Archive for the 'Contest' Category
Saturday, May 7th, 2011 by Lisa Renee Jones
Update: Hi, everyone! Thanks so much for chatting with Danielle! A random winner was selected, and that winner is…Lindsey Hutchison! Congrats!
Please email Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org and give her your address so you can get your book!
Thank you so much for having me on Danger: Women Writing today! What a fabulous site and community of authors.
As I’m sure many of you know, guest blogging has become one of the easiest ways to connect with readers. One thing I do for Sourcebooks Casablanca authors is set up their “virtual tours” for them (aren’t they lucky?!). My tours are a combination of interviews and guest blogs, and take place during the publication month of the authors’ books, to coincide with both the book being in stores, and blog reviews posting up all over the blogosphere.
After working exclusively on publicizing romance fiction books for the last 3 years, I’ve set up my fair share of virtual tours. Today, I’ve compiled some tips that I’ve posted on the Casablanca Authors Blog (http://casablancaauthors.blogspot.com) and modified them into one guest blogging extravaganza! I’ll also do my best to pop into the comments throughout the day today (and tomorrow if necessary) in case anyone has specific questions about promoting romance novels!
1) Give Good Blog: Keep your blogs at a conversational length—around 500-1000 words. Anything less than 500 looks a little lazy and more than 1000 can bog down the reader.
Tip: Remember to end your blogs with a question to encourage the readers to comment!
2) You don’t have to talk just about your book—let’s face it, mentioning your book summary and the blurbs you’ve gotten and where to look for it and where to find more information on you can get boring and repetitive!
Tip: One thing I like to do is have the blogger hosting our authors suggest topics. I feel that even when it’s something vague, it’s great to have a starting point to get ideas rolling, so don’t be afraid to ask!
3) But you do have to talk about your book—Even though I just said you don’t have to always talk about your book, your virtual tours are about promoting your books, and doing whatever you can to drive your audience into stores or to online booksellers and actually purchase your books. So, yes, have fun talking about your favorite song—but can you tie that in to your book, or your writing process, or something related to your craft and/or creation of the current book?
4) Sneak a Peek—Bloggers love it when they can say they have an exclusive excerpt. But, personally, as someone who reads book blogs on a regular basis for fun (not just work!), I think it’s a cop out when an author just posts an that’s it.
Tip: Be sure to explain why you chose an excerpt to share—does this reveal something surprising about the hero or heroine? Did something happen to inspire you to write it? Or maybe the research behind a scene was interesting? Let us know why you think this excerpt is special!
5) PROOFREAD!—Or if you don’t catch your own mistakes, find someone that can. I have most of my press materials looked over by fellow publicists, copy editors, and even people who no idea what I’m talking about, like my mom or boyfriend, to make sure something makes sense on a literal level.
Tip: Think about it—most publishers have copy editors and proofreaders on staff or an arsenal of freelancers… For guest blogging, I don’t suggest paying a professional to edit your blogs, but I do highly suggest carefully looking it over before sending it in!
6) Organization—This is more of a personal publicist preference rather than an overarching idea—but sending your blogs, whether they go to your publicist or directly to the blogger specifically labeled, along the lines of “May 7 Danger Women Writing Blog DJackson.doc,” makes a world of a difference! You have no idea how many guest blogs I receive that are “guest blog 7” or “blog.doc.” Nonetheless, this will keep them organized on your computer, my computer and/or the blogger’s computer when it is sent to them.
7) Say Cheese! Use a current (within the last few years) author photo—bloggers and readers want to see your dazzling smiles! Putting a face with a book yet another way to connect: what, authors are real people? Who woulda thunk?
Tip: I know for some of you, there are penname issues, and that can be worked around.
8) Be Social! Aside from my #1 rule (which is #10 on this list)—you MUST MUST MUST check comments. Even when there aren’t any, you should still say something. It’s poor internetiquette not to say “Hey Blogger McBloggerson, thanks for having me today! I hope you enjoyed this little bit about my new book. Readers, I’ll check in during the day to answer any questions and join in the fun discussion!”
Tip: Now, I know—you have a day job and kids in school and errands to run and deadlines to meet and any number of other things to do, so if you KNOW you are going to be super busy or are going out of town—let your publicist know, or keep those dates in mind when setting up your tour!
9) Don’t Fight with the Readers. If someone says something mean or disrespectful or ridiculous or rude and totally stupid and irrelevant, DON’T RESPOND TO IT. If you have to think twice about pressing save or send, DON’T PRESS THAT BUTTON.
Tip: Remember my mantra: the internet never goes away. Say it to yourself for a few minutes.
