Archive for March, 2009

He’s No Fool

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

It’s My Liege’s birthday today. Yip-yip-yap-yap! Apparently, he was born ten minutes before midnight. Hmmm…. I wonder why it is that I know more people born on March 31st, all “just a few minutes before midnight,” than any other day of the year? Today is My Liege’s birthday, the birthday of my first best friend, as well as the birthday of a good friend from high school, the daughter of a good writing buddy, and the son of another writing buddy. Hmmm…

It’s a milestone birthday for My Liege, too. How many I won’t reveal, so as not to embarrass his Over-the-Mountaintop-and-Rolling-Down-the-Other-Side hide. Let’s just there’s a tombstone on his cake.

I wish I had a picture of him as a baby to upload, but I’ve been in major Family Responsibilities Mode since Friday, including a big family dinner on Sunday to celebrate The Passing of His Youth, and I’m too exhausted to take his baby picture off the wall, remove it from the frame, scan it, cut out his brother and sister, PhotoShop it so it’s not grainy as all get-out, then pop it into this post. Yes, I’m a bad wife. But I do happen to have a photo of our first Christmas together already in the computer, as a result of scanning dozens of pictures for a PowerPoint slideshow for my parents’ anniversary three years ago. Here we be:

xmas78-steve-and-cindy

Ain’t he cute?

Hard to believe Eldest Son is now older than either of us are in this photo. We’re both teenagers here. The time, she has flown.

Jenny Bent Flies Solo

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Agent Jenny Bent, formerly of Trident Media and Harvey Klinger has opened her own agency, The Bent Agency, in Brooklyn. Visit her new website for details. Well, okay, I’ll list a few of them here:

  • She’s taking e-queries
  • If you’re querying a fiction project, she wants the first ten pages pasted within the body of the email (ie. not as an attachment, people).
  • She’s hosting a blog on her site (go now, bookmark at will).

The Day After

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Wow, what a rush yesterday, watching all those announcements come in. If you haven’t had a gander at the listing of RITA and Golden Heart finalists for 2009 yet, please see yesterday’s post. I linked to as many websites as I could find. Some of these authors have fantastic sites. Check ’em out!

The official list of RITA and Golden Heart finalists is now up at the RWA website.

If you’re a Golden Heart finalist and haven’t yet heard that double finalist Elizabeth Bemis has started up a Yahoo group that you definitely want to join, here’s the info:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/2009-GH-Finalists/

Do join the loop! It’s not only great to celebrate with your fellow finalists, but the groups are great for discussing promotion, how to do your picture for the ceremony, what you’re wearing, who you’re getting an appointment with at National now that you have a fantastic reason to attend—all that good stuff.  

Now, for those of you who didn’t final…take heart! I’m especially talking about the Golden Heart contest. This was the second year I entered the RITA as Penny. I didn’t final, and so I can tell you from my own experience that not finaling in the RITA doesn’t feel anywhere near as earth-shattering as not finaling in the Golden Heart. Of course, when you enter the RITA, you’re already published. The RITA is icing on the cake, can be a great carrot to dangle to editors and agents (sometimes your own editor and even your current publishing house, let’s say, if you’re not getting the, um, attention there that you deserve). And, let’s face it, finaling is a heckuva lot of fun. However, when you enter the Golden Heart, often you can feel like it’s THE way to get published. If you don’t final, you’ve lost your chance.

I’m here to tell you that you haven’t lost your chance. Far from it. While many Golden Heart finalists go on to sell either their GH manuscript or another manuscript, I’m pretty sure just as many don’t. Okay, I don’t have stats, but several finalists final for several years before they sell. Finaling isn’t a sure-thing ticket to a contract. That said, it’s a heckuva lot of fun, too. I do believe it does open doors in query letters to editors and agents. It might not get your book sold, but it might get it a closer look, or even a request that otherwise might not come your way.

If you didn’t final this year, keep working on your writing and enter again next year! Believe in yourself and don’t give up. I entered the Golden Heart for several years before finaling. In fact, I finaled the last year I was eligible to enter (oddly, due to an unforeseen series of circumstances, I’m still waiting to hear if that manuscript sells—two years later). Two years before I finaled, I wrote an article for the Q&A page of my website called Why Keep Entering the Golden Heart. Wanna check it out? Here’s the handy link.

