Monday, August 26, 2013

All's well that ends well!

I have not had much time to devote to my blog, but figure I should update it now that my new book is out!  I'm happy to announce the epublication of Identity Crisis, as romantic suspense.  This is the book I was working on when my editor quit and didn't tell me.  But then the publisher, Musa Publishing, promptly assigned me a new editor who turned out to be just the best person and so very good at her job, I have to see it all as a blessing.  

Senior Editor Helen Hardt taught this old dog many new tricks during the editing of Identity Crisis.  When writing a book, it's so easy to do the expedient thing and write things like "panic swept over her."  But Helen would not stand for that.  She wanted to know HOW the panic made her FEEL.  Every single time.  She made me stretch my brain to come up with ever more creative ways to describe the physical effets of panic, and a hundred other emotions.  I am eternally grateful for her help making Identity Crisis into a great read.

I had some additional good fortunr with this book through my membership in one of my online writing groups.  They are all wonderful.  But I rediscovered the value of networking and mutual support when I posted the upcoming publication of Identity Crisis on RomVets in Yahoo Groups.  RomVets is a group of people who are or were affiliated with the military and who now write romance.  Most of the members are women who served.  Many write romances involving military characters.  It is a lovely group or dedicated souls, determined to help and support one another.  I am honored to be a long-time member, having served in the Army in the 1980s, and discovering the fledgling group shortly after Yahoo Groups became popular among writers.  When I announced Identity Crisis to my RomVets friends, one woman asked me if I'd like to be featured on her blog.  Kayelle Allen pointed out that her blog, Romance Lives Forever, gets a lot of hits per day.  I was grateful for any exposure and promptly followed instructions to be featured on her blog.  Identity Crisis was published in July 2013 and the Romance Lives Forever blog about the book came out in early August.  The results were overwhelming.  As Kayelle tells it, she started her blog, began to feature other writers, was asked to join Tumblr, and now her blog articles are widely read.  Once she published my feature, the existence of Identity Crisis was repeated over and over on Twitter via retweets to thousands and thousands of readers.  I gained a significant number of new followers and a tremendous amount of exposure for Identity Crisis that I never would have had otherwise.  My gratitude for my fellow RomVets member knows no bounds.  The feature can be read here:

I'm currently working on the beginning of a series of romanctic suspense novels. Because the key to success for an author is to never stop writing.  And also to have friends who can help you polish the end product and then get the word out that the end product is worth reading.  My thanks to Helen and Kayelle.

Monday, March 25, 2013

My editor quit and didn't tell me!

It has been a long time since I last wrote a blog entry. That's what happens when you work far from where you live. Our homestead is wonderful, but the long commute is a real time killer. Worth it, though. I have only one more year before I can retire and work only part-time while writing novels full-time. Nice!

I do have a new topic to write about for today. That is, my editor for my upcoming release up and quit her job as editor and didn't tell me. Weeks of nothing went by before I realized too much time had gone by without a word from her. Last time we corresponded, we were doing pretty well together. We had a mild disagreement about how a book that involved altered memories needed to make good use of the past-perfect tense (she wasn't a fan of past-perfect), but otherwise, I felt she was doing a great job.

We were about half way through the book when she told me she couldn't possibly get it done by the date set by the publisher. I had two choices: ask for a new editor, or agree to have my release date pushed back. Because I liked her, I chose the latter. Unfortunately, the publisher pushed the release date back by months instead of a few weeks. Disappointing, but I can be reasonable.

I wrote a few time to the editor asking when we'd get back to editing it together. She told me she had another project to finish up and she'd contact me in a few days. Well, I regret that I let a lot more than a few days go by without reaching out again. This is what I get for not focusing on my writing life sufficiently. I knew we now had months to finish it, so I wasn't worried or in any great rush. But then I finally realized that more than a month had drifted away. I wrote to the editor and ...

You can imagine my horror when she told me that she'd quit the job weeks ago and figured my publisher would tell me. Ack! I quickly reached out to the publisher, who said they'd been told that the editing on my book had been completed. They thought they were just waiting for the final to be uploaded, ready to go to the next step. At least the publisher seems equally frantic about the mix-up, so I'm hoping this will all work out. I have sent over the latest editor notes and am waiting (again) to see what the next step will be. You can bet I won't let weeks go by this time!