10) Have FUN! Guest blogging is definitely work—but it is something authors should take into consideration while promoting their books. And you should be HAPPY and EXCITED to share your work with eager readers—both those that know about you, and the new readers out there who should know about you!
As I said, I’ll check the comments throughout the day, so if you have any questions about guest blog or promoting romance novels, please ask away!
NOTE from Lisa: Danielle and Sourcebooks has generously offered an awesome prize bundle today! Look what one lucky commenter will get:
Yours For the Taking by Robin Kaye
The Heir by Grace Burrowes
The Legend of Michael by Lisa Renee Jones
One Fine Cowboy by Joanne Kennedy
Just One Season in London by Leigh Michaels (ARC, not in stores until July)
Touch if You Dare by Stephanie Rowe (ARC, not in stores until July)
Also– today is the LAST day to comment and get an entry for the Sony e-reader! So comment away! Feel free to talk about Sourcebooks you like or want to read or ask Danielle a question!
Wednesday, May 4th, 2011 by Caridad Pineiro
#37 – Using Random.org, I’ve picked a winner for $10 Gift Card, autographed copy of SINS OF THE FLESH, STRONGER THAN SIN Tote bag and an autographed copy of AZTEC GOLD.: Rachel Comment # 7 Please e-mail me your postal addresses so I can send out your prize.
I’m so excited to have my wonderful editor, Selina McLemore, here to share some fresh buzz from Forever Romance! Leave a comment on today’s blog for a chance to win a $10 Gift Card, autographed copy of SINS OF THE FLESH, STRONGER THAN SIN Tote bag and an autographed copy of AZTEC GOLD.
Selina began her publishing career as an intern for a magazine—Sesame Street Magazine. But soon instead of editing pages full of puppets, she was editing stories about heartache, heartbreak and the kind of love that can make you forget you ever felt any of those things in the first place. Now Selina is a Senior Editor at Grand Central Publishing, where she acquires literary and commercial women’s fiction and narrative non-fiction, multicultural fiction, and all types of romance. Some of the authors she’s had the privilege of working with are New York Times bestselling author Kimberla Lawson Roby; national bestselling romance author Jennifer Haymore; New York Times bestselling paranormal romance author Caridad Piñeiro; and New York Times bestselling author Stella Cameron.
Prior to Grand Central Publishing, Selina worked at HarperCollins Publishers and Harlequin Books. She is a graduate of Northwestern University, where she earned degrees in English and Spanish Literature.
Without further ado, here’s Selina!
So when I was asked to do this, I was told I could write about anything I wanted. ANYTHING. I thought about the customary topics, you know, the stuff editors typically write about: the kind of submissions we want, upcoming books, company news, etc. But I don’t want to do that. Or at least, I don’t want to do just that. Because sure, I do want readers to know that I’m looking for new books–lush, sensual historicals; dark, edgy paranormals; sweet, funny community-based contemporary romance. And sure, there are a lot of books coming out in the next few months that I’m excited about and think you’d love to read. But before all that, there’s something else I want to talk about: The Royal Wedding.
Don’t worry, it’s not what you think.
This isn’t a post where I go on and on about how much I loved the dress or the hats or Prince Harry (Well, maybe a little about Harry. Come on, how can you not love him? He’s the goodtime prince!) See, I was totally mocked for being so excited about the Royal Wedding. Not in a mean way—the teasing was all in good fun. But over and over again I found myself trying to describe why I was so enamored of it.
I loved the Royal Wedding because it marked a new beginning. Not just for William and Kate personally; it’s like a royal reset button for the British monarchy. Instead of royals entering unhappy marriages, having illicit affairs and trying to sell access to one another, we get a young couple who seems genuinely, happily in love. The even seem normal, in their own way. And so whatever is to come down the road, right now, at the beginning, we get to believe everything is good.
I like beginnings. I think anyone who likes romance does, too. Stories of people who take risks for a chance at a new life with a new love—or sometimes a new life with a former love, that counts too. I find myself drawn to novels that make me believe the characters are truly about to begin something wonderful, and in the next few months I’m lucky enough to have several authors beginning brand new series that do just that:
In July I have a new author who makes her Forever debut, Kendra Leigh Castle. Her novel DARK AWAKENING is the start of her new Dark Dynasties series. It’s the story of a woman who discovers she’s the heiress to a powerful legacy, and the sexy, shape-shifting vampire who vows to protect her.
Before I was lucky enough to be Caridad Piñeiro’s editor, I was one of her many fans. She’s kicking off a new series this summer too, when she releases THE LOST in August. THE LOST begins the Sin Hunters series, featuring dark, ancient magic and heroes with unimaginable powers.
