Welcome to The Writer's Challenge

I'm updating weekly-ish and whenever something exciting happens, so please come back often, browse the archived information,
and use the search feature to find information!
Learn more about my books at ShoshannaEvers.com

Friday, December 31, 2010

My New Year's Resolutions


Hello Fellow Writers!

Happy New Year!

This past year has been an amazing one for me. Right before my 30th birthday I finally got published, with Ellora's Cave. This year I've had two books come out (Punishing the Art Thief and Ginger Snap), sold a third (Hollywood Spank, releasing sometime next year) and sold a story to Berkley Heat for publication in November!

I've also written four other books which are all in various stages of revision. Some may see the light of day, some may not.

My goal for this next year is to get a literary agent. Now, I can't control whether or not a literary agent wants to represent the single-title erotic romance I wrote, so my resolution will be to submit query letters to agents this year. I've already written a query I think is friggin' awesome, now I just have to get the book ready to match it.

What are your goals for 2011?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

How Bianca Sommerland went from Rejected to Published


Hello Fellow Writers!

Today I'd like to welcome a new author to The Writer's Challenge. Bianca Sommerland spent years getting rejection letters before finally pushing through and getting published by Total-E-Bound. This is her story, told in her own words:

Bianca: 
I had written a story I thought was wonderful, just sweet enough to be called romance, with plenty of sex and no controversy—well, unless you consider sleeping with seven men simultaneously controversial—but I digress. Every other rejected story had aspects that I knew would work against them, and no matter how much I loved them, I accepted that their road to publication would be rough.
But not this new one. This new one was a sure bet.
Then I got the response from the one publisher I’d sent it to. They liked it, but...
I remember staring at my laptop like it had suddenly sprouted a tongue and stuck it out at me. But? Huh? How? Why?
They wanted me to make some changes and resubmit. Then they might reconsider.
Now, if you’ve been writing for awhile, you know that an editor giving you the option to resubmit is good. You should go for it, be encouraged. You’ve been validated as a writer; you’re that much closer to your goal.
Unless there’s not a thing in your story you’re willing to change.
For the first time in years of writing and being rejected and moving on, I broke down and decided I was done. I told myself I sucked and felt like my soul had shattered because I didn’t think I’d ever write another word.
My father gave me a big hug and asked what was wrong. I told him and he looked confused.
“This isn’t the first time you’ve been rejected. Haven’t you told me some of the greatest authors have gotten tons of rejections?”
I told him this was different. I wrote the story just for them. I did everything right.
“Well, who else have you sent it to?”
Umm...
So I sent it out to three more publishers. Total E-Bound contracted me days later. Within two weeks I had a contract. And an editor helping me polish the book (much luv to Andrea Grimm), a cover artist making me a beautiful cover. A release date!
Maybe I didn’t suck.
Now, the point, my dear friends who’s spirits might not be all high during these holidays because your dreams seem like they’ll never come true, is that maybe you do suck. Most definitely if you’re giving up. But that’s okay, go ahead and suck for a bit (and yes, I know that sounds dirty. I am an erotic writer after all). When you’re done sucking, stand up and get out of your own freakin’ way.
You wanna be a writer? Well then get used to the fact that not everyone’s going to like you. If you can’t deal with a rejection from a publisher, than what will you do when a reader leaves a great big post on Amazon telling everyone that your book was the crappiest thing they’ve ever read?
Quick tip: Go to Amazon now and look up your favorite writer. See the ratings near the bottom? Well, read a few of the comments next to the ones and twos. That’s what you’ve got to look forward to. Still want to get published?
Then go for it.

Thanks Bianca, for joining us today on The Writer's Challenge, and congrats on your book! Here's the blurb for Rosemary Entwined:

One kiss might save her, but if Rosemary has to lose even one of her men, she doesn’t want a prince.
The only role of Rosemary's nest of men is to feed her insatiable hunger for lust, but that's not what she wants for them. Or what they want from her. While Rosemary presses for them to live their own lives, they each find ways to steal into her heart. With the threat of her mother's nest hanging over them, Rosemary decides to surrender to the love they offer and focus on building their combined strength to stand against the inevitable attacks.
When her control over her powers slips, another problem arises. The nest is incomplete. A prince must be chosen, and if he is not among her men, she'll be forced to let one of them go.
She once feared her heart wasn't big enough to hold them all. Now she fears she's not strong enough to release even one. Even if it costs her her life.

Click here for more info about Rosemary Entwined.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Published at 50 - Interview with Author Tory Richards

Hello Fellow Writers!
I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas! I spent last night working as a nurse, which wouldn't have been too bad except for this gosh-darn cold I managed to get. Today it's snowing and we're expecting a storm, so I'll have all day to hole up and read and write. Ahh, heaven. :)

I've finished my first round of revisions on two WIPs and sent them to a beta reader. I also have some beta-reading to do. I enjoy it so much that sometimes I wonder if I'll ever end up as an editor. Hmm, possibilities abound.
Today we are fortunate to have an author interview from a woman who first got published at the age of fifty and continues her full-time day job while writing books for several different publishers, including my publisher Ellora's Cave.
Please welcome multi-published Ellora's Cave author Tory Richards to The Writer's Challenge.
Shoshanna: How long have you been writing? 
Tory Richards: Since about the age of ten but I really got serious when I received my first typewriter at thirteen. 

Shoshanna: When did you first get published?
 Tory Richards: The year was 2006, right before I turned 50. You see, before that writing was just a hobby for me, and I would go for years without writing a word. Life has a habit of getting in the way ;)

Shoshanna: Did you get rejection letters before that?
Tory Richards: Of course! I still receive rejections. Everyone is looking for something different.The key is not to let rejection get you down to where you give up. Believe in yourself and someone else will, too!

Shoshanna: Do you have a literary agent? Are you looking for one?
Tory Richards: Nope. Writing is a hobby for me. If I were looking to get into the big New York houses I might try to find one, but at this time I'm not that ambitious. That's not to say that if one approached me first, I wouldn't be flattered and have a change of heart.
Tory Richards
Author of sizzling romances!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Managing a Blog Tour

Hello Fellow Writers!

So I had my second Ellora's Cave book come out (Ginger Snap), and in anticipation of its release I planned a blog tour.
I planned poorly, and I didn't manage it very well. In fact, I'd say I did such a poor job of it that the goal of this post is to show you how you can avoid the mistakes I made.

Mistake 1. Not writing down where and when I was blogging. 

Basically I'd be in contact with an author or blogger, and if they suggested I guest blog, I sent them a blog to be posted at their convenience. Every author told me what date I'd be up, but I didn't write it down in one central calendar area, so I overbooked myself and had numerous blog posts on the same day, and didn't give each the promotion they deserved.

Mistake 2. Not checking the blogs to chat with commenters

Because I forgot I was up on a blog somewhere, I also forgot to read and comment, which is a major internet faux-pas.

Mistake 3. Not promoting the blogs I was on well enough.

The day the blog post came out, I should have been on Twitter and Facebook and all my yahoo loops inviting everyone to check it out. That's one of the reasons people have other authors guest blog - to bring new people to their site. And I failed miserably at that. Sample Tweet: "Ack! I forgot I was @PaigeTyler's blog! Here's the link!" Yup, I suck.


