Monday, October 31, 2005
In this blog, I’d like to talk about using your back ground and small press experience to meet your ultimate publishing goal, NY. First and foremost you need to ask yourself, what is your publishing goal? Mine is to publish in NY, on this I am clear. In 1998, when I first became serious about writing, I joined my local chapter of the RWA and went about selling my book. Much to my dismay, reject after reject began to stream in. Well this will not do, I told myself, so I kept trying and trying. Then I wrote my second book, and my third and fourth and kept going. Finally, in February of 2004 a small press erotica e-book publisher, said, YES. You can image how thrilled I was.
So my first published book, The Lost Wolf Warrior, went to market in June 2004 and guess what, all those other books were ready to go, so I sold them, 9 books since last June have now been published with http://Liquidsilverbooks.com . Am I making bunches of money in e-books? Noooo, not at all. But here’s what happened, great reviews and awards began to roll in, which attracted an agent, bam another goal met. My strong law enforcement background and my now published author status allowed me to begin booking speaking engagements, including RT 2004, where I was honored to speak with fantastic authors like Susan Grant and Lindsey McKenna, bam another goal met. All of sudden doors began to open, that might have otherwise been closed.
Okay, have I sold to NY yet? No, but you know what, I’m very close and the experience of small press e-books has helped prepare me for what is to come, allowed me to make friends and contacts in the industry, made me hone my craft and overall has been a great, career-building experience. Bam, bam, bam, more goals met.
So my advice to new authors is to use your small press experience and your background to reach your publishing goals. Oh and never give up, keep writing!
Sunday, October 30, 2005
Saturday, October 29, 2005
I’m not thinking of movies with lunatics in hockey masks, I’m recalling the black and white classics: Bela Lugosi as Dracula, Lon Chaney as the Wolfman and Boris Karloff as the Mummy. The classics made each of these villains both frightening and sympathetic, but never sexy.
My first story, a contemporary cop novella, was published in Volume 3 of Secrets. I have the privilege of sharing space in the volume with Angela Knight. Her vampire story called Blood and Kisses was as a profound an inspiration as was her futuristic, Roarke’s Prisoner published by Secrets. Vampires were now sexy, heroic figures and the future isn’t cold and ugly, it’s hot.
Inspired, I wrote a futuristic story called Icy Hot and submitted it to Secrets. The editor hated the story. I dare not compare my talents to Angela, but damn it was a good story and I loved it. Kate Douglas suggested I submit the story to Ellora’s Cave. The editor loved it and EC published it.
When Ellora’s Cave wanted a vampire story for the annual Things That Go Bump in the Night V anthology for Halloween 2005, I seized the opportunity to spin a tale about a sexy vampire hero and wrote Embrace Forever. If you haven’t read a sexy vampire story, Halloween is here and now is the time. Try it you might develop the taste.
Other sexy Halloween reads:
Mardi Ballou’s Young Vampires in Love.
Kate Douglas’ Wolf Tales
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Or rather, a new story begins. New characters come to life for me. It's all fresh and wide open. They've already been talking to me, but I had to shut them up. Now, I can let them talk, talk, talk all they want. I absolutely love starting a new story. I love discovering who these people are, how they're like me, how they're different. I like throwing challenges in front of them and seeing how they'll react. And there's a moment when they actually do come to life. One little characteristic that suddenly brings them sharply into focus. When Fool's Gold was brewing in my brain, I was driving home from work and I stopped at a red light behind a truck. I was close enough to make out the bumper sticker. It said "Don't make me bring out the flying monkeys." The license plate frame had little skulls around it, and their eyes lit up when the brake was on. I got the chills and I knew these things defined my heroine, Simone Chandler. She was suddenly alive, real, and dying to tell me all sorts of things about herself. I really, really wanted to follow the driver into the Safeway parking lot and meet her, but I was afraid she'd think I was some weird stalker. I wish now that I had.
So now I get to play the game with a new set of characters. And I can't wait. I wonder what they're going to reveal.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Sometimes I write....
Sometimes I write stories that have lots of sex. In lots of places.
Sometimes I write stories with characters that have big problems and they also happen to like having all that sex.
Sometimes I write stories that are funny, where the characters don't have huge problems. They probably have a bunch of sex, tho.
Sometimes I write really deliciously filthy stories where I go back and read them and I'm like, "Oh my, I was having quite the naughty month, wasn't I?"
Sometimes I write really sweet stories. And sometimes they're as fun to write as the naughty ones.