Oddly, this isn't even the first time this has happened to me. With my very first book, there was something up with my very odd editor. Toward the end, she simply quit her job. This was after she changed the title of my book to something I hated (it was a movie title she chose) without telling me. In the end, that worked out, because the publisher felt sorry enough for me to change the title and then went on to publish more of my books. Yay! But, sheesh, I could begin to wonder if I'm a difficult client somehow.

To my relief, many fellow-authors have come forward to comfort me with their own stories of someone abandoning them in the middle of a project. So I'm feeling better about the whole incident. And I've learned a valuable lesson. not only about staying more on top of what's happening with my book, but also about choosing the editor instead of my original release date. I need to remember, against my nature, that the book is the most important thing in this business, not the individuals who may wander in and out of getting it published.

Do any of you have similar stories to share?

Monday, October 8, 2012

We have a winner!

I have awarded a free copy of Maiden's Mistake to one of the participants in our Musa Publishing 1st anniversary blog hop. And she has a blog of her own: Check out what she has to say about books! We'll be back with more give always soon! Thanks to all who participated!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Musa 1st Anniversary Blog Hop

I'm helping my publisher, Musa Publishing, celebrate one-year of bringing great books to readers by participating in Musa's 1st Anniversary Blog Hop. 


And I'm giving away a free copy of my latest book, Maiden's Mistake, published by Musa.

Rules to hop!

1) HAVE FUN!!!


3) THIS TOUR STARTS: October 1, at Midnight (pst)
    THIS TOUR ENDS: Monday, October 7, at Midnight (pst)

    Winners will be drawn and posted October 9th! ***

Come Join the Party on October 7th at The Romance Review Forum to enter to win more prizes.


The links to all the other blogs in the Musa 1st Anniversary Blog Hop appear below my book information!  

REMEMBER: The more blogs you participate in, the more chances you'll have to win!

5) Grand Prize of a Kindle Fire is for Us and Canada mailing addresses only. I nternational winners will receive a $50.00 Musa Gift Card.

6) To win the free book from me, you must post a comment to this blog post and include a way for me to contact you so I can quickly get the book to the lucky winner. ***

 ***Authors & Book Pages have full discretion to choose an alternate winner in the event any winner fails to claim their prize(s) within 72 hours of their name being posted or after notification of win, whichever comes first. Anyone who participates in this blog hop tour is subject to these rules***

Fire stole his future, until she reclaimed him from the ashes.

Knowing he can never have children of his own, Jonathan Everleigh, Earl of Mercia, marries scandal-plagued Juliette Markham, saving her from disgrace. But when he finds his ruined bride is still a virgin on their wedding night, Jonathan vows to annul their marriage. But when Juliette discovers that she actually is with child, this time from her wedding night, she is as determined to stay married as he is to leave her. When Jonathan’s past catches up with them, the Earl and Lady Mercia must navigate their marital problems, countless dangers, and a final confrontation with the madness plaguing them.  If they can make it out alive, love might be there waiting for them on the other side.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Writing with one hand tied behind my back!

Or, more accurately, writing with one hand in a sling.  It's been an interesting experience to have my left arm in a sling after shoulder repair.  The surgery itself was no big serious pain after, no complications.  Just the dang sling.  Ican use my fingers and can even type for a while with both hands.  But that gets tiring with my arm stuck to my side.  So I'm mostly writing with one hand.

This is a metaphor for a bunch of handicaps that writers deal with everyday.  For example, I also have a full-time day job.  Those hours spent there, and the long commute to get there, put a serious crimp in my writing plans.  But it's something with which I've learned to cope, because I have always had this day job.  I've also had back injuries.  When that happened, and during recovery, I learned to write while lying flat using a special laptop desk that allowed for that.  Now the shoulder (yes, degenerative bone problems are no fun!).  But my own stories are nothing compared to others!  I know people who write while struggling with the most difficult ailments and situations.  People who write while raising children, while traveling for their jobs, while waiting for the next round of chemo, while coping with insomnia, while going through dialysis.

It is amazing to me that we humans are so adaptable!  When we have passion about something, we will find a way to pursue that passion.  Almost nothing can stop us.  And this must be doubly true for writers.  If we let any adversity get in our way, success is doomed.