Mistake 4. Not spacing out the blog posts

This relates back to Mistake 1. I didn't keep track and I didn't space properly, so not one blog got my individual attention and promotion. Stupid stupid.

That's it, folks. I learned a lot from this experience, and I plan on getting it right when my next book, Hollywood Spank, comes out.

For anyone interested, here's some links of blogs I posted on:

Flirty Author Bitches: http://flirtyauthorbitches.com/2010/12/16/put-the-ginger-up-my-what/

Paige Tyler, Nice N Naughty; http://nicennaughtyauthors.blogspot.com/2010/12/ginger-snap-new-from-shoshanna-evers.html

Berengaria Brown: http://berengariasblog.blogspot.com/2010/12/shoshanna-evers.html

Kate Hill: http://kate-hill.com/blog/?p=671

Cindy Jacks: http://cindyjacks.blogspot.com/2010/12/coverama-shoshanna-everss-covers.html?zx=511bf7f2a69ca5b

EroticaForAll: http://eroticaforall.co.uk/new-erotica-releases/new-release-ginger-snap-by-shoshanna-evers/

Lily Harlem: http://lilyharlem.weebly.com/other-awesome-authors.html

And of course, on my own website and blog, here: http://www.shoshannaevers.com/2010/12/ginger-snap-now-available.html

and here: http://www.thewriterschallenge.com/2010/12/release-day-ginger-snap-my-2nd-book.html

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Release Day! Ginger Snap, my 2nd Book!

Hello Fellow Writers!

It's here! Ginger Snap, an erotic romance Christmas Quickie from Ellora's Cave is releasing *today*!

Woot! I'm so excited :) Here's the blurb:
When Holly sits on Tom’s lap to tell him what she wants for Christmas, she knows she’s naughty enough to get a lump of coal—but she never expected to get a hand of ginger root. Peeled ginger in her bottom burns like crazy without causing any actual harm—so the punishment can go on as long as naughty Holly deserves.

Ginger-figging has been used since Victorian times to keep girls from clenching against a proper caning because, as Holly finds out, clenching around ginger has her begging for mercy—and more turned-on than she’s ever been. From now on Holly should be on her best behavior…but with this sort of punishment, it’s more fun to be bad.
And here's an adult's only excerpt: http://www.jasminejade.com/productspecs/9781419931079.htm

I hope you enjoy Ginger Snap. Email me and let me know what you think!

Monday, December 13, 2010

How my Blurb got Changed - for the better!

Hello Fellow Writers!

So since I have a new book coming out on Wednesday ( Ginger Snap, which will be coming out on December 15th from Ellora's Cave) I went to the buy link, you know, just to...look at it, lol. Just because I love being able to say I have another book coming out, and I love seeing my name on a book cover, even if it is a pen name. Yeah, I'm silly like that. Anyway, I noticed that the blurb I had previously submitted had been changed to a much better blurb!

Blurbs are notoriously difficult to write, and I'm all for anyone who can take what I've written and make it better. And they did!

Then I realized - this might help other writers create better blurbs. So, in the interest of knowledge, I'm sharing my before and after blurbs. 

Here's my original:
When Holly sits on Tom’s lap to tell him what she wants for Christmas she knows she’s naughty enough to get a lump of coal—but she never expected to get a hand of ginger root. Peeled ginger up her bottom burns like crazy without causing any actual harm—so the punishment can go on as long as naughty Holly deserves.

Ginger-figging has been used since Victorian times to keep girls from clenching against a proper caning because—as Holly finds out, clenching with ginger up her bottom has her begging for mercy—and more turned-on than she’s ever been. From now on Holly has to be on her best behavior—because she knows if she’s bad, she’ll be ginger-figged!
 And here's what they changed it to:
When Holly sits on Tom’s lap to tell him what she wants for Christmas, she knows she’s naughty enough to get a lump of coal—but she never expected to get a hand of ginger root. Peeled ginger in her bottom burns like crazy without causing any actual harm—so the punishment can go on as long as naughty Holly deserves.

Ginger-figging has been used since Victorian times to keep girls from clenching against a proper caning because, as Holly finds out, clenching around ginger has her begging for mercy—and more turned-on than she’s ever been. From now on Holly should be on her best behavior…but with this sort of punishment, it’s more fun to be bad.
I really like the new one a lot. They changed "clenching with ginger up her bottom" (and actually, I had used the word a**) to " clenching around ginger", which is way more classy, if you can use the word classy and ginger-figging in the same sentence, lol.

And then they key - they changed the last sentence from "From now on Holly has to be on her best behavior—because she knows if she’s bad, she’ll be ginger-figged!" to "From now on Holly should be on her best behavior…but with this sort of punishment, it’s more fun to be bad."

Getting rid of the exclamation point really helped make it seem less cheesy (which is good, because I don't think the actual book is particularly cheesy), and it also shows that for Holly, the punishment is 100% consensual.

So there ya have it. Do you like writing blurbs, or do you prefer someone else to write them for you?

Friday, December 10, 2010

How to Make a Zombie Sexy - Author Paige Tyler

Hello Fellow Writers!

Today I'd like to introduce author Paige Tyler, who I first met in October at Romanticon. She has a new book out today called Dead Sexy, which is actually a zombie romance. Hmmm. You know I have to read that, just to see how she pulled it off!

Shoshanna: Hi Paige! Welcome to The Writer's Challenge. So, how long have you been writing?
Paige: I started writing in middle school, so back then I did it purely for pleasure.  It wasn't until my creative writing teacher in high school suggested I think about making it a career that I started to think about getting published.  Although I wrote every day and came up with story after story, I still didn't pursue it seriously.  One of the problems was trying to figure out how to get anyone to look at my stories.  I tried cold submissions and even sending my stuff to literary agencies, but those avenues never worked for me and I started to get a little disheartened.  Luckily, that was about the time epubs were becoming popular, so I when I ran across a website asking for submissions, I decided to give it a shot. The publisher loved my stuff, and I've been writing every since.  And while writing is my job now, I've never lost that love for it, so it's still a pleasure!

Shoshanna: Did you ever get rejection letters?
Paige: Ugh, yes!  Well, not from epubs, but from print pubs and agents.  They're disheartening, to say the least, but the stories that got rejected were picked up by other pubs, so it was all good. Just because one pub doesn't like something, that doesn't mean another won't.  So, my new motto is do your best and forget the rest! 
Shoshanna: And it's not like epubs don't reject 95%, maybe more, of what they get. So it sounds like maybe your books were good but not mainstream enough for a print pub to take on. That's one of the beautiful things about e-publishers - good stories get told. So, when did you make your first sale? How'd that feel?
Paige: I made my first sale over five years ago to an ePub called Blushing Books and it felt fantastic!  My dream of becoming a romance writer came true and I totally did the happy dance!  Actually, I still do it whenever a book gets contracted!  LOL!