Sometimes I try something new, like a murder mystery or women's fiction or YA/teen books, and I hope for the best and throw my heart into it.
Sometimes people love my books. Sometimes they don't. But I'm going to write anyway. And that's good to know.
;-) Bella Andre
TAKE ME: November 2005
Monday, October 24, 2005
Bad Day Gone Good (x 2)
Last week, I was having a bad day. Just felt like all the news was down not up, bad not good. I was bummed and moany and whining, but it was 2pm and my babysitter was here and by god it was time to write. Especially since I have a Nov 15th deadline on Wine, Women & Seduction--my WIP for Pocket, 2006. So, I sat down and pouted much like my 14 month old son (wonder where he gets that from?!) and then I forced myself to start at page one of my manuscript and revise/edit away.
Two hours later I looked up and realized the stormy clouds had passed and the sun was shining down. All the bad was gone, and I was perfectly happy again.
All because I was writing. I was having fun. I was in the world of the three very sexy ladies who were in Napa Valley with three very sexy guys and it was great.
Bad day gone good. Just like that.
And then this morning, I saw something on-line that made my heart sink. And it was even harder this time to sit down at my computer to write. The words swam. I didn't feel it. But I made myself do it, because otherwise, the bad stuff wins.
Screw that. And now, it's the end of my workday, and I'm about to go out to the living room to play with my big boy and I feel great again. All because I wrote. Some damn good stuff too, by the way.
;-) Bella Andre
Take Me: November 2005
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Starting a new book
I woke up this morning anxious to get started. It's all right there, that opening scene that's so important to a story. I see Jake's face the first time he sees Shannon. I feel her heart race when she first sets eyes on him. I know he's barely in time to safe her life, and the threat isn't going away any time soon. Finally, after days of thinking about them, I know Jake and Shannon well enough to tell their story. I feel like a horse at the starting gate, waiting for the bell. It's an adrenaline rush like nothing else, and I wouldn't trade this feeling for anything. If anyone needs me today, I'll be right here doing what I love most. Writing.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Here's our news for the month from the author's of Red Hot Romance:
Jasmine Haynes has just sold a new erotic novella trilogy to
Are you ready for thrilling romance with great human drama, passion, and unforgettable hilarity? That’s what reviewers are saying about Jennifer Skully’s latest book, Fool’s Gold. Want a copy, see where she's at to give them away here
Rae Monet's Christmas Anthology, Jingle My Bell gets it's cover. Rae's story is Cleopatra's Legacy, a futuristic sensual romance you can't miss. See the cover here.
BJ McCall's anthology, Things That Go Bump in the Night, was released from Ellora's Cave this week. See details here.
Kate Douglas has signed a 3 book deal with Kensington. See her first new cover here.
Kate Douglas released her newest story in Ellora's Cavemen III on September 22. See the new release info here.
Karin Tabke's erotic fiction will help launch Kensington's new line in the next few months -- so watch for it! Karin is also Pocket's newest erotic suspense author. Meet Karin here.
Watch for Take Me, Bella Andre's first erotic romance with Pocket Books. Coming November 15th! And she recently sold Wine, Woman & Seduction and Constant Cravings to Pocket as well, to be coming out in trade paperback in 2006/2007. Take me takes 5 stars from JERR, Just Erotic Romance Reviews... Take Me is a terrific book that I absolutely adored... Susan White. Meet the author here
Rae Monet's Gabe's Prize won the 2005 E-Cata Romance Reviewers Choice Award. Stolen Courage was awarded Outstanding Book of the year from Enchanted In Romance Readers Choice Award. See both books here.
Rae's Monet's Z's Story received a Recommended Read from Fallen Angel Reviews. Z's story also received 5 stars from Just Erotic Romance. Jane says, Rae Monet captures and then holds the reader's attention throughout this fantastic tale, Z’s Story. See more on this story here
Jami Alden just sold to Kensington for their new Aphrodisia Imprint. Look for her single title “Delicious” in November 2006, and her single author anthology in 2007. Meet her here
Jennifer's Skully's Fool's Gold was released September 26, 2005. Meet her here.