I would love to hear your stories of writing with one hand tied behind your back, metaphorically speaking.  What have you had to overcome to still keep on writing?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Guest blog from fantasy author Nancy DiMauro

Today's guest blgger is a fantasy fiction auther, Nancy DiMauro. I notice from her web site that she is also a lawyer, like me! In fact, we have quite a lot in common, from pen names to living on a small farm to writing at night. Here, she responds to Ten Questions for Authors:.
1)  A short paragraph on what you write about and the genre, please? (don't forget your web page address!)
I write stories about characters that interest me. These tend to be stories that generally fall into some portion of the fantasy genre and include strong romantic elements. The story dictates the heat level for the romance. I’ve written everything from sweet to sizzle. My protagonists tend to be female, but not always. I’ve written about a disinherited princess turned spy, a psychic whose talent is limited to reading memories from corpses, a few Greek gods and goddesses, a gorilla in a phone booth, and many other intriguing characters. Watch in the upcoming months for many of these stories as Musa Publishing has them under contract.
You can find me at and I tweat as - that's an "__" between "kings" and "falcon".  
2)  What is a typical writing session like, in 300 characters or fewer?
I often write at night. The kids are in bed and the house is relatively quiet. I put the television on as background noise and type out the scene I've been playing with in my head. Unless I'm in a strong burst, I'll stop writing about 11 pm and average about 1000 words a session. If I'm burst writing, all bets are off and I growl at my husband when he says it's time to stop and go to sleep.
3)  Men: boxers or briefs? Women: underwire or banded? (apparently people want to know this!)
Underwire. There's just no real comparison between banded and underwire once you hit a certain size.
4)  If you use a pen name, why?  If you don't, do you worry about stalkers?
By day, I'm  a trial and business lawyer. So I  write under my maiden name - Nancy DiMauro- to keep the fiction writing separate from my day job. Clients are generally looking for a conservative lawyer, Some of my writing isn't very conservative. My short story - Gorilla in the Phonebooth - published by Doghorn Press in the Woman Writing the Weird anthology is romantic fantasy that borders on erotic. One of my novels in progress is erotic as well. So, in theory, using a pen name makes me a bit like Clark Kent and Superman. I take my glasses off and now I'm a superhero, but no one knows.
5)  What is the oddest thing about your writing or the way you write?
I write while I wait for the court to hear my case. Most of the courts will have a motions' day docket with somewhere between 30 and 100 cases to be heard. Often, the court will take time estimates and hear the shorter cases first.  I usually have time to wait. Continuing to prepare for (stress about) my matter isn't productive at that point. I'll take out my handy note pad and write a scene or two in the time I have before my case is called. I've written a novel this way.
6)  Give us a glimpse into how you choose the names of your chracters, please?
When I chose a name, I'm either looking for a sound association, meaning or a feeling. I have a character that loses his family in a civil war. He's the 15 year-old heir to the throne and next likely assassignation target. He needs to hide and change his name. When he's informed the kingdom is his, he says that death rules the land. So, he picks a namethat sounded connected with death - Mordent. His name also resonates  with the word "mordant" which is a fixative - a substance used to set dyes on fabrics  by combining with the dye's elements and then attaching to the fabric. The character "Mordent"  brings the other plot elements together and binds them in a way that changes the original.
7)  Any thoughts on staying healthy while pursuing such a sedentary career?
It's a battle. Just like you need to make finding writing time a priority, you need to make getting out of the chair and eating properly a priority.  I'll do little things during the day like parking farther from the building since getting a large block of time is difficult.
8)  Dogs or cats, and why? (don't say "neither" because even if you don't have one, choosing is informative!)