Shoshanna: Yeah, me too! Okay, and now you've written a zombie love story. How did you manage to make your zombie Hero sexy?
Paige: First, to set the stage, I need to share a little something with you about myself.  Well, about my hubby and me, actually.  We love zombie movies, from the George Romero gems to Shaun of the Dead and everything in between, including "Walking Dead," the new series on AMC.  You just can't go wrong with  a movie full of walking dead people, can you?  Well, if you've ever seen a zombie movie (or even if you haven't), then you know the creatures aren't the heroes of the film.  I mean, how can they be, right?  They're all dead and decayed and downright unattractive, not to mention pretty damn scary.  Which was why you can imagine my surprise when my hubby suggested I write an erotic romance about a zombie hero.  I was like, you're kidding, right?  What woman in her right mind would fall in love with a dead guy?  No way could that possibly work, or so I thought.
Turns out, my hubby wasn't kidding.  In fact, he started working up ideas for the story. "The hero didn't have to be a zombie all the time," he told me. "Think outside the box - take a little literary license!"Okay, I thought. I suppose I could be open minded. My hubby told me that in his out-of-the-box world, the hunky hero got cursed by an evil Voodoo priestess and only turns into a zombie sometimes.
"I'm listening," I said.
"And when he does go zombie, he doesn't have to be like the kind in the movies," my hubby added. "Well, he has to look like one, you know all dead and stuff, but he doesn't have to be a mindless creature or attack humans or eat anything gross."
So, brains are completely out, thanks goodness!
"Think Jensen Ackles or Jared Padelecki, with a really, really, really dark tan - (yes, my hubby knows I've got a thing for the Supernatural hunks!) - well, maybe more gray and black than tan, but you get the idea."

I thought about that for a minute.  "So, the hero's dead, but he's still sexy, is that what you're saying?"
"Exactly," he said, giving me a grin as my eyes lit up with understanding.
By that point, my hubby had pretty much sold me on the idea.  Of course, I knew if I ran with it, I was going to have to sell it to a publisher, and I knew that could be tough since the hero is a zombie. But I ran with it anyway and ended up with a full-length novel.  And it came out pretty damn good, if I do say so myself!  I still had to find a publisher for it, though.
About this same time, It just so happens that several of my other books were in the process of being picked up by Ellora's Cave and I thought what the heck?  Why not pitch it to my editor there and see what she thinks?  So I did, and she told me to send it to her.  She was interested to see how I handled the whole zombie-thing.  Well, long story, short, she liked it.  A lot!  My zombie romance with it's dead-sexy hero had a home!  I was thrilled and my hubby walked around for a week with a smug, "I-told-you-so" look on his face.
I've been getting the word out there about DEAD SEXY ever since I signed the contract for it and I'm thrilled with the interest from readers who can't wait to get their hands on it!  I can't wait for them to read it, too!

Now that I've revealed the story behind the story, I'd love for you to stop by by website and read the blurb and excerpt, as well as take a look at the trailer, just to your appetite for more!


Shoshanna: I can't wait to read it! One last question: Do you have a literary agent, do you want one?
Paige: I don't have an agent.  There was a time that I did want an agent, though.  Bad!  But after a couple years of trying, unsuccessfully, I've changed my mind about it.  I got tired of hearing the same thing, that they want something "different," and though they "loved" whatever book I sent them, it was too "different."  Or that they "loved the book," but weren't "in love" with it.  Books, that ePubs and readers absolutely love, by the way!  The rejections did nothing but bring me down and make me doubt myself.  Writing, something that I love with a passion, wasn't fun anymore.  It wasn't worth it, so I said, forget it.  I realized that I was doing it more for validation that for any other reason.  I'm happy as an epubbed author and am lucky to not only be with some of the most amazing publishers, including Ellora's Cave, but to have the most amazing readers, as well!

I'm also on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter!

Shoshanna: Thanks for stopping by, Paige!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Woot! Agony/Ecstasy Authors Revealed. Yup, that's me ;)

Hello Fellow Writers!

I'm so excited to be on this list of authors for the upcoming Berkley Heat anthology Agony/Ecstasy :) Check it out here, on Dear Author: Agony/Ecstasy Collection Authors Revealed. Ooh, I'm being revealed.

The line up of stories looks very hot. I can't wait to hold the book in my hands and read it :) And congrats to the other authors too! I'm checking out everyone's websites today!

Yours truly,
Shoshanna Evers

Friday, December 3, 2010

Let's Fix That Blurb For Ya

Hello Fellow Writers!
Let's talk blurbs. When you read the back cover copy of a book, that's pretty much a blurb. It's meant to give you the basics of the story - the hook, the premise, while enticing the reader to want to buy the book.

We also need that blurb before the book ever gets published - because that's essentially what we're using in our query letters to editors and agents. The most important part of the query is where you write your paragraph or two about your book, hoping the editor or agent will think "Now this, I gotta check out."

An aspiring writer by the name of Steve LeBlanc asked me to critique his blurb, because he wanted to make it better. He even gave me permission to post his blurb - and my constructive criticism - on The Writer's Challenge, in the hopes that it would help others facing the task of writing the dreaded blurb.

Now, I'm not an expert. But I have written queries that contained blurbs for books which then got published, and I've written blurbs on the buy links for my books and a couple of other published author friends' pages. As an example of a blurb that sold a story, here is my blurb for Ginger Snap, which will be coming out on December 15th from Ellora's Cave (shameless plug? Or an example of a blurb? You decide.):


UPDATE! Ellora's Cave changed my blurb, lol! So while this blurb did sell the book to my editor, they changed it to something that would sell better to readers, and I have to say I love what they did. Here's my original:
When Holly sits on Tom’s lap to tell him what she wants for Christmas she knows she’s naughty enough to get a lump of coal—but she never expected to get a hand of ginger root. Peeled ginger up her bottom burns like crazy without causing any actual harm—so the punishment can go on as long as naughty Holly deserves.

Ginger-figging has been used since Victorian times to keep girls from clenching against a proper caning because—as Holly finds out, clenching with ginger up her bottom has her begging for mercy—and more turned-on than she’s ever been. From now on Holly has to be on her best behavior—because she knows if she’s bad, she’ll be ginger-figged!
 And here's what they changed it to:
When Holly sits on Tom’s lap to tell him what she wants for Christmas, she knows she’s naughty enough to get a lump of coal—but she never expected to get a hand of ginger root. Peeled ginger in her bottom burns like crazy without causing any actual harm—so the punishment can go on as long as naughty Holly deserves.

Ginger-figging has been used since Victorian times to keep girls from clenching against a proper caning because, as Holly finds out, clenching around ginger has her begging for mercy—and more turned-on than she’s ever been. From now on Holly should be on her best behavior…but with this sort of punishment, it’s more fun to be bad.
They fixed my blurb for me, lol! :) Okay, back to the original post:

Yeah, that's definitely not a book for the underage crowd. But we learn who the main characters are, and the basic premise. After reading this blurb, we know we're in for a fun Christmas story about ginger-figging. The tone is light. We can be pretty sure that a story like this isn't going to be a tear-jerker. But it'll be hot! :) And no, it's not Shakespeare.

Okay, so that's a blurb that I think works. Like I said, I'm not the final authority on this. This is just my opinion.

Now. Here is Steve's blurb that he wrote, unedited, for his novel Jennifer's Reflection.

