Gabrielle Bisset

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Breaking The Rules

I was directed to a site the other day by another blogger's post and what I found there was exactly what I've been thinking about lately.  L.A. Lopez, at The Writer's Guide to E-Publishing (a site I absolutely recommend to anyone who is pursuing a writing career), discussed the eras that traditional publishing won't touch in the romance genre.  Eras such as the American Revolution, the Civil War, and both World Wars are absolutely verboten, according to agents, editors, and publishers.  However, the Viking Era, Middle Ages, Regency Period (and that would include its predecessor, the Georgian Period), and the contemporary period (BUT not the period from the mid 1940s to the mid 1980s) are perfectly acceptable.  Well, that explains why there are a million duke, prince, king, etc. romances out there.  They think these are what people want.

Don't get me wrong.  I like a good randy count or duke story, but how many of these can one read?  And the Vikings?  These are the same people who pillaged monasteries, leading to nuns cutting their faces to make themselves unattractive enough to avoid rape.  Incidentally, it didn't work and the Viking marauders would rape them regardless and then burn down the buildings they were in, killing them all.  This is where the idea of "cutting off your nose to spite your face" came from.

And the Middle Ages? I'm a huge fan of this time period, but how many of these stories can readers actually want? The reality is that readers would probably like romances set in other eras, particularly in the Civil War period.  Have these editors and publishers ever heard of Gone With The Wind

I would add that there seem to be a list of acceptable places that traditional publishing believes hot men exist.  From what I can gather, the traditional big boys believe that sexy male heroes reside in these places:

The Scottish Highlands
Anywhere in England, as long as it's during the appropriate time periods (see above)
On the coasts of the United States between the late 1980s and now (but less toward the Southeast)
Deserts in the Middle East (sheiks are super popular, it seems)

I'm sure I'm missing some, but I sense a deliberate exclusion of the Southern United States (perhaps that has something to do with their Civil War exclusion). 

Beyond time and place restrictions, traditional publishing seems to think that readers must have a Happily Ever After.  The HEA is paramount.  I, for one, think this is an exaggerated requirement and sense that readers would be ok with a little variety.  Yes, they read to escape, but knowing the ending is the same all the time can't be the most important thing to the story. 

It seems that the time for change has come.  Even the smaller e-publishers are going to have to accept that indie publishing is changing the rules.  The ability to offer your ideas to readers without going through the gatekeepers is a revolutionary one, and I admit, one that I didn't consider at first.  But now that I am into this a bit more, indie is looking more and more attractive. 

The reality is that today there are so many more people feeling brave enough to tell their stories, and indie publishing offers them that choice.  So the writer who wants to tell a story about the Civil War that involves romance but isn't truly a romance can offer this to the world and let readers decide if they want to read it or not.  The only gatekeepers in that are the readers themselves. 

That must scare the hell out of the traditional publishers. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Back to Hopping

Ok, school is almost over for the semester and I'm back to hopping this week.  I can't wait for summer vacation to begin!  If you're a new follower, please leave a comment so I can hop by your place. And old followers, I always love to hear from you.  Have a wonderful weekend!

First up is the 18 & Over Book Blogger Tag Along hosted by Bitten by Paranormal Romance  It's a great chance for those of us who read adult books to find others like them.  Thanks to Laurie for hosting this! If you haven't joined in yet, stop over there and add your name!

This week's question: Do you have another hobby besides reading? 
I love watching sports on tv, and well, I just love watching tv, in general.  I also love working on my yard and house, especially in the summer. 

Next up is Elizabeth Sharp's Follow Friday for Writers.  Thanks Elizabeth!  This one's for anyone who writes, including anyone who writes a blog.  This week's question: Who has been most supportive of your writing?

My friends, especially Beckey, Marissa, and Yvonne have been incredibly supportive, literally cheering me on, but maybe the most surprising supportive friend has been my ex, Dave, who not only cheers me on but waits impatiently to get my next work.  He's definitely not the target audience, but I know if he can read the book and enjoy the story (as he did with both books he's read, Stolen Destiny and Destiny Redeemed) then I'm hitting a mark beyond romance, which is something I'm very happy about. 

How do you join in the fun? So glad you asked. It’s really quite simple.

The rules
1)      1`. Follow this blog.
2)      2.  Follow Elizabeth Sharp, the originator of this hop
3)      3.  Follow the featured author of the week.
4)      4.  Go to Sharp words and copy the image code found there and paste it in your blog. Add your name to the link at the bottom of the post while you are there.
5)      5.  Copy and paste the rules in your blog, as well as this week’s question.
6)      6.  Answer the question
7)      7.  Follow, follow, follow. This is about networking, people, making connections with people in your community. So talk to us. We don't bite!
8)      8.  If someone stops by, says hi and follows you, the polite thing to do is follow back.
9)      9.  Comment here and introduce yourself and you just might find a new follower or two.

