's Primal Pumpkin Bread didn't make it a day, so more gluten-free treats were in order. And I just happened to have a lone ripe banana. In a house of nearly green banana eaters, these baby was heading for the freezer (chopped up frozen rip banana makes for great smoothies). And is bread.

Hubba Bubba wants me to mention that he can tell there is no grain in the 'bread', and that I should not be calling it bread and...blah blah blah. He's mad that banana won't be in his smoothie.


Heat over to 325. Grease your small loaf pan. Mix together ::
1/2 cup almond butter
2 eggs
1/4 melted butter or coconut oil
1 ripe banana, mashed
2T honey or maple syrup
1/2 t baking soda
A handful of walnuts

Once that is combined, stir in the juice from 1/2 a small lemon or a 1/4 of a large one. About a teaspoon. Pour into the pan. Top with walnuts (or chop and stir them in, but my diva doesn't do walnuts, so having them on top makes them easy to remove) and bake for 40-45 minutes.

Yummy plain, amazing with cultured butter.

I really enjoy having a baking outlet again. And something quick for breakfast. I don't always have time for an omelet.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Primal Pumpkin Bread

In July I stepped into the world of the Primal Blueprint. I'd read the book a month before at the reccomendation of my Zumba instructor, and a lot of the science behind it resonated with me. As did knowing that if I didn't get my metabolic syndrome under control, it wouldn't be long until I'd be jabbing by fingertips -- a scary thing for anyone, but especially a writer who taps keys with said fingertips for hours a day.

I'm doing well on it - 35 pounds closer to goal weight, fewer headaches and tummy troubles, and  my plantar faciaitis is even improving. I can't figure out how to make it jive with traveling - though watching a friend do it at the last conference does give me hope. Not enough to skip conference cheesecake this time, but maybe someday.

I've been on it long enough to notice the side-effects of stepping off the plan. The first few days after are like a hangover. Which always leaves me wondering why I stepped off in the first place.

I do miss baking, though. And eating cakes, cookies and muffins. My grandfather once told me that if I ate nothing but fluffy, flaky things I'd be a fluffy, flaky person. Now, he was talking about my odd obsession with fruit salad - the kind that is more marshmallow than fruit and full of coconut flakes. It was a joke. But it did stick with me, making me wonder if muffins caused my muffin top.

I've decided it wasn't muffins, but what I was baking with. I strive to be grain-free, and limit starches and processed foods as much as I can. But it is pumpkin bread season, and since I missed zucchini bread season (made it for the kids, though I'm starting to feel guilty for giving them grains) I didn't want to let another favorite food pass me by.

So, I found a way to do it healthfully. Without grains and an entire cup of sugar.


I use a small loaf pan...I think it is 3x8 or so. I make them small because usally they are just for me, and since there are no preservatives they won't last forever. But, my princess hasn't met a paleo bread she doesn't like, so I may have to up my quantity.

Heat oven to 325. Grease your small loaf pan. Mix together ::

1/2 cup almond butter
2 eggs
1/4 melted butter or coconut oil
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 t cinnamon
2T honey or maple syrup
1/2 t baking soda

Add in chocolate chips or raisins -- I've been using regular sized chocolate chips, but just found the organics in mini-chips, which would work better.

Once that is combined, stir in the juice from 1/2 a small lemon or a 1/4 of a large one. About a teaspoon. Pour into the pan and bake for 40-45 minutes.

Be amazed by the results, and don't expect the bread to last long. You won't be tempted by the Starbucks offerings again.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Private Scandal Review

Such a well-written review from Joyfully Reviewed. I wonder where Vanessa was when I was struggling to write the query letter for this book ;) She did a great job summing up the book.

  • Private Scandal is an engrossing tale which involves you from the beginning until the end.
  • Private Scandal was an engaging read that had this reader wondering if there would be sequels to tie up those things left open in the end.

