I’m an ex-smoker. I admit, with a sad and bewildered sigh, that I probably enjoyed every Marlboro Light I ever smoked, plus whatever brands I bummed from other people. Some of the happiest times of my life were spent writing, smoking, and drinking coffee. The three things went together. Oh, bliss.
Yes, great nasty, stinking, carcinogenic bliss. A number of things—husband, children, three bouts of bronchitis plus an interesting segue into pneumonia—convinced me I should at least try to quit. So I got a prescription for Zyban and enlisted the help and knowledge of my pharmacist daughter-in-law (“The prescription’s usually for 12 weeks. I think you should take it for 16.”) I prayed a lot. Cried a lot. Whispered, “Dammit, I can’t do this” a lot.
But I quit, and I haven’t been sorry even one minute out of the last 11 years. However, I was unable to write for months after I stopped. I don’t remember how long it took to get my creative voice back, but it was enough time to worry me. I remember sitting for hours, staring blankly at the monitor or playing game after game of computer Solitaire. You can’t fix a blank page, I’d think desperately, channeling Nora Roberts, and eventually the words returned. My writer’s heart healed.Bliss again. Read the rest of this entry »
The tagline on my website reads “On the Borders of Historical Romance.” While it literally means (for now) the Borders of Scotland, in one way or the other, it sums up where I’ve set my historical romances from the beginning.
Close to the edge.
When I first started reading romances, they were set far and wide: 19th century Mexico, 18th century India, the American South, Russia…you name it. Over the years, the “bullseye” has shrunk to the point that virtually anything NOT set in Regency England is considered out of the mainstream.
Since Regency England does not call to my muse (there’s where the blame lies!), I’ve spent my writing life on the edges, some might say in the weeds. Read the rest of this entry »
Every fall, I’ve returned like the turtles to the South Carolina shore for the SC Lowcountry RWA’s Masterclass. This year, I had the pleasure of meeting Caridad Piñeiro,® a multi-published and award-winning author. She’s written for Kensington, Harlequin/Silhouette Nocturne, Simon & Schuster, Pocket and Grand Central; is a New York Times & USA Today best-seller.
In the rest of her life, in addition to the day job as an attorney, she’s helped her daughter set up a surf and skate shop on the Jersey shore. We’ve all heard about the damage Sandy inflicted on the area. Caridad is donating the proceeds from her new release, The Prince’s Gamble (Entangled Press) to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.
Please welcome Caridad to the Muse.
When my first novel was released – back in the days when the dinosaurs browsed outside the cave and all books were written on typewriters, usually manual ones – I looked forward to Release Day like most children look forward to Christmas morning.
Finally the day dawned. There were no trumpets, no eager press banging on my door. Well, I didn’t really expect the trumpets, but the fact that I, of all people, had a book put out by a major publisher certainly seemed to be a newsworthy item. Obviously no one else thought so, so I got dressed and went to work. In those days I worked for an actors talent agency and thought surely those creative people would appreciate my accomplishment.
Huh. I told everyone who came within earshot that my novel was being released today. Most of them said a limp congratulations. Some simply stared at me as if overnight I had grown a second head. All were much more interested in what I was doing to get them an acting job than in the fact I was now a published author.
And that was it. The whole process was something of a letdown. In those antique days, the internet was not yet even a gleam in anyone’s eye. Computers were huge things that took up entire floors of office buildings and were kept sequestered in clean rooms. Business was done by mail (snail-variety) or by telephone. Publishers took charge of the publicity and distribution. Authors wrote, period. Read the rest of this entry »
There are many authors who tell me they hate revisions, or dread getting an editorial letter; I’m the opposite. I expect an editorial letter. I expect to revise any book I send in. Even if I think the book is good, it’s always better after editorial input.
I’m not talking about copy editors – they’re the ones who go through and make sure your manuscript is clean with correct grammar and style, that your timeline is consistent, that you didn’t give your heroine blue eyes on page three and brown eyes on page 127. (And sometimes, they are wrong, but I’ve been pretty lucky having good copy editors. Except the one who told me after writing a scene where they dredged the river for a body that, “This isn’t how they do it on television.” I complained about that one.) Read the rest of this entry »
Please welcome guest blogger, author Lynn Cahoon!
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A Member of The Council started as a call out. Then the idea went to my list of things I wanted to try. And once something is on my list, I’ve committed to finishing. But of course, the world doesn’t run like you plan and as soon as I’d started writing the fun paranormal, the rules for the original call out changed. They wanted hotter, and longer.