Author Blog Hop 4-28

It's Thursday again, so it's time for the Author Blog Hop, hosted by Sassy Brit at Alternative  Each week a question is posed, and authors post their answers.  Then everyone hops along!

This week's question: 
Becoming an author, being a new author, and aspiring to be one is a confusing time.  What is the most “difficult” hurdle you’ve encountered on your journey to fame and fortune.  *laughing at fortune.* How did you resolve the problem and what do you recommend to avoid it? Or are you still in need of help?

I wish I could say my most difficult hurdle was behind me, but I'm still in the thick of it.  The writing is the easy part.  Even the editing, which can be a huge drag, is better than most jobs I've ever had.  The most difficult part of this whole journey has been the problem I'm having with my publisher.  It's bad enough that attorneys are getting involved.

I think I should mention that I'm no naive girl.  I went into submissions--well, submission would be more correct since I only sent my manuscript to one publisher and they said yes--expecting rejection.  I sent my manuscript to a publisher who had a "no simultaneous submissions" policy.  This meant I would hold off submitting to another publisher until I heard from them.  I am nothing if not a follow-the-rules kind of gal, so I read their submissions information and followed accordingly.  I sent them my manuscript and then waited. 

A few weeks later, they emailed and offered me a contract.  Here's where the difficult hurdle part comes in.  I assumed that they read my manuscript and offered me a contract because they saw something that would work with their lines.  I've recently found out from the publisher that, in fact, they didn't read the initial manuscript and therefore didn't know that my hero is a man who has spent time in prison for murdering his wife in a crime of passion.  So when I signed the contract, I believed that the publisher knew this was an integral part of the story--hell, it's the cornerstone of the damn story!--and was fine with it. 

Then edits came last week and lo' and behold, the biggest problem with the story is that the hero must be changed because as the publisher told me, "Readers will hate him.  Don't you want people to love your hero?"  So when I refused to change the story because then it wouldn't be my story but some freelance editor's in Topeka, the hurdle became so big that now I've had to contact counsel because the publisher's behavior has gone from difficult to completely bizarre (i.e., offering me the choice of what day I want my book published after telling me the book won't sell if I don't change my character to something more likeable and exercising the first right of refusal clause in the contract for the sequels to the book and then telling me that her word is good when I told her I'd need that in writing.  I still don't have that in writing.)

I got into writing because I loved the stories I had to tell.  I still do.  I never thought of writing as something that would mean fame and fortune.  Trust me:  I'm a college history teacher.  I don't choose my careers based on the monetary return.  As for the business end of writing so far, let's put it this way:  I've been divorced twice, so it's my heartfelt opinion anytime counsel must be involved, the fun is reduced exponentially.  But I still love to write, so for me, indie publishing may be the way I go for a while.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

ROW 80 Check In 4-27

It's Wednesday again, so that means ROW 80 Check In.  I'm hip deep in final exams and research papers, so writing has become something I haven't been able to do much of for the past week.  I wrote about 3000 words, which is close to my goal, but the reality is that my students' work is taking up all my time. 

As for my goals, things are officially changed now since I'm dealing with issues concerning the publication of my first book.  I can't say much, but let's just say that what I'm going through has made me not want to return to my Aeveren characters and The Destined Ones series now, much to my unhappiness.  I'm just not in the right place to be writing the third book.  The second book is complete and I will be taking another look at that soon if I find that my freedom to publish that isn't impeded.

I am, however, looking at another novella after the current one, and since I've decided I will be self-pubbing them, if I decide to write a third one, I may put them all in one book when I offer them as something other than ebooks.  I'm excited about that, and I've been talking to another author about the ins and outs of self-publishing.  She's been very successful with self-publishing her books, and I can't thank her enough for taking the time to answer my questions.  I've also been talking to a cover artist about a cover for Vampire Dreams, the first novella, and I can't wait to see what happens with that.  I may not choose books because of the covers, but I love the creation aspect of them. 

Summertime officially begins this Saturday for me.  I can't wait. Then, it's summertime and the living is easy.  With just one course to teach and nothing else until August, I look forward to getting a lot done with my writing. 

Hope everyone is having a great week and doing well.  Check out the other participants of ROW 80 here

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I've had to do a fair amount of research for my current novella.  The story takes place in Victorian England in 1850.  I have a character who's a young child, and I wanted him to require a nanny and a tutor.  However, first I had to find out if that would be something wealthy English parents would have for a young boy.  After researching, I learned I could indeed choose the nanny/tutor combination or just a governess.  However, a governess was more for girls than boys, so I decided to stay with the nanny/tutor choice. 

I also learned that during the Victorian Era many children, even those in wealthy families, didn't attend school or have lessons in any subjects at all.  It's only by the end of the Victorian Era that all children must attend school until they're 12. 

