Looking Back, Looking Foward

I can’t believe it’s 2015. I know we’re several days in already but I still look at the calendar with some awe that it’s another new year.

I had a lot of lessons learned in 2014 as far as my writing life went. As the year wore on and my patience grew thinner and thinner for the career, I realized I needed to make some changes if I was going to continue to call myself a writer. My volunteering for the local RWA chapter was coming to an end. I decided to leave the Plotting Princesses for a while. And I allowed myself to go on hiatus for a couple of months. I read a lot of craft books toward the end of the year and didn’t write.

There was something very liberating about letting go of those commitments and the stress I put on myself to continually write. For the first time in a very long time, I felt so…free.

Another thing I did was sign up for Holly Lisle’s Ugly Baby workshop. Don’t know what that is? Click here. Reading the first month’s goals gave me a lot of food for thought. And so I decided it was time to get back the rights to some books that had expired contracts. I will be doing something with them in 2015!

I also decided to write some short fiction. By short I mean under 10,000 words. I have completed a short story – my first in I don’t know how long. There was something very liberating about writing that short fiction and knowing that it will, eventually but a tie-in to a novel I’m working on.

I guess it’s obvious I got back to writing. :) After doing none for nearly eight weeks, I started back in December. I got the itch to write a new epic fantasy story about a shape-shifting dragon, a lost prince, a false king and a dragon hunter. I hope to have the first draft completed in the coming months.

My wish for 2015 is to be more serious about the writing and treat it for what it is—a business. I’ve set up a new post office box. I’m not going to allow myself to be distracted by the need/want/urge to volunteer to do things I really have no business doing. Because what it boils down to is this: only I can make it happen. No one is going to do it for me. There are no shortcuts. And as much as I would love to be one of those lucky authors who makes thousands in one month, I just don’t see that happening for me.

I know what my reality is and that means I gotta get my butt in the chair and get the words on the page. I’m going to give myself a break and not stress out when I don’t accomplish as much as I want. I’m going to allow myself to just WRITE and sometimes write shit. I’m going to allow myself to make mistakes, to try new things, to see what works and what doesn’t. I’m going to allow myself the time to see if I CAN make this writing thing work as a full-time gig. It may take me two years or ten. But you know what? It’s okay. I’m okay with that. And it took me a long freaking time to get to that point.

So here’s to 2015! A wildly productive 2015. A new year dedicated to doing what I love—writing once again the stories *I* want to write. Reclaiming the joy for the written word and the storytelling. I’m very excited about all the possibilities.

Bring it on, 2015. Bring it on.

First in a Series Free!

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So excited to announce my book, TEMPTING EDEN, is part of the First in a Series Free promotion via iBooks. You can find it in the Paranormal section. Click the banner above to get this book – plus find other great books – free!

Also get book 2, SEDUCING EVE, and book 3, RAVISHING HELENE, for 0.99 cents for a limited time!

Why I have a problem with Mike & Molly

I started watching the Mike & Molly show when it premiered. It was funny. And Melissa McCarthy is hilarious as Molly. When she quit her job as a teacher to “find herself” and figure out what she wanted to do, I felt like it was a familiar storyline – mine. I have often felt like I didn’t belong anywhere and didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. Even as a writer. It’s taken me over ten years to figure out what my true genre is…but I digress.

This past season, she started writing a book. She met JC Smalls (played by the hilarious Susan Sarandon) and found a twisted mentor. Then Molly got accepted into a “prestigious” writing program.

Okay. This is a sitcom. I’ll buy it.

But in the season premier when she came home from the writing program – 8 weeks later – with a partially written book that “everyone hated” accepted by a publisher who gave her a sizeable advance… well, I had to hit pause.

I looked at my husband. I could see him cringe because he knew the diatribe was about to begin.

“For the record,” I said, “that would NEVER EVER happen in real life!”

And I left it at that. Even though I had so much more to say. He nodded with only the support a husband of a writer could offer.

So I’ll say it here. Aren’t you lucky?

It really bothers me they called the book “porn” (I’m assuming this is a romance novel in the same vein as 50 Shades of Gray though the show never really says what genre it is). Yet another stigma the romance genre has to overcome to be “serious” fiction. ROMANCE IS SERIOUS FICTION. It IS a real book. IT IS A REAL STORY that authors put their blood, sweat, tears, agony, frustration, PASSION into. Calling it “porn” is insulting to the genre AND the authors who make a living writing it.