I was in the middle of a sensual story that didn’t want to move up the heat ladder. I don’t like change. (No? Really?) I kept writing.
To make things worse, I’d already sent more than my share of pending projects to the traditional publisher I’d targeted and the editor during my pitch warned me they really like to look at one manuscript at a time.
So now, I had a sexy but not erotic paranormal I’d finished and kind of loved with nowhere to send it. While I researched possible markets, I found a contest call out from an e-publisher. Ha – I had an already completed manuscript I could send. Score. I sent, wrote it on my submissions list and promptly forgot about it. A few months later, I sent the manuscript to a traditional digital first line that had just opened.
Then life kept happening. My bull rider story was rejected by the target publisher. I made a decision to send it out one more time; if it got rejected again, it was back to editing hell. Or the book would go under the bed. That story sold in late February 2012. A week later, I had an email saying I didn’t win the contest, but Lyrical wanted to publish A Member of The Council.
I felt overwhelmed. Three years of NO’s, sprinkled in with the acceptances for my short fiction, hadn’t prepared me to sell a manuscript. Let alone two in less than a month. I froze.
At my chapter meeting, I talked to a published writer lamenting the fact that the traditional digital first hadn’t gotten back to me. She suggested I send them a follow up email with the news that someone else wanted to buy the story. Feeling out of my element, I composed the email and sent it. At the first of the week, they responded, asking for a couple days to make a decision.
Floored, I graciously said fine and sat on my hands for a few days. In the mean time, Lyrical sent me a second offer. I felt like I was in the middle of deciding between date choices for the prom. Eventually, the other editor said no and I accepted the offer in hand.
Looking back, I’m so happy I got to start my writing career this way. I’ve been able to learn the ropes of what happens after you say yes without a large print run hanging over my head. I could fail and keep going. The publishing world is changing faster than we can write a new book. I needed to learn to adapt with the new world order.
Yes, there are downfalls of my chosen path and I’m not going to get rich from my sales. But I’m learning so much about contracts, editing, marketing, and the business of publication, I feel like I’m back in college. And I’m a better writer today than I was six months ago.
And that’s what matters isn’t it? Telling the best story you can now?
So let’s get back to the important stuff…
If you were stuck on a desert island, who would you pick to be stranded with you – a) rugged cowboy or b) sexy warlock? You already know my choice, I want both.
BIO – Lynn Cahoon is a contemporary romance author with a love of hot, sexy men, real and imagined. Her alpha heroes range from rogue witch hunters to modern cowboys. And her heroines all have one thing in common, their strong need for independence. Or at least that’s what they think they want. She blogs at her website, A Fairy Tale Life, www.lynncahoon.wordpress.com
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A rogue hunter, a clueless witch and a mission to save an unknowing world.
Parris McCall, owner of the dive bar, The Alibi, has finally constructed a life where her little quirks don’t show or matter to anyone. As for her grandmother’s warnings that she’s different, well, she’ll cross that bridge if she comes to it. But when Ty walks into her bar, both lives are instantly changed.
Ty Wallace loves his life. How could he not? He’s a powerful human lawyer by day and the Magic Council’s rogue witch hunter by night. But after he agrees to substitute on his secretary’s dart team, all hell breaks loose. Now Ty has to help Parris admit who she is before her long-lost relatives kill her.
A Lyrical Press Paranormal Romance
Anna Lee was born and raised in a small town in Ohio. She is a graduate of Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN, where she majored in Music and minored in Psychology.
THE ANATOMIST’S WIFE, the first book in the Lady Darby historical mystery series, has been hailed as “…a riveting debut…” and will be released by Berkley Publishing on November 6th, 2012.
She currently lives in Indiana with her husband and troublemaking tabby cat. When not hard at work on her next novel, she enjoys reading, singing, travel, and spending time with her family.
