As a new author with Liquid Silver Books I am thrilled to be part of the Labor Day weekend blog tour. This begins next Friday, Sept 3. At the end you can register for great prizes. I’ll be posting later in the week with a blog hop banner and some eye candy. If you fall off click here to catch the bus. Have fun!
I am a part of the SCA, an educational not-for-profit organization that recreates the best parts of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The Society for Creative Anachronism is an international group, so chances are good there could be a group near you. The world is divided into Kingdoms, and each kingdom is divided into baronies and shires. I am a member of the Shire of Korsvag in the Kingdom of Northshield. There’s not much that I don’t like about it, but here are 13 things I love about it.
1. Playing dress up. I can wear a beautiful dress from the Italian Renaissance or Viking Age Scandinavia. I have more SCA garb than work clothes.
2. Being a Baroness of the Court. Is it small of me to enjoy wearing a silver and amethyst crown and having people call me “Your Excellency” ? It does wonders for a fragile ego.
3. Knights in Armor. Men in uniform are always hot. Sweaty too.
4. Knights out of Armor. Men out of uniform are hotter.
5. Watching fighting. This is possibly the greatest draw for non-SCAdians.
6. Making good friends. I know people from all over MN, WI, ND, SD, parts of Canada.
7. Learning the crafts of the Middle Ages like spinning, knitting, weaving.
8. Seeing other people’s pretty clothes and wonderful things they’ve made. It’s fun to see a 9th Century Viking warrior standing next to a 16th Century Englishwoman.
9. Learning court dances that are hundreds of years old.
10. Researching costume history. If my character is wearing an Elizabethan gown you can bet I’m pretty accurate in my descriptions, because I’ve sewn it and worn it.
11. Eating High Feast with five removes. Sometimes feasts last for hours. Removes (courses) are served with entertainment in between like singing or dancing or jugglers.
12. Chivalry, courtesy and grace. These are emphasized and held up as a standard in the SCA.
13. Bardic Circles. At night at camping events (and some non-camping events) bards gather around a fire and sing and tell stories, much as would have been done in period. I am not a singer but I am a story teller.
What hobbies do you have that take up a big chunk of your time and budget?
Some time ago a newcomer to a forum I’m a member of had said that he had decided that the money in writing was in romance so he was going to write one. His job had been cut and he’d decided to start a new career as a writer. He needed money right away and he wanted to know what was the best way to become a money making writer. Well… I’m not sure what exactly to say to that. Frankly, this person’s posts rubbed me the wrong way. Was he assuming that anything he wrote would immediately sell, and sell well? That he would be the next JK Rowling by this time next year? There is absolutely nothing wrong with writing to earn money. But it’s not that easy. Not everything written and submitted will be accepted. Not everything published will be a best seller. Or even a good seller. I have sold only one story as of yet, so perhaps I’m not an expert on this subject. But I do have some experience. If you want to write and sell a romance novel, here are my suggestions to help you on that journey:
1. Read Romance
Read lots of romance, both printed books from large New York publishers and electronic novels from epublishers. I suppose it is possible to write what you don’t love, but the idea seems alien to me. Would the story be cold and mechanical if it were written by someone who didn’t feel strongly about romance? Also, by reading romance you will learn what is currently being published, what sorts of stories are selling, the general story outlines for romance and what sub-genres are being published.
2. Research Publishers
All publishers have websites these days. Go there. Read about them and find out what they publish. Also, do a search on them. Find out what people are saying about them. Are they reputable? Are their authors happy? Sites like www.erecsite.com will help you make an informed choice.
3. Read Submission Guidelines
Again, go to the publisher’s website and read their submission guidelines. Are they even accepting submissions? Would your story match what they publish? If you have a sweet contemporary romance but they publish erotica then your story will probably be rejected right away. Check out what they want for a submission. Just a query and synopsis? Do they accept only queries from authors represented by an agent? Do they have formatting requirements? Don’t waste your time or theirs by submitting your single spaced manuscript in Old English purple font if they want a double-spaced manuscript in Times New Roman black font. Read the guidelines.
4. Join a Writers Group
Romance Writers of America has branches all over. And if none is close to you then perhaps one of their online groups would work for you. But if you don’t want to spend the money for the membership fee there are many free online groups and forums to join, like Coffee Time Romance and Romance Divas. I think the camaraderie on this type of site is encouraging, especially when you feel the sting of rejection or the daily struggles that come along with writing. Also the other members of these groups will have personal experience with writing and submitting and being published. They will probably share their experiences if you ask nicely. And maybe that is a good place to find a critique partner.
