Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Day of Quiet

"We cannot see Beyond...But this I know: I loved you so - 'twas heaven here with you!"

No blog today, in honor of my father's memorial service.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Trials of Switching Editors

“You can be a little ungrammatical if you come from the right part of the country.” ~Robert Frost

Some of you may know that my original editor at Samhain left last year, and now I'm working with a new one. I do really like my new editor -- she seems very on the ball, quick to return emails, and very, very specific in her comments and requests.

And as expected, I got my first round of edits for One Night in Napa yesterday. (I'm hoping this means a mid-2009 release!). Let me tell you right now: editors are totally different. I've had 4 now, between Samhain, The Wild Rose Press, and the My Mom is my Hero anthology, and each one works in her own style. My first one with Samhain would send me all comments (which were more grammar than content based) in the track changes text of the manuscript itself.

This editor, though, sent me a very long email with most of the content concerns/changes enumerated by page (which makes me think she's mainly focused on grammar in the ms.) Her comments are great, even if they do ask me to rewrite a significant part of the opening chapters (sigh), but also made me laugh because I never had a beta reader look at the whole thing. So she caught some content errors which are so obvious they're funny, can the hero be making coffee if the power has gone out?

Ah, well. Thank goodness for editors. Now I'm off to work on that darn blurb...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It Always Pours

Well, it's true in the world of publishing, I think: you can go months with very little to do, besides your own writing and marketing, and then all of a sudden you have all these deadlines at one time. That's how it seems to be for me, anyway. I just finished the cover art form for One Night in Napa -- am still working on the print galleys for One Night in Memphis -- and just received my blurb form for One Night in Napa, with a promise from my editor that my first round of edits are close behind. Yikes.

So the blurb...

I don't really like writing them. Sometimes the words come easily, but usually they don't. In 1000 words or less, I'm supposed to write something so exciting, and so revealing about my book and the style in which it's written, that readers will run to buy it.

While I was chewing over how to start this one, I pulled out my original query letter (well, one of them, anyway) for some help. And I realized that most of my regular blog readers don't have much idea what this story is about. So until the official blurb is written and posted, I thought I'd share part of the query today...


Grant Walker wants nothing more than to get out from under his domineering father’s thumb. But as the editor in chief for the most successful San Francisco newspaper, dad pretty much calls the shots, since he pays Grant’s salary. A series of interviews with the reclusive fading film star Francesca Morelli might be Grant’s ticket out, though, if he proves himself worthy. When Francesca’s adopted son ends up kidnapped by terrorists, Grant is there to get the first interview with a grieving mother. Just when he thinks his situation can’t get any better, Francesca’s illegitimate granddaughter arrives on the scene – and she hasn’t been heard from in seven long years. It’s the story of a lifetime, and all Grant has to do is deliver.

Kira March, a.k.a. Isabella Morelli, left her childhood home seven years earlier, vowing never to return after she discovered a terrible secret about her own birth. But when her father vanishes and her adoptive grandmother cracks under media pressure, it’s up to Kira to find and destroy all evidence of that secret. The only problem? A reporter has weaseled his way into the Morelli mansion looking for answers – and he isn’t leaving until he gets them.

With both hero and heroine fighting time, their attraction to one another, and their own inner paternal struggles, this novel invokes the classic tale of Oedipus Rex and forces us to examine the ways in which fathers can both shape and destroy us – and the lengths we’ll go to protect the family name...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Writers' Wednesday: An Interview with Linore Rose Burkard

Welcome to another edition of Writers' Wednesday! Today I'm featuring Christian/historial romance author Linore Rose Burkard, talking about her latest release, ...enjoy!

England, 1813: Romantic woes at home send Ariana Forsythe to her Aunt Bentley's town house in the fashionable Mayfair district of London. There she finds worse troubles than those that prompted her flight from home. Under her aunt's watchful eye, Ariana is soon steeped in high society--and at odds with Mr. Phillip Mornay, London's current darling rogue.

Then, unexpectedly, rumour of a scandal changes Ariana forever. Her faith and her future are at stake in an unexpected adventure that gains even the Prince Regent's attention.

Will Ariana's faith survive this test? And what about her heart? For it is Ariana's heart that most threatens to betray the truths she has always believed in. When she finds herself backed against a wall, betrothed to a man who cannot share her faith, how can it ever turn out right?

Linore, Before the Season Ends sounds like a fascinating book! What drew you to writing Regency Romance novels?

Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen books gave me a love for the period, and there weren't any Christian regencies to be found. I wanted to change that.

Where did you find your inspiration for Ariana and Phillip?

I'm not sure. I think they're both amalgamations of people I've read about and known.

What do you think we could learn today from how society operated in the Regency period?

England in the 1800s is a world away from the 21st century. Times have changed, but people haven't. Men and women of the time were concerned with their appearances, their finances, their futures, finding the right spouse, and so on, just as we are, today. How they went about pursuing these ends is where all the difference lies, however, and this is precisely where the interest and adventure opens up for writers. Bringing to life the means and methods of everyday life and timeless concerns from the regency. It is fun and enlightening as a glimpse into the past, but readers can also identify with the basic human need to be genuinely loved for oneself, no matter the setting or time period, and to be certain of one's convictions concerning life, eternity, and faith. Having said that, it is good to remind modern readers that valuing one's purity can be mainstream, as it was then; or that the struggle to find a true love and a sense that one's life has value, has always been a human issue.

What do you hope readers will take away from your books?