As a writer who has been struggling with her craft for years, trying to make a living, trying to make it work, I’m offended by the premise that an unpublished writer who has a PARTIAL manuscript made a sale and got a HUGE advance. How in the hell did she manage that WHILE on a writer’s retreat? Where is her learning curve? That is so not reality, people.

Okay, I get that the show would be über boring if she were still learning her craft, sending submissions and getting rejections, but I would have hoped they would show it in a more realistic light. Why not show Molly sending her first submission? Getting her first rejection?

The reality is it takes weeks, sometimes months, to hear back from a submission. And while you’re waiting, you’re supposed to be working on your next book.

The reality is if you’re lucky, you’ll get published after you’ve written your third or fourth novel when you’ve figured out what works and what doesn’t (and WHY) writing fiction. You may even land an agent if you decide to go that route.

The reality is publishers don’t offer HUGE advances – especially to unpublished writers who have yet to finish a manuscript. Read the submission guidelines to ANY agent or publisher and you’ll see they simply do not consider novels that are unfinished. And why should they? It’s not finished. Who’s to say it will ever be finished?

The reality is if you DO get an advance, it’s because your agent has worked hard to get you one, to get you the deal and it’s because you deserve it. It’s because you’ve learned your craft, you’ve risen above the slush pile and you’ve found your voice as a writer and know your genre and your audience.

All this show really did was make it seem like “anyone can write a book.” Writing a book is HARD. It takes years of hard work, dedication, perseverance, drive and determination and the ability to push yourself to learn to do something you can’t get “on the job” training for. I’m so aggravated with this presumption that writing is easy. And it bugs me the show casts authors in the light that anyone can land a deal and start rolling in the dough.

Writers work their ass off to create their careers and maintain it. Let’s see a little of THAT, Mike & Molly.

Update on Freebies

Dear Readers:

It’s been brought to my attention that the Kindle version of HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE LATTE is not free. My apologies for that! I’ve asked Amazon to lower the price to FREE since you can get it on all other platforms, including over at Smashwords, for free. Here are the other buy links:

iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

You can report the free price to Amazon, too. Just scroll down to below the product details and click the “Tell us about a lower price” link to let them know.

FREEBIES!

Hi everyone! Just wanted to make you aware of some new pricing on a couple of my books.

Now on perma-free is the first novella in the Guardians of Atlantis series, Tempting Eden. Available in all formats!

Tempting Eden

iBooks | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | KoboAll Romance eBooks | Smashwords

And for the holidays, get Have Yourself A Merry Little Latte for FREE! This is part of the Coffee House Chronicles series.

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Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | KoboAll Romance eBooks | Smashwords

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving (here in the US)!

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An Update From Beyond (with Giveaway!)

Hello, readers! I’m sure I’m talking to crickets but I wanted to post something this week to say HI! I’m still alive and breathing! And spending most of my time on Facebook. *grins*

Have I been writing? No, not exactly. I’ve been spending a lot of time reading craft books. So far I’ve read Wired for Story by Lisa Cron, Goal Motivation Conflict by Deb Dixon and The Breakout Novelist by Donald Maas. Both are excellent reads for writers. Now I’m reading The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler.

I’ve wanted to sit down and read these books for the longest time but with contract deadlines and only so many hours in the day, it makes it hard to get everything done. However, I have been mulling over a couple of different projects as I’ve been reading these books. I’m moving more toward fantasy with romantic elements than full-blown romance. I’m also still working on that urban fantasy.

What have I learned from my reading?

The key to great fiction is CHARACTER. A great character will make readers never want to stop reading. A good story is not really about the plot – it’s about what happens to the character. If you think about all the books you love, what is the one recurring element in those? A great character? You were invested in them and their journey and you had to see how it turned out, right?

I’m curious. Tell me two of your favorite books – any genre – and why. In a couple of days, depending on the number of comments I get, I’ll pick a winner who will receive their choice of anything on my backlist.

I’ll start. Two of my favorite books:

The Darkest Surrender by Gena Showalter because Strider was my favorite Lord of the Underworld (possessed by Defeat) and he and Kaia really made the pages sizzle!

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning because Mac is such a terrific character with so many flaws. Plus it’s a kickass series if you haven’t read it.

Now, your turn.

Book Tour: @GoddessFish Shimmy for Me by Deanna Cameron

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Deanna will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B&N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. For more chances to win, follow the blog tour by clicking the banner above.