As if that weren’t making summer hot enough, I have another new series starting in August, this one from historical author Jennifer Haymore. CONFESSIONS OF AN IMPROPER BRIDE is the story of a woman reinventing her life, and is the debut of a series featuring the Donnovan sisters. Trust me, wherever these girls go, scandal is sure to follow.
With that, I think I’ll bring my blog post about beginnings to an end. Thanks for inviting me to be a Dangerous Woman for a day!
If you’d like to know more about Forever, you can find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/ForeverRomance and follow us on Twitter @ForeverRomance. And don’t forget to download our free Forever Yours App, and put your picture on the cover of a romance novel!
Sunday, May 1st, 2011 by Jennifer Haymore
#37 – Per random.org, Cathy P. is our winner! Email me at email@example.com with your choice of format (ebook or print) and your address to claim your prize. Congratulations, and thanks so much to everyone who commented!!
I’d like to introduce you to my wacky, irreverent, completely amazing and wonderful agent, Barbara Poelle, from the Irene Goodman Literary Agency. Barbara helped me to get me my start by selling my first books to Grand Central Publishing, and sometimes I like to think I helped her get her start, too (but I’m sure she would have been just fine without me)!
Now, without further ado, heeeeeeeeeeere’s Barbara!
Jennifer: What made you decide to become a literary agent, and how does one train to become an agent?
Barbara: All my life I have been a voracious reader. My mom loves to tell the story about when I was reading Stephen King and spilled my kool-aid all over and it was just puddling and dripping and she said, “Barbie! You spilled everywhere!” and I said, “Just one more page, ma.”
And “train” is a funny word. You have to kind of approach agenting like you should life in general: With 2% Common Sense and 98% Balls. ( Can I say balls here or should I use a romance euphemism? heh.)
Jennifer: What is your favorite genre to sell?
Barbara: That is the best part about working at my agency- we can take on any client with any project that we have a vision for. So that means I can have the privilege and the luxury of populating my list with things that rock my world rather than those I have to take on to fill an agency expectation in a genre.
Jennifer: Can you share some of your favorite success stories with us?
Barbara: Sure! This one time I had an author we’ll call Shmennifer Shmaymore to protect her identity and I was able to sell the plot of her book to one house and the characters to another for a total of 5 books. Oh, and did I mention this was ON A PROPOSAL? That is still something my boss just shakes her head and laughs about.
(Jennifer: Hmmm…I wonder who this Shmennifer character is????)
Jennifer: Do you use an e-reader or do you read paper books?
Barbara: For work? My ereader, and my ereader only. For play? ALWAYS paper. ALWAYS. It is just how I am built. My husband and I have boxes and boxes of books in storage, as well as two free standing bookcases and a built in bookcase always bursting. I also love when we have guests and they can see our eclectic reading style and I am a HUGE fan of lending out favorites. Hey if I don’t get it back I can always get another. Travis and I counted once and we think we lent out and then repurchased 5 copies of Life of PI over the years.
Jennifer: What kinds of books do you most enjoy reading in your spare time?
Barbara: Everything. If Susan Casey has a new non-fiction, then I will run to the store and push people down to get it. Huge Anne Lamott fan. But mostly I love walking through the shelves and piling books in my arms and then choosing what to read depending on my mood. But I love me some bathtub romance reading, a habit I started with Julie Garwood’s books back in college.
Jennifer: What kinds of books are you looking for right now?
Barbara: Well written ones! Ha- okay I know that isn’t helpful. Mostly genre fiction, but again, I get to be open to what works I represent so I really am looking for a unique take on a familiar theme no matter the shelf space it would inhabit.
Jennifer: How can an author make her query/pages really stand out, in your eyes?
Barbara: By keeping it simple, clean and professional. I always say, get in and get out. Your query needs to tell me the hook, the book, and the cook. The hook: one line with genre and word count. The book: five lines of plot summary. The cook: you! And I don’t care if this is your debut just let me know why this book, why you, and why now.
Great advice, and THANK YOU so much, Barbara, for joining us here at the Dangerous Women Blog today!
I’m going to be giving away three books that Barbara has recently represented, one by me and two by a couple of writers/friends who are also represented by Barbara and who I deeply admire!
~By Sophie Littlefield
~By Kris Kennedy
A SEASON OF SEDUCTION
~By Jennifer Haymore
I’ll announce the winner on Monday night!
Saturday, April 30th, 2011 by Jennifer Haymore
#11 – Per random.org, Colleen is our winner! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your choice of format (ebook or print) and your address to claim your prize. Congratulations, and thanks so much to everyone who commented!!
And now we welcome Jennifer Miller, romance editor from Samhain Publishing!