I also had to research for the BDSM details in the story.  This was a bit different from the education research, however. I'd learned in undergraduate school that sex in the Victorian period was quite freaky compared to what the time seemed to be on the surface.  As is the case in times of repression, what lives just underneath the surface allows the wilder side of people to run free. 

This research has been quite interesting, to say the least.  While my story isn't hardcore BDSM, it does involve facets of the "lifestyle". 

I also researched the Anglo-Afghan Wars that the British were involved in right before the middle of the 19th century because one of the characters is a captain in the British army who served in the wars. 

Finally, I've been researching the local foods of Afghanistan and the foods wealthy Londoners ate in the time period.  The Afghan information relates to the primary male character, Kadar, and the food sounds divine.  Baklava and qubli pulao, a dish of rice, raisins, carrot, and lamb with saffron and cardomon are just two of the delicious treats I have Kadar feed Lily, the female lead character.  I was hungry the whole time I was writing the scene!

In addition, I had to know what foods Londoners would have eaten in well-to-do households in 1850.  From what I learned, they ate quite well.  Combine the Afghan food with the fruits and nuts readily available to people of money in that time period, and Kadar had quite a selection to choose from for his sensual meal with her. 

I've enjoyed researching this novella a great deal.  This is my second novella in this time period, and I think if I find another idea for this time period, I will go with a novella format again. I plan on self-publishing each of them and then when the three of them are published, maybe I'll format all three into a book in addition to selling the ebooks individually.  I'll have to mull that over. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Lure of The Boob Tube

Check out those rabbit ears! LOL

I used that title for this post because that's what my father used to call tv-the boob tube.  Or he'd call it the idiot box.  I respectfully disagree with Big Jim.  I watch a lot of television.  I always have.  And I don't pretend it's all Discovery channel, History channel, or PBS.  Hell, I haven't watched PBS in years.  Now some would look down their noses at this behavior, but I respectfully disagree with them too.  Not all television is good, by any means, but the same can be said for books.  (And I read a lot too.)  I watch tv because when I'm not working or writing, and I have some time to myself, I like to sit back, veg, and enjoy the world tv offers.

I saw a few things yesterday while I was watching the boob tube that stuck with me.  First was the movie My Life As A House.  I've seen this movie a number of times, and since I enjoy Kevin Kline's acting, it's something I can watch again and again.  But I love the line in the film when his son complains that Kline's character has never cared before and he answers, "I'll apologize for everything but today.  Today, I give a shit!" 

I also watched Cinema Verite on HBO, a film about a family in the early 1970s who naively agreed to allow a television camera crew to tape their everyday lives-the first reality show.  Extremely interesting, particularly Diana Lane's portrayal as the mother of the family and James Gandolfini's portrayal as the producer looking to film the disintegration of the family, it was a glimpse back in time to days gone by when the world was more innocent.  Yes, I know that sounds hokey, but it was.  If you lived through the 70s in anywhere other than New York, D.C., or LA, it was a time when life was truly more innocent.  The world was certainly changing, but compared to today, it was smaller.  Everything seemed local, despite the fact that nationally the country was hurdling toward a new day. 

In addition, I watched a show on the History channel about Sun Tzu.  I read The Art of War years ago-one of the most worthwhile reads I strongly advise people to get their hands on asap.  The program highlighted wars and generals that utilized Sun Tzu's military principles. So much of what he had to say about military strategy works in business and everyday life.  Forget about the opponent who's all bluster.  Worry about the one who takes his time and exercises patience.  And manipulating the playing field, whatever it may be, is a valuable resource.  Use your assets wisely and concentrate on your opponent's weaknesses.  Good stuff!

Finally, those bastards at Showtime have tricked me into loving The Borgias.  Damn you Showtime!  I watched the first episode and wasn't thrilled, so I went online and cancelled the Showtime package.  Well, then it never went away, I got busy with work and everything else, and somehow I found myself planted in front of the tv every Sunday to watch the show.  Now I look forward to it, and Machiavelli even made an appearance last night. 

Maybe there's something about what my father used to say about it being addictive. But I don't drink a lot, haven't done drugs in longer than I can remember, and gave up smoking in 2000, so if my addiction is television, I'm ok with that.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Truce and Some Progress

My computer and I have come to a truce.  It agrees to allow me to do my work, and I agree not to pull an Elvis on it and shoot it in a fit of madness.  We're both happy. 

However, the other issue I've been dealing with has not been solved.  While I'm not sure how much I should continue to say because one never knows concerning contracts and legal issues, suffice it to say I'm not pleased with the publisher's stance on my book.  So there is no truce yet.