Fool's Gold Review-October Romantic Times Magazine say's ... put up your feet and settle down as the talented Skully explores a unique town filled with genuine character sand oddball behavior. Jill M. Smith
That's news for this month from RedHotRomance.com. Come visit us here
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Things that chap my ass
"Romance is unabashed escapist fiction, following the love story of a (usually female) protagonist, and intended to sweep women readers away from their day-to-day problems. The Romance Writer's Association defines its genre simply as "a love story with an optimistic and emotionally satisfying ending." However, also key to Romance novels is an absence of moral ambiguity. Courage saves the day, justice triumphs, good defeats evil, and it is always readily apparent who and what is good and who and what is evil. Almost uniformly, Romance involves the "taming" or "civilization" of a wild man by a woman. Sub-plots and minor characters are kept to a minimum; these are not multilayered works. Romance readers are seeking to relax and enjoy. Romances should be easy to read, but should strike strong emotional chords. Marriage is almost without exception the desired goal of a Romance plot."
Is it just me, or does this strike you as a particularly antiquated, narrow-minded, not to mention judgemental definition of romance and its readers? Or is it just me and my increasing sensitivity and irritation when my husband's colleagues suggest with the best of intentions, "who knows, maybe someday you'll break out and write literary fiction," as though writing and publishing in romance is not a worthy goal in and of itself.
more on Jasmine's vacation plans...
"They talk of the dignity of work. Bosh. The dignity is in leisure." ~ Herman Melville
"To be quite oneself one must first waste a little time." ~ Elizabeth Bowen
"Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation. For when you come back to your work, your judgement will be surer." ~ Leonardo Da Vinci
"Take rest; a field that had rested gives a bountiful crop." ~ Ovid
"There is more to life than increasing its speed." ~ Gandhi
"Happiness is a butterfly, which, when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you." ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne.
;-) Bella Andre
TAKE ME: November 2005
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Romantic vacations...or just taking a vacation!
So, I've found a good kennel, the animals have had all their shots, and I'm planning a vacation! Okay, I admit I feel a little sick about Eddie Munster, my cat, being in a CELL for a week, and Star, my dog, being attacked by other dogs. But we're doing it! First, we're going to Hiltonhead for my mother's 80th birthday party. And then...I'm thinking, I'm thinking...but I still haven't figured out where my husband and I should go, together, by ourselves!
And oh my God, I just realized that my 21st anniversary is...gulp...tomorrow. I'd forgotten. And I call myself a romance writer!!!???
Monday, October 17, 2005
I wrote NOTHING from Thursday through Monday. Not a paragraph, not a story idea, not even a note to myself. I'm still not sure if this is a good or bad thing, though it does remind me that the methods by which I store my memories have changed. "Oh, I remember that. It was right after I finished writing Wolf Tales," or, "Yeah, that happened before I sold to Ellora's Cave." (A LONG time ago!) We define ourselves by so many different things, whether it's by our motherhood and how many children we still have at home (none, thank goodness!) or wifehood or single status or what we do, which all comes around to the fact I realize I now define myself as an author.
An author of paranormal erotic romance. I got to say that a lot this weekend, introducing myself around to family and friends of the bride (this was my nephew's wedding) as "the fallen sibling." It turns out they ALL knew I was an author, something only my brother could have told them, so it was a lot of fun to hand out my Wolf Tales bookmarks and take the jabs that came after the raised eyebrows finally dropped back down to normal.
Now it's time to get back to my writing, to once more settle into the daily routine of so many words written, so much more of the story uncovered. I'm going to be grinning, though, imagining some of those wonderfully staid wedding guests buying my books and making the connection between the middle-aged gramma they met at the reception and the sensual tales of the Chanku.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
Warning: Neurotic rant
sex from the emotional perspective:
...passionate stories of sexual love which ends in a cuddle and a proposal."
-- Phil Phantom, Guide to Writing Good Trash
Interesting concept and one I'm inclined to agree with. Coz, well, guys don't read erotica, they read porn. Erotica = emotion, porn = the act.
This isn't what I was going to blog about. I was going to blog about how nervous I am turning in my first contracted ST. The novella I sold to Kensington was a fait accompli. My editor loved it when she asked to read it, and immediately told me so. Not so this book. I am convinced Pocket will ask for their advance back. I am convinced my Pocket editor will say to my agent, "Um, did I really buy this piece of crap?"
The book is due Nov 1st. I'm turning it in this Friday the 21st. Until I hear from my editor that she can at least work with what I sent, I will not sleep. I'm not neurotic, I'm not a whiner, I'm not an insecure person, on the contrary, I am the complete opposite of those traits, yet I find myself reduced to a pile of babbling mush. My good writer friends, many multipublished authors, tell me they all went through the same thing, the fear of rejection, the uncertainty, but in the end it all worked out. I know in my heart if this book makes the grade, even with a huge revision I can do this. Once I knew where I was going, this story wrote itself. I know my voice, and it's not difficult, but I keep thinking there was some mistake made when my agent told me she loved my stuff and an even bigger mistake when Pocket gave me a lot of money for not one but two books. Is someone playing a nasty trick on me?