 And yes...sequels are planned :) Thanks for asking.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Twitter Grammer Lessons

Twitter is educational. Yes, some people post it to say they are going to have a snack, but today there was a fab grammer tweet stream going on, all sparked by this Tweet from Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches Trashy Books.
  • Isn't it funny how writing lesson sticks w you? I.e: never leave "this" or "that" undefined. E.g. "there is so much bacon in this." *twitch*
Here are some of the great responses
  1. Grammar Rules: "i" before "e", except after "c" and in "Medeiros". Teresa Medeiros
  2. Comma before FANBOYS. For, and, nor, but, or, yet, so. - Vivian Arend
  3. Write simply. If nobody talks like that, nobody wants to read it. Amanda Garlock
  4. "A LOT. TWO WORDS. EVERY TIME." Elizabeth DeHoff
  5. HS English teacher had a sign on her door that said "Abandon HOPEFULLY all ye who enter here." Her pet peeve, became mine. Laura Curtis
  6. There is 'a rat' in separate! Jill Myles
  7. People are whos! Not thats! Makes me crazy when people say "She's the one that taught me" Or, "He's the one that got away." Sarah Maclean
  8. "embarass" only has one 'r', just like "bare ass". JenniB
  9. the difference betwen "principle" and "principal"- the Principal is your pal (but not really). Thank you, Ramona Quimby! RedHeadedGirl
  10. God created spell check for a reason. Use it. Christina Dodd
  11. In my 10 years as English teacher, I did not let a student leave my class without knowing how to spell "definitely". Julie Cohen
  12. Exclamation points should be used sparingly. You get maybe one for your whole life. Use it well. Christina Mctighe

  13. Apostrophes indicate a possessive, not a plural. If your doormat says "The Smith's", I assume it is labeled to deter theft. Lady Liberal

My editor knows I get creative with grammar, but maybe this will help a little.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Foodalicious : Cinnamon Rolls

Bread dough
Brown sugar
Icing (butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract)

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

This Week in Jenna Land...

It's NaNoWriMo!! I've had such good luck with the NaNo program. I love writing enmasse and sharing daily accomplishments. Writing is solitary, so knowing there are so many others out there trying to do the same thing I heartwarming.

This week I need to...

  • Write 8500 words. On a story I have yet to think up. Gotcha.
  • Get my hair did...I missed my last appointment, so I'm a bit dark and shaggy. The conflict? interferes with babygirl's preschool schedule. Gah.
  • Final soccer game of Happyboy's season! Can I get an Amen? Soccer seems like such a good idea when you sign them up, but by Halloween I can't wait for muddy practices to be over.
  • Volunteer at the boys' school. I know, no volunteering during NaNo...but I really like being with the kids. Kids are funny!
  • Make a reservation for Minus 5 Ice Bar for the Vegas girls trip. (Yes, I have a girls weekend during NaNo...yes, I'm skerred)
  • Finish blogging  ECWC
  • Figure out Tumblr. At conference it was a social media platform I hadn't heard of, and someone suggested I use it to do a photo a day to show my passion for photography. I wonder if that's too much pressure, though. I love photography...but my skillz are in the blocks stages. I'm not even at Lincoln Logs, let alone Legos.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Pink Heart Society: Deadline Recipes :: Conference Chicken

The Pink Heart Society: Deadline Recipes :: Conference Chicken: At every conference there is one dish that everyone laughs at -- conference chicken! The Pink Heart Society editor Jenna Bayley-Burke is ba...

Emerald City Writer's Conference : Building a Career with a Digital-first Publisher with Tera Klienfelter & Shelli Stevens

Anyone can have healthy mid-list sales. Build your audience with regular releases, work to promote yourself.
What builds your career is a backlist. Each new release boosts the sales of previous books

How much marketing does Samhain put behind their authors? RT, Smart Bitches, Dear Author, sponsor conferences, etc. Promoting an author is also promoting ourselves, so most promotion for Samhain is intertwined with promoting our authors.

At what point do you start to pay for ads? Shelli Stevens shared that she did it for her NY books and did not see a pay off. "I don’t think I’ve done it for digital first. Social networking seems to work better for me."

Tera shared "the majority of the books that I accept are more story and less sex. As it becomes more mainstream to have a ereader, the sales are shifting toward more mainstream novels."

