Welcome Wednesday … Jessica E. Subject

22898524_sNotes From a Romantic’s Heart continues our newest feature … Welcome Wednesdays! This week’s guest is erotic sci-fi romance author Jessica E. Subject who’s here to tell us a bit about her latest release, Taken by the Billionaire Alien Next Door. (Ed. Note: Isn’t that title just the absolute best!)

Because we’re nosy:

If you could become any one of your book’s characters, who would it be and why?

I would become Erika, because she lives out my ultimate fantasy, to be taken by a rich, sexy alien. Plus, she learns something about herself in the end that she never expected.

What was your biggest challenge in writing your current release?

The biggest challenge for me to write anything erotic is always the sexy scenes. I don’t find them hard to write, but when I’m editing, I often have to change them so they don’t sound the same as previous intimate scenes. I try my hardest to make them all sound different.

If you were stranded on a dessert island with ANY book boyfriend, who would you choose and why?

Lately, I’ve had a huge crush on Four from Veronica Roth’s Divergent series.

Speed Round (just to get to know you better):

a. Coffee, tea, or other?  Other – I don’t do hot drinks. Ice Cappuccino from Tim Horton’s would be my choice.

b. Music preference?  Econoline Crush

c. Favorite movie?  Just one? Um, Pacific Rim

d. Dog, cat, or other?  I have a dog, but I have had cats and many other types of pets.

e. Favorite author?  Ugh, of the top of my head… D.L. Jackson

f. Favorite actor/actress?  David Tenant

g. Favorite television show (past or present)?  Space: Above and Beyond, Dr. Who, The 100, … I’m really bad at picking just one. I get all antsy when I have to do it. LOL

About the Book:

Jes-tbtbaliennd-432x648Living on the other side of the tracks was a fantasy Erika never expected to come true. But when her mother marries an investment banker, she moves to a home larger than all her previous houses combined. While searching for her new stepbrother to help with unpacking, she stumbles upon his smokin’ hot neighbor, all alone in his mansion and busy at work on a… flying saucer?

Can Erika escape before he notices her, or will she be abducted by the sexy alien?

Currently on sale for just 99¢, you can find Jessica’s book here:

Amazon   All Romance   B&N   iBooks

 About the Author:

Jessica E. Subject is the author of science fiction romance, mostly alien romances, ranging from sweet to super hot. Sometimes she dabbles in paranormal and contemporary as well, bringing to life a wide variety of characters. In her stories, you could not only meet a sexy alien or two, but also clones and androids. You may be transported to a dystopian world where rebels are fighting to live and love, or to another planet for a romantic rendezvous. When Jessica isn’t reading, writing, or doing dreaded housework, she likes to get out and walk with her giant, hairy dog her family adopted from the local animal shelter.

Jessica lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband and two energetic children. And she loves to hear from her readers.

Jessica’s Social Media:

Website/Blog   Newsletter   Twitter   Facebook   Amazon Author Page

Taken release tour bannerJessica is currently on tour with her new book and would appreciate visitors at her other stops as well. A list of stops can be found on her website (listed above).

 

Thank you for joining us for another Welcome Wednesday author spotlight. Please come back on September 9th when our guest will be Vicki Ballante. Until then, have a great week!

Nancy

 

Welcome Wednesdays … Author London Saint James

22898524_s

Notes From a Romantic’s Heart begins a new weekly feature … Welcome Wednesdays! Our first guest is Author London Saint James who’s graciously agreed to answer a few questions, tell us a bit about her latest release, Claimed By The Bad Boy, the second book in her Bad Boy Fever series. She also has a contest for our readers to enter.

A few quick questions:

If you could become any one of your book’s characters, who would it be and why?

I love so many of my book characters that I can’t really pick one to become. Besides, all my heroines have just a little bit of me in them anyway. *Smiles*

What was your biggest challenge in writing your current release?

Deciding what to go with when writing the “Past” scenes between Ryker and Molly.

If you were stranded on a dessert island with ANY book boyfriend, who would you choose and why?