I wrote yesterday, the first time in days since life and my mindset have been everything but conducive to creativity.  I'm almost finished with the new novella and I still don't have a title.  While this isn't a huge concern, I guess, I feel like it should be something other than "new novella."  The story is about a young woman in Victorian England, Lily, who becomes involved with a mysterious man, Kadar.  However, she's pressured by her family to marry another man, Captain Mason Danvers, who she likes but who doesn't affect her like Kadar.

The undercurrent of the novella involves BDSM.  Kadar's got dominant traits--I wouldn't say he's a dom because the theme isn't that strong.  She's not necessarily a submissive either, but she does submit to him.  The story includes some of the basic D/s ideas (blindfold, spanking, him feeding her, and in the upcoming chapters I haven't written yet, the use of cat o' nine tails), but it's probably a little too sweet for serious D/s readers. (Yes, I know cat o' nine tails doesn't sound very sweet, but I still don't think it's strong enough for serious readers of D/s lit.) I'm considering the title Forbidden, which would definitely describe their relationship.  I also am considering The Captain's Wife or The Captain's Woman.  Or I'm considering something focused more on her.  But none of these are bowling me over.  If you have an idea, feel free to comment with a fantastic title.  :) 

In addition, I began talking to a cover artist for my novella, Vampire Dreams, which I decided to self-publish.  After a week of negative, she has been a wonderful breath of positive, fresh air.  I've seen her covers before and love them, so I emailed her and she got right back to me with details and ideas.  I love that!  She really made my day.  I hope to have Vampire Dreams ready for Amazon and Barnes and Noble before June. 

Here's to a better week coming! 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Down Weekend

I'm struggling with a computer that seems to think it has a job other than to compute and let me hang out online, in addition to dealing with all my students' papers and projects that must be read and graded by the end of next week.  Because of this, I'm not hopping around to any of the great Friday hops I usually do because I don't like joining and then not being able to participate fully. 

By next week, the semester will be over and then life will be easy peasy, at least for a little while.  I can't wait for a break in the action so I can get back to writing.  Between dealing with the issues with the publisher (still not fully resolved, unfortunately) and my teaching workload, I haven't been able to write since Monday!  Isn't that the way life seems to go, though?  One week you're up above 8000 words, and the next week you're down near zero.

Sometimes you're the windshield, and sometimes you're the bug. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Different Destiny

If you're a frequent visitor to my blog, you may have noticed that all traces of my first book, Stolen Destiny, and its association with the publisher have vanished.  I have recently requested to be released from my contract with them due to creative differences.

I've always wondered what people meant when they claimed they left a project due to "creative differences."  Now that I know, I understand why they would opt to leave.  For me, I was willing to edit many things in my book, but to make the changes to the story that would, in effect, change the entire story from one I wrote to one the editor wants was what I wasn't willing to do. 

I write erotic romance, but the problem that I was told had to be edited out was that the main character-my hero-had murdered his wife in a crime of passion when he caught her in bed with another man.  He regrets it, spends lifetimes in prison for his crime, and is haunted by the fact that his actions have harmed not only his wife but his daughter, who is left an orphan after he is sent to prison.  This is the focal point of the character and the story, Stolen Destiny.  I cannot and will not change the fact that in a moment of madness, my character did something terrible that affected all three of them. It's just too important.

However, the publisher believes that romance readers won't find him sympathetic.  Put aside the fact that romance novels often have rape (call it forced seduction, but it's rape) and those heroes are allowed to remain.  Put aside the fact that my excerpt from Stolen Destiny is consistently the one that generates comments from readers that say he's so tortured by his past and this is appealing to them.  Put all that aside and the fact is that I wrote my main character to be terribly flawed and submitted him and his story to the publisher.  When they accepted it and offered to publish it, at no time did they indicate they would want me to change the fundamental ideas of the story.  If they had, I would have declined immediately. 

The story the publisher wants may be a good one.  I don't know.  I wrote a story called Stolen Destiny that involves a race of people called Aeveren who live many lifetimes through reincarnation.  They must struggle to deal with the lives in their pasts and their actions in those lives.  One of these Aeveren, a man named Varek, killed his wife and spent three lifetimes in Nil (Aeveren prison) for the crime.  Everything else about the story emanates from these core ideas.  That it's a romance is almost secondary to the fact that the story is one of second chances. 

Perhaps that's the problem.  Perhaps, as my friends have mentioned before, I'm in the wrong genre.  That may be something I work with in the future with my books. But none of this changes the fact that I won't alter my story so radically so as to be unrecognizable by the person who wrote it.  I'd sooner not have it published at all.

Author Blog Hop 4-21

I'm back for another time with the Author Blog Hop, hosted by Sassy Brit at Alternative  Each week a question is posed, and authors post their answers.  Then everyone hops along!

This week's question:  Do you write in logical order?