Is the joke on me, but I don't know it? Would someone please smack me!
Is this the neurosis that comes with selling?
Karin* who desperately needs a Xanex
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
It’s 1:00 a.m. and I’m behind, the story of a writer’s life. Yes, I was supposed to blog Thursday. Well, that got blown out the water when a friend in need called and wanted to plot, so off I went. Just flew home Sunday night and there were 200 e-mails. Crits, yahoo group postings to handle, a book going into edits, a new cover to circulate to the other girls in the anthology, a bio to send the site featuring my book, website updates to do and… I was only gone three days. To top it off, another reject from NY waiting for me and no good news from my agent. It’s at times like this I ask myself, why do I write? Why?
Then I begin the edits on the story I turned in three months ago and I’m like, geesh, did I write that? It’s really good. What a cute story, I think my little fan group will love it. Okay, now I remember why I chose this crazy choice for a (as my husband would call it) hobby. Because, I absolutely, without a doubt, no questions asked, love to share the stories in my head and have people enjoy them.
No, it’s not all roses, but there sure is a great sense of satisfaction when you receive that review in your in-box… the recommended read and 5 stars like Fallen Angels gave me last week. And the one e-mail from the reviewer saying, “I really loved this story.”
THAT, is what it’s all about. So I’m off to bed, because in this business… sleep is really over-rated, but still, on occasion, needed. ;)
Sunday, October 09, 2005
Saturday, October 08, 2005
Waiting for the first review
I’m excited about the book. I mentally cheer and give myself a high-five at publication. I haven’t had so many books published that my heart rate doesn’t do double time. I’m sure Nora Roberts still gets excited. I know Kate Douglas does. We share our excitement at our favorite lunch spot, Taco Bell.
I’m relieved that the edits are done. My editor and I worked through a series of changes on Embrace Forever. The first was changing the title. My working title was Life Sentence. By the time I typed “The End” the title didn’t work. I asked Kate Douglas for suggestions (she’s great at titles). Eternal Blood hit the nail on the head, so I submitted the story. My editor told me I had to change the title (no vampire stories with blood in the title will be accepted). I chose a more romantic title, Embrace Forever.
So why am I scared about the first review? I want the readers and the reviewers to love my story as much as I do. My characters live in my head and I’ll admit I have a thing for my heroes. Who doesn’t like a sexy man!
I wait. Will the first reviewer love the book? Will the book receive the dreaded 2 stars, hearts or unicorns? Or will I hit a home run and be awarded with 5?
Okay, I’ll confess. I’m praying for five.
Friday, October 07, 2005
Feelings of Inadequacy
But I digress. Morbidly fascinated though I am by it, this post is not about reality television.
Now that I've sold, I've been invited to join communities like this, and don't get me wrong, it's really, really cool. However as we all chat and get to know each other and talk about what we're writing about, I'm starting to wonder, am I really hot?
Don't get me wrong, I'm no prude, and my books contain plenty of sex. But it's straight up, 1 male, 1 female, both mortal humans hailing from the time periods to which they were originally born, often taking place in that most boring of all places, the bedroom. In general, the only things inserted are other body parts, and light bondage is about as kinky as I get. But as I read what other authors are writing and selling, I start to wonder, should I throw a vampire with an immortal hard-on, or perhaps a sex robot into the mix so readers don't get bored? A threesome maybe? But then that seems like so much work for at least one of the characters...
Suddenly I feel very sexually unimagintaive and intimidated.
You have to understand - it's only with my most recent novella that I could bring myself to use the female "c" word (and I wrote that when I was literally 9 months pregnant, which was interesting in its own right), so for me to be part of a new line that claims to be hotter than the publisher's original erotic romance line elicits a lot of anxiety about whether I'm up to the challenge.
But at the end of the day, I can only write what comes naturally to me. (huh huh, I said "comes") And if I let myself worry about what I think I should be writing, or try to force "hot," I know it will fall flat. So off to my office to think up yet another exquisitely titillating missionary scene...
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Watching my bookmarks take flight
The good news: I got my 4 boxes of GORGEOUS bookmarks
The not so good news: I have to mail them out now.
Two days of stuffing, sealing, addressing so far....I'm thinking two more to go and then my desk will be clear again and my bookmarks flying off into the world. What I wouldn't do to have a $10 and hour grunt to pay to do it, however.