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Blurb:

Cover_Shimmy For MeJuggling two jobs to keep her belly dance studio afloat keeps Abby Anderson’s mind off her shattered love life—until a reawakened pain sends her into the arms of an anonymous stranger she plucks from the audience of her tribal belly dance show. No names, no strings, no romance. She tells herself it’s a harmless hookup.

Until he turns up at her day job . . .

Derek Collier, the sexy heir to the Collier media dynasty, just landed everything he’s always wanted: the publisher’s seat at the Orange County Herald. Except his first order of business is to sell the newspaper. Reeling from his family’s betrayal, his only comfort is the memory of that mysterious belly dancer and the perfect night they spent together.

He won’t rest until he finds her again.

She’ll lose everything if he does.

Excerpt:

By the time Abby took her place on the small stage, the lights were low, and a slow, snaky melody had filled the restaurant’s main room. She was only a silhouette to the roomful of diners, holding her pose like a living statue. She usually closed her eyes during this prelude and focused on the energy of the music and the audience.

Not tonight.

In the darkness, her gaze roamed. She wanted a good view before the stage lights came up to brighten her, and blind her.

Nearly every seat was filled. A good draw for a Thursday night. Mostly couples, some groups. But it was the single men she searched for. The ones who sat on the fringe to watch.

Would it be the college jock tipping back beer in a bottle? The shy guy in the Oxford shirt fidgeting with his soda straw? Maybe the older . . .

A Suit at the bar caught her eye. One hand wrapped around a highball glass, the other tugging at his tie. Calm. Confident. And sexy as hell. The way his gaze locked on her made her tingle in all the right places.

He was the one.

Derek Collier sipped his Macallan 18 and watched the restaurant’s belly dancer come alive to the hypnotic rhythm pulsing through the dining room. When he’d seen the words “belly dancing” glowing in blue neon beneath the Sultan’s Tent sign, he’d expected the kind of flashy beads and sequins dancer he’d seen a hundred times before.

He didn’t expect this.

The poster at the front called her Zenina, a tribal fusion belly dancer. Whatever that was. From his vantage point at the bar, she looked like nothing he’d ever seen—part bohemian waif, part harem fantasy, part . . . Damn, the way she swayed and writhed up there was making it impossible to think.

About the Author:

AuthorPic_DeAnnaCameronDeAnna Cameron writes novels featuring feisty heroines transformed by true love and belly dance—the oldest and most exciting dance form in the world. Her novels have been translated into Japanese, Polish, and Serbian, and her work has been praised for its “deft prose, energetic characters and . . . colorful images” by RT Book Reviews and called “most entertaining” by the Historical Novel Review. Before turning to fiction, DeAnna worked as a journalist, writing and editing for several Southern California newspapers and magazines. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America, as well as its Orange County chapter. When she isn’t working on her next novel, she can usually be found at her jeweler’s bench, creating new wire-wrap, bead, and multimedia designs. She lives in Orange County, Calif., with her family.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Blog Tour: @GoddessFish Computer Love Inc II Gestation

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One randomly drawn commenter will win a $50 Amazon gift card. To follow the blog tour, click the banner above.

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Blurb:

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00021]After the sudden deaths of two previous Computer Love Inc. CEOs, Marius takes control of the company. Embracing the talents of his godson, John, and his best friend, Zak, he hires the boys to oversee the Companion Services Division. Marius refines his breakthrough technology, the Brain Machine Download, and as a result, creates his double, M2, as the prototype. Together, they ignite the future of Computer Love Inc. by acquiring an elite team of scientists to expand the company’s technological boundaries. Meanwhile, Marius struggles with the government’s demands for a clandestine initiative – the Secret Service Companion. Between the looming government presence and the overwhelming force behind his new team of inventors, can Marius survive the outcome of his own creations?

Excerpt:

The room remained silent. Ten pairs of eyes were fixed on Marius, not even a single person consumed with a hangnail or discreetly checking messages on his or her unit.

“So then – and please forgive me when I say this, because often it seems that social delicacies elude me; I’m sure you all possess unique and likeable personalities, but really – it’s your brains that we’re after here.”

Again Marius paused. By now, some gazes had shifted: faces looked amongst one another, gauging reactions – animals measuring a threat by observing the rest of the pack.

“Have you ever heard someone say, ‘Can I pick your brain’? Essentially, that’s what I’d like to do here. I need your brilliance, and I implore you to consider this proposal. I would like to perform a Brain Machine Download on each of you in order to capture your intelligence. Is everyone familiar with what the theory of the BMD is, or what it entails?”