Oh, before I forget, someone asked me in private email why there are 8 or 9 finalists in some categories and only 3 in others. Don’t quote me, I don’t have the official word, but, as far as I know, the way it works is that each category needs a minimum of 25 entries to go ahead. If the category receives less than 25 entries, it’s cancelled for that year. So, if you see only 3 finalists in a category, that means the category had over 25 entries, but fewer than 40. The finalists are supposed to represent, I do believe, the top 10% of entrants in each category. If a category winds up with 9 finalists, guess what? That’s the most competitive category of either RITA or Golden Heart, because 9 finalists means 90 or more writers entered that category alone! Phew!

Again, congratulations to all the finalists. If I’ve screwed up the 10% thingie (and you know for sure that I have; you’re not just saying it to make me look bad, LOL), please let me know. And, if anyone has other questions about the contests, if I feel I can answer them, I will surely attempt to do so.

2009 RITA and Golden Heart Finalists

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

Congratulations to all our RITA and Golden Heart finalists! If you’ve finaled or know someone who has, please either leave a note in the Comment trail or email me with your name, contest entered, category entered, and title of manuscript. I’ll update the finalists throughout the day as the news comes in.

**UPDATED 12: 15 p.m. Pacific Standard Time**

****I think the final listings are up on the RWA website now. If I’ve missed anyone, or misspelled your name, or linked to the wrong website, please let me know. My eyes are toast!

RITA FINALISTS – Published Romance Novels

Best First Book:

Kerry Connor, STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT

Elise Chidley, YOUR ROOTS ARE SHOWING

Tera Lynn Childs, OH. MY. GODS.

Anthea Lawson, PASSIONATE

Jennifer Morey, THE SECRET SOLDIER

Jean Marie Pierson, NO GOOD GIRLS

Sherry Thomas, PRIVATE ARRANGEMENTS

Contemporary Series Romance:

Lillian Darcy, THE CHILDREN’S DOCTOR AND THE SINGLE MOM

Crystal Green, FALLING FOR THE LONE WOLF

Barbara Hannay, ADOPTED: OUTBACK BABY

Jessica Hart, LAST-MINUTE PROPOSAL

Anne McAllister, ANTONIDES’ FORBIDDEN WIFE

Cindi Myers, THE RIGHT MR. WRONG

Karen Temptleton, A MOTHER’S WISH

RaeAnne Thayne, THE COWBOY’S CHRISTMAS MIRACLE

Linda Warren, TEXAS HEIR

Contemporary Series Romance, Suspense/Adventure:

Jessica Anderson, TWIN TARGETS

Kerry Connor, STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT

Kathleen Creighton, DANGER SIGNALS

Diana Duncan, LETHAL ATTRACTION

Janice Kay Johnson, THE MAN BEHIND THE COP

Kathleen Long, COLD CASE CONNECTION

Dana Marton, TALL, DARK AND LETHAL

Jennifer Morey, THE SECRET SOLDIER

Cara Summers, A SEXY TIME OF IT

Contemporary Single Title:

Elise Chidley, YOUR ROOTS ARE SHOWING

Rachel Gibson, NOT ANOTHER BAD DATE

Jane Graves, TALL TALES AND WEDDING VEILS

Samantha Graves, OUT OF TIME

Debbie Macomber, TWENTY WISHES

Susan Mallery, SWEET TALK

Jean Marie Pierson, NO GOOD GIRLS

Susan Wiggs, SNOWFALL AT WILLOW LAKE

Historical Romance:

Joanna Bourne, THE SPYMASTER’S LADY

Lorraine Heath, IN BED WITH THE DEVIL

Elizabeth Hoyt, TO SEDUCE A SINNER

Eloisa James, DUCHESS BY NIGHT

Lisa Kleypas, SEDUCE ME AT SUNRISE

Stephanie Laurens, WHERE THE HEART LEADS

Pam Rosenthal, THE EDGE OF IMPROPRIETY

Sherry Thomas, PRIVATE ARRANGEMENTS

Inspirational Romance:

Judy Duarte, MULBERRY PARK

Deeanne Gist, DEEP IN THE HEART OF TROUBLE

Irene Hannon, WHERE LOVE ABIDES

Robin Lee Hatcher, THE PERFECT LIFE

Rachel Hauck, LOVE STARTS WITH ELLE

Denise Hunter, THE CONVENIENT GROOM

Tamara Leigh, FAKING GRACE

Susan May Warren, FINDING STEFANIE

Novel with Strong Romantic Elements:

C.S. Harris, WHERE SERPENTS SLEEP

Susanna Kearsely, THE WINTER SEA

Susan K. Law, THE PAPER MARRIAGE

Susan Meissner, THE SHAPE OF MERCY

Pamela Morsi, LAST DANCE AT JITTERBUG LOUNGE

Nora Roberts, TRIBUTE

Karen White, THE HOUSE ON TRADD STREET

Paranormal Romance:

Gwen Cready, SEDUCING MR. DARCY

Yasmine Galenorn, DRAGON WYTCH

Susan Grant, MOONSTRUCK

Lori Handeland, THUNDER MOON

Sharon Sala, THE HEALER

Gena Showalter, THE DARKEST NIGHT

Nalini Singh, MINE TO POSSESS

Kerrelyn Sparks, THE UNDEAD NEXT DOOR

Regency Historical Romance:

Joanna Bourne, MY LORD AND SPYMASTER

Celeste Bradley, DUKE MOST WANTED

Stephanie Laurens, THE EDGE OF DESIRE

Anne Mallory, THREE NIGHTS OF SIN

Julia Quinn, MR. CAVENDISH, I PRESUME

Christine Wells, THE DANGEROUS DUKE

Romance Novella:

Jean Brashear, “Our Day” in THE VALENTINE GIFT

Terri Brisbin, “Blame it on the Mistletoe” in ONE CANDLELIT CHRISTMAS

Meljean Brooke, “Thicker than Blood” in FIRST BLOOD

Jacquie D’Alessandro, “Only You” in IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT

Stephanie Laurens, “The Fall of Rogue Gerard” in IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT

Julia London, “Snowy Night with a Highlander” in SNOWY NIGHT WITH A STRANGER

Sharon Sala, “Penance” in AFTERSHOCK

Jill Shalvis, “All He Wants for Christmas” in HEATING UP THE HOLIDAYS

Romantic Suspense:

Cherry Adair, NIGHT SECRETS

Allison Brennan, KILLING FEAR

Cindy Gerard, TAKE NO PRISONERS

Carla Neggers, THE ANGEL

Brenda Novak, STOP ME

Karen Rose, SCREAM FOR ME

Roxanne St. Claire, NOW YOU DIE

Colleen Thompson, TRIPLE EXPOSURE

Young Adult:

Tera Lynn Childs, OH. MY. GODS.

Rosemary Clement-Moore, HELL WEEK

Tina Ferraro, HOW TO HOOK A HOTTIE

GOLDEN HEART FINALITS – Unpublished Romance Manuscripts

Contemporary Series:

Melissa Jackson Brister, INTO THE NIGHT

Lindsey Brookes, ANGEL IN TRAINING

Laurie DeSalvo, FOR LOVE OR RAVIOLI

Jacqueline M. Floyd, MEET YOUR MATE

Kim Grooms w/a Kim Law, SECOND CHANCE FOR A FAMILY

Anastasia Huff, THE GREEK’S MISTRESS REVENGE

Laurie Kellogg, THE GREAT BEDROOM WAR

Katherine Worsham, BENEATH THE SURFACE

Contemporary Series, Suspense/Adventure:

Dianne Gerber w/a Autumn Jordan, HIS WITNESS

Jamie Michele, ROMANCE OR RETRIBUTION

Kim Howe, BREATHLESS

Contemporary Single Title:

Vivi Andrews, EASY MONEY

Elizabeth Bemis, LIGHTS…CAMERA…MARRIAGE!

Elizabeth Bemis, LOVE & OREOS

Lindsey Brookes, OPERATION: DATE ESCAPE

Kathryn Graykowski, SUMMER IN AUSTIN

Robin Lanier, FOR LOVE OR MONEY

June Love, TEXAS HOLD’ER

Virginia McCullough, ISLAND HEALING

Historical Romance:

Jennifer Bray-Weber, UPON A MOONLIT SEA

CJ Eernisse Chase, THE OTHER BROTHER

Pat Detweiler, FORFEIT’S LADY

Jeannie Lin, BUTTERFLY SWORDS

Kate Parker, THE ART OF A LADY

Jenna Stuart, HIGHLAND HONOR

Tatia Talbot, LILY’S OUTLAW

Inspirational Romance:

Yvonne L. Harris, MONTANA RAINBOW

Kelly Ann Riley, KITTY’S FIRE

Cara Slaughter, LOVE ON A DIME

Kayla Lynn Westra, KASEY’S SECRET

Novel with Strong Romantic Elements:

Sherri Buerkle, DARK SECRETS

Elizabeth Devlin, HOME WATERS

Kelly Fitzpatrick, PLEASANT LAKE P.D.