Anyone out there feeling particularly grunty?
TAKE ME ~ November 2005
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Writing through the fear
I've been trying to remember if I'm always terrified every time a book is due, you know, that they're going to hate it and want their money back and tell you they're never going to give you another contract and "You'll never work in this town again!" Yeah, I think I probably have. Probably with all my books! Hmm, I wonder if all writers feel that way.
The hardest thing is sitting down in the morning to start slogging through it. Oops, I better walk the dog first. Oh, then I better make myself some coffee because writers need coffee. Then I better check to see what movies are on Turner Classic Movies today just in case they're playing Mutiny on the Bounty, the Clark Gable version which I've been waiting to get, or maybe Jane Eyre with Mr. Rochester by Orson Welles. Nope, not playing today. Ah well. Hmm, better make the bed. And do the dishes. How about a load of laundry, too? Gee, pretty soon it'll be time for lunch! And I haven't fixed a single word in the manuscript.
Okay, sit! Write! Look at the outline! It tells me where to fix everything, but it doesn't really tell me how. So I stumble around. I change a couple of tenses. And check a couple of words with the thesaurus. Do-dee-do, moving along. Nothing's fixed. But I keep reading and typing and checking and rechecking. And then suddenly, there's this tiny little spark. I don't know where it came from, but I hear some words in my head that fix one small thing, and I type them in...and that part is fixed! And then I hear some more words. And some more. And wow, I've fixed a whole chapter! And look at that, I've fixed 80 pages! Oh my God! So the secret is just sitting down and writing through the fear!
I can do that! I can beat back the fear for at least a day and fix 80 pages! In fact, I can do that today!
But first I better walk the dog.
PS Really, REALLY, I'll fix those pages today!
Monday, October 03, 2005
Sunday, October 02, 2005
Anyway, it was just another day in a row of days without a break and no end in sight. I was wrapping up the final read-through on Wolf Tales II--Tia's Wolf, so I can get it printed and sent to my editor on Monday in time to start the next book, when I decided to check my email -- someone mentioned their January Kensington release was showing up for presale at Amazon! I started scouting around the various booksellers online and at first couldn't find my book. I got a bit creative (read: Desperate!) and typed in "Wolf Tales by Kate Douglas" on Amazon.com and lo and behold, it was THERE! Checked back at Barnes and Noble and Books a Million and saw the same listing for pre-sale.
I had to literally sit still for a moment and catch my breath. Now, this isn't my first book by any stretch of the imagination, but it's my first book with a New York publisher. If you're not a writer and haven't lived with that dream for a very long time, you'll probably just laugh me off as an overly-emotional doofus, but for me this is the culmination of a twenty year quest. Yep, you read that right--twenty years. I wrote my first romance in the early 1980's with my goal a NY publishing contract. Instead of contracts and book sales, I've got a folder full of rejections that's thicker than my first book. I've been print-published now since the beginning of this century (sound's more impressive than saying since 2000) but my first NY book debuts in January: Wolf Tales, from Kensington Publishing.
Until I saw it listed for pre-sale, however, this entire journey had still felt like some sort of nebulous fantasy that might suddenly go "poof" and disappear. I've had visions of someone calling to tell me the joke's off and the whole contract thing never happened, but seeing the book actually listed for sale made it feel real for the first time. I sent an announcement out in my newsletter and started hearing back from some of my readers within the hour that they'd already ordered the book! I tried going back to work and realized my heart was racing and I couldn't concentrate, so I went outside and whacked weeds and worked up a sweat, stretched a few muscles too much and generally worked off the case of nerves that had hit me so hard.
And when I was done and so tired I could barely stand, I realized I hadn't stopped grinning the entire time. I had this amazing epiphany, standing there with the garden shears in my hand and the piles of branches all around that, damn, it was a fine day and life really was good. And yes, the book is coming out as scheduled, along with the next one, and the next. And another yes that, finally, after years of hard work and highs and lows and in-betweens, that I hadn't been tilting at windmills after all...I'd actually chased and caught a rainbow and it felt pretty damned good.
Now, it's a day later, and the feeling's still there. I imagine at some point I'll come down off this high, but not for awhile, I hope. I plan to savor the feeling and enjoy every moment between now and the time the book actually hits the shelves in bookstores around the country. Then I imagine the nerves will hit all over again. For now, though, I can honestly say I've worked a long time to get here, and I fully intend to enjoy it.