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

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.