Jennifer’s Bio from the Samhain Website: Jennifer Miller has lived in sunny Southern California ever since she earned her master’s degree in education from UCLA, but she is half Northern (Canadian) and half Southern girl by blood. After working in jobs ranging from investment sales to teaching to acting on stage, Jennifer finally settled into working with books—romantic fiction in particular. She has been with Samhain since early 2007.
Jennifer enjoys all romances with likable, interesting characters, lots of action, and loads of sexual tension. She is a self-proclaimed “conflict junkie” – her favorite books all contain powerful, seemingly unable-to-overcome conflicts. She especially loves books that make her sigh with pleasure at the end and believe in happily ever afters. She is a sucker for everything romantic.
The Dangerous Women group came up with a few questions to ask Jennifer, so here they are:
- How do you choose what to publish and what to reject?
That’s a complicated question to answer! I suppose I can simplify it…There are lots of reasons to reject a manuscript, but there is one reason to accept a manuscript, and it’s this: You love the story so much you can’t put it down until “the end”.
- Is there an expected “heat level” for the books you accept?
No. Samhain accepts everything from super sweet to as spicy as it can go. When I’m reading a manuscript for submission, the heat level has no bearing in and of itself. I do look at whether the heat level is appropriate for the content of the story, the characters, etc. I feel like I can tell when an author puts in more sex scenes because she feels like “my book needs more sex”. That doesn’t work for me at all.
- How can an author submit to Samhain?
Samhain has very specific submissions guidelines. You can check them out at Samhain’s website, and you can find answers to almost all questions about submissions on the FAQs page. Generally speaking, we require the first three chapters of the book and a two-page synopsis.
- How long does it take from acceptance to actual publication?
That varies depending on where your manuscript fits into your editor’s schedule. I hate to give hard numbers, but generally speaking, for my authors, the time ranges from 6-12 months.
- How much influence do authors have on their covers at Samhain?
Samhain has a great group of cover artists. The authors fill out a very detailed art request form, and the artists use that as a guide to create a cover. The author, editor and artist work closely to come up with an aesthetically pleasing cover that represents the book well.
- What is the most annoying thing that newbie authors seem to do with submissions?
Shall I count the ways? ( Kidding!)
But let me list a few suggestions for the new authors out there:
(1) Follow the submissions guidelines for the line you’re submitting to.
(2) Include a professional-sounding query letter.
(3) Please don’t email me after you receive a rejection demanding a critique of your story. We simply don’t have the time to do that–that’s what critique partners are for.
(4) Don’t take rejection personally. Keep submitting and keep writing–never give up!
- What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened in a Samhain office/meeting?
We have one editor who is quite talented at taking the most bizarre plots that have been submitted to us and turning them into Dr. Suess-type poems! It’s hilarious, but I dare not repeat any of them here…
- How many books do you edit?
I edit an average of two books a month. I’m considered a part-time editor. Some of the editors edit more; a few edit less.
I currently edit for the Samhain Romance and the Retro Romance lines. I edit all genres of romance and erotica, plus science fiction, urban fantasy and fantasy with romantic elements.
- Do Samhain digital books go into print?
Yes, if the book is over 50,000 words (approx), it will go into print in trade paperback format several months after the digital release.
- Have you ever had a book hit the New York Times Bestseller list?
Yes! Just recently, Samhain has had two books hit the New York Times e-book list. I was very proud of my author, Maya Banks, hitting the list with her book, Colters’ Daughter, and Shelli Stevens (edited by Samhain’s Tera Kleinfelter) hit the extended list with Flash Point.
- What edge does Samhain give their authors?
Samhain employs a great group of people dedicated to releasing the very best quality digital books out there. Samhain has great distribution, the royalties are top-notch, and, perhaps most importantly in this fast-changing business, it’s a forward-thinking company.
I’ll choose one commenter tomorrow to win the following Samhain books (a mix of genres edited by me!), in the format (print or digital) that you prefer:
-Hunting Season by Shelly Laurenston
-Colters’ Woman by Maya Banks
(Erotic Contemporary Romance)
-The Promise of Kierna’Rhoan by Isabo Kelly
(Science Fiction Romance)
-10 Days in Paradise by Dangerous Woman Dawn Halliday (signed!)-also published by Samhain but edited by my colleague Sasha Knight.
Thanks so much to the Dangerous Women for having me! Please feel free to ask me questions! I love to talk about editing, authors, and Samhain. Or just drop by just to say hi.
Please remember to comment on yesterday’s post, too, for a chance to win a free ticket to the fantastic RomCon Romance Convention!
