The contract is finally signed, so I can announce that my wonderful agent, Lauren Abramo, got me a 3 book deal with Kensington e-books. My Mill Pond romances will come out next year in April, July, and November. I've written a few Mill Pond short -shorts in the left column. I'm celebrating tonight, but on Monday, I'll be back at my desk. Now I have deadlines to meet:)
I love myths, so I wrote two "sort of" urban fantasy novels. "Sort of" because the protagonists are Greek and Norse gods instead of werewolves and gargoyles, etc. The first book is free this week, if you'd like to check it out.
Soon, I'll have covers for a new Babet and Prosper bundle. It will have three previously published novellas: Demon Heart, Dark Dreams for Prosper, and A Penchant for Mortals. It will also have a new novella, featuring Nadine's daughter, Evangeline. Nadine is the voodoo priestess at the settlement by the bayou. A reader commented that Evangeline needed a romance of her own, so I decided to give her one in Voodoo and Panthers. That story will have its own cover in the book, and then there'll be a new cover for the entire collection. As usual, I'll price it at 99 cents. I hope it tempts you when it's ready, but in the meantime, I wrote a short-short for Nadine to explain how she got her powers and ended up in River City. It's in the column on the left. I put it at the top for now to make it easy to find.
Happiness is finding your groove. I struggled with the beginning of this book. It's finally falling into place and the characters are flexing their muscles. They hit my plot points and then add a twist of their own. It's great! The words are flowing, and I'd better enjoy it. Once I hit the middle, I'll be back to whining again:)
I belong to a wonderful writers' club. We critique each others' work, and I wouldn't have learned half of what I know (and I realize I have more to go) if they weren't there to prod me to write better. We want the best for each other, so we listen to scenes and chapters and give the best feedback we can to make it better if the words need work or to say, "It's ready," when they're polished enough. I'm a wienie when it comes to criticism. I don't suck my thumb and hide in a closet, but it takes me a few days to process it. I don't feel that way about Scribes, though. It's more like brainstorming with brilliant friends than being called out for blunders and mistakes. At Scribes, a blunder is just a first draft that has potential.
I've been fighting with a first chapter lately. I know what I want to write, but it's not like I've figured out how to accomplish it.--until I met with Scribes and read the chapter to them, warts and all. I got lots of ideas and suggestions, and I still think I can mess up for a try or two before I get it right. But I will get it right. And that's partly due to my writer friends.
For any writer out there, I wish you trusted, true critique partners. They're priceless. For everyone else who reads this, have a great September!
Before I wrote my first romance, I decided I'd better READ some new romances. Years ago, when my girls were toddlers, I read lots of Betty Neels--a Harlequin romance author, because I was too tired for complicated plots and by the time I got the girls in bed, I needed a happy-ever-after fix. Betty Neels was a great writer, and--yes, little kids wore me out. Once the girls started school, I got hooked on mysteries and adding up clues. My brain could concentrate again. Then, when I decided to write urban fantasy, I started reading those. A writer should read what she wants to write. Learn from the best. If you read enough, the rhythms and nuances will seep into your bones and guide you.
It had been a LONG time since I read a romance, and I was pretty sure things had changed over the years. I was a big fan of Georgette Heyer, but Regencies take too much research. I love to read them, but I'd never know enough details to write them. So when I want a Regency, I turn to Julia Donner's Friendship Series instead. And yes, the new Regencies have the same basic mannerisms and wit as the old ones, but everything changes over time--including writing styles.
For contemporary romance, I read Catherine Bybee. And I picked the right author to study. Her Weekday Brides series has just the right mix for me. Characters with depth. Solid plots. And good writing. I just finished Single by Saturday, and I was suprised by the serious subplots and unique twist she added to the good, old, basic romance plot. I highly recommend that book. And if you're a writer, remember that what authors did ten or fifteen years ago might be wonderful, but they might not sell today. Be sure to read what's out there now, too.