Here’s a great blurb for THE ANATOMIST’S WIFE:
Following the death of her husband, Lady Darby has taken refuge at her sister’s estate, finding solace in her passion for painting. But when her hosts throw a house party for the cream of London society, Kiera is unable to hide from the ire of those who believe her to be as unnatural as her husband, an anatomist who used her artistic talents to suit his own macabre purposes. Kiera wants to put her past aside, but when one of the house guests is murdered, her brother-in-law asks her to utilize her knowledge of human anatomy to aid the insufferable Sebastian Gage-a fellow guest with some experience as an inquiry agent. While Gage is clearly more competent than she first assumed, Kiera isn’t about to let her guard down as accusations and rumors swirl. When Kiera and Gage’s search leads them to even more gruesome discoveries, a series of disturbing notes urges Lady Darby to give up the inquiry. But Kiera is determined to both protect her family and prove her innocence, even as she risks becoming the next victim… Read the rest of this entry »
Terri Brisbin, an award-winning author and three-time RWA RITA® finalist, has had her historical and paranormal romances published in more than 20 languages and 25 countries around the world since 1998. She’s written more than 33 novels, novellas and short stories for Berkley/Jove, Harlequin and Kensington Books. Now working on more romances for release through 2013, Terri has also self-published her backlist books.
When not living the glamorous life of a romance author in the southern NJ suburbs, Terri spends her time being a married mom as well as a dental hygienist to hundreds while plotting and planning future stories. For more info (more than you could possibly want or need to know) visit her website – www.terribrisbin.com .
Welcome to the Muse, Terri!
Thank you. It’s great to be here!
What do you love most about writing Historical Romance?
I love being able to use real history – real people, real places or events – in my stories and sharing that knowledge with my readers. I’m such a history geek that I can’t help being excited by it.
Where do you get your ideas?
I get my ideas from everywhere, everything and everyone! Bwaaahaaaaahaaa! I really do. I’m inspired by other stories and characters I write, tv shows and movies I watch, research I do for other projects and more.
I think that ‘what if. . .’ is an author’s most powerful tool in coming up with ideas for stories. ‘What if the bad guy lives?’ ‘What if there’s a secret baby from a hidden mistress?’ ‘What if the battle didn’t actually go that way?’ All those questions can (and have for me) lead to new creative paths and more stories.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve ever done?
The most interesting thing I’ve done is travel to and tour Scotland on my own – for just over three weeks – in 2009! I planned out my stay and routes, rented a car and drove from one end to the other, ferried over to the Hebrides and the Orkneys and even hired an archeologist for a day-long tour of Viking-era sites in Orkney! It was wonderful and the most adventurous I’ve even been….and I hope to do it again. Read the rest of this entry »
Our guest blogger today is M.J. Schiller whose novel, Taken by Storm, debuted Oct. 15. I’m reluctant to call it her first book, because she has completed 12 novels. Taken by Storm is her first published novel. Join me in welcoming M.J. to BIOTM. Don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the BIOTM Halloween gift bag. Winner will be announced late Oct. 31.
Since this blog is called “Blame it on the Muse,” I thought I’d talk today about what inspires me, where I find my muse. When people hear that I’ve written twelve books, they often ask me where I get my ideas. And the answer is, everywhere.
My first book, Lady of the Knight, is a sci-fi romance that was basically a reoccurring fantasy I finally sat down and put to paper. Once it was down on paper, the fantasy was gone. My next novel, titled Damage Done, came to me with just a first line. “Even through bloodshot eyes he could tell that she was different.” The line floated into my mind, and I loved it. I built the story around that one sentence. However, when I had finished writing Tess and Michael’s story, it was far too short for a standard novel. That’s when I came up with the idea of writing the back story. Thus Michael’s father, Teddy, began the novel, making my wonderful first line appear somewhere near the middle. (But don’t you worry, I came up with a wonderful first line for Teddy’s part, as well.) At the end of the book, I was able to tie the two parts together when Michael’s father came in search of an item he had given to Michael as a boy, something that unraveled the mystery of why Teddy left Michael and his mother in the first place.
by Sharon Wray
Jessica Scott is a career army officer, mother of two daughters, three cats, three dogs and two escape-artists hamsters, wife to a career NCO and wrangler of all things stuffed and fluffy. She has commanded two companies, served in Germany, Korea, Fort Hood and Iraq, and been lucky not to get fired. She is a terrible cook and an even worse housekeeper, but she’s a pretty good shot with her assigned weapon. Somehow, her children are pretty well adjusted and her husband still loves her, despite burned water and a messy house.
Her novels are all pulled from her experiences as an soldier who has lived through both being deployed and being the spouse left at home with the kids. Her second release, Until There Was You, is a Loveswept eBook original. And like her debut novel Because of You, her new release has garnered rave reviews from press, peers, and public alike, including authors such as Suzanne Brockmann, Roxanne St. Clair, Cindy Gerard, and JoAnn Ross. Read the rest of this entry »