Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Authorsday - Pearl Wolf

The lovely and gracious Pearl Wolf has stopped by today to answer a few questions.

That cover looks pretty steamy to me! Maybe this interview will be also.

Welcome Pearl!

Q. --How long have you been writing?
A. —I wrote fantasy stories when I was a child, as a way to escape the torture of two much older brothers and a much older sister, all of whom thought they were in charge of rearing me. I got even with them on paper, by making them all villains.

2. Q. —What was the name of the first novel you wrote? Did you try to publish it?
A. —SONG OF MIRIAM. I tried and tried and tried, for this was the book of my heart. I had so many ‘almost’ sales, I could have papered my living room walls with the rejection letters. I finally found a small press (Hilliard and Harris) willing to take it on, so in 2003 my first adult ‘baby’ saw the light of day at last.

3. Q. —What do you know now that you are published that you didn’t know pre-published that you wish you knew.
A. —I wish I knew about the business side of writing when I began to sell. My first publication was a children’s book, GORILLA BABY: The story of Patty Cake c1974, published by Scholastic, Inc. It was a chest-thumping (excuse the pun) success that sold 250,000 copies. Their publicist called me to tell me I had been invited to appear on a popular TV show called, “To Tell The Truth.” I panicked, took fright and turned the offer down, too stupid to know that my appearance might have sold many more copies! Don’t bother to interrupt me when Oprah calls and asks me to stand on my head and whistle Dixie!

4. Q. --Tell me one thing about yourself that very few people know.
A. —I’m a secret slob who can’t bear to face the mess. After a day’s work, I clean up by opening my desk drawer and shoveling everything on top into it, so my desk looks clean in the morning. The rest of my apartment receives the same treatment. Don’t bother to look into my closets!

5. Q. —What do you consider your strengths in terms of writing?
A. —Snappy dialogue, for one, because it grabs the reader’s attention. For another, what writers calling ‘plotting’ but what I call my lesson plan, since I’m a former teacher. After I make my lesson plan and first my agent, then my editor accepts it, I am free to ignore it when necessary and write from my characters’ varied points of view.

6. Q. —What’s your favorite quote?
A. -- Edna Ferber wrote: “Writing is not an amusing occupation. It is a combination of ditch digging, mountain climbing, treadmill and childbirth. It may be absorbing, racking, relieving, but amusing? Never.” (From “A Peculiar Treasure”)

7. Q. —What authors do you admire?
A. —William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer and Eloisa James.

8. Q. —What three things would you want with you on a desert island?
A. —A virile sex slave with a magnificent body and few words, a laptop with unlimited power and eternal access to the Internet, all trouble-free.

9. Q. —What do you do when you’re not writing?
A. —I play duplicate bridge in the evening whenever I can, because it relaxes me and, I’m proud to say, I am an American Contract Bridge League Life Master.

10. Q. —What would you like to learn to do that you haven’t?
A. —Two things. First, I would love to manage my workday more efficiently. Second, I’d like to learn to accept the things I cannot change with good grace and continue to take pleasure every day in the sheer joy of living. For a 79 year-old who thinks she’s still 39, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Pearl, as always, a pleasure. Good luck with Too Hot For a Spy!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Guest Blogger - Author Sandy Lender

Today I welcome author Sandy Lender to my blog. Please give her a warm blog welcome.
Fantasy enthusiasts will recognize Sandy Lender as the author of the breakout novel CHOICES MEANT FOR GODS and a leader of workshops on world-building and characterization. Her four-year degree in English and seventeen-year career in magazine publishing augment her book publishing experience for a variety of presentations.
Q1: How long have you been writing?
Sandy Lender: I’ve been at this since I was little. I think it’s funny that my first stories were in speculative fiction, but, of course, I had no clue that was what you’d call it way back then. I wrote this story for my great grandma about a squeaky spider that got caught in the fresh whitewash on an old woman’s ceiling. So the old woman smashed the spider and its squeaks haunted her the rest of her days. Bwuahahaha. I think I was a disturbed kid… But Grandma used to share the stories I wrote with all the neighbors in her building.