Acheron from Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter Series. Why? Because he’s a total bad-ass immortal who’s just sexy as all heck. Although, since he’s got some pretty awesome powers, I don’t think we’d be stranded for too long unless we wanted to be *Winks*

Speed Round (just to get to know you better):

a. Coffee, tea, or other? Coke is yummy

b. Music preference?  Eclectic taste in music

c. Favorite movie?  My Big Fat Greek Wedding

d. Dog, cat, or other?  Love dogs, I have a cat

e. Favorite author?  Way too many to pick just one

f. Favorite actor/actress?  Hugh Jackman/Meryl Streep

g. Favorite television show (past or present)?  Ghost Hunters

About the Book:

LSJ_Claimed by the Bad Boy_MDSomething always brings him back to her

Ryker Cage is a rough guy, with very particular tastes when it comes to sex. Rough, hard, and dirty is the extent of his repertoire. Never soft. He doesn’t have a clue about connecting with his sensitive side in the bedroom, or that find-your-inner-femininity bullshit. He fears nothing, except—his feelings for the sweet and innocent Molly Monroe.

The bad boy who lived next door claimed Molly’s heart long ago. Crazy, or not, she loves him.

Always has. No matter what he does to push her away, nor how far he runs, Ryker is the one man she’ll never stop loving.

When Ryker finally finds his way back home, will he find the courage to claim what’s always been his? Or, will he be destined for heartache when someone threatens to take everything away?

Buy Links:

Amazon   All Romance   Book Strand   iTunes

About the Author:

London Saint James has lived in many places, but never felt “at home” until she met the real-life man of her dreams and settled down in the beautiful Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. London lives with her husband and their fat cat who thinks he owns them.

As an award-winning, bestselling, multi-published author, London is living her childhood dream. She knew all the scribbling she did, that big imagination of hers, and all those clamoring characters running around in her head would pay off someday.

Social Media for London:

Webpage   Blog   Twitter   Facebook Author Page

A Giveaway:

Enter the Rafflecopter draw below for your chance to win an ebook or audiobook of Spanked by the Bad Boy (Winners Choice) and $10.00 Amazon Gift Card. Contest runs until August 31st.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations to London on her new release. Isn’t that cover gorgeous?? Next week’s guest will be Jessica E. Subject. Please come back for another visit. In the meantime, writer’s keep on plugging away. Readers … you know what you have to do! Otherwise, we’ll all be out of business.

Nancy

 

Arranged Marriage…What?!

Notes From a Romantic’s Heart welcomes author Valerie Mann to tell us a little about First Comes Marriage and give our readers a chance to win some wonderful prizes!

About the Book:

First Comes Marriage 99 cent saleWho agrees to an arranged marriage in the 21st century? Beth Malone can’t believe a date request with the 1Night Stand service morphed into an arranged marriage offer. But after a heartbreaking divorce and no knight in shining armor coming to sweep her off her feet, her desire to find that knight and have a family is looking more like a dream than a reality.

After filling out a 1Night Stand questionnaire worthy of the CIA, Christian Ramos is stunned when Madame Eve offers to arrange more than a date for one night: she suggests a wife! What the hell? And after his best friend Jackson Castillo stops laughing, he advises him to consider the offer. Between the fortieth birthday looming on the horizon and his Latino upbringing, Chris is forced to take a hard look at his life. Reality check—time is running out for what he wants—a family and a woman to share his life.

First comes love, then comes marriage isn’t part of their matrimonial situation, but neither Beth nor Christian anticipated the immediate attraction and contentment that comes with saying, “I do.”

I hope you love Chris and Beth as much as I do! Madame Eve definitely knew what she was doing bringing these two lovebirds together!

You could win $25 USD in Amazon funny money to spend on anything you want (heaven knows they get lots of MY money pretty regularly), plus I’m giving away a 3-book e-book bundle—you choose the great reads!—from Decadent Publishing, and a Decadent audiobook of your choice from Audible.com!

Only one thing is mandatory: You MUST purchase First Comes Marriage from Amazon before midnight tonight. It’s only 99 cents, but for the chance to win awesome prezzies…so worth it! Email me the receipt—a screenshot of the Amazon receipt or confirmation email is fine—BAM! You’re in the running for the big win!

If you read First Comes Marriage and leave a review, please let me know! I plan to give away ANOTHER bag of prizes to one reviewer at the end of August.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Valerie:

Valerie is the co-owner of a Decadent Publishing, as well as Wizards in Publishing, a company that provides editing and formatting services for authors and publishers.

Where to Find Her:

Email    Twitter    Facebook    Blog    Amazon    Goodreads

Manic TRR    Google +    Tsu

First Comes Marriage banner

 

 

Five Post-Conference Epiphanies….

I’ve been back from the 2015 Romance Writer’s of America annual conference in NYC for nearly a week now and the glow is definitely beginning to wear off. With the diminished light comes a few humbling realizations.