~And don’t forget-all comments count towards the e-reader drawing May 8th!~
Thursday, April 28th, 2011 by Donna Grant
We’ve got a wonderful interview with RT Book Reviews Executive Editor Faygie Levy!
Can you tell us how long you’ve been with RT and what your journey from then to now has been? I’d love to hear about your role there. The staff or any fun tidbits you can offer about the making of the magazine monthly.
Hi Lisa, first off, thanks for having me! This is a great group of authors and it¹s fun to hang out with you all for a bit.
I’ve been with RT for just under six years. Prior to working at RT I was a news editor and award-winning journalist at a weekly newspaper in Philadelphia. I had read RT, then called Romantic Times, occasionally over
the years as I am like most of you ‹ an avid reader and always wanted to know more about the books and the authors. When I saw an ad posting that Romantic Times was looking for an editor to join their staff, I was sure we’d be a good fit. (There aren’t many other jobs that would let me be fangirl when interviewing some of my longtime favorite authors and help discover future superstars!) Since I’ve started there have been a lot of
changes, some dictated by the changing nature of publishing and some by our readers and some because, well, it’s always good to shake things up!
The biggest change, of course, was the magazine’s name. For years it was called Romantic Times and focused primarily on romance. However, if you’ve read the magazine in the last few years, you’ll have noticed that we tend to mix it up quite a bit genre-wise and content-wise. We felt that we needed a new name to reinforce our new mission find the best books in all the fiction genres that women (as we still cater primarily to women readers) will want to read. That means we’ve been able to do profiles and interviews with authors in many different genres and give our readership a real sense of the best of genre fiction. As an avid romance reader myself, I don’t think that most romance readers read romance exclusively. Rather, I believe that women will read a great story first and foremost and that is what RT likes to concentrate on.
My job in particular is to come up with the editorial content that runs in the magazine by finding new trends in publishing, new authors, people and things that readers are buzzing about or should be buzzing about. Needless to say I spend a lot of time online reading blogs and industry sites and combing through books for what’s hot and what’s not. My colleagues Managing Editor Liz French, Senior Editor/Reviews Coordinator Stephanie Klose and Senior Editor Elissa Petruzzi are really great about keeping an eye on what’s going on and coming up with fantastic ideas for stories and people to interview, etc. And since we all have different tastes they often uncover ideas long before I would.
I started in small press and one thing I’ve always loved about RT was how readily they supported new writers. Now that small press has become selfpublishing, how is RT changing to accommodate the new wave of writes and readers finding their books electronically rather than on bookshelves?
I’m glad you asked this question as one of the things RT’s publisher, Carol Stacy, likes to say is that RT supports all writers regardless who their publisher is. And this is one of those areas that RT has certainly taken the
lead in over the years. Though it was before my tenure at the magazine, I know RT was at the forefront of providing a voice, by way of editorial coverage and reviews, to small, independent start up presses like Red Sage, Ellora’s Cave and Samhain. And we continue that tradition today by including companies like Carina.
And we’ve been mulling about the self-publishing industry and how to handle that as well. I actually did a piece in the February issue of the magazine about how New York published authors are self-publishing books their publishing houses didn’t want, and for the upcoming August issue my colleague Elissa has written a comprehensive article about the growth of self-publishing, who’s doing it and why, and what it means for both author and reader. It is a great piece, that anyone curious about what self-publishing is or if it’s right for them should definitely read. And in the September issue, we’ll be continuing our ongoing look at self-publishing
by focusing on the authors who are reissuing their backlists on their own.
We’re also launching a new column, though it is still untitled as of yet, where we will highlight several self-published books each month. Some of the books will be by names romance readers are already familiar with and some will be newcomers who are breaking out in the self-pubbed world.
One question — if an author advertises their self-published book in an RT Co-op, can they get that book reviewed?
We love advertisers! We have heard from numerous authors who say their book got an unexpected bump in sales and the only thing they did differently for that particular book was advertise in RT. So exposure-wise this definitely a good resource. Besides, there aren¹t many other magazines that will give you access to tens of thousands of people who in this economy continue to buy dozens of books each month.
And we know our readers love the advertisements! We have several readers who will call us asking where the review of a particular title is because they love the book and can’t find the review, which may just be in a different issue because of publishing deadlines.
As for promising anything … I don¹t make guarantees on anything editorial related, however appropriate advertised books do get priority slots in the reviews. I do want to add that you don¹t need to advertise to get a review in RT, however, we do have a only a limited number of slots each month for reviews so we can’t do all the books we get even if we¹d like to.
How can readers get the magazine?