Q2: What drew you to the subject of Choices Meant for Gods?
Sandy Lender: I don’t think I can pinpoint just one aspect of CHOICES MEANT FOR GODS that drew me in. I know the antagonist, Jamieson Drake, revealed the lovely Amanda Chariss to me years ago and I fell in love with her instantly. Then the world she lived in intrigued me. So the subjects of Amanda Chariss and Onweald were the original draw. Once I dove into her story and struggle, I got interested in the idea that the god she’s chosen to protect is losing His followers to complacency and disinterest, which leaves them open to the danger of the big evil bad goddess who wants to usurp His power.

Q3: What do you know now that you are published that you didn’t know pre-published that you wish you knew?
Sandy Lender: You know, I had a pretty good idea that marketing is an expensive venture, but I wish I’d done more research. There are oodles of ways to spend your money when it comes to advertising, swag for your tables, postage, etc. I attended a writer’s workshop that my publisher held prior to my first novel’s release and learned some good stuff about prepping for conferences, doing speaking engagements, sending out review copies, etc. My problem was the rose-colored glasses I wore until my first conference, the first stack of books I walked into the post office with, the first time I sent out post cards. I’m very fortunate because my publishing house has a marketing package together for its authors that includes templates and goodies to make life easier. I don’t have to pay a vendor to build an ad for me or build bookmarks; but I do have to pay to run the ad and print the bookmarks. Now, I’m not complaining because this is life and all us authors have to do it. I just wish that I’d taken a better look at all the different things that were worth spending money on and added up the total—and started a savings account—or opened a certificate of deposit when I was 12.

Q4: Tell me one thing about yourself that very few people know?
Sandy Lender: I once swam with adorable dolphins at the Dolphin Research Center down in the Keys. Kibby, the dolphin who painted a picture on a t-shirt for me, stole my heart and still has it… The swimming experience was amazing. First, you have a class/seminar to make sure you know what you’re doing and won’t harm the animals. Then you slide off this dock into the lagoon and whatever dolphins are “into” the event that day come over and interact with your group. Well, I’m a moron and not a good swimmer, so I slid off the dock and just kept right on going under to drown. The thought in my head was, “Great, one of these dolphins is going to have to save me.” Luckily, the survivor instinct kicked in and I treaded water back up to the surface and lived. J I had the greatest time. One of the “actions” the instructor had me do was swim out a certain number of feet and pretend to be drowning so a dolphin could rescue me and bring me back to the dock. I found that to be the ironic moment of the adventure. I’ve got a picture somewhere of two dolphins kissing my cheek. It’s fabulous.

Q5: What do you consider your strengths in terms of your writing?
Sandy Lender: I consider dialogue one of my strengths. I’m very thankful that I can write a scene where characters speak to each other and readers feel as though they’re sitting in the room with the characters, hearing it happen, or watching it on a movie screen.

Q6: What three things would you want with you on a desert island?
Sandy Lender: Am I allowed to cheat? Because I think a trip to a desert island for about two weeks would be a GREAT idea. Bring it on. Just let me have plenty of pens and paper. But, at the end of the two weeks, the items I want with me on the island:
1) the aforementioned writing utensils
2) a motor boat
3) a GPS

Q7: What place that you haven’t visited would you like to go?
Sandy Lender: There are two places I’d like to visit. One is the Archie Carr Research Center (because I’m quite the sea turtle enthusiast) and the other is Venice. The thing about Venice, though, is I’d need a guide. I don’t want a high-pressure tourist-group kind of guided tour, but a guide who speaks the language, knows where he’s going, won’t let me end up mugged or stabbed, and who will keep quiet when I’m writing. J (I don’t think I make a great vacationer.)

Q8: Who is your greatest cheerleader?
Sandy Lender: A writer friend in Canada who actually started out as a reviewer for me. Jamieson Wolf. I met him through an online group a couple years ago. When I learned that he was a reviewer, I contacted him outside of the group and asked if he’d read and review CHOICES MEANT FOR GODS. He was very polite and forewarned me that he didn’t have a lot of patience with fantasy but would give me a fair reading. He loved the story and we started e-mailing back and forth…we became pals and he’s been an amazing supporter of mine ever since.

Q9: If you have a day job, what is it?
Sandy Lender: I’m editor of a national magazine. Construction.