Editing tips from Tera
  • Felt, knew, saw, heard, remembered, wondered can be removed.
  • Write with all 5 of your senses. The most overlooked sense is scent.
  • He could see the sun -> he saw the sun -> the sun shone

Tips from Shelli
  • Write 1K a day, 5 pages a day. It is a single title book every 3 months.
  • Readers would rather have a conversation with an author rather than seeing a website ad.
  • Don’t hit and run on social networds – e.g. send the link to your book twice a week and only show up when you get a review. Readers get annoyed by that.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Emerald City Writer's Conference : Author Branding with Angela James

Branding Magic with Angela James

Author brand – it’s not the cartoon avatar on Twitter, Facebook, websites, it’s not your tagline. Those are components of it, but brand is how you become known for your voice, quality, genre. A brand is a promise for what you deliver to readers every time they pick up your book. An expectation.

10 tactics to creating a successful author brand

  1. Consistently publish quality editorial – if there is nothing else you do, write good books. Excellent editorial is the only controllable factor in good sales. Learn your craft, listen to your editor, apply what you’ve learned. Deliver the best book you can write. Readers expect every book to be better than the last.
  2. Write in a consistent style – Not about genre. Strong voice, good story, compelling characters. Helen Kay Dimon’s banter and dialogue, Susanna Fraser’s historical accuracy. Find your voice, not by rewriting the same book but learning from each project.
  3. Focus on a genre or style – build yourself in one genre first, after you are well established you can branch out.
  4. Write connected books – there is a reason Nora write trilogies. They are money. Easier to market a series. Have a plan for connected books from the beginning. Have a marketing hook and a series name
  5. Publish connected books close together – deliver on time, do edits quickly and well, keep writing the next book and the next book so you have a steady stream of books coming in. do your part to make it easier for your editor and publisher. Don’t flood your market. Readers will be suspicious of an author putting out a book a month
  6. Spend time marketing yourself every week – you don’t have to do everything. Do one thing and do it well. Spend 15 minutes on Twitter or Facebook every morning. Write a newsletter – they are a powerful tool.
  7. Develop and maintain a good author website – your biggest supporter of your brand. You control your brand and the information getting out there
  8. Create a career plan – where do you want to be in 5 years. How many books, what genre, which publishers.
  9. Develop your brand statement – you don’t know what your brand is until you verbalize it. Think of it as a bio for your writing. You don’t have to publicize it, you do have to know it.
  10. Consistently publish quality editorial. Do not publish an okay book. It betrays your brand. Readers don’t start reading your books because someone else is publishing something similar. They stop reading your books because it isn’t want they expected.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Emerald City Writer's Conference : Does Size Matter? Writing novels, novellas & short stories with Susan Lyons

Size matters more in the traditional publishing world than in digital publishing.

  • The shorter the story is, the more straight-forward and fast-paced the plot needs to be. Consider using first person and present tense to draw the reader in more quickly and identify with the heroine.
  • Short stories are perfect moments of time, moments of connection, growth.
  • Offering a short story on your website as a free read is a great benefit for readers. A wonderful way to showcase your voice, or for published authors to build momentum for their novels.

  • Trust the process, write through the moments of angst, and get to the end. Completing the story gives you the confidence to know you’ll be able to do it again and again.
  • The longer the story, the bigger the ripple effect of changes during revisions.
  • There is a copious amount of information on craft for novel writing. Study it, but respect your own process. Try different things to find what works best for you.
  • Work on it regularly. If you let it go too long between writing, it is difficult to get back into.
  • If short stories are too restrictive, and novels are too time consuming, novellas may be for you.
  • Less time to conceive, write, edit. Easier to have more releases in a year.
  • Limited word count can be a blessing and a curse. You may plot our more than you have pages for.
  • Introduce the hero, heroine and conflict right away. Letting them have a backstory helps create a believable romantic relationship and a more relatable happily ever after at the end.
  • Limit secondary characters. Snowbound or island settings help with this. They are forced to deal with issues without the distractions of real life and other characters

Take – or make – opportunities to write different lengths. At different times in your life, different lengths may work better. You may find you like to ‘pants’ novels and plot short stories. Do what works for you.

Emerald City Writer's Conference : Picthing!

It's the big pitch day, where most conference attendees get to panic about trying to sell their story to an editor or agent. Thank goodness for us, the industry professionals are used to nutty writers. Most are allowing us to send pages so they can see our writing, and not our ability to pitch our book!

To help the attendees know who would be best suited for their book, the Emerald City Writers Conference guru's held a Q&A. There were lots of questions, but here are some of the highlights.