I think so.  I begin with the first chapter and then proceed from there.  I'm a little crazy about jumping ahead, so I won't allow myself to do that.  For example, in the current novella I'm writing, I couldn't wait to write an erotic scene in which the two main characters meet and the male, Kadar, introduces the female, a young Victorian lady named Lily, to just a little touch of BDSM.  I had planned the whole scene out in my mind days earlier and knew exactly the way I wanted it to go, right down to what he'd say to her and how she'd respond (I usually don't have the dialogue planned out before I write).

The problem was that I was almost two chapters behind that scene. So instead of jumping ahead and writing it, I forced myself to finish the chapters and then move on.  That's probably why I ended up writing about 8000 words last week.  :)

I think I do all this because I know myself.  I'm insufferably lazy, to tell the truth.  I need to keep myself disciplined or I will slide into very bad habits that I know lurk just below the surface.  So while my regimented style wouldn't work for many people, it's a necessity if I'm to get any writing done at all around my job, my kids, and the rest of my life, which all seem to be full time jobs when I want to write the most.

Happy Hopping!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

ROW 80 Check In 4-20

I haven't checked in with ROW 80 because I've been incredibly busy, and it's shaping up to be that kind of month or two.  Hopefully, the once a week check in is ok.

I've surpassed my goal of 3500 words a week by more than double since April 13.  It's been quite a productive week!  My new novella is really turning out the way I wanted.  Now I just have to figure out a title for the dear thing!  Maybe that will be a mini goal for next week. 

Destiny Redeemed is back from the critique partner, complete with three pages of edits (mostly typos--damn, I hate typing!).  I always chuckle when I get back edits from my critique partner or beta readers.  It's amazing what they find that I didn't after I've looked at the manuscript for months.  Love that! 

The third book in the Destined Ones Series is still simmering at slightly over half complete.  The muse has sidetracked me a bit with these last two novellas, but perhaps when I finish this newer one, it will be the right time to get back to Thoren and Shayla.  We'll see...

So I'm hoping for another overachieving week, and hope everyone else is finding success in whatever they're doing.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Friday Hops

It's that time again:  time to hop!  First up is the 18 & Over Book Blogger Tag Along hosted by Bitten by Paranormal Romance  It's a great chance for those of us who read adult books to find others like them.  Thanks to Laurie for hosting this! If you haven't joined in yet, stop over there and add your name!

This week's question:  Do you have a favorite hero so far this year?  If so, who?

God, I hope this doesn't sound self-serving, but since I've been so involved with writing, my favorite hero is my hero from my first book, Stolen Destiny, Varek.  He's a big, strong Alpha male, tall, dark , and handsome, and he was so delicious to write.  I am, however, reading Marie Treanor's Blood Sin and I can say after my guy, Saloman is just perfect.  Love how smooth he is, even when he's about to end it for someone.  She writes such a wonderful character in him, although I think some may disagree about his status as a hero. 

And next up is Elizabeth Sharp's Follow Friday for Writers.  Thanks Elizabeth!  This one's for anyone who writes, including anyone who writes a blog.  This week's question:  How did you come up with your blog's name?

I feel sort of lame with this answer, but it's my pen name and a very brief explanation of what I do here:  I discuss my writing.  I wish I had something more exciting to say, but sometimes it's just the facts, ma'am.

If you're a new follower, please leave a comment so I can hop by your place. And old followers, I always love to hear from you.  Have a wonderful weekend!

How do you join in the fun? So glad you asked. It’s really quite simple.

The rules
1)      1`. Follow this blog.
2)      2.  Follow Elizabeth Sharp, the originator of this hop
3)      3.  Follow the featured author of the week.
4)      4.  Go to Sharp words and copy the image code found there and paste it in your blog. Add your name to the link at the bottom of the post while you are there.
5)      5.  Copy and paste the rules in your blog, as well as this week’s question.
6)      6.  Answer the question
7)      7.  Follow, follow, follow. This is about networking, people, making connections with people in your community. So talk to us. We don't bite!
8)      8.  If someone stops by, says hi and follows you, the polite thing to do is follow back.
9)      9.  Comment here and introduce yourself and you just might find a new follower or two.

Author Blog Hop

Found a new blog hop for authors, so I thought I'd try it since I enjoy meeting new people and others who are busy pursuing their writing dreams.  This one is called the Author Blog Hop and it's hosted by Sassy Brit at Alternative  Each week they pose a question, and authors post their answers.  Then everyone hops along!

This week's question:  What software and applications help you write your masterpieces?  What do you wish you could afford?  What do you regret buying?  And what ebook reader do you use?  Why?

I hand write everything I write first (yes!  I actually do. :), so I don't use any special software at all.  Pen and paper.  That's it.  When I go to type out the manuscript, I simply use Microsoft Word.  Easy peasy.  I haven't seen anything that I wish I could have, although I do admit I would like to be able to manipulate graphics with a program specially made for that, but that has little to do with actual writing the masterpiece and more to do with playing with the blog where I focus on my writing.  :)

I use a Kindle and love it!  Only one thing is wrong with it:  it doesn't give page numbers.  I still don't understand that idea, but I still love my Kindle. 