Q10: If you could ask your readers one question, what would it be?
Sandy Lender: Now that eBooks are gaining so much attention (and my publisher has my books available as such), do you find it easier to find time to read? I guess I’m asking, are you more inclined to pick up and carry an eReader around with you to the doctor’s office or the airport than a paperback or hardcover for those quick snippets of reading time?
About Choices Meant For Gods:
CHOICES MEANT FOR GODS is a Girl Power fantasy adventure where prophecy twists out of control. Captivating humans, wizards, Ungol, and dragons populate the realm of Onweald where even the gods must turn to an unlikely fugitive for help.
Thanks for stopping by Sandy and best of luck on your next venture

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy News Monday - Vacation

I'm going on vacation on Thursday. I will be silent as I prepare for the festivities and until I get back.
I have two authors guest blogging for me this week.
Sandy Lender will join me today (6/22) to talk about her book Choices Meant for Gods.
On my usual guest blogging day, Authorsday, Pearl Wolf will stop by and talk about her new book, Too Hot for a Spy.
You'll have to content yourself with these fine ladies this week.
I know.
You're all crying out there.
I will be back. Refreshed and ready to blog more.
I will brain storm and think about you all.
It's time to have fun with family.
See y'all next week sometime.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Authorsday - Linnea Sinclair

Today I talk with award-winning author Linnea Sinclair.

Winner of the prestigious national book award, the RITA®, science fiction romance author Linnea Sinclair has become a name synonymous for high-action, emotionally intense, character-driven novels. Reviewers note that Sinclair’s novels “have the wow-factor in spades,” earning her accolades from both the science fiction and romance communities. Sinclair’s current releases are GAMES OF COMMAND (PEARL Award winner and RITA finalist), THE DOWN HOME ZOMBIE BLUES (PEARL Award Honorable Mention), SHADES OF DARK (PEARL Award winner), and HOPE’S FOLLY (Romantic Times Book Reviews Top Pick.)

A former news reporter and retired private detective, Sinclair resides in Naples, Florida (winters) and Columbus, Ohio (summers) along with her husband, Robert Bernadino, and their two thoroughly spoiled cats. Readers can find her perched on the third barstool from the left in her Intergalactic Bar and Grille at

When did you know you wanted to be a writer? – I don’t remember not wanting to be a writer. As an only child, I’ve long created stories and people in my imagination. I started reading when I was about four years old and some of my best memories involve lounging in the overstuffed burgundy velvet chair in my parents living room, my nose in a book. When stories didn’t go the way I wanted them to, or didn’t end the way I wanted them to, I rewrote them in my mind. When I was old enough to read the letters on the keys of my mother’s typewriter (yep, typewrite—old fashioned, manual kind with a return bar that went “ding!”), I began typing out my stories and ideas. I created a neighborhood newspaper when I was about nine or ten, interviewing my friends and their parents (used carbon paper between sheets of paper to make copies—yeah, carbon paper. A lot of you probably don’t even know what that is.) I had some excellent English teachers in grammar school and high school who encouraged me to write short stories, and that’s where I received my best grades. I was happiest when I could put what I saw in my imagination down on paper.

Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants? – I’m a pantser by nature. Now working to contracted deadlines with Bantam, I’ve become a plot-ser. I plot under duress. It’s painful but I do it. Generally I “leap frog” plot and that’s not my term, and unfortunately I don’t remember the writing site where I first read it, but it’s an accurate description of the way I write: plot three chapters, write them, then plot the next three. That keeps ideas fresh and permits serendipity. Like a lot of pantsers, I find that when I outline an entire book, I lose interest.

What was the name of the first novel you wrote? Did you try to publish it? - Le Petite Chat and no, I didn’t try to publish it. I was only four years old. I typed it on sheets of construction paper and then illustrated it with Crayons. I think it was about five pages. Then I punched a hole in the top and tied it with a ribbon. It was about a little girl and her cat living on a tropical island. I don’t think there was a lot of conflict but it had a happy ending.

