Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Three favourite book covers

Hello, I'm Lindsay Townsend and I'm blogging at Romance Writers in the Rough on every 4th Wednesday.

Feb 14th is approaching, time of love and romance. To mark this special time, I thought I'd share 3 of my favourite covers and say why I like them so much.

The first is the cover for the romantic suspense novel, 'Faith,' by Bonnie S Mata. I love romantic suspense as a genre - that mix of life-and-death stakes and romance. In the ancient world, Venus, the goddess of love, had a torrid affair with Mars, the god of war. Love is the richest, most complex emotion any human can feel, and if that love is heightened or threatened by the fear of death in any kind of conflict, it creates a very powerful, raw state. there is also a sweeter kind of love and to me this is what the cover of 'Faith' perfectly captures. Love as sensual, appealing, vulnerable, desirable. I love the flowers, too: perfect for Valentine's day!

My second cover is from a theme I love reading - sheikhs and desert love. I love the wide scope of the setting and the rugged uncompromising masculinity of the heroes. They are also always protective, which to me is a huge plus! Here's a cover from a site devoted to sheikhs and desert love romance:

This title is one of the editor's choices. It's called 'Beauty and the Sheikh' and I like it because of the couple's clear connection and the tenderness between them. The hero also rescues the heroine.

My final title is all about commitment. It's a Steeple Hill Love historical series called 'Homespun Bride.' I found my eyes drawn to this cover because of the bride in her lovely wedding dress and the waiting groom. To me, love is about commitment, and this cover, with its pretty church and rural setting, is one of my favourites.

Needless to say, I am also very proud of my own historical romance covers, which you can see on my blog. Do you have any favourite covers? I'd love people to share them.

Best wishes, Lindsay.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Don't Be Shy

I'm stunned at the growing number of new authors signed each month. I've been hanging around the publishing scene since the release of my debut novel, Prairie Peace, in 2003. I still recall what it felt like to be a newbie: the excitement, the thrill of holding my book and seeing my name in print, the pride of accomplishment, and the fear of the unknown. Sound familiar?

I had no idea what was expected of me once I had a book released. It seemed like my publisher just said, "Here ya go," and threw me out in the public...naked. This may sound strange, but I'm sure you can identify. I knew there were all kinds of things I needed to know, but I didn't know which questions to ask to get answers. So, I lurked. I signed up on loops, I read the posts, and hoped someone else would make inquiries that would teach me something. Is that how you feel?

So, here I am, almost six years later, much more polished, knowing far more than I did when I started, but still trying to find answers, but to different questions: how to find an agent, how to write the perfect query letter, will I ever see one of my books in Walmart? *smile*

There is no big secret to staying alive as an e-published author. The easy part is writing the book and getting it least at this level. Then, you have to promote yourself in every way you can.

Every day, more and more people blog, launch websites, and join the tons of promotional sites on the internet. If you don't keep your name in the public eye, you can bet you will soon be forgotten. You can write the best book ever, but unless you let people know about it, it's going nowhere. That means garnering reviews, being interviewed, posting excerpts, going to chats, joining loops, and being a team player. The nice thing about our business is we are all working for the same goal...promoting ourselves and Internet publishing. If you have questions or need help, don't be shy. Just ask, I'm sure you'll find someone willing to step up. Pay it forward girls and guys. The more we promote one another, the more people learn about us all.

I'm doing my part from January 26-31. Twenty-five of my peers are coming to my blog and participating in "Bring a Character to Blog Week." I've given them instructions on using labels for their posts to help search engines pick up their info, issued the invitations, and now I sit back and enjoy the fun for six whole days. I can't wait to start reading. Believe me...this is a learning experience too. This is how I come up with new and innovative ideas, writing tips, and story lines. I've learned tons from my fellow authors.

I hope you'll stop by Dishin' It Out

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A New Author's View On Reviews

As a new author I was waiting nervously to get my first reivews. The only thing that was able to take my mind of it was diving into my current work in progress. The waiting game is a killer.

It's a wierd process of waiting when you're an author. I mean you work on your story submit it and WAIT to see if the publisher, or editor liked it. It get's accepted and you go through the editing and cover art process and WAIT patiently for your release date to come around. Then you WAIT for someone you've never met before to read your work and tell you what they thought of it.

Now I know everyone will have their own opinion. And yes not everyone will love it. I can take the good with the bad, though in all honesty I hope there's no bad.

I love checking out the dozen or so review sites I've been to. Not to mention people's blogs about their recent reads. I know I have bought books based on the reviews I read and totally disagreed with the reviewer on whether or not it was a good book.