Epiphany #1: Missed Opportunities Can Be a Bitch

Smart phone cartoonI’d hoped to meet with other authors from one of my four publishing houses. Patiently, I waited for a text message on my phone. I checked the Yahoo message board religiously to see where they planned to meet. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. It wasn’t until the last day of conference when I started getting short notes from people I didn’t know wishing another person I didn’t know a ‘safe trip home’ that it dawned on me I probably should have downloaded that document sent to my phone, rather than assume it was spam.

Fortunately, I did make it to one of my other publisher’s dinners and gained two new friends in the process. Big win!

Epiphany #2: Some People Do Know More Than I Do

It’s a humbling experience to attend a workshop on a subject you thought you were knowledgeable in only to find out you’d missed an important fact or two. To make matters worse, you stub your toe on the desk leg in your rush to verify those facts the moment you’re back in your hotel room.

Epiphany #3: Expensive Doesn’t Always Mean Good

One of my greatest pleasures when visiting NYC is the varied (and usually delicious) food. My disappointment was profound. Given all the great restaurants in the general vicinity of the hotel, it seems quite ironic to me that the best meal I had was at a chain restaurant found all over the U.S. Of course, the highlight was, as always, the crème brulee at Sardi’s.

Epiphany #4: After All These Years, I Still Get a Giggle From the Silliest Things

LaughingFor anyone who’s been to a large romance writer’s conference, you understand the danger of getting so many women (and a few brave men) together … especially in an elevator. On Wednesday afternoon I got on the elevator with a young and very good looking man. He had his suitcases with him and I casually asked if he was checking in or out. He responded with a very exasperated “out”. Sorry, but I couldn’t stifle the giggle. I asked if all these women were scaring him away. And, if so, I informed him he hadn’t seen anything yet. His blush was endearing. Finally, he admitted he loved women … he just couldn’t handle the elevator conversations.

Epiphany #5: It’s Quite Possible Fame Has Eluded Me

I sat with a lovely group of ladies from the Midwest during one of the many workshops on marketing. When they noticed my PAN stripe (two were PRO, two were not), they asked if I was newly published. I replied, “no, I’ve been published since the mid 90s.” One by one they looked at my badge, then at me.

“How many books have you published?” one lady asked.

Proudly, I turned my brand new business card over to show them images of my two latest covers. Pointing to each, I said, “this one is book #20 and this one is #21.”

“Hmm,” she responded. “Never heard of you.”

It suddenly dawned on me. I might just be the most published author that nobody knows!

Until next time… writers keep writing and readers keep reading (and reviewing, please). I’m off to find my notes on promotion. With books 23, 24 & 25 due out by the end of the year, it might be nice if someone actually recognized my name!

Nancy

PS: Perhaps I should run a giveaway … just to get my name out there! So, here it is…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Only Robinson Crusoe Had Everything Done by Friday ~ Author Unknown

ProcrastinationProcrastination is a writer’s worst enemy. With tight deadlines for complete manuscripts, edits and galleys no author can afford to stop and ‘fool around’ doing nothing. Unfortunately, procrastination hits the author as easily as it does everyone else. Sometimes worse…but then it’s called “Writer’s Block”.

I’ve often wondered how other writers waste time, so I asked a few of my author friends to admit to their favorite form of procrastination.  Here’s what they had to say….

My favorite form of procrastination is sewing. Yep, I keep shirts, pants, and half-a-dozen mending projects set to the side for when I don’t feel like churning out the words. The words want to come, but my fingers don’t feel up to it.” ~ Landra Graf

About the Book:

RavenPirateAssassinSpy-200x300Once Upon A Time

Sorella Corvino lost her brother to The Cursed years ago. Sorella is so determined to find him, she’ll make any deal, rescue the outcasts and those like him, and risk flying into any port to rescue him. When her latest pirate efforts partner her with a bounty hunter who’s too charming, sexy, and handsome for his own good, she knows she’s in trouble.

Ian Marshall no longer believes in fairy tales…
Disowned and a marked criminal in the United States, this merchant turned bounty hunter, is one bounty away from freedom; and freedom’s price is handing over one person to the most cutthroat gang in the world, The Cursed. Yet, he can’t get to them without Sorella’s help. Too bad she’s gorgeous, aggravating, and a little trigger happy.

As the attraction mounts, the danger grows and the pair find themselves invading a skin trader den, the ballrooms of dictator-ruled Germany, and fighting battles in the sky in the hopes of getting everything they want. Only thing they didn’t plan on… falling in love.