Even the most talented writers need a second opinion. My friends don’t make the best critiquers. They love me too much to say: “What the heck is this paragraph in here for?” or “This bit of dialogue is weak. I can’t tell who is speaking or what info is being conveyed in it.” And we as authors are so close to the story, practically inside it, that we don’t see the weaknesses that hurt our stories. Get a critique partner who will be encouraging and honest.
6. Be Reasonable
Be reasonable in your expectations. If you submit a novel and expect to be living off the royalties of that book you will almost certainly be disappointed. Only a very small percentage of submissions are accepted. In the epublishing world the acceptance rate is higher than New York publishers, but still well under 10% and much lower for new authors. An editor for Samhain Publishing (one of the best selling and well established epubs) recently wrote that they accept about 8% of submissions, and many of those are by authors they have previously published. Even if your story is accepted and published how much can you expect to make from it? $500? $1000? $5000? Probably not enough to build your dream home. It takes many many books being published and kept in print for those kinds of royalties. See Show Me the Money for some more precise money numbes.
7. Keep Writing
A rejection doesn’t necessarily mean your writing sucks. Maybe it wasn’t suitable for that publisher or that publisher simply didn’t have room for it right then. Try another publisher. If you are lucky enough to get a rejection with suggestions for improvement, rejoice. Above all, keep trying. If the first story didn’t sell, write a different story. If Stephen King had quit after his first ten rejections the world wouldn’t know his name today. Keep writing.
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Being a famous author who makes a good living just from writing would be wonderful. But don’t kid yourself: there’s not that many beginning writers who do that. Heck, not even all established writers can do that. Writing is work. And just like with any other career, a writer has to be dedicated to his/her job to get to the top. They have to put in long hours. They have to be professional. They have to be trained and disciplined. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.
So good luck in your pursuit of being published. It’s partly talent and partly luck, but mostly hard work and keeping at it.
I love to read. I honestly think reading has helped me survive. Because of reading I never cracked a textbook in my basic history classes in school. But I’m so busy right now. It seems like I just don’t have time to read as much as I’d like to. So I have a growing To Be Read (TBR) pile of books just waiting for me to get to them. I tend to enjoy historical romance, paranormal romance, fantasy and some young adult. Here are some of them (not in any particular order)
1. Libertine’s Kiss by Judith James-unusual setting and time period Resoration England
2. The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory-end of the Wars of the Roses/early Tudor England
3. Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa-young adult fantasy
4. Heroes Return by Moira Moore-fantasy
5. Cast in Chaos by Michelle Sagara- fantasy
6. Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt – a more mundane time period, but I like her writing enough to be intrigued.
7. Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage by Jennifer Ashley – historical
8. Lone Rider by Lauren Bach
9. The Boyfriend School by Sarah Bird-loved the movie of this made years ago with Steve Guttenberg
10. Ilfayne’s Bane by Julia Knight – fantasy romance
11. Soul Fire by R.F. Long – Fantasy Romance
12. Building Believable Characters by Marc McCutcheon
13. The Sleeping Beauty by Mercedes Lackey – Fairy Tale fantasy
So what is in your TBR pile today? Not that I’m needing to add anything to my own pile, but I’d hate to miss a great read.
At work a friend and I were talking about what upcoming books we were dying to read. I mentioned several but one that I really really can’t wait for is Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin. I love reading romance. I love reading historical romance. But sometimes I get a little tired of the usual settings and historial eras. This one takes place in China. An unusal setting is always a hook for me, and when you throw in a kick-butt heroine I’m sold. I shamelessly stole this from Jeannie’s website.
Butterfly Swords – Available October 2010 from Harlequin® Historical
On the way to her wedding, Ai Li discovers a plot against her family and escapes with butterfly swords in hand. When a blue-eyed barbarian rushes into a throng of bandits to save her, their journey takes them across the Tang Empire and to the very edge of honor, loyalty, and love. (Winner of the 2009 Golden Heart for Historical Romance.)
I am going to be 49 next month and I’ve never had a manicure. I guess I’m not what you’d call a girlie-girl. And I’m pretty rough on my hands. I spend hours a day typing both at my job and at home writing stories. I knit. I wash raw fleece, I felt wool using hot water. I spin wool and silk. I (attempt to) hit people with a sword. I play with my cats. I always mean to put lotion on, but I don’t. So my hands are a wreck. My nails are never quite the same length, and at least one is always broken off.
But one of the gals in my knitting group owns a few nail salons and other gals are coming to the meetings with beautiful nails. So I screwed up my courage (isn’t it ridiculous to be afraid of letting someone see how awful your hands are?) and made an appointment.
Well… what can I say about my manicure?