I hope my readers will feel as though they've been transported to the Regency for a good, satisfying visit; While they're visiting, they'll be reminded that God is involved in their life, and that happy endings are possible for everyone.

Any Regency romance is going to be compared to Jane Austen's novels ~ how are your books similar / different?

I don't think most regencies are written with this comparison in mind at all. However, other people say my book is "Austen-like." That is a huge compliment, and one I would love to live up to.T he sequel, The House in Grosvenor Square, is releasing in 2009.

Do you have more Regency novels planned?

My editor and I are tossing around ideas right now. I do have a few more regencies in mind.

What are you working on at the moment? A sneak peek, please.

I'm exploring whether to do a third book in the Regency Series, which at present is comprised of Before the Season Ends, and The House in Grosvenor Square. Book three would begin about five years later (about 1818) and follow the lives of a number of people who were introduced in the first two books. I would also probably introduce one new couple.

Do you ever bang your head against the wall from the dreaded writer's block? If so, how do you overcome it?

I do something else. If I can't write a scene for a book, I can always write an article. I can update my blog. I can't really force a scene when it isn't coming; I find that getting busy and doing something else is the best thing I can do for the book and for me (rather than beat myself up). One thing about having an online presence today is that there is never a shortage of tasks to be done, including a great many writing tasks. Since I write historical (regency) romance, there are always tons of subjects I can research and write about, putting them into articles for my ezine, or out there on the web.

Novelists sometimes dig themselves into a hole over implausible plots, flat characters, or a host of other problems. What's the most difficult part of writing for you (or was when you first started on your novel journey)?

I think for me the biggest challenge was to believe that I could write a novel in small increments. As a mom of five, four of whom are still home year-round (one is in college), having frequent interruptions is a fact of life. Writing takes a concentration so deep so that when I first started doing scenes, I would find myself getting woozy after standing up. I was shocked at the level of exertion it took to use my brain that hard, I guess! It happens less now--I guess I've grown accustomed to it. And I've learned to appreciate those small blocks of time. Ten minutes in a waiting room can yield a part of a scene I couldn't get done at home. Every little bit counts. I don't despise small beginnings. There are times when I'm in a deep level of involvement with a story or a character, and then getting interrupted can break the mood; but I'm getting better all the time at picking up where I left off, no matter how deeply I've got to dive to get back into the character or situation. For people like me with busy households, this is a must-have ability. I believe it can be the difference between making that deadline or not.

Some authors report writing 5-10 thousand words a day. Do scenes flow freely from your veins, or do you have to tweeze each word out?

In general, I write more than I need and later have to cut back. I don't use a word count, but I may set a goal of one chapter a day or two chapters for a busy week. Other times, I don't think in terms of chapters at all, just events. I may break an event down into four scenes, say, and so my goal for that day will be to get the whole event on paper. In other words, finish the four scenes. Life changes so rapidly with the children, that for me, a hard and fast writing goal just wouldn't work. And, I focus on results, not time spent. Instead of, "Now I'll write for three hours," I say, "Now I'll have this or that happen to a character, or, 'I'll show a different side to this person." When I have accomplished that goal, no matter how long it took, I feel satisfied, and only then.

Readers, would you like a sneak peek at Before the Season Ends? Check out the trailer:

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I've Been Tagged


Looks as though fellow authors Amber and Dayana both tagged me for 6 Happy Thoughts (thanks, guys!), so here goes:

Rules: link back to the person who tagged you, name six things that make you happy then tag six more bloggers and let them know, then notify the person who tagged you when your list is complete.

6 Things That Make Me Happy

1. Sunshine

2. Support from my friends, family and colleague during a very difficult time

3. Love from my kitties

4. Reading a sentence I wrote that absolutely nails it

5. Teaching

6. Waking up next to hubby on a cold winter morning and snuggling in

I'm not going to tag anyone in particular, but if you'd like to play along and post, let me know!

Monday, January 19, 2009

My First Conference Presentation!

"I only drink to steady my nerves. Sometimes I'm so steady I don't move for months." ~W.C. Fields

Exciting news: I'll be presenting a workshop at the Connecticut Romance Writers "Ignite your Muse" Conference on May 2, 2009! I hadn't officially sent in a proposal, but the VP of that chapter is doing the same book signing I am at Borders in February, and she asked any of us if we wanted to present. If you know my history as a writer, you know I usually jump at any promotional opportunity, no matter how scary, so I said "Of course!"

Of course, now that she accepted my offer, I have to actually think about getting up in front of people and talking about writing. Um...okay...

My workshop is going to be something along the lines of "Tighten and Trim," talking about how to eliminate unnecessary words, phrases, and scenes from a novel. Hope I can put together enough info to make it sound like I know what I'm talking about! Of course, I'm a teacher in my other life, so I get up and talk in front of people every day. This might be a little different, though.

I think I'm already nervous.

Anyway, the link with more info is here, so if you're in the CT area and thinking about a writers' conference in the spring, give it some thought. Maybe I'll see you there!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Thanks from the Sunshine State

Thanks for all the cyber-hugs yesterday ~ as I said, they really do mean a lot and make a difference. It's been amazing to me, as I do say every now and again, how a community of people can grow and communicate online. My Facebook page, the last week, has turned into a wonderful source of solace as well.

And now I'm off to enjoy some Florida sunshine, since hubby and I are down visiting with my mom for a few days. Since we left minus-ten degrees yesterday and stepped off a plane into 60 degrees less than 4 hours later, I'm pretty happy, all things considered!

Have a wonderful weekend...