Release date: August 21, 2015

Where to find Landra:

Website       Amazon Author Page

***

“When I’m stuck, I dig into research, figuring that learning new information may just jump-start my brain in the right direction. My current tendency is to research cultural courting and wedding customs to individualize my stories.” ~ Linda Carroll-Bradd

About the Book:

A Cowboy Celebration_200Forged By Fire is one of 7 stories in the historical anthology, A Cowboy Celebration.

Ivey Treadwell, cook at her family’s boarding house, wants to accomplish something big. For now, she satisfies herself with improving on the traditional recipes for the boarders by adding herbs and spices she gathers. An incident with a broken pan causes her to see Berg Spengler, the town’s blacksmith, in a new light.

Stigmatized for his huge size and blamed for his brother’s injury, Berg has discovered being alone is safer for his heart. But when he sees interest spark in Ivey’s eyes, he decides to take a chance and approach her. The pair discovers an attraction that heats up each time they are alone together. Will Ivey convince Berg his wandering days are over and home is here with her in Comfort?

Buy Links:

Amazon     Barnes & Noble    Smashwords

Where to Find Linda:

Website     Amazon Author Page

***

“When a book is not going well, suddenly every website link is interesting and must be clicked on. Every social media update is of upmost importance. And every e-mail must be attended to immediately. I don’t even recognize I’m procrastinating until three hours later when I haven’t written a word!” ~ Sara Daniel

About the Book:

SD_One Night with his wife_SMAfter a grenade took Marine Luke Cox’s leg and ends his career, he cuts ties with his wife to free her from the burden he’d become. On the day his divorce is to be finalized, he travels to meet a woman for a 1Night Stand date—a woman who doesn’t care about his missing leg or his sudden wealth from a business venture. However, things don’t go as planned, and when he arrives for his date, he’s still legally married.

Rosalind Cox tends to the horses on her cousin’s ranch resort, her love for the animals the only thing keeping her going since her husband turned his back on her. When he appears at her stables, all the longing and rising hope is crushed by the realization he’s only sought her out to gain his freedom.

She’ll give him what he wants, but she can’t resist taking one last kiss for herself. The kiss reopens emotions and attraction that neither can deny. To give in will only complicate the tangle as they try to unwind their lives. But even though Rosalind doesn’t care about Luke’s missing leg or his money, as long as he refuses to accept himself as whole, one night with his wife will be his last.

The Buy Links:

Amazon     Barnes & Noble     All Romance

Where to Find Sara:

Website     Amazon Author Page

***

“My go-to form of procrastination when I should be writing is baking. My grandchildren love it when Grandma falters on her self-imposed schedule. Unfortunately, it’s done nothing for my deadlines or my hips.” ~ Nancy Fraser

About the Book:

perf5.000x8.000.inddGo back in time with five delightful stories spanning the first half of the Golden Age of Rock and Roll from 1955-1959.

Love is a Many Splendored Thing – 1955: Will an army widow find love with another military man? Or, will their romance crash and burn?

Love Me Tender – 1956: Can a lady lawyer break the glass ceiling before a younger co-worker breaks her heart?

Wake Up Little Susie – 1957: Will a modern day woman be able to navigate the past, the man she’s fallen for, and a younger version of her grandmother?

April Love – 1958: Can the perfect secretary run interference between her boss’ family and the many women who want to bed and wed him without losing her heart in the process?

Dream Lover – 1959: What’s so special about Nanny #5? Will the bright lights of Paris be her ultimate downfall or the answer to her steamiest dreams?

The Buy Links:

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     The Wild Rose Press

Where to find Nancy:

Website     Amazon Author Page

Slide1We hope you’ve enjoyed spending some time with us and learning about our favorite forms of procrastination. For all the writer’s out there …. stop sewing, surfing, researching and baking …. and keep writing. For the readers, just keep reading. You are why we do what we do!

Until next week, have a safe and happy summer! Or, in the case of my Down-Under authors/friends, stay warm!

Nancy

 

Modernizing the Brothers Grimm … Not an Easy Task

How do you re-work a fairy tale titled The Devil’s Sooty Brother and turn it into a romance? There was nothing even remotely romantic about the original Grimm fairy tale … not even a happily ever after. At least not in the traditional sense.

The tale begins like this….

Antique bookA disbanded soldier had nothing to live on, and did not know how to get on. So he went out into the forest and when he had walked for a short time, he met a little man who was, however, the Devil.

The little man said to him, “What ails you, you seem so very sorrowful?”

Then the soldier said, “I am hungry, but have no money.”

The Devil said, “If you will hire yourself to me, and be my serving-man, you shall have enough for all your life? You shall serve me for seven years, and after that you shall again be free. But one thing I must tell you, and that is, you must not wash, comb, or trim yourself, or cut your hair or nails, or wipe the water from your eyes.”