Happy hopping!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

ROW 80 Check In 4-13

It's Wednesday again, and another check in for ROW 80.  So what's been going on with this writer?  Well, I may have to adjust my goals a bit because my muse is all about the new novella I'm writing, and since it's historical in nature (Victorian England), that means some research.  I spent some good time researching about the British army in Afghanistan in the mid-1800s since my main male character is a former captain in the British army.  Interesting stuff. 

I began the novella last Friday and so far I have almost 4300 words, so it's flowing well.  And I'm enjoying the other research I have to do for it a ton too.  The story has a very gentle D/s vibe to it, so that requires research.  Nothing too wild, but just a tiny bit of edge.  ;)

I've continued to clean up the second book in The Destined Ones Series, and I've decided to change the title from Destiny Renewed to Destiny Redeemed.  Thanks to one of my beta readers for her great suggestions.  I feel the title works better for the theme of the book, which is the redemption of Amon Kalins from the real sonofabitch he is in Stolen Destiny to the man he becomes in his story. 

The third book in the series, Broken Destiny, may be in for a name change too.  Unlike its predecessor's title, this book's title was never something I was quite sure about.  I'm thinking Destiny Unbound instead. 

Edits on Stolen Destiny haven't begun yet, but if fate has the sense of humor I think it does, they should be rolling in any moment since today I receive the rest of my students' semester projects after gathering 15 yesterday. 

I continue to blog and promote, which I have to say is quite time consuming.  But sometimes it's incredibly rewarding.  I held a giveaway over at the TRS Staying Home Party last week and I contacted the winner this morning.  She wrote back to tell me that it was her birthday and she was feeling a little down (as can happen with birthdays), but winning the giveaway made her day.  And that made mine.  Thank you, Theresa! 

Check out everyone else involved in ROW 80 here. I hope everyone is having a great week, and may you have someone out of the blue make your day too! 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

18 & Over Couples Book Giveaway Hop

Laurie over at Bitten By Paranormal Romance and Amber at AwesomeSauce Book Club are hosting the 18 & Over Couples Book Giveaway Hop June 2-5, and I've decided to join in the fun.  It's a giveaway for adult or erotic books.  The one main idea is that the books must center around couples and the book must be for adults (No YA).  Couples can be m/f, m/m, or F/F.  (No menage books this time.  That hop is scheduled for later in the year.)

One more caveat Laurie and Amber want everyone to know:  Only 3 extras for followers to do, on your giveaway please. I know some of us (including me) get tired of all the required extras on these hops. Just keep in mind you want to make it to where people can do this as quickly and a simply as possible.

I plan to probably require entrants to follow me, with extra entries for people already following when the giveaway begins.  Maybe I'll give away an extra entry for liking my Facebook page too, with extra entries for those who've already liked it.

And I plan to do a really special giveaway, so be sure to check back when the giveaway hop begins on June 2.  (Hint:  Stolen Destiny is scheduled for a June release...)

To join the hop, click on over two either of their terrific blogs and sign up.  It will be great fun, and the more the merrier!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Guest Post-Author Lindsay Below

I want to welcome author Lindsay Below to my blog today.  Lindsay is celebrating the release of Cinnamon and Spice, so I'm thrilled to have her here today. 

The Sweet Rush of a New Release
By L. K. Below

For those who don’t know me, my name is Lindsay. I write romance and speculative fiction under the name L. K. Below, and I write for younger readers under my full name, Lindsay Below. A year ago, I was unpublished, and I had little expectations of being in a position to talk to you like this.

While one short story, His Familiar Touch came out in the Paramourtal anthology last September, I don’t consider my career fully launching until this past January. That was when all my hard work of the past finally started to bear fruit.

2011 has been a busy year for me so far. I’ve had new releases in January, February, March, and now April. (I’m gifted with a bit of a break until July, thankfully). But with every new release coming out, there is a rush to be felt. Forgive me for waxing poetic, but after toiling so long and hard on the same set of words, there’s something beautiful in seeing them in print. Or, in my case, in e-print.

The rush doesn’t stop with the first book out. That first is like a mile stone, but each one afterwards is special. Each one you’re sure is even better than the last, will garner great reviews (or at the very least, not horrible reviews), will be loved by all who read it and will earn you even more praise to your name. In each of my romances, I’ve fallen a little bit in love with the hero each time. It’s gratifying to know that someone, somewhere else will shortly do the same.

And the hero for my newest release, Cinnamon and Spice, is very dear to me. He’s a bit of an underdog. Just nerdy enough for Melissa to dismiss him offhand as not being her type, he has to work twice as hard to get her to agree to only one date. And during that date? Well, it had better be spectacular, if he has any hope of snagging her heart.