What do you know now that you are published that you didn’t know pre-published that you wish you knew? – The amount of energy it takes to do book promotion and how it really saps you. It doesn’t matter if you’re small press published or NY published—I’ve been both. I really thought when I made the jump to Bantam, a major NY house, in 2004 that I’d not have to do the amount of promotion I’d been doing in the small presses. Wrong. Promotion today falls almost totally in the author’s lap, from MySpace to Facebook (I don’t Twitter) to Goodreads, to ads in magazines to blogging and guest blogging, to articles on Internet websites to my own website, to teaching on-line workshops to teaching in-person workshops at conferences, to book signings to book fairs, to my own fan group on Yahoo to the various industry chapter groups and reader groups… it all takes time away from writing. And it can numb the muse. The “business” part of my brain is not the same as the “fiction creation” part of my brain and I’m not someone who can do both simultaneously. Author Nancy Cohen once told me she spends six months writing and six months promoting, but when I have two or three books out a year, that’s just not possible. Very often when a book comes out, I’m already writing the next one and I have to stop for a few weeks and promote the book that just came out. I really need to clone myself.

What was the best writing advice someone gave you? – To read Dwight V Swain’s TECHNIQUES OF THE SELLING WRITER. The how-to tome was written in the 1960s and yep, does mention using carbon paper to make copies of your manuscript. That fact that it’s still around today and still a bible for a lot of successful authors shows how timeless and accurate Swain’s writing advice is. Essentially, Swain is about conflict and about understanding why a reader reads fiction. When you understand the needs of your reader, it’s easier to manipulate them and yes, that’s exactly what Swain teaches you to do: manipulate the emotions of the reader. I think we all know that reading fiction is a vicarious experience—we live the life of the character, we become the character. But understanding why this works and the ways you can hook the reader makes for a better writer and better story. This is what Swain teaches. Over the years, I’ve integrated other excellent writing advice from people like Donald Maass (“Make it worse, make it worse, make it worse…”), Blake “Save the Cat” Snyder, Jack Bickham (who was a protégé of Swain’s) and Jacqueline Litchtenberg (“Conflict is the essence of story.”) But Swain is my foundation.

What was the worst? Did you know it at the time? – I don’t think there is a worst. There are things that don’t work for me in terms of writing advice or techniques that work neato-peachy keen for someone else. I’ve also found that certain techniques may work in one book, and fall flat in the next. Each book brings its own set of characters, conflicts, plot issues, pacing issues that are unique because it’s that book. A wise writer throws nothing out.

Why did you pick the publisher that ultimately published your book? – I didn’t. Bantam picked me. It would be nice if a writer could go to a publishing house and demand, “Buy my book” but that’s not the way it works (well, it does in vanity publishing but not anywhere else). A writer submits his or her manuscripts to various editors in the hopes that one or more will like it enough to make an offer. In my case, my agent shopped my work around and Bantam made us a terrific offer. I’ve been with them through three book contracts now—eight books in all to date. They’re an excellent house to work with and I’m blessed with a wonderful editor who “gets” me, who understands my characters and my goals. Science Fiction Romance is a quirky subgenre of paranormal romance and since I write pretty much a 50/50 split of romance/science fiction, I need an editor who is conversant with the requirements of both genres. Anne Groell is that editor and she’s a joy to work with.

Describe your book. – My current release (March 2009 from Bantam Dell) is HOPE’S FOLLY, which is Book Three in the Dock Five Universe books. FOLLY is related to books one and two (GABRIEL’S GHOST and it’s direct sequel, SHADES OF DARK) but is more of a stand-alone because it’s Philip Guthrie’s story. GABRIEL’S and SHADES are Chaz’s and Sully’s story. FOLLY is high action/adventure space opera and romance. Yeah, I know, a lot going on. It was a hugely fun book to write; Philip really surprised me and has enchanted a lot of readers. Romantic Times BOOKreviews magazine gave FOLLY its highest rating: 4-1/2 stars and named it a Top Pick. Here’s the back blurb:
From RITA Award-winning author Linnea Sinclair comes a high-stakes interstellar adventure infused with thrilling romance.
Admiral Philip Guthrie is in an unprecedented position: on the wrong end of the law, leading a rag-tag band of rebels against the oppressive Imperial forces. Or would be, if he can get his command ship—the derelict cruiser called Hope’s Folly—functioning. Not much can rattle Philip’s legendary cool—but the woman who helps him foil an assassination attempt on Kirro Station will. She’s the daughter of his best friend and first commander—a man who died while under Philip’s command, and whose death is on Philip’s conscience.
Rya Bennton has been in love with Philip Guthrie since she was a girl. But can her childhood fantasies survive an encounter with the hardened man, and newly-minted rebel leader, once she learns the truth about her father’s death? Or will her passion for revenge put not only their hearts but their lives at risk? It’s an impossible mission: A man who feels he can’t love. A woman who believes she’s unlovable. And an enemy who will stop at nothing to crush them both.