The soldier said, “All right, if there is no help for it,” and went off with the little man, who straightway led him down into hell.

Q: How romantic does seven years of hell sound? (Okay, all of you married people…stop laughing!)

Instead, I placed my hero with a modern day ‘devil’….

Greedy ManReece yanked the door open and came face-to-face with an out-of-breath Sean O’Malley. It was obvious the man never climbed stairs or lived with a broken elevator.

“Michaels,” O’Malley said, pushing his large frame across the threshold.

“O’Malley,” Reece said in return, backing up but not giving way.

“My son tells me you’re looking for work. My sources tell me you’ve got a line on some top-grade cocaine.”

Reece shrugged. “Maybe. My contact hasn’t got it together yet. He’s been back in the country less time than me.”

“So, which is it? Do you want to work for me, or against me?”

Q: Who, in their right mind, wouldn’t want to work for an Irish mob kingpin posing as a legitimate pub owner?

I added a king with two beautiful daughters (just like the original tale). Only my “king” is the police chief and his daughters are “off limits”….

Reece stood. If he was going to help Mackenzie nail O’Malley and his crew, he needed to put some distance between himself and the police chief before anyone noticed.

“There is one other thing,” Mackenzie said.

Reece stopped a few feet short of the door. “Why am I not surprised?”

“My daughter has become involved with Billy O’Malley. I’m worried she’ll be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I need you to protect her, whatever it takes.”

“Lily? O’Malley’s crowd doesn’t seem like her kind. She was always far too ambitious to get involved with someone as rough around the edges as an O’Malley.” A self-deprecating chuckle escaped him. “Other than me, of course.” 

Abby and ReeceThe chief shook his head. “No, Lily’s married and living in Cambridge with her fancy professor husband.” Mackenzie lifted a picture frame from the corner of his desk and stared at it for a few moments. “It’s Abby I’m worried about. She’s young, impressionable. I’ve tried to warn her, but she insists Billy’s not like his dad and older brother.”

“I’ll do my best to keep her safe.”

A nerve twitched in the older man’s cheek, and Reece suspected he wanted to give a fatherly warning about not touching his daughter. He needn’t worry. After Lily, Reece wanted nothing to do with another Mackenzie woman.

They were far more trouble than they were worth.

Q: Just how long do you think he’ll be able to resist?

The end result….

20 Do You Want MeDecorated Gulf War hero Reece Michaels agrees to go undercover in order to bring down the Irish Mob. In return, the civilian life he’s coveted for the past six years will be returned to him.

Hired by mob boss Sean O’Malley to protect his youngest son, Reece soon discovers the young man needs more protection from his own family than its enemies.

What Reece doesn’t count on is his instant attraction to the police chief’s beautiful and willing daughter. Abby Mackenzie is the younger sister of a woman with whom Reece once had a torrid affair. He’s determined to not give in to Abby’s come-hither ways. After all, one Mackenzie woman was more than enough.

Buy Links:

Decadent Publishing  Amazon  iTunes

A contest:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

As always, your comments are welcome. Thank you so much for stopping by.

Nancy

 

 

Some Girls Do It All … and a Blog Tour Too!

MBB_TourBanner_TheMysteriousMrsPennybaker copy (1)

If you read this post when it first went up on June 22nd, you’ll know my heroine, Ariel Pennybaker, is a woman who wears many hats (and very sexy lingerie). Well, not only is she juggling her responsibilities and her two men, but she’s also going on tour. Twenty-five blog stops in one day. Even she might get tired! If you’d like to stop by for a quick “hello” here is where we’ll be:

 

Now, back to the original post:

From WWI Hello Girl … to femme fatale … to philanthropic socialite … some women can juggle many hats one after the other. Or, for that matter, at the same time.

Yet, how many of them can also juggle two very accomplished lovers?

Meet Ariel Pennybaker….

Mrs PennybakerBorn Ariel Trumont in the small town of LaSalle, Quebec, Canada to French and German parents. She grew into a beautiful and intelligent young woman with no idea of the twist her life would one day take. Just prior to World War I, Ariel and her parents moved from Canada to the U.S. Ariel went to work for the telephone company.

HelloGirlsAt the onset of the war Ariel, like many other bi-lingual telephone operators, were recruited by General John J Pershing to become part of his Expeditionary Forces. Their job was to translate communications between the American troops and their French allies. They were referred to as “Hello Girls”. Required to complete basic training and wear military uniforms, it would be decades before they were recognized as veterans, as opposed to civilian employees.