RT Book Reviews is available in many bookstores ‹ both chain stores like Barnes and Noble and independent, local shops. It is also available by subscription. The magazine comes out monthly and, for those unfamiliar with it, includes upwards of 250 reviews each month, plus author interviews, publishing news, genre trends and more. A year subscription costs $29.95 and includes not only the 12 issues, but also early access to the upcoming reviews and special subscriber-only features on the RT website at RTBookReviews.com.
When and where is the next RT convention and can you give us any hints about what to expect? And why would a reader/writer want to attend?
The RT Booklovers Convention is an annual gathering for avid readers. It is held every year in a different city, earlier this month the 2011 convention was held in Los Angeles. Next year, we¹re heading just slightly west to the Windy City! The Chicago convention will be held from April 11-15. We’ve already started planning next year and it should be fantastic!
The reasons to attend will vary by individual, but one of the big draws for readers is the chance to meet more than 350 authors of genre fiction primarily romance, though we definitely have some sci-fi, suspense and
thriller authors who attend in a relaxed and fun setting. Readers will also enjoy all the free books that publishers provide to attendees, some come in the registration bag, but you can collect others throughout the
convention. (I believe this year readers took home more than 20 free books from convention!) There are also plenty of workshops and parties to enjoy! All of which makes for a fun time.
For authors, I think the convention is really a place where they can really engage their fans and find new readers. From being on panels to signing at the book fair to sponsoring parties and mixers (as an individual or as part of a group) there are plenty of ways to get your name and your book in front of readers and hopefully grow your readership.
I think sometimes we in the industry forget how much readers want to spend even a few minutes getting to meet us and say hi. Plus, as authors, where
else can you go to reach hundreds of readers face to face? (I actually got to meet Catherine Coulter, one of my longtime faves, for the first time at this year’s RT convention!) The convention really gives you place where you can make those connections.
RT is gracious enough to be giving away five (5) copies of the magazine to five lucky winners! So be sure and comment for your chance to win!!!
Saturday, April 23rd, 2011 by Jennifer Haymore
#17 – Michelle is our winner! Email me at email@example.com with your address to claim your prize. Congratulations, and thanks so much to everyone who commented! What awesome family traditions you all have!
*****************************Thanks, everyone, for sharing your favorite seasons with us yesterday! All four seasons were well represented, and I loved how you all reminded me of the special things about each of the seasons!
I spent the day yesterday playing with the kids and decorating for Easter. I remembered making an Easter Bunny cake with my grandma when I was little, so I went online and Googled “bunny cake.” We ended up making the cutest cake from Betty Crocker online–and it was so easy! Some friends came over, and we had a blast decorating three dozen eggs.
Today, after my son’s baseball game, it’s off to shop for goodies for the Great Easter Egg hunt, which we haven’t had for a couple of years, since we haven’t been at home during Easter.
Sometimes I get so caught up in the crazy busyness of my life that I forget how important it is to make memories with my kids. I hope that someday they grow up and remember the adorable little bunny cake we made, and they make one with their own children. I think I’m going to make a pact with myself to do these little special things with them more often.
What are some fond memories you have of your own childhood? Or, if you have kids, what are some memories you’ve made with them?
I’ll pick one commenter on Monday morning to win the following:
Signed copies of
A Hint of Wicked, A Touch of Scandal,
and A Season of Seduction
And a couple of awesome products to pamper yourself with from Laura Mercier:
Crème Brûlée Sugar Scrub, 12 oz.
Crème Brûlée Hand Crème, 2 oz.
Friday, April 22nd, 2011 by Jennifer Haymore
#34 – Susan is our winner! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your address to claim your prize. Congratulations, and thanks so much to everyone who commented!!
I’m sitting in my office literally watching the bunnies and squirrels frolicking in my yard. Last week, we had a mother duck and her twelve ducklings take residence in our pool (Long story short–I was afraid the chlorine wasn’t good for them and my kids relocated them to a nearby stream. I just hope the coyotes didn’t get them!). The flower bulbs are starting to bloom and the bumblebees are buzzing around the wisteria, which smells like heaven.
Ahhh…spring is here! I’m hoping all of you are enjoying it as much as I am, and if spring hasn’t sprung in your neck of the woods yet, I hope it comes soon!
Even though I’m really enjoying this spring, summer is definitely my favorite season. There’s nothing that beats nonstop warmth and a blazing sun! I adore beach weather!
On the writing front, I’m busily typing away on deadline for my next book. And I have a surprise for you all! It’s the world premiere of the cover of my summer release, Sins of the Highlander. I haven’t even posted it on my website yet! Check it out! Isn’t it pretty?
Sins of the Highlander is one of my favorite stories. It’s a story of friends who fall in love, but the disparity in their social statuses prevents them from being together. With a hot Highland warrior hero, the sparks really fly in this one. Yum!