Fortunately for Jack, I’m on his side. :)

If you’d like to learn more about Cinnamon and Spice, please visit: You can find me online at or Thank you to Gabrielle for hosting me. It’s been a pleasure!

Cinnamon and Spice

Jack is smart. Jack is charming. Jack is persistent.

But Melissa is dead certain that he isn't the guy for her. In a moment of weakness caused by his shiver-inducing voice, Melissa finally agrees to one date. She shows up on his doorstep determined to get it over and done with, but Jack has something different planned. With a home-cooked meal, wine, and cinnamon-scented candles, can he break down Melissa's resolve?

Can he steal her heart?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

New Blog Design!!!

Three exclamation points!  That's how much I love my new blog design.  Emily from Blogaholic Designs created my new look, and I can't thank her enough.  What a fantastic person to work with, and I can't say enough about her talents.  Definitely check her out if you're considering getting a blog redesign.

ROW 80 Check In #2

I think it's Murphy's Law for me:  the minute I say I have a goal, the world around me comes knocking.  So what have I gotten done this first week of ROW 80?  I finished editing my novella and submitted it to a publisher.  I also had a fantastic brainstorming session with my critique partner and one of my beta readers about my new novella.  And then just last night, after a week of really no writing, I got about 1000 words written on the new novella.  But all in all, this has to be considered a week off for me. 

I'm struggling with this, however.  I'm not a time off kind of person.  But as a close friend reminded me, I've written two 80,000+ word novels and a novella without a break, so I might be due.  I just wish it didn't have to be break time during the first week of a writing challenge.  :) 

Such was the first week of ROW 80. I don't know if the second week will be considerably better since I have my students' research papers and projects all coming in this week.  The life of a college's not bad work, if you can get it, but a couple times a semester, it's hell.  But the end is in sight.  April 29 is the official end of the semester, and then it's summertime and the living is easy. 

So how's everyone else doing?  Check them out here

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Friday Hops

Well, it's almost the weekend again.  Where are the days going to?  It's been a busy week for me, but April is going to be a very busy month.  I finished the novella and my critique partner fine-tooth-combed-it, so now it's time to begin submissions.  Cross your fingers for a good result.  :)

The only hop this week is Elizabeth Sharp's Follow Friday for Writers.  Thanks Elizabeth!  This one's for anyone who writes, including anyone who writes a blog.  This week's question:  How do you deal with a bad review? 

This is actually quite timely for me, in a way.  My first book isn't scheduled for release until June, but I had entered one of RWA's writing contests against my gut feeling that said not to because I didn't know who the judges were.  I didn't expect to win (and, in fact, was disqualified just days after entering because I signed my contract with my publisher), but I was hoping that maybe I would get some useful feedback.  I was almost entirely wrong, except for one comment that gave me an idea for how I wanted to approach something later in the book.

What I wanted to do at first was write a blog post blasting the whole thing because of critiques that were silly and riddled with grammar errors.  What I did in reality, however, is called up my friends and told them, whereby we laughed our asses off at people who can't use dictionaries and write critiques filled with errors. You live and learn, but let me say that if you're a romance writer, the word for a man's bits and pieces that rhymes with sock seems to be a big problem for some people in contests like the one I entered.  Maybe it's only a problem for religious 28 year olds who write YA but judge paranormal adult romance contests.  I can't say for sure.  LOL 

In the end, what is the point in responding to a review?  It's one person's opinion, and unless they've been made the arbiter of good taste and great writing in your genre, they aren't worth the time it takes to blow up on them.  Move on. You've got stories to write.   

How do you join in the fun? So glad you asked. It’s really quite simple.

The rules
1)      1`. Follow this blog.
2)      2.  Follow Elizabeth Sharp, the originator of this hop
3)      3.  Follow the featured author of the week.
4)      4.  Go to Sharp words and copy the image code found there and paste it in your blog. Add your name to the link at the bottom of the post while you are there.
5)      5.  Copy and paste the rules in your blog, as well as this week’s question.
6)      6.  Answer the question
7)      7.  Follow, follow, follow. This is about networking, people, making connections with people in your community. So talk to us. We don't bite!
8)      8.  If someone stops by, says hi and follows you, the polite thing to do is follow back.
9)      9.  Comment here and introduce yourself and you just might find a new follower or two.

Alpha Males

As I was sitting at my computer diligently avoiding work I should be doing for the day job, I came across an article at E Online entitled Alpha Male Madness.  Well, hell, I'm the Alpha male's biggest fan, so I clicked away and found an article readers could vote on for their top Alpha male out of the following two males: 

Uh, hello E Online?  I think you've gotten your contests confused.  These two guys, one of whom is from the show Glee, can't be considered Alpha males.  Are they kidding? 