Jennifer Travis is pissed off a lot, but contains well it behind her punk rock appearance, Zen-like approach to life and brining peace to others. She’s the main bartender in a gay woman’s bar, where lots of good times happen, and the occasional fight breaks out. She wants a serious romance now that she’s in her thirties, but fully supports the casual dalliances of her friends.
She has rich interactions with best friend and co-bartender, Mari and her engineer step brother, Eric. Discussions of holistic healing, excellence in parenting and social media sprinkle the discussions.
The novel is warm, smart, funny and fast paced, as we watch the characters reveal secrets and move though issues that have haunted them all their lives. Real issues are dealt with in a PG way. Romantic scenes are suggestive, but never explicit. And language never becomes foul. Enter the world of a group of women friends who are deeply devoted to each other and mostly at home with their sexual preferences.
 So how can we make this blurb better?
1. The basics - fix typos.
2. Get to the heart of the matter. Find the main theme and stick to it.
3. Don't tell us what your book is like. Just because you think it's "warm, smart, funny and fast paced" doesn't make it so. It could be - I've never read this book. But that's really something that should be said by a reviewer and put on the front cover as a quote, not written in your own blurb!
4. There seems to be judgments in this blurb when it talks about how it's PG. That's really not appropriate for a blurb. Again, it almost sounds like he's writing a review of his own book, which is *not* what we want.

Now I'm going to give it a shot. Blurbs are hard to write, and I've agonized for hours before over the perfect wording for a blurb. Alas, my time is limited now. But I'll try my best in the next few minutes to rewrite this bad boy the way I think would work.

Jennifer Travis spends her nights bartending in a lesbian bar, breaking up the occasional fight with her Zen-like approach to life. Too bad the Zen thing and her punk-rock-chic look are just a cover for her true self, which is suddenly yearning to rear its pissed-off head. And now that's she's in her thirties, she's ready for a serious romance. Not that she minds how her girlfriends have casual affairs all around her. She loves how her friends are all deeply devoted to each other and at home with their sexual preferences--most of the time. It's just not for her...or is it?

Unfortunately I have no idea what Steve's book is about, so I hade to make a guess and run with it. I'd recommend he go back and figure out the main theme and emphasize that. I chose the theme of exploring sexuality here, for example.

What do you guys think? How do you go about blurb writing?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Last Day of NaNoWriMo 2010

Hello Fellow Writers!
Today is the last day of NaNoWriMo. I finished the first draft of Protecting Emily, and while I didn't get to 80K like I hoped, I did get to 72.6K before the story wrapped itself up naturally. I'm going to go back and reread it and probably find some places where I need to expand.

This month has been fun, but crazy. It is definitely hard to write 50K in a month, but last year was a cake-walk compared to this year. That extra 22K I wrote was hard on me - and my poor hubby, who was bemoaning the fact that he missed me by the last week of the month. Oh, and there were those first 5 five days where I wrote 15K and then tossed it all out to start over.

Next year I will only write 50k. Maybe 60K.

I started re-reading through my first draft, and I'm enjoying it! How's your first draft feeling? Did you win NaNoWriMo? How was your experience?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Got my Cover Art for Hollywood Spank!

I don't usually (um, ever) post twice in one day, but I had to share!
Thanks to Syneca, cover artist extraordinaire at Ellora's Cave, for my hot new cover for Hollywood Spank! Hollywood Spank is my third Ellora's Cave book, release date TBD.


2014 UPDATE!!
Three years after selling Hollywood Spank to Ellora's Cave, I got the rights reverted back to me, and I re-issued the book myself, in ebook and in paperback. I also got a brank-spanking-new cover from SelfPubBookCovers.com :)

Here's the new cover!




Winning NaNoWriMo

Hello Fellow Writers!

I thought this cat pic was too funny, and strangely apropos since my printer is going to need a new ink cartridge for me to print out the 200 pages of fiction I've written in the past 23 days. Oh, NaNoWriMo, how I love you. Motivation and a tight deadline do wonders for me.

I had a great time last night doing a chat with Ellora's Cave readers. I've never done a chat before. It was fun! I felt like I was at a party, almost, albeit a party where I couldn't see anyone.

With one week left in the month, I'm only at 57K words, and I want to be at 80k. My mother-in-law is in town so hopefully she can babysit the tot so I can write!

Looking to write fast so you can win?
Here're my tips for winning NaNoWriMo:
1. Don't fix typos, just keep going. You can fix them later.
2. If you forgot your Hero's eye color, make up a new one. Fix it later!
3. Pretend if you don't keep your fingers typing they will fall off. Now write! Quick, they're going to fall off!
4. Write everyday. Even if you have no time to write, force yourself to put in just fifteen minutes. Every word you add to your count is one less word you have to add later.
5. Add a sex scene. Add another.
6. Have fun. NaNoWriMo is only 10% torture, 90% fun. Remember that when you start slipping into torture mode.


How's your NaNoWriMo novel coming along? Will you win?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Berengaria Brown: "Keep reading, keep writing, keep polishing"


Hello Fellow Writers!

NaNoWriMo is moving along swimmingly. I don't really "has writerz blox", I just love funny kittehs. I'm at 42K, which, if I was aiming for the traditional 50K goal, would be way head of the game - but since I'm aiming for 80K, I'm pretty much on track. I'm in the middle of the book now, trying to avoid the dreaded "sagging middle". The important thing that I keep reminding myself is that the characters have to have both internal and external conflicts that affect their relationship.

Today I'd like to welcome multi-published author Berengaria Brown to The Writer's Challenge. Her new book “Eternity” is available now from Siren Publishing.

Shoshanna: How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?
Berengaria:Intensity”, my first book, was published in April 2010. I had been writing seriously about a year at that time. I had several books published, at several different houses in quick succession, because while I was waiting to hear back about each book, I kept writing, and I sent each book to the house I felt it was best suited to.

Shoshanna: What's your favorite writing tip?
Berengaria: Never give up. Keep reading, keep writing, keep polishing. But also, read the submission guidelines of the house you are interested in very carefully, and make sure you follow them as best you can.

Shoshanna: Have you ever gotten a bad review? What do you do - how do you feel in a situation like that?
Berengaria: Not a bad review but several mediocre ones. Several times reviewers have said that they didn’t want a short story to end. Sadly, by definition, a short story is short. I am always grateful though, that inundated as they are with books to read, they have taken the time to read my book.


Shoshanna: You have a new release out now, right?
Berengaria: Yes! “Eternity” is a stand-alone story set in the same world as “Intensity” and “Complexity” with some of the same characters reappearing.

Shoshanna: The cover's so hot, I can't show it on here! Click here if you're an adult and want to see a *very* spicy cover for Eternity.

To read an adults only excerpt and buy Eternity, click here.
Check out Berengaria Brown's blog here.
Visit her website here.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Why Editors Rock


Hello Fellow Writers!
So we're on day 13 of NaNoWriMo. I've got 28K words of my post-apocalyptic erotic romance Protecting Emily - my goal is 80K. I've got a *lot* of writing to do!

Today I went to the monthly Hudson Valley chapter of RWA meeting. It was great seeing everyone I usually only see online, and we had a guest speaker - Trish Owens from Wild Rose Press. She seemed to know her stuff, and since I've read a book she edited (Taryn Kincaid's Sleepy Hollow Dreams) I felt comfortable asking her if she'd be interested in having me send her a short story (10K words). Yes, she is, so I'll be polishing and sending it off to her soon.

One of my fellow Ellora's Cave authors, Christie Butler, just had her first book come out! It's called Look at Me. Of course, I emailed Christie to ask her some questions!

Shoshanna: Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? I'm doing it for the second year in a row and it's all I can think about lately...