Thursday Thirteen: 13 writers I love. (In no particular order)
1. Anne Bishop. Her Black Jewels stories are wonderful. I put off reading these for years because they take place in “Hell” and the character names are Saetan, Lucivar, Daemon, etc and my Christian background was turned off by that.
2. Georgette Heyer. She is the Grande Dame of the historical and Regency romance. I can’t even pick a single favorite because I love them so much. The historical detail is precise, but never takes away from the story.
3/4. Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. This husband and wife duo write space opera like no one else. The Liadan Universe is a place I’d like to live. Women have as much power and respect as men.
5. Laura Kinsale. Well drawn character driven plots. The Shadow & the Star and For My Lady’s Heart are classics. If I could capture a personality half as well as she does I would be in heaven.
6. Loretta Chase- Lord of Scoundrels anyone? When the heroine walks into the gambling hell and coolly shoots the hero, it became in instant favorite.
7. Mary Jo Putney. Again, too many to count. Silk & Secrets, One Perfect Rose, Angel Rogue… Yeah, too many to list.
8. Laura London/Steve and Sharon Curtis. The created the most excellent secondary characters. Decades after reading some of their books like the Windflower I still yearn for the secondary characters’ stories to be told.
9. Louis L’Amour. No one did westerns like Louis L’Amour. Quiet straight spoken men who see a job that needs to be done and do it, strong women who pull their weight.
10. Julie Garwood. Her medievals were light on historical authenticity, but they always satisfied me. I still re-read them when I want a comfort read.
11. Elizabeth Peters. Her Egyptian mysteries are so fun! Sethos is fascinating. Emerson is riveting. Amelia Peabody rocks!
12. Barbara Hambly. Fantasy, swords, humor, adventure… They have it all. The Time of the Dark is possibly my favorite. I love the regular person transported to an alternate universe story.
13. Wen Spencer. I like everything she’s written, but I especially love Ukiah Oregon. I’ve read she won’t be going back to his series. Darn! Wonder what he would have been like at 30?
Who are your favorite authors? Tell me who and why. I’m always looking for more authors to glom!
You’ve never heard the fable Rumpelstiltskin told like this …
Due to her father’s constant bragging, word of Anna Miller’s beauty and virtue piques the interest of King Thomas.
Upon taking the boasting of her father too literally, the king of Grimbros imprisons Anna and threatens to kill her and her father if she fails to spin straw into gold.
A mysterious and sensual magical being finds himself drawn to the castle – and the beautiful Anna. He offers his help in exchange for the most intimate, precious gifts she could possibly give. Soon Anna finds herself wanting far more than just his help. But he threatens to consume her and all she holds dear.
Unless she says his name.
I have been trying to decide on a title for my current work in progress. It is the second book in my post-apocalyptic series After the Crash. A plane takes off in 2014 and crashes in 2064, fifty years after World War III destroys technology and the world has become more like the Wild West where women are scarce and a clan of Lakotah are werewolves. The survivors of the plane crash have to make new lives in the future.
The hero is a Native American. His name is Wolf’s Shadow. He is an Alpha, the son of the chief of the the Clan. Shadow is spoiled by his successes and a lifetime of having the less dominant of the wolves in his clan bow down to his will, so when his wolf choses a mate from the plane crash survivors he expects that she will accept him gratefully. Or at least peacefully.
Plus sized Glory Peterson is a loud mouthed goth who has made a habit of rebelling against anything that tries to control her. She’s plenty willing to play with Shadow, but if he thinks he can tell her what to do he’d better think again.
So I need a name for this. Which do you think?
Glory and the Wolf
Courted By the Wolf
Shadowed By the Wolf
This is a sort of rambling post, but I want to get it straight in my head.
I am writing a series of books that take place in the year 2064. In 2014 terrorists nuked dozens of major cities around the world, and specially in America. Natural disasters and plagues followed rapidly. One of the plagues was particularly deadly to women and girls, and the female population has decreased sharply. Civilization and modern technology collapsed and a small group of Native Americans leave the reservation and go back to living like their ancestors did. They call themselves The Clan. Back in the reservation days these families were part of a ceremonial Society called the Wolf Clan. For a hundred years the older generations passed down stories about an inner wolf spirit that controlled some warriors. People thought those stories were myths, or simply symbolic of the prowess of some warriors. But the descendants of the Wolf Clan who moved back onto the prairie found that some of the boys changed into wolves and back. It took two generations for them to learn to control the change. Now, in 2064, they have so many members that they have split into two groups: the Clan, who continues to roam the prairie and the Pack who lives settled near a town in south central Nebraska.
With so many cousins I’ve had to make a family tree to keep track of who is who and who is descended from whom. The stories center around the Pack and Clan and how the wolves manage to find mates among the survivors of a plane crash.