If they were not familiar, no one spoke up or raised a hand. Again, the looks flashed around the room – there were a few who wanted to know more, but, seeing that no one else had first spoken up, they remained quiet. Marius had seen it. Even in the wisest, cowardice lives…

About the Authors:

MEDIA KIT Author PhotoKurt and Jessica Hansen reside in northern New Jersey . Kurt has worked in the aerospace electronics industry for over three decades and enjoys the outdoors, writing, and composing music. Kurt is easily recognized with a guitar in his lap, a pencil in his mouth, and a piece of paper in front of him.

Jessica graduated from Montclair State University, summa cum laude, with a B.A. in English. Her favorite pastimes include reading, running and spending time with her family. She can usually be found with a book in one hand and a hazelnut coffee in the other.

The Computer Love Inc. series is a collaborative effort between father and daughter.

Where to buy:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Where to find the authors:

Kurt and Jessica Hansen Amazon Author Page | Website | Twitter | Facebook

Guest Post: Rose Lange on Being a Writer Mom

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Today I’m VERY pleased to host my friend and debut author, Rose Lange. I “met” her several years ago when I was coordinator of a contest sponsored by an RWA chapter. She’d done very well in the contest and we managed to keep in touch the last few years. She emailed me updates of how her writing was going. We shared writing war stories. :) So I was very excited when she sold her first novel and I’m super happy to have her here today to talk about her new book! Please welcome Rose Lange to the Inkwell!


Gracie's-Plan-Final-(med)-copyBeing a writer has its challenges. Being a writer, and a mom adds an entirely different set of challenges. Add to that having a full-time job, and you might wonder how any writing gets done. Let me start at the beginning.

I started writing when I was fourteen. By the time I graduated high school, I’d written two contemporary romances. But by the time I reached college, gotten married, and let life in general take over, I’d put them, and my writing, to the side for about eight years. It’s not that I didn’t want to, it’s that I was doing other things, and let’s be honest; I didn’t make it a priority at that time. But that little voice always spoke to me, “Why aren’t you writing?” or “You should be writing.” I never responded, but that voice never went away.

Then in May of 2009, I got pregnant with my son, and everything changed—my way of thinking shifted. Despite not having written anything in years (besides college papers) I still couldn’t help but think, “How will I ever write again?” Suddenly the urge to write again re-surfaced, and lit a fire under me. I immediately took action, and joined a local writer’s group where I quickly formed wonderful friendships, and was thrilled that I could talk to people that understood “writing.” For the first time in my life, I didn’t feel so alone in my writing journey. Then I began brainstorming a new book, and following my son’s birth, I started writing at night while he slept. Little by little, page-by-page, I had a completed manuscript I could be proud of, and something to work with!

In having a baby, I experienced a re-birth in myself. Deciding I couldn’t put my dreams on hold anymore. From then on, I’ve made writing a priority. Even if I can only write for ten or fifteen minutes at a time, as long as I had something down, I was happy.

Now, with one published book under my belt, and a work in progress later, I couldn’t be happier with my decision. I’m grateful that little voice in my head never stopped talking, and even more grateful that I never stopped listening.

I love hearing from my readers! You can find me on my website, on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter. You can also reach me via e-mail.

I would like to thank Michelle Miles for being such a gracious hostess, and having me on her blog today. Thank you to everyone that stopped by, and I hope to connect with you soon.

About Rose Lange:

RoseLangeRose Lange has been a reader since she was little. Her joy for reading eventually turned into a passion for writing, which she started pursuing in high school. Her English teacher read her first manuscript, a contemporary romance, and encouraged her to keep writing.

She is a member of Romance Writer’s of America, as well as the Wisconsin Chapter, where she has formed wonderful friendships.

Rose lives in Southeastern Wisconsin with her husband, son, and a mischievous poodle, Gizmo. She loves spending time in her “mommy” cave creating stories, and getting to know her characters.

When she’s not busy writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, watching old movies, reading, and shopping.

“Gracie’s Plan,” a contemporary romance, is her debut novel.

Giveaway:

For the first five people to “Like” me on my Facebook author page, and leave a comment, I’ll send you a free e-copy of “Gracie’s Plan.” If you’re not on a social media out-let, no worries, just send me an e-mail at rose@roselange.com. Thanks for stopping by!