Christie: This publishing business is new to me, so I have to confess I didn't know what NaNoWriMo was. So, no, I'm not doing it. After looking it up, it seems like a fun thing to do. Unfortunately, I also have a full time job and the cutest, most lovable dog in the world who demands a lot of my spare time! I think it would be tough to do, writing a 50,000 word novel in thirty days. I applaud all those authors who are able to do it. Maybe someday, if I can make enough money writing so I can quit my day job, I'll give it a shot.

Shoshanna: So you sold your first book - but the work doesn't end there, as you know. How was the editing process for you?


Christie: The editing process was fairly painless, much thanks to (my Ellora's Cave editor) Jilly. She gave me some things to think about, tips on how to make the story more logical and consistent. I was able to use her comments and make some minimal changes to benefit the story and make it better. Jilly also helped me with my main character, making suggestions that I initially resisted, but I came to see the wisdom in her words! Overall, I enjoyed the process and saw it as just another step in getting my story out there, but new and improved.

Shoshanna: Oh, Jilly will be glad to hear that! I feel the same way - I'm happy to do whatever it takes to make the story the best it can be. So, here's another question for ya. How do you combat writer's block?


Christie: When I get writer's block, my first tactic is to pour a glass of wine! Often that will help my mind expand. When that doesn't inspire me, I just put it away, close up the laptop and do something else. Sometimes I'll get an idea of how to move forward form something I hear someone say at work, or on television, or read online. Because I work during the day, I do my writing at night. When I get stuck, it stays with me and often I'll find myself in bed trying to fall asleep, but thinking about my predicament. And then it will come to me. I've gotten some of my best ideas in those few minutes at night just before I fall asleep. I just need to remember them when I wake up in the morning.

Shoshanna: I keep a notepad and pen at my bedside for just that reason, lol! Thanks for being on The Writer's Challenge, Christie, and good luck with your new book, Look at Me.

Read an adults only excerpt of Christie Butler's new book here.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Free read on Whipped Cream!

Hello Fellow Writers!
I have a free short story available on The Long and Short of It Whipped Cream site. Click here to read Hannah's Consequence for free! And please, let me know what you think :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Do Reviews Affect Overall Book Sales?

Hello Fellow Writers!

I was on the Ellora's Cave chat loop and multi-published, NY Times and USA Today best selling author Allyson James (who also writes as Jennifer Ashley and Ashley Gardner) made some really great comments about how reviews, as heart-breaking or as exhilarating as they may be for us as authors, actually have little impact on sales for that book. I asked Allyson if I could share her comments with you here and she agreed!

Allyson James:
"I've been around the publishing block several times now and have had every reader rating from 5 (this is the best book ever and all other books should cease to be) to a 1 (I took it back to the bookstore and demanded an apology).

"I've had people rip me apart for too much heat, not enough heat (usually about the same book), too much plot/not enough plot (again, same book), dialog, character, word choice, cover model, lettering on the cover, driving distance, you name it. I once had a reader give me a 1-star because my couple wasn't white. I've been trashed on Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, and Twitter; and have been trashed by RT, Publisher's Weekly, and others, sometimes weeks before the book comes out.

"The point is that having bad reviews hasn't marred my overall career. I've had terrific sales on books that got bad reviews, plus terrific reviews and awards on books that tanked. Many, many bestselling authors out there have had the same experience.

"There are plenty of nasty things that can totally ruin your career (publishers closing, booksellers severely cutting the number of books they carry, readers unable to find your books, pirating, and many, many other uncontrollable factors--isn't that nice to know?), that it’s kind of futile to stress about reviews, good or bad. I know it's hard, but please, please don't let worry over your reviews stop you from writing.

Allyson (been kicked around) James
http://www.allysonjames.com
What do you guys think about reviews - reader reviews, official reviews? Do they make a difference on your decision to read something, or buy something? Authors, do reviews make a difference in your sales?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I gave up on my NaNo and Started OVER!

Hello Fellow Writers!
It's Day 6 of NaNoWriMo, and you'll never guess what happened yesteray. I got to 15,500 words and just was like, this isn't working! I can't do this! So I saved those 15K in another document and started fresh. Yup. I know it's not in the spirit of NaNoWriMo to disregard words, even bad words, but I just needed to start over. And then I found that I was actually able to salvage about 5K from what I had written, so I'm already back up to 10K. And this time, it's a good 10K.

How's your NaNo book coming along? Have you had that moment yet where you felt like trashing everything?

Oh, and my author friend KB Alan has a new book out, which, while I haven't read it yet, if it's anything like her other books is going to be really good. Check out the blurb below - and if you have an questions or comments for KB I'll be happy to pass them along to her!



Keeping Claire
by KB Alan

The blurb:

Claire's been fantasizing about the owner of her company since she first saw him. Ryan is gorgeous, confident and sexy as hell. In other words, so not her type. With the crazy life she leads, it's best to stick to men who are happy to do what she tells them to, then disappear. Since Ryan would never abide by those terms, it's best to keep him right where she's got him-in her dreams.

Ryan gets up close and personal with Claire while investigating a threat to his company. Once he's convinced she's not out to hurt what he's helped build, he refocuses his more-than-human energies on his intriguing employee. When she quits, insisting it's best if she leaves town, he's determined to convince her otherwise. At least long enough to get a taste of her. And the more he tastes, the more he touches, the more he wants. Now he just has to convince Claire that what they have is worth fighting for, and he's more than up to the task.

Available now at Ellora's Cave

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Another sale (um, sort of!) and NaNoWriMo Day 4

Hello Fellow Writers!
A while back I got an offer from Whipped Cream, (who recently gave me a kick-ass review for my Ellora's Cave book Punishing the Art Thief) that if I wrote a short erotic story (1K words) to offer for free on their website, they would offer me an ad for two months.

I love a challenge - and creating something hot and "Sexily *Evers* After" in just 1000 words would be a challenge. But it was so much fun, and this morning I got an email saying they'd like to publish my story on their site on November 11th.

I'll be sure to link to it when it comes up! So that's my "sort of" sale :)

Today is Day 4 of NaNoWriMo! I'm at 11,000 words as of last night. I plan to add at least 3K today, and then tomorrow my father will watch DS for me all day so I can have uninterrupted writing time!

How's your Nano project coming along?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Author Kate Hill writes a LOT (and NaNoWrimo Day 1)

Hello Fellow Writers!

NANOWRIMO!!!!!!!!!!!
Yes, I'm excited. Just a little. As many of you know, my goal for this year's National Novel Writing Month is to write 80K instead of 50K. Am I setting myself up for failure? Who knows. And who knows how many of those 80K will actually be usable.

Part of me is thinking - don't waste *any* time! Get started! Why are you even blogging? Tweeting? Facebooking? Playing with your child?

Well, I still need to do all that stuff. And I'll miss DS if I ignore him for a whole month. So writing this novel in a month will have to happen like I write everything else - during bits of stolen time, and late at night.

 You know who knows a little something about writing a lot? Kate Hill. Her Ellora's Cave author page has like 40 books on it or something. Holy Moly. Fortunately for us, she stopped by The Writer's Challenge to chat.

Shoshanna: Hi Kate! How often and how much to do you write? Do you make a daily goal (pages, word count?)