Yes. I live on a small horse farm so I have a somewhat smallish zoo. The husband would argue on the size designation. We currently have 3 cats, 2 dogs, 3 hermit crabs and 2 horses.   
9)  If you research, what's your method?  If you don't, how do you get away with that?
Wow. That's a really great question. The answer depends on what I need to research.  I research characters pretty much every day. I have a love/hate relationship with waiting for the court to call my case. Because I despise waiting, I keep a note pad with me at all times. When I have to wait, I crowd watch. Notes of what I see and histories I make up for the people passing by end up on the note pad. So, crowd watching is a critical part of my character research.
For historical or setting research, my location helps me. I live about an hour outside of Washington, D.C. and the Smithsonian museums. A trip to the appropriate museum is a great research tool. I also read a lot about the time period I’m using as a pattern for the world I’m writing. I’ve read a lot on medieval warfare and have taken fencing lessons.
I also try to consult experts. Most people love talking about what they do for a living. As an example, I have a work-in-progress that’s an urban fantasy murder mystery. I’ve done all the “book” research I can do without having diminishing returns. Now, I need to consult a homicide detective.  I’ll ask my contacts if they know a detective who would be willing to talk to me.  I  also always say “thank you” to those who help me.
10)  What is the most interesting or outrageous comment you've heard/read about your writing?
I think the most interesting comments I've received relate to my voice.
One reader told me that my legal writing and fiction writing "sound" nothing alike and he never would have known I'd written both. I have two very distinct voices depending on whether I'm writing to persuade (legal writing) or entertain (fiction writing).
I’ve had a similar comment about my fiction. I tend to under-describe surroundings because I’d like them described with light brush strokes rather than layers upon layers of paint. A group of beta readers wanted more detail about the world. So, I’d gone back into a story to flesh out some description. It was a struggle for me. Satisfied I’d added more details, I sent it off to my next reader. He, a prolific and very successful writer, flagged the new section. He said that it read as if someone else had written it. I had to go back and lighten the touch so it was consistent with the rest of the narrative.

Thank you for your blog, Nancy!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

New guest blogger - Wendy Soliman

I've asked some authors to respond to ten questions, some of them a little off center, just for fun. Here's what Wendy SolimanI've, author of regency romances has to say:

Ten Questions for Authors:

1) A short paragraph on what you write about and the genre, please? (don't forget your web page address!)

I started life as an author writing regency romance. I now write contemporaries, too, and also a series of marine crime mysteries. You can find me at and

2) What is a typical writing session like, in 300 characters or fewer?

No such thing. Every day varies. I have to clear the decks, so to speak, get all the boring daily stuff out of the way first – like cleaning, shopping or whatever – then the rest of the day’s mine and I can lose myself in a world
of my own creation.

3) Men: boxers or briefs? Women: underwire or banded? (apparently people want to know this!)

Underwired. I’m an inverted pear-shape so carry most of my weight up top! Enough said.

4) If you use a pen name, why? If you don't, do you worry about stalkers?

I write my contemporaries and marine crime novels as W. Soliman, just so that readers of my regencies don’t get confused. I’m certainly not trying to hide who I am – far from it.

5) What is the oddest thing about your writing or the way you write?

Went to an Abba tribute band concert a while back and as they sang ‘The Name of the Game’ I thought it would be a great title for a book. (Us writers are never off duty!). That book will be published later this year.

6) Give us a glimpse into how you choose the names of your characters, please?

If I’m writing regencies I refer to my Penguin book of names and then check on line to make sure the name I choose existed in the time period I’m writing about. A Lady Jenna wouldn’t really cut it! With contemporaries, I usually just choose names that I think fit the personality of the character I’ve created, or a name that I like, but with eighteen published books under my belt, I’m running out of those.

7) Any thoughts on staying healthy while pursuing such a sedentary career?

I walk – fast - at least an hour and a quarter every day with my dog. (A great activity for plotting, by the way), I pump iron at the gym twice a week and have just acquired a push bike.

8) Dogs or cats, and why? (don't say "neither" because even if you don't have one, choosing is informative! )

I love all animals but have had dogs for years. My latest is a rescuee from a shelter in Spain. We paid more than the price of a business class seat to have him flown out to Florida, where we spend half the year. Couldn’t be without him and didn’t think twice about the expense, which is more than can be said for my husband, who had to
foot the bill!

9) If you research, what's your method? If you don't, how do you get away with that?

I mostly use the internet for research but also have an impressive library of research books, mostly centred on the regency period.

10) What is the most interesting or outrageous comment you've heard/read about your writing?

When my first book was accepted for publication, someone very close to me who ought to have known better, asked if I was actually being paid for it!

My name is Wendy Soliman. I’m a Brit but now divide my time between Andorra and Florida. I live with my husband Andre and a rescued dog of indeterminate pedigree named Jake Bentley after the hero in one of my books. They’re both good-looking mongrels with independent spirits and naughty streaks! I love all animals, enjoy walking, decent wine and generally making the most out of life.

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