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NEED YOU TONIGHT

Now available!

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RIDING DESIRE - Alpha Bad Boy Bikers Boxed Set

14 novellas for 2.99 - Available Now!

A NYT and USA Today Bestseller! 

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FIFTY FIRST TIMES - A New Adult Anthology

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CAUGHT UP IN YOU

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THE GIRL WHO'S SPENT HER LIFE RUNNING IS ABOUT TO BE CAUGHT...BY LOVE

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NOT UNTIL YOU

A serial novel - Read all 8 installments

ONCE A GOOD GIRL DARES TO CROSS SOME LINES, IT'S HARD TO TURN BACK...

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ALSO AVAILABLE

CRASH INTO YOU

Sometimes the past can bring you to your knees...

Erotic Romance/Berkley Heat

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~

MELT INTO YOU

2013 RITA® Finalist for Best Contemporary Romance

Her first love has returned, and he's brought a friend...

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FALL INTO YOU

He'll do anything for you, but you'd better say please...

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Entries in publishing (48)

Wednesday
Apr172013

A Writing Book Worth Adding To Your Library

 

So it's no secret that I'm kind of a glutton for writing tips, techniques, and insight. It's one of the reasons I maintained a blog for writers for over two years and still have the occasional post on writing here. There's always more to discover. I can never learn enough about this thing that I do for a living. (And maybe secretly I'm hoping to run across that tip that makes this whole crazy writing process easier. Ha! See, I'm delusional as well.) 

So even though I have a shelf full of books on craft already, I do occasionally let myself wander to the writing section at the local Barnes and Noble. This usually results in hours sitting on the floor in front of that section, skimming the books until I find the ones that I can't put down. This past weekend, I had a little time and went on a bit of a shopping spree, buying three new writing books. (I was supposed to be shopping for clothes. That didn't go so well.)

I've only made it through one of the three pictured above so far, but I wanted to share that one with you.

The Art of War for Writers: Fiction Writing Strategies, Tactics, and Exercises

Blurb:

Successfully starting and finishing a publishable novel is often like fighting a series of battles. You not only have to work hard to shape memorable characters, develop gripping plots, and craft dazzling dialogue, but you also have to fight against self-doubts and fears. And then there's the challenge of learning to navigate the ever-changing publishing industry.

That's why best-selling novelist James Scott Bell, author of the Write Great Fiction staples Plot & Structure and Revision & Self-Editing, came up with the ultimate novel-writing battle plan: The Art of War for Writers.

You'll find tactics and strategies for idea generation and development, character building, plotting, drafting, querying and submitting, dealing with rejection, coping with unrealistic expectations, and much more.

With timeless, innovative, and concise writing reflections and techniques, The Art of War for Writers is your roadmap to victory.

This was a quick read but it was full of wisdom for both new and experienced writers. Like I said in my review below, I pretty much love everything James Scott Bell has to say. If you're not following him on The Kill Zone, fix that now. : )

Here's my Goodreads review...

The Art of War for WritersThe Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm discovering that I just kind of love everything James Scott Bell has to say about writing. His advice is always to the point and eminently practical, and he gives great examples to boot. This is an easy, fast read but it's filled with great nuggets of wisdom. The last section is more focused on writers who are still aspiring to publication. But I found the first two parts, especially the section focused on craft to be chock full of tips I wanted to write on index cards and pin up around my office. A great addition to any writer's craft library.

View all my reviews

 

For other suggestions on some of my favorite craft books, check out this post:  Twelve Writer Woes and the Books to Cure Them 

 

What's your favorite book on writing? Or which craft book have you gotten invaluable information from?

Tuesday
Apr022013

The Writing Life: Knowing When to Say No and When to Say Yes

How can you resist saying yes? (photo via Dean Wissing - Flickr Creative Commons)First, a quick apology that I've been absent from the blog for the last few weeks. I hit one of those crazy stretches where I received copy edits on book 4, had to write teaser chapters for book 5, and got macro edits on the 8 parts of the e-serial all within a two week time period. And, of course, during that time, my kidlet got sick and had to stay home from school for three days. So needless to say, things got a little hairy over here. But I got it done (yay!) and it got me to thinking about what our personal limits are.

For all of us, no matter what we do for a living, there is a need to learn how to strike the right work and life balance. And one of the things that's most important to know in order to find this balance is when to say yes and when to say no. I'm notoriously bad for not knowing when to say no. Or knowing I should say no and saying yes anyway because I want to be nice/helpful/friendly. But if you keeping saying yes to things, it will crowd out the things you really need to be focusing on. And that helps no one.