It wasn’t long before the Allied Forces realized Ariel had far more value than just that of a translator. Ariel also spoke fluent German and was recruited for ‘other’ duties over and above those of a telephone operator. Just how far would Ariel go for her adopted country and in the name of liberté?

Stethescope and bagWhile stationed in Chaumont, France, Ariel met Hershel Pennybaker, a handsome American doctor. Together, they formed an alliance in the form of a picture-perfect marriage. He would provide her with wealth and an enviable position in post-war New York society. She would act as his beard.

Fast forward a year and a half later. Dr. Pennybaker has died, leaving the young Ariel a grieving widow and sole administrator of the rehabilitation facility he’d established for military veterans. Ariel takes her responsibilities seriously and works very hard to raise money for the facility and carry on her late husband’s legacy.

Now, if she could only get laid.

18 The MysteriousA chance meeting with a handsome WWI aviator has her imagining thoroughly naughty thoughts. When a second man walks into her life, her naughty thoughts turn downright decadent. What better way to fulfil her fantasies than by sharing both men’s beds.

As tempting as the idea is, Ariel has a huge secret, one she must protect at all costs. And, it’s possible one or both of her lovers is not what he seems.

 

Buy Links:

Amazon   Kobo   Google Play  iTunes

Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed my preview of The Mysterious Mrs. Pennybaker as much as I enjoyed sharing. If you have a comment or question please click on the comment flag opposite the blog title or use the Guestbook tab at the top of the page.

Until next time, happy reading.

Nancy

 

The Eight … Yes, Count Them … Eight Stages of Writer Excitement!

As writers we begin each project with the plan of having our work published. Note, I said “plan” … not hope. If you don’t believe in your project right from the get-go, you will struggle throughout. Each writer goes through a process. It’s definitely not the same for every writer but, no matter how you handle the stages, some of the steps are similar, and every writer will recognize at least a few in another writers’ plan.

Stage 1: The Idea

34357356_sIt may come from a publisher’s specific submission call, or from an incident, object or person from real life, or…even…our own vivid imaginations. Every writer has that “aha” moment when the spark hits and the story starts. We get our thoughts down on paper, perhaps in the form of an outline. Or, if you enjoy doing them, a full synopsis. Either way, the seed has been planted and the process begun. The writer’s reaction: Let’s celebrate my brilliance. Get me a Bailey’s over ice … light on the ice!

Stage 2: The Rough Draft

You’ve followed your synopsis, or your mental or physical outline, and the first draft is done. Completing that project…even in its roughest form…is an accomplishment few fully understand. The writer’s reaction: A celebration is in order, whether it be a day off, a shopping spree, or just a Baileys over ice.

Stage 3: The Editing Process

29561859_sThe first thought? Why the $@%@# did I start this stupid thing? No…wait…this is pretty good. If I just nip this here and tuck this there. Who the heck gave THAT character a voice? Oh, wait, it was me. Morning review: this has promise! After lunch: what the heck was I thinking? End of day: Okay, quite a bit accomplished. The writer’s reaction: Time for chocolate. And Baileys over ice.

Stage 4: Submission

It’s finished, it’s worthy of the NYT bestseller list and now you’re sending it off to the publisher. Or, if you’re self-published, to your hired-gun editor. Either way, it’s out the door and ready for an unbiased and hopefully gentle critique. All you can hope for now is that there’s someone out there who appreciates all your blood, sweat and toil. Oh, and they also recognize your creative brilliance! All you can do is wait. The writer’s reaction: It’s been a stressful day. Someone pour me a Baileys over ice.

Stage 5: The Sale

Whether it’s by phone call or e-mail there’s nothing like an acquisition’s editor telling you … I want this! I’ve got a contract for you! You’re going to be the next Nora Roberts. Oh wait … that’s my fantasy! Still, it’s not official until the contract is signed and executed. Once that’s done you can squee to the entire world! FB and Twitter can be soundly flooded. The writer’s reaction: Damn I’m good! Double shot of Baileys over ice … hold the ice!

Stage 6: More Freakin’ Edits

CartoonOur mantra: these changes can only make it better, these changes can only make it better. We grumble when the editor wants to pare down one of our supporting characters. We LOVE Aunt Ginny and her eccentric ways. So what if she’s taking over a major scene. What do you mean we have to cut 2K’s worth of hard-earned words? I LOVE those words. The writer’s reaction: Screw the Baileys. Pour me a shot of whiskey, straight up.