Kate Hill: I write every day. How much depends on what my goals for the month are. Sometimes I have one story to finish, other times it's two. At other times I work on short stories and a novel at the same time, so the amount I write each day depends on my workload.

Shoshanna: What's the best way to cure writer's block?

Kate Hill: For me the best way to cure writer's block is to step away from the story I'm working on and write something different. If I write something just for pleasure, it relaxes me and I'm usually able to get back to the story I need to finish. Not that I don't enjoy working on all my stories, whether for fun or to sell, but writing a story for fun can be very liberating.

Shoshanna: Do you have an agent? Do you want one?

Kate Hill: I don't have an agent. A few times I tried to find one but none were interested. I can't say I tried diligently to get one because at this point I don't feel an agent is necessary for the markets I'm focused on.

Shoshanna: Do you have problems with e-book pirates? What should be done about that?

Kate Hill: I have a problem with theft in general, whether it's stealing ebooks, music or anything else. To me stealing online is no different than walking into a physical store and taking the merchandise.

I agree! Thanks for stopping by The Writer's Challenge, Kate!

To check out Kate Hill's latest Ellora's Cave release, Much More than Blood - click here.
To read an (adults only!) excerpt of Much More than Blood, click here.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Rejections made me a Better Writer: New Author Eliza Lloyd

Hello Fellow Writers!

Can you believe we have only 2 more days till NaNoWriMo? One of my friends told me that as far as she's concerned, there's no such thing as the month of November anymore. We just call it NaNo! I'll be writing an erotic romance set in post-apocalyptic New York City. I intend to write 80K instead of the usual 50K, so I'm already freaking out a bit more than I should be, perhaps. But that's all part of the fun.

You can follow my progress by following me on the NaNoWriMo site. My user name is ShanaWriMo.


In other news, I signed my contract for the Berkley Heat anthology, called Agony/Ecstasy. WOOT! So it's official. It's a friggin' dream come true :)


Now - for those of you out there who are still "pre-published authors" - I have found a very inspirational story for you. Eliza Lloyd just had her very first book ever published by Ellora's Cave. She stopped by The Writer's Challenge today so I could ask her about how she went from aspiring writer to published author!



Shoshanna: Hi Eliza! Congrats on your first book! Tell us about how long it took you to get to this point. I wanna hear about rejection letters too, the bane of the writer's existence.
Eliza: I’ve been writing for several years (please don’t make me say how long) using the two-steps forward, one-step back method. I’d finish a book only to realize there were glaring plot holes. I’d go on to the next one, finish it, and find out I’d egregiously head-hopped. So yes, I got rejections, but the mistakes along the way have only helped me become a better writer.
As for a specific rejection, I must tell your audience that Ellora’s Cave rejected this very work perviously (Wicked Desires) but then, a new line came open and it was a perfect fit! So, no matter how many rejections and no matter who they are from, one must keep writing, polishing and submitting.


Shoshanna: When did you start writing? Do you write other stuff other than erotic romance?
Eliza: When I thought about my dream job, the two things that always came to mind were being an author or being a 19th century archeologist. While I always knew the one was impossible, I woke up one day and asked myself, why are you not writing? So I did. And I am!
Yes, I do write several genres. I have several short stories published in contemporary romance and science fiction. Plus, I like writing romantic suspense and contemporary, both of which are a great relief after writing a research-heavy historical. Historical romance is my true love though, and even my erotica is historical.


Shoshanna: What do you love to read? How important is it for a writer to be an avid reader, do you think?
Eliza: One must read to write! I’ve heard of writers who ‘hate’ to read books from the genre they write in but not me! I can’t get enough of historical romance. I read them all the time and hope to emulate some of the great historical writers…some day. And as a secondary read, provided it is a total distraction with lots of sizzling, sexy vamps, would be a hot paranormal. 




To read the blurb for Wicked Desires, click here.

To read the excerpt (for adults only!) click here
To purchase Wicked Desires on the Ellora's Cave site, click here.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

How Author Lily Harlem Found her Genre

Hello Fellow Writers!

As you can see I've changed the design of the site. It was starting to get annoying going to other people's blogs only to see that we all were using the same template! It was a nice template, don't get me wrong, but I wanted something a little more customized. Thoughts?

Author Lily Harlem is here today with tons of advice for writers! This is her second time joining us - read her first interview here.

Shoshanna: Hi Lily! So, tell us what made you want to be a writer in the first place?
Lily: I have a very vivid imagination and ridiculously detailed and complex dreams at night that I recall to my husband at breakfast in tiny detail. He was always telling me 'you should write that down!' and so one day I did. 
I also do a great deal of reading. Romance of the sensual kind but I do lose myself in just about anything and there are so many times over the years I have finished a book and thought I wish I'd written that or come up with that idea.
Of course writing is one of the most time consuming things to do on the planet - except for going into huge malls, they're possessed by a weird time warp - so until I reduced the hours in my day job I didn't have the energy to write just the ideas.

Shoshanna: When did you first get published? What was getting that acceptance letter like?

Lily: My first story in print - or rather e-book format - was a competition win. An odd introduction I know. I'd been doing a creative writing course and coming up with all sorts of short stories, but when I saw an erotic fiction competition with a healthy cash prize I set about writing something steamy. The result was 'Madam President', sort of an erotic West Wing style story about the first female US president having an affair with the UK prime minister. (You can read it for free by following the link on my website). I was so excited when I got the phone call to say I'd won, they were like "wow, where on earth did you get that idea?" I was on a high for days and realized I'd found my genre - erotic romance.

Shoshanna: Did you get rejections before that?

Lily:  So after I won the competition I started rattling off all sorts of steamy short stories. Lots of hot little scenarios which had been rattling around my head for goodness knows how long! One kind editor who rejected a story - not sexy enough - advised me to check out www.erotica-readers.com for call for submissions. It was like finding treasure. There is so much on that website, everything you need to know about sensual writing, all the links, interviews, which publisher/editor is looking for what, word count, payment etc. I sent off a ton of stuff, some got accepted, some didn't, when they didn't I just looked around for someone else who was looking for that sort of thing, usually a bit more tweaking of the manuscript first, and the result is I feature in several really amazing anthologies.

Shoshanna: Do you have an agent? Do you want one?

Lily: I don't have an agent. I did send some full length manuscripts off to agents in the very beginning, but they weren't interested in my genre. Looking back I probably just picked the wrong agencies. Now I'm not sure if I would want an agent. I'm settled in my writing routine and with my publishers. I guess when you do it all yourself you become a bit of a 'jack of all trades', learning about web design, contracts and marketing as well as the actual process of writing.

Shoshanna: Thanks Lily!

Here is the buy link for Mattress Music, coming November 9th to Ellora’s Cave.
 
A quick introduction to the book
 ‘Mattress Music’ is an e-book due for release on 9th of November at Ellora’s Cave. It’s the first in a set of three short stories focusing on the London ‘rock and roll’ scene in a very literal sense! Look out for the others coming soon ‘Mirror Music’ and ‘Ménage à Music’ they bring a whole new meaning to the lyrics.

Brief bio
Lily Harlem lives in the UK with a workaholic hunk and a crazy cat. With a desk overlooking farmland, she allows her imagination to run free and revels in being able to use the written word as an outlet for her creativity. Lily's stories are made up of colorful characters traveling on everyone's favorite journey — falling in love. If the story isn't romantic, sexy and exciting, it won't be written, at least not by this author.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My First Review *Ever*

Hello Fellow Writers!