Diane O’Brien Kelly, DEATH, TAXES AND A FRENCH MANICURE

Kim Howe, ONE SHOT, TWO KILLS

L.A. Mitchell, UNTIL MIDNIGHT

Bev Petterson, COLOR MY HORSE

Julie Whitby, CALL SIGN SCARLETT

Paranormal Romance:

Sharon Fisher, GHOST PLANET

Jacquie Jacoby, MAGIC MAN

Darynda Jones, FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT

Tammy Hoganson, UNDERBELLY

Morgan Karpiel, HEART OF THE DRAGON

Nancy Litzau, JUST IN TIME

Heather McCollum, MAGICK

Cate Rowan, KISMET’S KISS

Regency Historical Romance:

Elizabeth Baldwin, DEFIANT

Anne Barton, MIDNIGHT PROMISES

Elisa Griffith Beatty, SHAMELESS

Pamela Bolton-Holifield w/a Louisa Cornell, THE RAVEN’S HEART

Amy Talley, NO SHRINKING VIOLET

Sara Wampler, AN INCONVENIENT MARRIAGE

Romantic Suspense:

Ann Marie Becker, ONLY FEAR

Tina Joyce Butts, THE SURROGATE

Shelley Corriell, THE BROKEN

Sandy Randel Eggert, TRUST FALL

Rita O. Henuber, GUARDIAN ANGEL

Diane Maggiora, TRUST NO ONE

Cynthia Mealer, INTRUSION

Joan Swan, SAFE IN ENEMY ARMS

Young Adult Romance:

Vanessa Barneveld, CALL ME CRAZY

Amanda Brice, CODENAME: DANCER

Shoshana Brown, STAGE FRIGHT

Addison Fox, MY BIG FAT ROCKIN’ REALITY

Elizabeth Langston, I WISHED

 ****

Congratulations, everyone!

Will You Sleep?

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Tomorrow announcements for the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart and RITA finalists go out! How many of you who entered will get any sleep tonight?

Ah, I remember the days of entering the GH. I found it very difficult to sleep the night before. Would I get the call? (No, no, no, no, no, no). Would the phone even ring to allow me the thrill of the possibility of the call? (Some years, no, no, no, no; other years, once or twice).

I don’t know about you, but even if I’m not finaling, I WANT the phone to ring a few times just to give me that thrill right before I pick it up. Two years ago, I was down in the basement doing laundry, bemoaning that if I didn’t get a call SOON (taking into account that I knew from the listservs that calls were going out), I wouldn’t get a call at all. Then the phone rang. Upstairs. Don’t ask me why I didn’t take a portable down to the laundry with me. So up the stairs I ran and picked up. As soon as my caller ID’ed herself as being with RWA, I knew. Finally, I’d finaled in the Golden Heart!

This is my second year entering the RITA as Penny and I totally do not expect to final. I don’t know what the stats say, but I personally felt I had a higher chance of finaling in the GH than the RITA, and I entered the GH several times before I did final. I mean, when people with many more books out than I are also entering the RITA, what chance do I stand? And then there’s the fact that Penny writes erotic romance, which doesn’t set well with a portion of the judging population. I’m not whining about that, but it is a fact. However, all contests are subjective and you just never know, right?

Anyway, this is my convoluted way of saying that I’m holding a blog party all day tomorrow to honor and congratulate and cheer on all the Golden Heart and RITA finalists. So if you final, send me an email at cindy AT cindyprocter HYPHEN king DOT com and let me know, and I’ll get your info up lickety-spit. (Visit my Contacts page for a proper email addy). Or drop a note in the Comments trail, and, again, I’ll revise the post to reflect your finalist slot.

Feel free to spread the news.

Okay, now go drink some warm milk and TRY to get some rest, heh, heh.

Welcome Guest Kimberley Troutte

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

kimberley_troutteBALLOON DAYS

Cindy, thank you for having me here. I am so excited. SOUL STEALER, my first book, was released from Samhain Publishing on Saint Patty’s day. And I haven’t stopped celebrating yet. In fact, it’s all been one big party.

The day I got the call from Samhain editor, Deborah Nemeth, (well, really it was an email) felt like my birthday. It was as if I had gone to bed the night before as me, struggling writer, and woke up reborn as the published author I’d always dreamed of being. Okay, that sounds WAY too melodramatic, but anyone who has ever worked at a goal for twenty years will know exactly what I’m talking about. An honest-to-goodness editor from a wonderful publishing house loved my book, SOUL STEALER.  Yep, it was my troutte_soul_stealerbirthday. To prove it, one of those helium birthday balloons dropped from the heavens and landed in my front yard. Honestly. I don’t know where it came from, or who it belonged to, but I put it up in the entryway and left it there for a month. After so many years of writing and five years of working nonstop to get published—the day had finally arrived. I’ve got to tell you, it was my best birthday ever!

