Archive for December, 2008

Grunge Beagle

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

grunge_beagle

“Tonight I’m gonna party like tomorrow’s 2009.”

Have a safe and wonderful New Year’s Eve!

Harlequin Teen Guidelines

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

Interrupting my Blog Holiday to announce that the guidelines for Harlequin’s new Young Adult line, “Harlequin Teen,” are now up at eHarlequin. Click the underlined link to check ’em out.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

BookEnds Pitch Critiques

Friday, December 19th, 2008

Okay, I said I was going on Blogiday, but I’ve accomplished a ton of Christmas stuff the last couple of days, so I have a moment to pass along the news that Jessica Faust of BookEnds, LLC is taking pitches to critique while she’s on holiday. Here’s the post and a blippy from it:

To participate, you’ll need to submit your one-paragraph pitch in the comments section of this post. I will not consider pitches posted in other posts or those e-mailed to me and I certainly won’t take pitches from any query letters I receive. Over the course of the next two weeks I’m going to randomly select and critique (on the blog) as many as I can. Since I’m officially on vacation over the course of these two weeks the posts will truly be random. In other words, I’m going to do whatever I want. I’ll post them whenever I want and I’ll critique anywhere from three to three hundred, depending on my mood.

Pretty nifty, huh?

I’m not participating, but whenever I have a spare moment I’ll be hopping over there to have a gander at the pitches and Jessica’s comments. It’s always a great learning experience and reminds me just how subjective this business is.

Cheerio!

Going on Blogiday

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

Happy holidays to all my blog readers!

I’m getting caught up in the Christmas rush and need to devote all my “spare time” (ha, ha, what’s that?) to my WIP, so I’m going on Blog Holiday for the rest of the year. You never know, I might pop in again if I have industry news to pass along or if something major happens in my writing life, but don’t count on it. I think 2008 has given me all it can writing-wise, and I’m looking forward to a productive, beneficial, and mile-stoney 2009.

See you in January!

American Title V, Round 2

Monday, December 15th, 2008

I’m going Christmas crazy trying to organize gifts and menus and getting my son home yesterday (which was a 10 hour disaster instead of the short 1 hour trip it was supposed to be, due to the huge snowfalls over the past few days), so thank you to Edie Ramer for alerting me that the voting for Round 2 of the American Title V contest just got underway. Visit the Romantic Times website to read the hero and heroine descriptions and then vote for your favorite through email. I just did, so I’m no American Title grinch. What about you?

Okay, I’m on hold with my credit card company (don’t ask) and my neck is aching from typing with the phone squished against my shoulder, so that’s it for today and maybe the rest of the week. I have a feeling I might declare a blogiday soon.

Firebrand Literary’s Query Holiday

Friday, December 12th, 2008

My buddy Tina Ferraro passed this on:

The ability to write an amazing first chapter is a much more important skill, as a novelist, than the ability to write a good query letter. So why even bother with a query?

That’s why we’re announcing the first annual FIREBRAND QUERY HOLIDAY—to support authors who want to spend their time and energy perfecting their manuscripts and not just polishing their sales skills.

We want to read your first chapter.

Our usual, query-based submission system will be closed for a short period starting on the 15th of December (don’t worry, any query that was already in our system will be answered even while the system is “down”). And then—beginning on December 15 and ending on January 15—we will be accepting sample chapters via a unique email address: queryholiday@gmail.com This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We pledge to review all samples by the end of January, and will respond to those that we are interested in no later than Feburary 1.

For more information, please visit the Firebrand website.

P.S. If you don’t have JavaScript enabled, apparently you won’t be able to see the email address listed in the block quote—a spam-prevention measure on the part of Firebrand.

Good luck!

Kate St. James Chatting Tonight!

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

That’s right, my friend, my buddy, my life-long pal (well, my pal of the last two or three years), Secrets erotic romance author, Kate St. James, is chatting tonight at 9 p.m. EST (that’s 6 p.m. PST and some other p.m. in some other ST) at Romance Reviews Today. <— Just click on the link and then, when you’re on the RomRevToday site, just click on the RRT Chat button to the left. If you’re then offered a selection of chat rooms, please select Secrets or Red Sage Publishing or some variation thereof.

Kate isn’t the only Red Sage author chatting at RomRevToday tonight, but as for who else is dropping by—that’s a mystery. Kate assures me that she herself doesn’t even know!

Why is Kate chatting? Because her latest release, Exes & Ahhs in Secrets Volume 26: BOUND BY PASSION is now available! Whoot-whoot!! Way to go, Kate!

You know what this also means? Kate has updated her website! And it’s a snazzy web update, let me tell you. How do I know? Because I’m her web designer. Please visit Kate’s website to read an excerpt and reviews of Exes & Ahhs.

Kate also has a trailer for Secrets 26, designed by her anthology mate, Rachel Carrington. Here it is, for your viewing pleasure, fresh from YouTube (hint, Kate’s is the third story featured): 

Welcome Guest Blogger Susan Lyons

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

EVERYBODY’S TALKING AT ME

I’m referring to the doom-sayers who are bemoaning the demise of the publishing industry. I’ve tried to play that lovely old Harry Nilsson “everybody’s talking” song in my head and not hear a word the doom-and-gloom folks are saying, but it’s hard to tune them out.