Is this what's become of the Alpha male?  We've smoothed, gelled, and polished them over until they wear clothes that look like Halloween costumes (I'm talking to you, Glee man).  How on earth can these two men be considered Alpha males?

I might be able to convince myself that these two are Betas. Ok, I'll go with that.  But Alphas?  I don't care what kind of asshole the guy on the right plays on the show, he's no Alpha.  Hell, he looks more like a petulant Omega, if you ask me.  These two men look like they'd be shaking in their boots if the electricity went out. 

Alpha males are leaders.  They inspire those around them with their presence.  And they'd never be caught dead wearing anything as ridiculous as the getup on the right.  When one thinks of Alpha males, this idea comes to mind:  Women want them, and men want to be like them. 

I mourn the loss of the true Alpha male.  Where are the men in American society who conquer and overcome, lead and inspire?  Is this really what the Alpha male looks like to us now?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

ROW 80 Check In

So it's the first Wednesday checkin and I can report I've written nothing.  Monday I was too busy stewing in my own juices about work and other idiocy to get anything done.  Damn that day job!

Tuesday I again wrote nothing but I did do some editing on the novella.  I also sent that to my critique partner to get her feel for it before I begin submitting it.  So there was some work done. 

Today, so far I haven't done anything but wake up, bathe, and post at The Romance Studio's Staying Home Party.  So technically, I've written something as I discussed Stolen Destiny in my first post there, but I don't think that counts. 

But it's a beautiful day out, the sun is shining, and I'm feeling refreshed after the rocky beginning of the week.  Here's to better days ahead!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Romance Studio's Staying Home Party

Check out TRS Staying Home Party all day April 6 and 8-10.  Romance writers will be blogging and you can enter to win lots of fabulous prizes, including a Nook!  Authors will be posting during the event period about their books and lots of other interesting topics, and all you have to do is comment to be entered to win the Nook. 

I've agreed to give away a $20 Amazon gift card to one winner, so be sure to click over and take a look!  I'll be blogging about the Destined Ones Series, particularly Stolen Destiny, and other topics so readers can learn a little about this new author.  I hope to see you there!  The fun starts at midnight and goes all day!

TRS Staying Home Party

Monday, April 4, 2011

Listen To Your Mother

When I was a younger, my mother used to always say, "You're better than that. Rise above it."  It could mean anything, but usually it meant the petty nonsense that comes along with adolescence.  It's been a long time since I had to think that to myself, but today I had to.  Sometimes you just have to leave it by the side of the road.  Yes, I will still tilt at windmills and believe that what people promote is what they should be, but the reality is that this is not always the case.  Does it piss me off?  Hell, yeah!  But is it worth the time to write an email explaining how much what happened is unacceptable?  No.

So tonight, I repeat the mantra my mother used to always say to me and hope that my Don Quixote impersonation is a very temporary thing, as I strive to remember that what we put out into the universe comes back to us.

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Round of Words In 80 Days

I found A Round of Words In 80 Days through a friend of mine who had visited one of the participant's blogs, but I found it too late to join for the first round so now that the second round is up, I'm in.  I like the idea of holding myself accountable, and checking in will make it all the easier for me to keep on top of things. 

Round Two runs from April 4 to June 23 and checkins are on Wednesdays and Sundays.  I'm pretty disciplined with my writing, but I'm concerned about forgetting about checkins! :)  For anyone interested in joining in, here is the link to the main page where you can learn about it and link up. 

Ok, so what are my goals for these 80 days? 

First, I want to complete my third book in The Destined Ones series, tentatively titled Broken Destiny, in this 80 days.  I'm currently at 42,000 words, so that means about 40,000 words in the 80 days or about 3500 words a week (since I don't do daily goals).  It's a lofty goal, but if I work at it, I think I can have it complete by June 23. 

Second, edits for the first book in the series, Stolen Destiny, begin with Siren-BookStrand in April sometime, so getting those done in a timely fashion and getting the manuscript back to the publisher also in a timely fashion is another goal.

Third, getting the second book,. Destiny Renewed, spit-shined and ready to submit for May 1 is another goal.  That book is currently with my beta readers, but I will need to clean a few things up before it's ready to submit. 

Last, the novella that I'm hoping to finish this weekend will need editing and polishing before I send it out.  So for my last goal, I'd like to get that ready and submitted before the 80 days are up. 

It sounds like a lot, but I finish the semester on April 29 and then after that I'm only teaching an online class for 6 weeks in May-June, so I will have the time.  If, however, anything needs to be revised, then I'm good for that too.  Other than that, I want to keep blogging and I have to begin to get my ducks in a row for when Stolen Destiny is released in June.  That promotional stuff takes far more of my time than the writing does, but it's a necessity, so I'll have to make the time. 

Wish me luck!