I can’t wait until Sins of the Highlander releases. I’m really looking forward to summer for lots of reasons! What’s your favorite season and why? At the end of the day, I’ll pick one commenter to win the following:
Highland Obsession signed by me!
Highland Surrender signed by me!
Bath & Body Works Japanese Cherry Blossom Lotion, 7 oz.
Bath & Body Works Sweet Pea Body Butter, 1.7 oz.
And a bit of fun swag…
Hugs, and I hope all of you have a wonderful Easter weekend!
Thursday, April 21st, 2011 by Donna Grant
#12 – Colleen is our WINNER! Email me at email@example.com with your address to claim your prize. CONGRATS!
Morning, all! My wonderful, amazing agent, Emily Sylvan Kim, was supposed to be here this morning, but life has gotten in the way and she’s unable to make it. So, I’m stepping in for her.
The other day I got this curious email from a review site that said one of their reviewers was bashed for reading romance. They asked if I would be willing to write a blog on “Redeeming Romance”. My answer was, of course, a resounding yes!
But that got me thinking. Romance is the biggest and largest selling genre out there. They put our section in the back so readers will have to walk through other books (with the hopes that some other books might catch their eye) in order to get to ours. Booksellers know how well romance sells. They know that readers will go into a store and not just buy one book. They buy several. So, in a way its a smart business move.
Yet for all our sales, people still view romance as some nasty, embarrassing thing to read. The “bodice-ripper” is long gone, but that connotation is still around. As I stated in my blog for the review site, I changed a lot of people’s opinions by simply pointing out what romance is.
Romance is about the journey of two people. It’s an inner journey where they find themselves and love. It’s a journey that can be fraught with danger, most of the times villains out to get them, but always, always, there is a “Happily Ever After” in the end. No matter what the characters go through, no matter how heart wrenching, you know as a reader, that in the end, they’ll end up together.
After mentioning to the many macho guys around me that most movies/TV shoes/books have a romantic element in them, they began to see things differently. Of course, it didn’t happen over night. My hubby, who is awesome, helped me by pointing out that romance/relationships are a part of life so they would be in everything. Most of the guys changed their way of thinking, and even a few went and bought my books to read (and had me sign them. )
It just goes to prove that there is a stigma on romance still. Some say the covers don’t help. But, honestly, I love the clench covers. I want to see a hot guy on my covers. lol. In the end, it comes down to readers who are willing to stand up for what they love to read, to tell people it isn’t porn. It’s a story of love, of adventure and intrigue, of discovering characters who make you root for them and cry for them and laugh with them. It’s about being taken away from the daily grind to a place whether in Medieval Scotland, a futuristic world, a contemporary setting, or a fantasy world that makes you fall in love with the characters and know that love does indeed exist.
Tell me why do you read romance?
I’ll choose someone for a signed copy of the second book in my Dark Sword series, FORBIDDEN HIGHLANDER! And look for my next book, UNTAMED HIGHLANDER on April 26th!
Wednesday, April 20th, 2011 by Caridad Pineiro
#37 – Using Random.org, I’ve picked a winner for copies of THE CALLING Vampire novels, namely, DANGER CALLS, TEMPTATION CALLS and FURY CALLS: Sewicked Please e-mail me your postal addresses so I can send out your prize.
Today we’ve got a very special guest, Stacy Boyd, Senior Editor for Harlequin Desire and also my (Caridad’s) wonderful editor! Stacy is here to give us some hints on how to create a winning novel for Desire. We’d love to hear what you like about Desire or feel free to post any questions you may have about the Desire line or writing for Harlequin. Finally, we’ll pick one lucky commenter to win copies of some of the books that Caridad and Stacy have worked on together from THE CALLING Vampire novels, namely, DANGER CALLS, TEMPTATION CALLS and FURY CALLS!
Without further ado, here’s Stacy!
Seven Tips for Creating the Perfect Harlequin Desire Submission
1. Hook your reader right away!
Write a really great first line, first paragraph, first chapter. Readers, and editors, want to be invested in the characters, their conflicts and/or the premise right away.
2. Create a story with high stakes and lots of conflict.
In Desire, we love lots of sensual tension and romantic conflict, and there should be strong and believable reasons that the hero and heroine are at odds, as well as believable sensual attraction that makes them want to resolve their differences.
3. Develop an alpha hero with a heart of gold.
Desire heroes are sexy, powerful alphas with a core of emotional vulnerability. The hero may seem tough and stoic, but underneath that hard exterior, the reader can sympathize with the hero’s motives and flaws.