The follow-on to FOLLY (again, not a direct sequel but in the same universe) is Devin Guthrie’s story, REBELS AND LOVERS. It’s due out mid 2010 from Bantam Dell. Here’s the working blurb:
OUT OF OPTIONS…Devin Guthrie can’t forget Captain Makaiden Griggs even though it’s been two years since she was in his family’s employ. A Guthrie does not fall in love with a mere shuttle pilot. Going against his wealthy family’s wishes isn’t an option—not with the Empire in political upheaval, much of it caused by Devin’s renegade older brother, Admiral Philip Guthrie. The Guthries must solidify their standing—financially, politically and socially—or risk losing it all. But when the Guthrie heir—Devin’s nineteen-year old nephew— goes missing, Devin’s loyalty to his family’s values is put to the test. And suddenly the unthinkable becomes the only option available: Devin must break the rules and risk allying himself with the one woman he could never forget—and was forbidden to love.

What do you consider your strengths in terms of your writing? – Conflict and characterization. I spend a lot of time and energy on creating characters that will tug at readers’ heartstrings and then I throw them into a whirlwind of problems.

What do you consider your weaknesses? – Plotting. Sometimes I have no freakin’ clue what happens next and that can put me in a dead stop for days.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Blog round up Editors/Agents

Jessica Faust is talking about psuedonyms over at Bookends.
The Morality of Business is what Jenny Rappaport of Lit Soup is discussing.
wow. You should all go read that.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Blog Round Up!

Yesterday Caridad Scordato asked the question: Are you a City Mouse or a Town Mouse?
There's a birthday over at Murder She Writes.
Entitlement at Romancing the Blog.
The Good Girls who kill for money are talking about forgotten things.
Author Kim Smith visited Ginger Simpson's blog.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Authorsday - Elaine Charton

Today I welcome Elaine Charton to my blog for Authorsday.

Elaine and I have known each other for a number of years. We've worked on more than one conference together before she moved to Arizona from NJ. Let's hear what Elaine has to say.

1. How long have you been writing?
Seriously writing since 1990, I was taking an English class that was actually a creative writing class. The professor taught me to listen to those voices that had been talking to me for so long.

2. How did you pick the genre you write in?
I love stories with Happy Ever After. I looked at all the books in my favorite shelf and no matter what the genre there was almost always a happy ending. I started writing straight romance but dead bodies kept popping up. I finally listened to my muse and started writing Romantic Suspense.

3. Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants?
I think I’m a little bit of both. I usually start with characters and a scene and build the book from there. I may make a list of scenes and characters and I usually know the ending. I just need for the characters to tell me all the stuff in the middle.

4. What was the best writing advice someone gave you?
I’ve been blessed in my career to have received advice from some of the best writers I know. Other than “don’t quit your day job”. My favorite piece of advice was given to me right after a friend had sold her first book and I was still collecting rejection letters. She told me, “You have to decide that the only way the publishing world is getting rid of you is with an Uzi.” In other words make up your mind this is what you want and don’t let anything get in your way. My husband calls it stubbornness; I like to think of it as the “Celtic Factor”

5. If you have a day job, what is it?
Customer Service for a company that handles workers compensation claims. I take calls from hospitals and doctors offices on workers compensation claims. My boss and my coworkers think it is very cool to have an author working with them. I warn them not to upset me, they may end up in one of my books, as a dead body. J Working full time, I’ve learned to write in short bursts whenever I can.