SOUL STEALER started out as a very bad writing prompt. My local newspaper posted a short story contest with the winner receiving a free scholarship to a writer’s conference. I wanted to go, but the writing prompt was about a man who sees a beautiful woman and kills her. Ewww. I didn’t think I could do it. I can’t even read serial killer stories! I’d have nightmares, shoot, I’d never sleep again. I mulled the idea over in my head and came up with a plan. What if I turned it into a love story? What if the man was really Death and the woman he comes to kill is the one woman he can’t live without? Ah-ha! The germ of an idea for SOUL STEALER was born. And no. I didn’t win that contest, LOL. But the idea took hold and I kept writing until SOUL STEALER was a completed book. I truly love it and hope you will too.

Now, tell me, what would you offer Death for a trade for more time?

***

Leave a comment to enter for a chance to win an ebook of SOUL STEALER. Entries accepted until midnight, PST.

To read Kimberley’s bio and the blurb for SOUL STEALER, please see yesterday’s post. A link to an excerpt for SOUL STEALER is also in yesterday’s post.

To learn more about Kimberley and her upcoming releases, please visit her website.

Kimberley Troutte Visits Tomorrow

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

Tomorrow, Kimberley Troutte joins us on the blog to celebrate her first sale to Samhain Publishing. Way to go, Kimberley! Kimberley’s blogging about Getting the Call and her paranormal romance ebook novella, SOUL STEALER.

SOUL STEALER Blurb:

When Death falls in love with a saint, there’s holy hell to pay.

Sara Lane expects to die young, but when the time comes, she’s not ready. She needs two more weeks to finish a homeless shelter before winter sets in and people die on the streets. Who does a girl have to sleep with to live a few extra days?

How about the sexiest, most dangerous of all bad boys—Death himself?

Cain’s job as a designated death dealer is clear. Kill and move on. Don’t get attached. Don’t feel. But when Sara pleads to cut a deal for more time, Cain is tempted by an unexpected craving for this beautiful, courageous woman. As their lips meet, her life force shakes him to his bones, seals the bargain—and breaks all the rules.

Keeping Sara alive is a dangerous proposition. The Powers That Be are furious and unleash bloodthirsty demons to steal Sara’s soul from Death—the one man who’s hell-bent on saving her life.

Warning: This book contains the sexiest of all bad boys, a woman desperate to get what she wants, deadly soul-sucking demons, surprise visits by Biblical characters, frog grenades, very bad dogs, sacrifice, redemption and eternal love.

Read an excerpt on-line.

Tomorrow, please leave a comment to enter to win an ebook of SOUL STEALER. Entries will be accepted until midnight, March 23rd, Pacific Standard Time.

About Kimberley:kimberley_troutte

Kimberley Troutte was born a writer. Creating stories seems to be an unusual part of her genetic make-up. If she didn’t get those words on the page her head would probably explode. Happily, she writes everyday. Along the way to publication, she has been a substitute teacher, caterer, financial analyst for a major defense contractor, aerobics instructor, real-estate broker, homework corrector and caregiver to all the creatures the kids/hubby/dog drag in. She is living her dream with her husband, two sons, one dog, the goofiest goldfish still alive, and three snakes in Southern California.

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

Jamie, Jamie, Where Art Thou?

Friday, March 20th, 2009

My buddy and former critique partner Jamie Sobrato of Harlequin Blaze and now Superromance fame has been absent from the blogosphere for a velly long time, but she’s back! Jamie has moved her website and blog to WordPress. Hop on over and say hello. Tell her I sent you.

Welcome back to the world of blogging, Jamie.

Good News for Penny

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

I had a full manuscript request for Penny yesterday. Yipseedoo! I spent the day re-reading the story, a single title, before emailing it to the editor. The full manu request was the result of a query from less than an hour earlier, which made me feel great. Okay, so maybe this editor always requests fulls instead of asking to read just the partial first. I don’t know, and I don’t care. I’m thrilled. 🙂

Cross your fingers for Penny!

The Mean Kitty Song

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

Thanks to Kandy Shepherd for pointing me to this catchy tune on YouTube. For cat lovers everywhere!