What are you acquiring?
  • Junessa Vilora, Ballantine - Romance all genres, women’s fiction
  • Esi Sogah, Harper Collins - Romance for all Avon imprints
  • Leah Hultenschmidt, Sourcebooks - Single title romance of any subgenre and YA
  • Tera Kleinfelter, Samhain - All genres or romance, urban fantasy, fantasy, science fiction with romantic elements
  • Angela James, Carina– 15K and up in romance and non-romance – everything from sexy to sweet and non-romance in sci fi mystery thriller. No YA, womens fiction or YA
  • Suzie Townsend, Nancy Coffey Literary Agency – middle grade YA, all subgenres of romance, fantasy, sci fi,
  • Jill Marsal, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency - All types of romance, paranormal historical category, nonfiction
  • Melissa Jeglinski, The Knight Agency– romance in most genres except scifi fantasy and paranormal
Charity auctions – are they worth it financially for the author. Do you spend more time on the critique knowing how much the author paid for the opportunity?
  • Leah – I do spend more time and only do Brenda Novak’s. Quality isn’t necessarily better, but I am aware of how much they spent and take my time with it.
  • Suzie – I’m shocked by the money people spend. It does get more attention, a deeper critique. They paid for it and I’ll read to the end and put together notes for them.
  • Esi – I do spend more time on it because they spend a lot of money and I want to honor it.
  • Jill – there are so many submissions usually we don’t have time to write detailed feedback, but we do that on auction submissions.
  • Tera – people email me, but never send it in.

What do you think about agencies that offer self-publishing to clients? Is it a positive trend or a conflict of interest?
  • MJ – Knight Agency is assisting current clients to release their backlist. We take our usual agency commission, not a publisher commission.
  • Suzie – a huge conflict of interest. An agent is an agent that sells books to a publisher. To combine those things doesn’t work for me.
  • Jill – we offer authors a choice. For authors that are too busy for formatting, editing, etc. we have a relationship with a company that does that.
  • Angela – self-publishing services are different than being a publisher. For agents who have worked with a book and the options have been exhausted, getting an agency cut on self-published books helps recoup some of that time and effort.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Emerald City Writer's Conference : Opening Day

It's opening day at the Emerald City Writer's Conference, and there's tons going on! After Bob Mayer's master class this morning, it was time for registration...and that means goody bags! ECWC collects the best swag. Between the goody bag and the swag table I wound up with a dozen books, candy, bookmarks, pens, pins, nail files...but the swag winner of the conference has to be Jayne Rylon's Kissin' Tonic. (It's gummy lips in a sour liquid candy...and wins for creativity)

We all have different swag preferences, so swapping items is a great way to make friends fast. Especially if you are willing to trade Milky Way bars for M&Ms.

There was just enough time for everyone to find raffle tickets and jot their name down on the back before selecting the baskets they'd like to win. The raffle baskets are legendary at ECWC. Everything is donated and all the proceeds go to charity, so we can all feel great about buying tickets and hoping our name will be called.  

Dianna Love was the keynote speaker for dinner, and she was insightful and funny and a true heroine we can all look up to. However, I'm now going to think of her everytime I hear that country song, My Baby Likes To Fish.

After our conference chicken it was time for Cherry Adair to celebrate the winners of her Finish The Damn Book Challenge.

Every year at Emerald City, Cherry encourages writers to set aside their excuses and just finish the damn book. She gives everyone an entire year to commit to themselves and the rest of the conference that they will meet the deadline. For those who win, not only do they have the glory of a complete manuscript, but they get special gifts from Cherry. This year, she arranged for a select few of the winners to have their manuscript read by an esteemed editor or agent and get a response in 2 weeks. 2 weeks! Unheard of turnaround in publishing.

The best part? My friend Mary is one of the winners! Mary is a breath away from getting 'the call'. I just know this is the boost she needs to see her dream come true.

Finally, it was time for Shelli Stevens to work her magic on the raffle baskets. My friend Jessie is a raffle expert, and buys enough tickets to assure she never goes home empty handed. Tonight Laurel won a Halloween basket.

And I won this huge basket of bathroom decor! To decorate the bathroom I haven't been able to fix up since we moved in! Huzzah! Cherry Adair donated it. I think she may be my fairy godmother.