Stage 7: The Cover Art

On first sight: No. I told you on the cover art detail sheet … my heroine’s hair is auburn, not brown. And why did you put that flower there? This isn’t a story about a gardener. An hour later: Okay, this cover has promise. Ten minutes after that: Wow! This is the most awesome cover ever! I can’t wait to show it off. Damn, this cover artist is phenomenal! The writer’s reaction: Let’s celebrate. Bailey’s over ice, please.

Stage 8: Release Day

The day every writer looks forward to. You’ve been planning for it ever since the final galley edits. You’ve got 200 tweets ready to go and a big post for FB that you’re going to share with every group you belong to. Plus, of course, there are the blog tour visits…you have to check on those hourly so you can answer comments. No sense planning to work on something new today. You’ll need to be monitoring social media all day. But, in the end, it’ll be worth it when your book is sitting in the top 100 on Amazon! The writer’s reaction: Just leave the bottle of Baileys on the corner of my desk and stay the heck out of my office!

Fortunately I’ve survived the process and reached release day many, many times. Each process differs slightly but, in the end, one constant stands out: The Baileys over ice (just in case you hadn’t figured that out)!

Upcoming Release Day #19 is June 23rd:

18 The MysteriousNew York, 1922

A former Hello Girl during WWI, widowed Ariel Pennybaker served her country proudly. She now carries on her late husband’s legacy…a home for the many returning, injured soldiers.

With her year of mourning nearly at an end, she’s had enough of her self-imposed celibacy. It’s time to get back in the game.

A chance meeting with a handsome WWI aviator has her imagining thoroughly naughty thoughts. When a second man walks into her life, her naughty thoughts turn downright decadent. What better way to fulfil her fantasies than by sharing both men’s beds.

As tempting as the idea is, Ariel has a huge secret, one she must protect at all costs. And, it’s possible one or both of her lovers is not what he seems.

Followed by Release Day #20 on July 7th:

20 Do You Want MeBoston, 1991

Decorated war hero Reece Michaels agrees to go undercover in order to bring down the Irish Mob. In return, the civilian life he’s coveted for the past six years will be returned to him.

Hired by mob boss Sean O’Malley to protect his youngest son, Reece soon discovers the young man needs more protection from his own family than its enemies.

What Reece doesn’t count on is his instant attraction to the police chief’s beautiful and willing daughter. Abby Mackenzie is the younger sister of a woman with whom Reece once had a torrid affair. He’s determined to not give in to Abby’s come-hither ways. After all, one Mackenzie woman was more than enough.

Both releases are from Decadent Publishing

In Summary:

As writers we have control (or at least we think we do) over the stages of creating, selling and releasing our story. What we can’t control is the reader. Of course, we hope we can gather a following, garner interest in not just our latest book but all of our previous work as well. The only thing we can hope for where the reader is concerned is that they enjoy what we’ve put out there and, if they’re so inclined, they provide us with a positive review of our work. There is no better way to thank an author than by leaving an honest (and of course glowing) review.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my little tongue-in-cheek look at the stages of a writer’s excitement. It was fun and in the wake of prepping for those two upcoming releases…a great way to procrastinate. If you’d like to leave a comment, please do so on the Guestbook tab at the top of the page.

Best wishes,

Nancy

 

A Fairy Tale by Any Other Name….

Blog Hop

 

Welcome to my stop on the Beyond Fairy Tales Blog Hop. Please remember to visit all the sites listed below for a chance to win great prizes at each stop.

 

The criteria for a great fairy tale is not all that different from the formula used for an engaging romance. Both require the following:

  • A sensitive, brave, intelligent hero—preferably good looking, or at least confident in his appearance.
  • A strong, beautiful, empathetic heroine who’s not afraid to kick a little butt should the situation call for it.
  • A plot fraught with angst, danger and attraction. Whether the attraction leads to a chaste kiss or a steamy love scene depends on your audience.
  • A resolution that is both enlightening and satisfying, not only for the reader but also for the characters.
  • And, of course, the Happily Ever After required of all great tales.

My upcoming Beyond Fairy Tales story titled Do You Want Me is based on the Grimm tale, The Devil’s Sooty Brother. More macabre than romantic, The Devil’s Sooty Brother is the tale of a soldier who returns from war to find he’s lost everything he’d left behind.

In order to make a new life for himself, he agrees to work for the devil and earn the money he needs to begin again. The idea of creating a ‘devil’ gave me the perfect protagonist for my story. Do You Want Me also contains a king who has two daughters. While not a huge part of the original story, the idea of sisters fueled my naughty imagination.