I am so excited - I just got my first ever official review for Punishing the Art Thief. I have been nervous, since I know I can't please all the people all the time - someone's bound to not like my book. I'm just *so* glad that my reviewer did like it! Four cherries, whoo hoo!


Whipped Cream Reviews gave Punishing the Art Thief 4 cherries and said: 

"Fast paced, intense, and sexual. This book is every naughty fantasy come to life for the reader. Ms. Evers has done an amazing job creating characters and a world her readers can escape into and enjoy some "me" time. The storyline is an attention getter and will be hard to put down. Not only is it full of sexual fantasies but there is a great story behind it all. You have suspense, wonderment and excitement. You have a painting that was stolen then stolen again. Who is the real owner of this painting? You'll have to read to find out.

After reading this story and enjoying these characters I cannot wait to read more from this author. Shoshanna Evers, you have a fan for life with me!!"

Read the whole review here.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Let's talk POV

Hello Fellow Writers!
Let's talk Point of View (POV). Most fiction these days is written in first or third person POV.

As a quick reminder, first person POV is when the author writes "I stared at the man across the room - what would he look like naked?". 1st person POV uses "I".

Third person POV uses he or she, although we can still be in a person's head in the third person. For example "She stared at him, wondering what he would look like naked."  When using third person it's important not to "head hop" - as in She wondered this, then he wondered that, then she thought this, etc. If you want to hop to another head, you can use a section break.

Oh, I think I just used second person POV there - "You" - as in "You can use a section break." So I suppose while second person POV is quite rare in fiction, it may have  place in non-fiction how-to books, perhaps?

I loved Meg Cabot's YA books The Princess Diaries. They were all written in first person. The problem with first person is that if your protagonist doesn't see it happen or think about, then the reader doesn't know about it. With third person, something can happen plot-wise in your book on the other side of the world, and we the reader can still learn about it.

Which is better? There's no answer - it's whatever works for your book. I think that first person POV often flows easier for many people since that's the sort of writing we're used to - in diaries, in emails, blogs, etcetera. It's almost an instant way to build rapport with your reader. On the other hand, there's all those darn restrictions. What if I really need to know what my Hero is thinking? Too bad, no can do.

I was thinking about this because I'm still pondering what to write this year for NaNoWriMo. An urban fantasy, which I would write in the first person? A contemporary romance written in the third? An abstract piece written entirely in 2nd? J (Don't worry, I'm just kidding about the last one!)

What POV do you prefer to read? To write?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Third Sale to Ellora's Cave :)

Hello Fellow Writers,

I've been so busy since getting back from Romanticon 2010 (which, by the way, was *incredible*) that I haven't even had time to update my blog here with my latest news, which is that I sold Hollywood Spank to Ellora's Cave. The crazy thing is that's my fourth sale since April (Punishing the Art Thief, Ginger Snap, and Hollywood Spank to Ellora's Cave, and The Wooden Pony as part of an anthology to Berkley Heat). This whole publishing thing has happened so quickly it seems, although when I sit back and think about it, I wrote my first book ten years ago and only just recently started selling... probably because the first novel I ever wrote, when I was 19, wasn't worth the paper it was printed on!

The menage short story I was starting to write is on hold. I've started writing Taming Casey, the sequel to Chastity Belt, which I just submitted to my editor at Ellora's Cave. Soon though, that will go on hold as well so I can gear up for NaNoWriMo!

I'm very excited about NaNoWriMo. I'm torn though about what to write. Should I write my post-apocalyptic love story, Protecting Emily? Or an erotic Beauty and the Beast? Or a contemporary erotic romance on a longer scale? Or maybe even try my hand at urban fantasy and vampires? I have no clue.

Suggestions, anyone? What are *you* writing for NaNoWriMo?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

SOLD!! To Berkley Heat!

Hello Fellow Writers,

Remember how I told you all that I was writing a short (5k words) erotic story to submit to a Pain/Pleasure anthology that Berkley Heat is doing? Well.... I just got an email offering me a contract! I'm in shock. I can't believe it.

I'm going to be NY pubbed. Holy Moly.

SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Just Write, Damn it!

Hello Fellow Writers!

I've been so busy with my day job lately that I haven't really been writing much. Certainly not meeting my 1000 words a day goal. Basically I switched from one part time nursing job to another, and the new place is making me orient during the week - so I've had to deal with finding childcare and coming home exhausted, with only about an hour of time to spend with my son before it's his bedtime.

Now I know why writing full time doesn't really mix with working full time and taking care of a family. We've eaten take-out every night this week! Fortunately, I'll be back to my usual every other weekend nursing schedule at some point (hopefully after I get back from Romanticon 2010).

But guess what happened at work? In two different conversations, I was asked what I do when I'm not working as a nurse. I didn't want to say I write erotic romance (I'm in the closet so to speak at work) but I did mention that I write an advice column. Both times, they said "Oh, that's you? I read your column every week!". It was really cool. Made me feel slightly famous, lol.

I've decided I'm going to try and write 80,000 words during NaNoWriMo instead of the usual 50K, that way I can write my entire first draft of Protecting Emily, my post-apocalyptic romance novel. That's the plan, anyway. Or maybe I'm just procrastinating starting the darn thing. If you haven't participated in NaNoWriMo before, I urge you to join us this November. It's tons of fun, writing a whole book in a month!

I also was contacted by a company who heard I was a writer and they want me to write a press release for them. I'm debating whether or not to do it...

And I want to write another short story - a threesome - for an anthology. So that might happen soon. I just need to put my hands on the keyboard and go for it. 

Wish me luck, and good luck to you too!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

From Acting to Writing: Charmaine Gordon


Hello Fellow Writers!
I still haven't heard back from my editor at Ellora's Cave about Hollywood Spank, but I sent her an email asking if she wanted me to wait to submit Taste of Candy (a Quickie) until she finished Hollywood Spank, and she said, no, just send it on over... so I did. So now I'm wondering if I should submit Chastity Belt as well...

Anyhoo, I asked one of the published authors from my RWA chapter (Hudson Valley RWA) to talk to us about how she got into writing. Charmaine Gordon has three books in print with Vanilla Heart Publishing. Here's what she said:

Charmaine: After a bunch of years as an actor on daytime drama, commercials, movies including Working Girl singing Happy Birthday to Melanie Griffith, I reached Off Broadway in a wonderful play, The Fourth Commandment. Toward the end of the run, I had an idea for a story. Kissing the sweet time good bye, I began a new career as a writer. Good fortune smiled upon me when Vanilla Heart Publishing offered contracts for “TO BE CONTINUED” and “STARTING OVER” two romance/ survive & thrive books and my most recent book, “NOW WHAT?” a paranormal romance/suspense.

Shoshanna: What's your writing schedule like? What do you *wish* it was like?

Charmaine: Writing schedule is morning, noon, night in bits and pieces due to writus interuptus. Wish it were uninterrupted-peace and quiet the way it should be. I did write one book in one week recuperating from rotator cuff surgery. A good story.


Shoshanna: Ahh, writus interuptus. Sounds like my writing schedule. Where do you want your writing career to be in five years, and how to you plan to get there?