But on the flip side, if you're too rigid and protective of your time, then you may miss out on opportunities that could've made a difference in your career or life in general. So how do you know when to say yes and when to say no?

Here are some things that help me decide.

How to Know When To Say No and When To Say Yes 

1. Is this request something that is purely for the benefit of someone else?

There are requests that you'll get that involve doing something for someone else and not getting any real benefit beyond feeling good that you helped out.

Examples: Can you critique my unpublished chapters? Can you donate a critique to this contest/charity/event? Can you hold a volunteer position in this writing group? Can you review my book? Can I do a guest post on your site even though I've never interacted with you before and you have no idea who I am?

How to answer: These are the requests that are lovely to say yes to IN MODERATION. It feels good to offer things in the spirit of giving and volunteering (and it can also build friendships and connections and community). However, say yes to too many of these and you'll be spending large chunks of your work time on someone else and losing valuable time you should be dedicating to your own writing and career. I've had to learn this the hard way. I said yes to too many things and ended up overwhelmed. Now I carefully evaluate each of these requests and the time it would take if I said yes.

 

2. Is this request something that could offer mutual benefit to both sides?

These are requests that may involve some of your time but could offer some opportunities or benefits (even if they aren't immediate ones.)

Examples: Can you teach a workshop at this conference? Can you do a guest post for this blog? Can you donate books to this contest? Can you offer a cover quote for my book? 

How to answer: These are ones that you can easily overwhelm yourself with because it's so tempting to say yes to it all. I *try* to say yes to as many of these as I can (and I used to say yes to all), but now I look at my schedule and time first. I almost always will say yes to doing a workshop at a conference because (a) I like giving workshops and teaching, (b) it exposes my books and blog to new people, and (c) I'm a whore for writers' conferences. But if I got too many requests, I'd have to reel myself in because these are big time suckers if you have to develop an entire workshop.

Being asked to provide cover quotes for books is super flattering. And it's often coming from writers who I already know online or have met, so I *really* want to say yes and help out. I know how hard it is to go out and ask other authors for quotes, and I've had some fantastic authors take time out of their schedules to be kind and read my books for quotes, so I want to pay it forward. But saying yes to too many of these can be an issue. You often have a due date to read the book by and inevitably, your own writing stuff will blow up right around the same time and then you're drowning. And it can get sticky if you end up not loving a book and not feeling comfortable quoting it. Hello, awkward. So I've learned to only say yes in a limited way and only for books that are solidly in my wheelhouse so that there's a high chance of me liking it.

As for guest posts, this is something that will come up quickly in your writing career. First, you're searching for people who will host you, then it flips and people are seeking you out. It's a good problem to have, but say yes to too many and that's all you'll be writing. Say yes as much as you can because exposure is great, but don't drown yourself in guest obligations.

 

3. Is this request going to directly impact your writing career?

These are usually the requests coming from your publisher or agent. 

Examples: Can you squeeze in a novella between this book and that one? Can you work under a shorter deadline? Can you try this experimental format? Can you change this element in your book? Would you be willing to write something in this genre?

How to answer: Yes, if at all possible (and in the case of changes, as long as it doesn't interfere with your vision for the book or your career.) I know this seems like a "duh" answer. Especially if you're not published yet, you're probably thinking, "Of course I'd say yes!". But when you get buried under deadlines and doing promo and trying to take care of your family and all of that, one more thing or project can make you feel like running. You may think, "I can only write a book every six months. If I take on this project, I'll be late on both and it will all be a mess." Well, maybe. BUT, have you really evaluated what your capabilities are? If I can give any advice, it would be this: Know your limits, then realize those are not static. 

When I first started writing, a book in six months was a feat. If my editor would have asked me when I sold my first book, hey can you write 3-4 books a year for us? I would've curled in a ball. How could I ever do that? But guess what? When I ended up with a tight deadline on books 3 and 4, I did it. And when my editor said, "Hey we have this new e-serial format we're trying. We'd like you to write one for us, but it means squeezing it into your already tight deadline schedule and there will be no wiggle room to be late." I said yes first and figured out how to do it later. And was it crazy and stressful? Yes. Did I have to say no to some other things from the first two categories to get it done? Yes. Did I do it? Yes.  Which means I was capable of more than I thought. But I had to say yes to force myself to find that out. And I'm so glad I did because now I have another great opportunity to get another story out there. If I had said no, the opportunity would have been passed to someone else. And if I had said yes to everything in category one and two, I wouldn't have had time to do this. 