So, how does an author of modern-day romances take a fairy tale written hundreds of years ago and make it current?

Beyond FT 1I started by finding some visual inspiration for my main characters. Outlining my hero was easy…it had to be the soldier from the fairy tale…complete with memories and scars. In most cases, the next character I’d work on would be the heroine. However, since in the original, there are no female characters present until the very end, I decided to flesh out other aspects of the story first before getting a handle on who would steal my hero’s heart.

There were also certain requirements set forth by the publisher. The biggest challenge among those was the inclusion of a narrator. Nicodemus, the storyteller, is a must for every book. I admit, I fretted over how to include this ‘outsider’. Then, two glasses of Baileys-over-ice later, I had it! (I do some of my best plotting under the influence of Bailey’s and crushed ice.)

I don’t want to give too much away other than to say, I have a sexy, battle-weary hero, a feisty tease of a heroine, a devil of a protagonist, and a father who holds an important position of influence (a king of sorts).

I’ve also done something I’d never attempted before. I wrote the entire story in the hero’s point of view…even the steamy love scenes.

I look forward to sharing my take on this fairy tale in the near future. The summer release date will be posted to my FB page and tweeted as soon as it’s available.

My Rafflecopter Draw:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

In order to leave a post related to this blog (and part of the Rafflecopter draw) please use the Guestbook tab at the top of this page.

The Group Rafflecopter Draw:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Other Stops on the Multi-Author Tour:

T.L. Reeve

Bab’s Book Bistro

Gina Writes Words

Stephanie Beck

Vicki Ballante

Anastasia Vitsky

Dakota Trace

Sara Daniel

Erzabet Bishop

Louisa Bacio

Desiree Holt

Eva Lefoy

Jessica E. Subject

Nancy Fraser

VS Morgan

Taryn Kincaid

Cassandra Dean

Alexa Bourne

Jennah Scott

Sorcha Mowbray

Jewel Quinlan

Landra Graf

Zee Monodee

Tara Quan

Linnea Alexis

D.L. Jackson

Nicole Pouchet

Thank you so much for stopping by. Happy reading and good luck in the draws!

Nancy

A Picture’s Worth … At Least a Book Worth of Words

I’ve often heard other writers talk about how they use pictures to inspire them when they write. Whether it’s a headshot of the latest action movie hero, or a sexy singer, or even a god from Asgaard … if it works for you that’s great.

And while I’m well past the age of swooning over celebrities. I still like to use photos as inspiration. Quite often, when I begin a book, I’ll search my favorite stock photo site, 123rf.com, for what I need. I can usually find something to spur the imagination. And, if I’m lucky, I might even end up with a photo that’s cover-worthy.

As every author will tell you, the publishers’ art form is an important part of the process. Most often, they’ll ask for cover comparisons…another cover from their catalogue that sparks your interest. While I can usually find a few to inspire me, I most often attach links to the stock photo I prefer.

On two previous occasions, my stock photo became my cover.

Zack McCadeFirst, was the second book in my McCade Legacy series, The Lawman’s Agreement, from Entangled Publishing. I sent in this photo.

lawman_500And, lo-and-behold…the finished cover!

 

 

For my holiday novella, Pushing the Limits, also from Entangled, we went back and forth with ideas.

11064112_s12 Pushing the LimitsI’d originally proposed a single character (my sexy hero) dressed up as Santa. However, what we discovered was this same model had been used in other poses on a number of holiday books over the past few years. I didn’t want readers to think my hero was sleeping around so, instead we opted for a cute clinch.

 

 

Beyond FT 1For my current work-in-progress, my emphasis was on a sexy hero and petite heroine (although all my heroines have to have nice boobs). The story, a Beyond Fairy Tales re-telling of the dark Grimm fairy tale, The Devil’s Sooty Brother, is titled Do You Want Me (Decadent Publishing). My choice for inspiration was this steamy photo.

 

1NS 1I’m also working on a story for Decadent Publishing’s 1Nite Stand series. I wanted something uber-sexy to inspire me as I wrote, and I found this. Just as exactly as I pictured my hero…all business-like. And, my heroine…tempting as sin.

 

I’m still looking for visual inspiration for my next post-Civil War historical (3rd book in the McCade Legacy), but I’m sure I’ll find it.

Whether you listen to music, post photos of celebrities, or…as I do…scour the stock photo sites…inspiration is everything. Without it, we’d muddle through our work with no clear direction.

If you’re a writer, keep writing. If you’re a reader, by all means keep reading. You are why we do what we do!

Nancy

stack-of-books