4. Surprise us!
Know your genre. Play with it. Make your reader feel like she’s never read anything like your book before. A surprise in the plotline, in the story’s execution, in the character development or in the author’s style and voice can really make a writer stand out from the crowd.
5. Be professional.
Successful Desire authors tend to write quickly, consistently and well. Including your publishing history and other relevant experience in your query letter, along with a short summary of your book, is the best way to introduce yourself. We look for writers we can build long-term, so let the editors know if you have more story ideas in the works.
6. Be a reader.
Read as much as you can, write what you love, keep honing your craft and maintain an attitude of persistence and professionalism.
7. Do your research.
If you’re interested in writing for Desire, you can find our guidelines on Harlequin.com, and you can speak with our authors, readers and editors by following us on Twitter (@DesireEditors) or “liking” us on Facebook (facebook.com/harlequindesire).
Thank you so much for taking the time to be with us today, Stacy! We really appreciate it.
Tuesday, April 19th, 2011 by Lisa Renee Jones
#16 – Kathleen is our WINNER! See Michele’s comment in the post for directions to claim your prize or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for help. CONGRATS! GREAT PRIZE! Thanks to Michele and Elaine for this great prize! Another chance to win on the 29th too!
Ghost hunting, chocolate, and cowboys…Oh Yeah! – Michele Callahan and Elaine Levine
Hello, hello, hello! Couple of totally crazy women throwing one heck of a party this summer. And you’re invited. Yes, you! Really. RomCon® 2011 is the ultimate reading club. A sassy, fun weekend to connect with friends both old and new. We’ll share all of our secrets, break out the chocolate, and giggle like teenagers over the hunky heroes in the books we love. And right there with us? The authors who wrote them! As Mike Meyers would say on SNL’s Coffee Talk…the whole weekend…“It’s like Buttah.”
We’ll start off with an insanely scary night of ghost hunting at the infamous Stanley Hotel. You know, that creepy place where Stephen King was inspired to write The Shining? It’s been on Ghosthunters multiple times. You can check out the videos on YouTube. Too scary for me! But Elaine has already rented out the very haunted Earl’s bedroom for the night. We’ve got 6 spots left for that spooky sleepover. As for me, I’ll be holding down the bar back at the convention hotel. You can go scream. I’ll be sipping a margarita! http://romconinc.com/romcon2011/Ghost_Hunt.html
And RomCon® itself? Let’s see…There’s the Wild West Night, where you can line dance, ride a mechanical bull, or flirt with a cowboy as you try to learn to rope a motorized calf. There are 3 author hosted Teas, a murder mystery role-playing game, over 40 intimate chats with authors, a 3-hour “Special-Ops” track, an amazing Historical fashion show with authentic clothing modeled by the authors, Speed-Date a new author sessions, free books galore, champagne and cocktail events, mix & mingle events hosted by authors who design fun games, and not a writing workshop in sight. Oh, I forgot to mention the late night movie, the Pajama-Jam campout, and the Chocolate Mangasm erotic romance event! Relax at the Sunday brunch with all the authors, a book-signing, and so much more than I can tell you here. It’s almost 100 events over three days. Bring your running shoes and your best friend. If you don’t know anyone else who loves to read romance, sign up for our buddy program! We had six buddy groups last year, and they all had a great time!
Honestly, the whole weekend is amazing. Elaine and I sat down and asked ourselves what kind of experience we, as huge romance FANS, would want to have. RomCon® is totally it. I had an author ask me about two weeks ago (as we were brainstorming some zany stuff for an event), “Is this what you do? Just think stuff up and then put it on the website?”
Hmmm. Think up fun stuff to do. Then schedule it, recruit some authors to host it, and put it on the website. Yep. That’s EXACTLY what we do. Man, my job is awesome!
We are excited. This year is going to be even better than 2010. We hope you all can join us. So, we are giving away a free ticket to the convention to someone who leaves a comment today. What kind of events would YOU like to see at RomCon®? If you went last year, what did you love? And who’s your favorite author or series? Let us know. We can make magic happen!
www.romcon2011.com – Join us for the Ultimate Girls Weekend — Aug. 5-7, in sunny Denver, CO.
www.romconinc.com – Daily author sneak peeks, blogs, and giveaways! And enter the RomCon® 2011 Sweepstakes to win a free trip to RomCon®!
See you there with bells on! (Or maybe just a RomCon® 2011 T-shirt.)
Michele Callahan & Elaine Levine
Fearless RomCon® Founders, Romance Fanatics & Authors
p.s. Our dear husbands will be there as well. Bring the man if you want to. There’s some fun stuff he’ll like – like the 3 hour Special Ops track, a Saturday golf outing, and playing “dress-up-like-a-cowboy.” Well…maybe that last one is just for you.