So you need to protect your time like a big, burly bouncer standing at the door, but you also need to be flexible to take on those things that "move the needle" (as my hubs would say). Yes, doing things for nothing in return is wonderful and you should continue to do them, but no one should feel obligated to say yes all the time. Because oftentimes saying yes to others is saying no to yourself and your own goals (and family time for that matter.) Find the balance that works for you, and on the flip side, don't sell yourself short on what you're capable of.

Do you have trouble saying no? Have you found it hard to balance your own goals and career needs with the pull of others' needs? What have you said yes to that you're so happy you did? What have you said no or yes to that you regret?

Tuesday
Mar262013

MELT INTO YOU is a RITA Finalist!!!! 

So today I got some of the best news I've ever heard in my writing life.

One of my books, MELT INTO YOU, is a RITA® Finalist for Best Contemporary Romance Single Title!!!

See all the nominees and categories here.

For those of you who don't know, the RITAs are held by the Romance Writers of America and are like the Academy Awards of romance writing. So this is a huge honor. And even more special is that it's THIS book. Historically, erotic romance has had a nearly impossible time breaking through in the RITAs because there is no specific category for erotic romance. Therefore, you have erotic romances up against sweet ones up against comedic ones, etc.

So the fact that any of my books finaled is huge, but MELT INTO YOU is definitely my most non-traditional romance because it's M/M/F menage romance with m/m scenes included. So I was downright STUNNED that this was the book. Stunned and FREAKING EXCITED! And it really makes it extra special to know that this contest is judged by other published authors. There's something so rewarding about being recognized by your fellow writers (who are often the toughest readers and critics.)

And boy am I up against some great authors and books. I can't even believe I'm listed among them. And I get to go to the black-tie ceremony in July in Atlanta and wear a fancy dress and all that jazz. So yay!!!! 

Team Jace and Andre for the win! ;)

*happy dances*

Friday
Mar012013

Fill-Me-In Friday: Best Links of the Month

 

Fave pic of the week: A swan trying to intimidate me out of the last piece of bread. (Btw, this was taken at the park near Love Field airport, which is where I based the scene in Crash Into You with Reid and Brynn in the back of his truck.)

I haven't done one of these in a while. Mainly, I got away from them because when I was so busy under deadline, I didn't have time to surf and read articles, but also because I'm unsure if this feature was still proving helpful to anyone since so many people do round up posts these days. So let me know if you think these should stick around or of you'd prefer another type of post in its place.

Here's the great stuff I've come across in the last few weeks...

 

What You May Have Missed Here:

 

All right, so those are the best I've come across in the last few weeks. Hope you find a few gems. : ) Have a great weekend! (And let me know if you want me to continue doing round up posts or if you'd prefer something else.)

Wednesday
Jan092013

Should You Write That Potentially Controversial Scene?

Photo by CarbonNYC (Flickr cc)Writing any story is a risk. You're putting your heart there on the page, and people may hate it. And, of course, we want everyone to love our stories, right? But here's the thing: it's an impossible task. There is no book that is going to resonate with everyone. Even the greatest works of fiction have their critics.

So when you sit down and are writing your story and you hit that scene where you think--should I go there? Will this offend/freak out/piss off this A/B/C group of people?--do not cower. If it's right for the story and those characters, then write it. 

Inevitably, in each of my books there is THAT scene--one scene that divides my readers between two camps. Some of my more traditional readers think the scene went a little too far, and then my more seasoned romance and erotic readers declare the scene their favorite. It never fails. What one side hates, the other adores. Though, I do get a lot of converts over from the traditional side with each book, lol. *evil grin* But regardless, there's always that scene. In STILL INTO YOU, it's the scene with my married couple and Ian. In MELT INTO YOU, it's the scene between Andre and Jace. And now with FALL INTO YOU, it's a scene involving a "make me" role play between the hero and heroine.

Do I know these scenes may push some buttons when I'm writing them? Yes. Do I still put them in? Yes. Because that's part of what makes the story interesting. It's not controversy for the sake of controversy, but it's those scenes that make the reader wonder in your next book and keeps them guessing. If I always wrote the safe way, then you'd know exactly what to expect in each book. Who wants that? That's why I love Tiffany Reisz's books so much because I know she's willing to go wherever the hell she wants, lol. So as a reader, it keeps me on my toes. And recently, I read Reflected In You by Sylvia Day. I'm not going to give away the ending, but what she did there at the end made me go all 0.0  I was like--oh, she WENT there. And I loved that. It made the book so much better because she didn't shy away from a truly risky move.

So when you come across that controversial scene in your own book, don't worry about what will so and so think. Put on your big girl (or boy) underoos and write what fits the characters and the story. That's your job. 

Have you ever worried about a scene being too controversial in any of your stories? How do you feel when you run across those scenes in the books of others and it pushes you out of your comfort zone?