Yes, I know we’re in a recession and, basically, the economy is in the toilet. For those of us who read and/or write books, we have to wonder how that’s going to affect us.

Random House CEO Markus Dohle says, “Because of the current economic crisis, our industry is facing some of the most difficult times in publishing history” (and Random House is doing major reorganization; see http://tinyurl.com/5r3lfg).

Another major publishing house, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, has stopped buying books. (See http://tinyurl.com/6lcg6u if you want to read the story.)

How can a publisher stop buying books? What happens if others follow suit? A year from now, will there be no new books on the shelves? Or online either?

Okay, that’s inconceivable. I love books. You love books. We REQUIRE books in order to function! I’m an addict and no one’s going to cut off my supply <g>. So, yes, I’m sure that a year from now, and two years from now, there will still be bricks-and-mortar and online bookstores, and there will be books on their shelves, and you and I will still be shopping and reading.

And yet…we’re in a recession. Things have already changed and they’re going to change more. Lots of people have less disposable income. Those that do have cash are tending to hoard it rather than spend it (which we probably all realize is the very worst thing to do in a recession).

One theory is that book sales will actually go up. Why? For a couple of reasons. First, in tough times, we need escape, entertainment, laughs, thrills, happy endings, and what better than books to provide all those things? Second, books are pretty much the best-value entertainment around.

Of course, people can get books without buying them new. They can go to libraries, visit used bookstores, or borrow from friends. All of which are great for the reader, but pretty sucky for the industry. If publishers don’t sell new books—like my new books, Cindy’s new books, your favorite author’s new books—then guess what? Next time we send the publisher a proposal, the publisher is going to say, “Sorry, your numbers aren’t good enough. We’re not going to buy anything else from you.”

Ouch!

So, yes, these are scary times if you’re a writer. All we really can do is keep writing, keep the faith, spend our own spare dollars on books so that we’re supporting our fellow writers and the industry, and try not to stress out about a future we can’t control.

What I’d like to hear from you folks is your take on all this. Have your book-buying habits changed? What kind of books do you like to read when times are tough? How do you decide which books to buy new and which to get at the library or buy used? Are you still spending the same amount on books or have you either reduced or increased your book budget? Are you asking for books for Christmas? Giving books as gifts? Where do you think the publishing industry is heading? Do you have any bright ideas for how to keep the industry healthy?

(And thanks to Cindy for inviting me to visit!)

***

Please leave a comment or question to enter to win a copy of UNWRAP ME. Entries accepted until midnight PST.

To learn more about Susan and her books, please visit her website.

Susan Lyons Guest Blogging Tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

Make sure to drop by tomorrow for Susan Lyons’s guest blog on the current state of the publishing industry. Whether you’re a writer or a reader, this is a conversation you don’t want to miss—and both Susan and I would love to hear your input.

Susan, a fellow member of the Greater Vancouver Chapter of RWA, writes emotionally compelling erotic romances for Kensington Aphrodisia. She recently sold to Spice Briefs and Berkley Heat and also writes sweet, short romances for The Wild Rose Press. Tomorrow, Susan will give away a copy of UNWRAP ME, a Christmas-themed Kensington erotic romance novella anthology, which includes her story of the same title plus novellas by two other authors. Here’s the back cover copy:

In Susan’s novella, “Unwrap Me,” Jude Benedetto is a Christmas Grinch. She says the holiday is crass and commercial, but the deeper truth is her pain over being abandoned at Christmastime. Twice. Her answer is to banish Christmas from her life. But her girlfriend has other plans. She sends Jude a very special Secret Santa gift: hot firefighter, Nick Buchanan. Named after St. Nick, he’s a huge fan of Christmas. Waging a campaign based on “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” he has twelve very sexy days and nights to persuade Jude to open her heart and trust in him, and rediscover the loving spirit of Christmas.

Leave a comment or question for Susan tomorrow until midnight Pacific Standard Time to enter for your chance to win. 

About Susan:

Award-winning author Susan Lyons writes sexy contemporary romance that’s intense, passionate, heartwarming and fun. Her Awesome Foursome series for Kensington Aphrodisia features four twenty-something friends who laugh, cry, bond—and find their own very sexy romances. Her books have won two Booksellers Best Awards, two Aspen Golds, two Golden Quills, and the More Than Magic. Reviewers say:  “…a heartwarming romance topped with steaming hot erotica”; “hot steamy sex, best girlfriend bonding, and a strong romantic conflict in a compelling story”; “wickedly hot sex and a story line that grabs you and doesn’t let go until the last word.”

Susan lives in Vancouver, BC, where many of her stories are set. She has degrees in law and psychology, and has also studied anthropology, sociology and counseling. Her careers have been varied, including perennial student, grad school dropout, job creation project administrator, computer consultant, and legal editor. Fiction writer is by far her favorite. Writing gives her a perfect outlet to demonstrate her belief in the power of love, friendship and a sense of humor. Visit Susan’s website for excerpts, discussion questions, writing process notes, articles and give-aways.