6. Describe your book.
PANDORA’S JUSTICE is the second in the series Pandora’s Justice is a true book of my heart. I’ve received wonderful reviews on Pandora’s Justice.
The series is about three friends and the things they have to go through before finding their own happily ever after. The first book is EZ Lovin, which was out last year and later this year Mac’s Man should be available as well. Both EZ Lovin and Pandora’s Justice are available in print, ebook and kindle fromSwimming, and most major book sites.

7. What do you consider your strengths in terms of your writing?
Definitely, my characters, they are what come to me first and I build the story around them. I’m a visual person so it helps me to have a picture of each of the main characters available while I work with them.

8. What place that you haven’t visited would you like to go?
So many I couldn’t list them all here, Top three would be Paris, Rome and China. My husband can speak Mandarian, on of the Chinese dialects, so I think we would have fun.

9. What’s your favorite thing about your book?
It still makes me cry, even now. But it’s good tears.

10. Who is your greatest cheerleader?
Without a doubt, my husband, and his mother. When EZ first came out she went on Amazon ordered a bunch of copies and gave them to all her friends
Author Bio: Writing since 1991, Elaine Charton sold her first book in 2003. This made her a 12 year overnight success.. A member of Romance Writers of America she has served on the board of directors of New Jersey Romance Writers and Saguaro Romance Writers where she is a charter member. She has twice been a finalist in the prestigious Eppie awards.
Elaine and her husband, also a writer, have been married for over twenty years. They met on a blind date and fell in love while indulging in their shared addictions to Books, Chinese Food and Baseball.
Book Blurb: Pandora is a survivor of spousal abuse who is being stalked by someone who knows things only her dead ex-husband would know. Justin Andrews is hired to protect them, can he find out who the stalker is , or will his past come back to haunt him?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Editor Agent Blog roundup

On Saturday, The Rejecter posted a BEA roundup.
Friday, Kristin Nelson told us what editors don't want.
Cheryl Klein enlightens us about the definition of YA literature.
Yesterday Editorial Anonymous talked about the madding slush pile.
Angela James laments about the end of her latest trip.
Nathan Bransford talks about blogging.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Happy News Monday CPR and AED Week

The American Heart Association designated last week CPR and AED Awareness Week. The organization wanted to teach 1 million people CPR.
To help with that Somerset Medical Center in Somerville, NJ and the Somerset Patriots' baseball team based in Bridgewater,NJ hosted a CPR Grand Slam at TD Bank Ballpark Saturday June 6.
100 people attended under cloudy skies. 100 people were given the skills to potentially save a life. 100 people chose to give up a Saturday morning to learn to help another person.
That's awesome!
To find a CPR class near you to to

This week's Authorsday

Elaine Charton will be my guest for Authorsday this week. She's an interesting author so stop by and see what she has to say!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Landmark in a kid's life

My son is spending his first night away from home tonight. 8th grade field trip to Hershey Park.
They are having a semi-formal dinner dance tonight. He has a tie that my dh tied for him and he just has to slip over his head. I hope someone takes a pic of him. He's probably going to look handsome.
And just like my husband. They are the same shape so it is startling sometimes to see my son dressed up.
Am I okay?
Actually yes.
It's the parting and the prep that gets me nutty. I woke up at 12:30 this morning hoping I had thought of everything he should have packed.
Then I remembered, he forgot his goggles. I didn't want to disturb my husband so I went into the bathroom (here's the part of the story a medic friend of mine's mind took into the gutter. Use your imagination.) All I had to write with was blue eye liner on a piece of bookmark. So I did. I was able to remember his goggles.
I've been nuts all week. A concert that we had to buy shoes for that my other son will only wear once. A DARE graduation that I now cannot attend because of inclement weather. Primary voting. This trip for my son. And Saturday is a big event at work for me. We're teaching over 100 people CPR. This was my idea. Yikes!
And the stress of having my first born away from home without family.
But now that he's gone I'm okay. I hugged him before we left for school this morning. That way I didn't do it in public. He is 14 after all.
But it makes me wonder how I will deal with him going off to college.
Do you remember the first time your first child went away?

No Authorsday this week

Once again no author to profile or interview.

Monday, June 1, 2009

So busy

I forgot to post my blogs for the week.
Forgive me. I will be back on track next week.
But I do have a guest for Authorsday.
Stay tuned!