Charmaine: I plan to be alive writing better each year with movie credit. I won’t write the screenplay. Will get there by... good stories written from the heart, no holds barred.

Here's an excerpt from Charmaine Gordon's latest book, Now What?:
It was 2:30 a.m. when the phone rang. I fumbled for it, my heart starting a race toward bad news. Our doctor’s voice urged me to hurry. I crammed into clothes as if I expected this call.
It is only a fever that won’t go down, isn’t it?
Our doctor shook his head. “. . .Carly, I’m so sorry."
He lay on the hospital bed where I’d kissed him goodbye not so many hours before. I’d said, “See you tomorrow.” My husband of thirty years replied with words I hadn’t heard in a long time. “I love you.” Not since the heart attack two years before when he began listening to his heart beat  and forgot about me. Maybe we both sensed the crossroads ahead, the impending doom.
Settling in beside my Bob, I held his cooling hand and asked the two words spoken many times during our years together. “Now what?” This time there was no response.  I was on my own for the first time.
When my fingers touched his wedding ring, I slipped it off and held it in my fist. The gold band was warm. “Come back to me, dearest.”

The first contact Bob made was with our dogs at the edge of the woods bordering our property. My heart soared. I knew he’d return for me. I’d made a quilt from Bob’s shirts and draped it around my shoulders. Bob’s Old Spice clung to the fabric. A shimmer beckoned to me and I ran to the aura of silvery white, purple, yellow as I was enfolded, caressed and loved to fulfillment and then it ended. I knew he’d return. The dogs scampered to my side and guided me home. What this meant, I didn’t have a clue. Bob’s true purpose would be revealed as I struggled through the hurdles of making a new life.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Why Janet Walters loves E-Pubs

Hello Fellow Writers!

Want a chance to win a *free* copy of my new Ellora's Cave release, Punishing the Art Thief? Come today, 9/20/10, to author Darah Lace's blog and leave a comment on my interview!

Today I'm pleased to welcome Janet Lane Walters to The Writer's Challenge. She is an Eppie Winning author, with more than 20 books to her credit in both print and electronic format.


Hi Janet! So, are you a plotter or a pantser?
I had to think about this for a long time because I think I'm both. Yes, I do develop my characters and my plot before I begin and I have a general idea of what kind of scenes will be needed the each story. When I sit down to write, I sort of block out the scene but in an outline order to get the main points down. Then I free-write the rough draft. Actually I'm a re-writer and work from very short to long. There's a draft for getting the story down and then I begin to beat it into shape. I do a plot draft to make sure things are flowing to the end. Often I tear out a scene and totally re-write it taking a slightly different path. There is a setting draft to put all the settings to make sure I've used enough description to put people in the place. Then there's the character draft where I make sure motivation, actions and reactions are in place. Finally I go over the manuscript for word usage, trying to get rid of the passive sentences and the boring bits. Then I finish the book with a spell and grammar check as well as a ruler read. So which am I panster or plotter, I think I get the best of both worlds.

Almost a complete panster on the rough draft which is generally about a third of the finished book and plotter on the rest.

How do you feel about literary agents?

My feeling on literary agents is iffy. If you want to go to New York, they can get you in the door and they can perhaps get you a better deal. Since I've been there and done that and don't intend to leave electronic publishing for me a literary agent would be useless. In the past I have had three agents. Two of them did little to nothing to advance my career. I won't discuss the details. That's between them and me. The third who was my first created a writer's block, my own doing. Part of the problem was that I can't write on demand and I often can't write the same kind of story over and over again. Perhaps if I had been content to stick with contemporary romance or, mysteries or, suspense or, historicals or fantasy an agent would have been a plus. With electronic publishing an agent won't get you in the door any quicker that a good query letter and a short snappy synopsis, often no more than a paragraph of two. An agent won't get you better terms in electronic publishing either.  Having an agent depends on your long term goals.  At my age, my goals are from day to day.

You publish mainly with e-pubs, can you explain the advantages and disadvantages of going with an e-publisher?

In the past I've been published in New York with 5 romance novels and 3 non-fiction ghost written books. In 1998 my first ebook was published and I haven't looked back. I like the freedom writing for epublishers gives me. I don't have to stick to one genre or have a half dozen pen names. Epublishing was on the edge of technology when I began and I kind of like the idea of being out there. With the rise in major publishers going electronic with their releases suddenly epublishing has become legit. Years ago when I began you wouldn't believe the names I was called for taking that road. I'm not sure there are that many advantages, except the idea that acceptances and reads are much quicker in the electronic publishing groups. I'm not in this for the money. I enjoy the sales I make and the royalties I recieve. I also like that with many publishers the books on your back list are available for years.

The only disadvantage I can see is the money but publishing is in flux at the present time. Who knows what will happen. Another disadvantage is piracy but there are people not only pirating electronic books but pulling apart print books and scanning them in and offering them for free to people who think stealing is fun.  Also when my first electronic book was published I joined EPIC which is the Electronically Published group where I've met many new friends and very supportive people. I've learned so much about electronic publishing and promotion from this group.

Thanks so much for answering my questions! Here's some info on Janet's latest release, Mistress of the Moons. I just bought this book and it's a very imaginative story!




Mistress of the Moons by Janet Lane Walters

The Three sworn to the Mistress of the Moons are dying. They must call three women out of time and space …

Ashiera…The Seer to Come,
Dian… The Warrior to Come,
and moon-touched Egeria…The Healer to Come.

As they make their way to The Place of Choosing in the Shanara Mountains, they face many challenges, many dangers, and in the chaos, each discovers the heroic strengths they hold inside…

Even as the women reach The Place of Choosing they face yet another test... They reject the teachings of their counterparts after realizing that only by acting with their male partners can they defeat the priests of the Lord of Shadows.

Will they survive the final confrontation?


Mistress of the Moons by Janet Lane Walters



The Warrior of Bast by Janet Lane Walters

Tira has always been fascinated by ancient Egypt, but circumstances and finances have kept her from becoming an archeologist. Her dream of seeing her older sister drug free is shattered by Luci’s murder by a drug dealer. Tira must run to be safe from the killer.  A crumpled flyer offers an escape…The answer is in your stars.

Tira flees her pursuers and reaches a brownstone where two elderly women cast her horoscope. She is offered refuge but must undertake a dangerous quest. She will be unable to speak of her world, or anything alien to the culture she enters and… she will remain there forever.

Kashe is the unloved middle son of the nomarch of Mero.  He reminds his father of the Nubian slave ancestor the nomarch wishes to forget.  Though Kashe wants to become a warrior of Horu, his father has other plans.  A desire for power drives the nomarch.  To see his eldest son, Pian, as pharaoh, the nomarch plots with the priests of Aken Re.

Since the rebellion twenty years ago the Two Lands has been without a ruler.  By making Kashe the leader of the priests' army the nomarch will have his desire satisfied.  The arrival of a sacred hawk with an amulet naming Kashe as chosen by Horu thwarts the devious plans.  The hawk also delivers a scroll speaking of three who will come from afar and that Kashe must aid one of these, whom he soon discovers is Tira.
  
The pair sets out on the quest for the symbols; the flail, the crook and the double crown.  Tira learns this Egypt has many differences from the Egypt she has studied.  They must face nearly insurmountable challenges as they pursue their sacred quest.