I write my stories for me. So in the long run if I'm happy with them then that's all that should matter. Still crazy as it may sound somewhere in the back of my mind I want to know what people think. Good or bad.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Characters Welcome

Hello, I’m Susan Palmquist and I’ll be blogging every third Wednesday of the month. As this is my first post, here’s some information about me. I’m a freelance writer and created and run my own Web site called The Budget Smart Girl’s Guide to the Universe www.budgetsmartgirl. It was recently named one of the top 6 money sites to watch in 2009 by U.S. News World Report. I’m also the new blogger over at Between The Lines, and I’m the published author of three novels. A Sterling Affair, a paranormal romance published by The Wild Rose Press, Death Likes Me, a mystery published by Hearts on Fire Books and a children’s novel that previously won The Loft Children’s Literature Award and it’s also published by Hearts on Fire Books. If you want to see the covers of the books and read some excerpts stop by my Web site

Jenny said we could talk about anything to do with romance and writing and for some reason, characterization popped into my head.

Think about a book you really enjoyed reading…one that was almost impossible to put down.
Now ask yourself was it the plot that you liked best, or did you love it because one or more of its characters held your attention?

I’m taking a guess here, but I’d say 99% of you answered characters.

Yes, a good plot’s vital to any book and all genres, but unless you create at least one character the reader can identify with, having the most wonderful plot in the world won’t have as much impact.

If you keep up on TV ratings and what shows got the axe, you might have read that other than the CBS show, The Mentalist, there’ve been no breakout shows this season. If the TV executives are scratching their heads wondering why and what when wrong, here’s a tip, create shows with more memorable characters.

So, as a writer how can you create a memorable character?

Give Them a Past
Most great characters have something in their past that’s not only shaped who they are, but dictates their future too, and maybe even gives them some of the little quirks readers love so much.

As most of us watch TV, I’ll use two characters from popular shows as examples. Adrian Monk, whose wife was killed by a car bomb, he’s not only trying to find her killer, but trying to get back on the force. Oh, and he’s got phobias about everything out there which often hinders his everyday activities.

And there there’s Gregory House M.D. He walks with a cane, is addicted to painkillers and despite being a brilliant doctor is a complete pain the butt to his fellow workers and patients. These are both interesting characters, they’ve got baggage and we want to know more about them, hence we tune in each week to see what’s going to happen to them.

In my mystery, Death Likes Me, I knew I wanted to make it part of a continuing series so I had to give my main character, former detective Niki Webber some issues to deal with. And boy, did I give this poor character lots of stuff to ‘deal with’ She’s only 38 and a widow. She’s been shot and nearly died. Oh, and let’s not forget, she’s guilt ridden because she thinks she might have wanted to end her life and hence the reason she let her guard down and got shot. And let’s not forget that when she was shot, her partner had to shoot and kill a teenage boy who had no prior police record.
Give Your Character a Problem Everyone can Relate To
Okay, you might be thinking well, not everyone’s been shot in the line of duty and caused the death of a teenager, but guilt is a universal feeling. Losing a spouse is something many people have faced or will face, and you can even relate to House because we all know what it’s like to be in pain.

Give Them A Future
When the book comes to a close, make the reader feel like cheering or taking a deep breath because the character is okay, and if it’s series character, make them wanting more. Get them to the point where they can’t wait for your next book to hit the stores.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Feeling Sluggish

Ever have one of those days that you just cannot get moving? That's me today. I finished an amazing book called NoAngel by Penny Vincenzi. Yet after reading it, I wasn't inspired to write. I wanted to read more about this family. Pick up the next book in the series and let my writing go another day.

Usually I have the opposite effect, I get inspired to work on my stories. Maybe it's just a Monday thing but then there are times it hits me on other days. I just want to relax and chill out but then in the back of my mind, I remind myself that things could be worse. I could not be inspired to write at all. Looking at my notes for my current story that I'm typing up. I just have to remind myself to keep going no matter what! I'll be happy once I am done. Yet the slug bug still gets me. It's something I think every writer fights.

This new year I hope to see many things and find the best ways to not feel sluggish anymore. Well, maybe not so much. Is there anything you do to get rid of the slug bug? Any thing that you could tell me would be greatly appreciated!

A biker's new year resolution

Hi all,
I bought my hubby a new Buell motorcycle for Christmas which leaves me with the Harley Sportster. Cool.

Now i just have to learn to ride the sucker. I will be taking the bike safety course and learn to ride at the dealership. Then I think I would like to join a biker gang.
I've given this great thought and its not just any biker gang.
I want to join BACA. It's an anacronym for Bikers Against Child Abuse.

We basically stand by a child while she/he has her/his day in court. It's emotional support and it gives the child a friend (as well as a neat vest that says BACA on it). We don't initmidate, we don't do anything outside the law, we simply support the child.

It would be a dream come true if one day I spoke about child abuse and met with blank stares. The phoenomena would be so rare that people didn't understand the concept.
One of the officers of the group calls himself Thor.
(I'm thinking character! how sexy is a guy on a bike who helps kids in his spare time?)

Thinking of Thor made me think of Freya. She is the goddess of love and war. It seems like a contradiction. (or an ancient tribute to women's ability to multi task).
War and Love don't have much in common, unless, if driven by a cause, the person chooses to fight for the greater good and defend those who can't defend themselves.

Under these circumstances love and war could be compatible. There are things worth fighting for, but for the moment, I'm fighting with the clutch!My new year's resolution is to find my inner Freya and gain the courage to be something better than I am now.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Love Beyond the Veil

Margaret lived in a nursing home in Florida to spend her final years before time was ready to take her. She was a sweet lady, mildly confused, but mobile. She was bustling about her room, making her bed and setting up the pillows at its head.
She was running a brush through her silver hair, when the nurse came in with a dinner tray. Margaret smiled at her.
"No thank you. I won't be having dinner, my husband is coming for me at six." Margaret sprayed a bit of perfume on her wrist, then patted her hair into place.
The nurse set the tray on her bedside table. "In case he runs late, I will keep it here." She smiled with indulgence at the older woman.
"Daniel is never late," Margaret told her. Margaret's husband, Daniel, had died ten years earlier, but she felt no need to argue the point with the sweet lady and she left to pass the other trays.

After an hour, the nurse came to pick up her tray, it was untouched. Margaret was resting on her bed, a gentle smile on her lips. The nurse went to wake her. Soon she realized Margaret had passed.
She called the doctor to pronounce her dead.
It was 5:50.
Daniel wasn't late.

Marie was born in 1895. Her life was spent pouring her love upon her family, including a sister she took in after the death of her mother. She lost her beloved husband, Peter, in 1963.
Thirty years later she finally began to tire. We urged her to stay for 100 years but she was ready and at peace with dying at the young age of 98, and it did seem so young on her.
Her children were with her while she was on her death bed, at the very end, she sat up, her eyes wide with wonder, her lips smiling.
She then eased gently back on her pillow and took her last breath.

What had she seen?
I think she saw Heaven. The gates opened wide for this gentle woman and just inside the gates was Peter.
In my selfishness, I wanted my grandmother to live forever. It's not fair to lose someone so easy to love.
My new years resolution is to be as easy to love as she was.
Jennifer Childers,
Wild Rose PressAugust 2009

Monday, January 5, 2009

Self-Promotion for Romance Authors

For those of you who are e-published, you know that the key to getting your book into reader's "hands" is self-promotion. We, as e-authors, are responsible for the majority of it. Some publishers provide as much as they can offer (bless their hearts), but often times, it simply isn't enough.

And to those new authors who've just signed, they may be baffled as to where to begin. So here are some resources and ideas for self-promotion:

Self-Promotion for Romance Authors

1.) JOIN GROUPS - Places like Yahoo! Groups (Romance Writers in the Rough is a prime example *winks*) Often, romance-geared groups have PROMO days where you can post excerpts of your work and buy links. This is an excellent way to network.

2.) NETWORKING - As I mentioned before, joining a group is a great way to network. I can't count the number of e-friends I've made in the last year alone.

3.) CREATE A WEBSITE - This, perhaps, should be the number one thing you do. There are a number of free website/free webhosting sites, such as Personally, I use Weebly and love it. I mean, it's so easy, a freakin' monkey could do it. Seriously! You'll want to create a page for your work, with excerpts, reviews, and most importantly, BUY LINKS.

4.) JOIN MYSPACE OR FACEBOOK - Many authors/writers have a page one or both (like me) of these sites. Once again, a great place to showcase your work, blog, and network.

5.) CREATE A BLOG - Even if you hate blogging (like me), get one. They're free, and a great promotional tool. I often have guests on my own blog. Check it out at

6.) HOLD CONTESTS - Giving away free promotional items such as buttons, bookmarks, or even free copies of your books will drive traffic toward your website. And if you give away a free copy of one of your books, chances are the winner will come back for more.

7.) JOIN ROMANCE WRITERS OF AMERICA - RWA is a great organization. They have area chapters which you can join (another GREAT way to network and get your name out there, especially if you're published) and get great support from other romance writers. They also have a yearly conference which, while a tad expensive, is an awesome experience. (I went to last year's in San Francisco). Talk about a place to network.

8.) ENTER CONTESTS - A lot of times, judges are editors, agents, and published authors. RWA's Golden Heart and RITA are two prime examples. Even if you don't win, there's always a chance that someone may notice your work. And if you DO win, well, you can call yourself an "award-winning author."

These are just a few of the things I've done since I signed my first contract a one year ago. And I have to say, I've made a (albeit, small) name for myself.

Good luck!

Jenny Gilliam ~ Spicy Romance with a Dash of Humor

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