Tag Archives: contest

Welcome to the Blog Hop Contest – Win a Nook Color and loads of books Dec 16th – 23rd


Happy Holidays everyone! This year we are doing a fun and special contest called a blog hop. This means that a number of blog owners will give away stuff on their blogs, and you can hop from site to site entering each contest.
Check out this and other blogs anytime between Dec 16th and 23rd and leave comments to be entered to win each blog’s giveaway.
All entrants will also be entered to win the Grand prize, a Nook Color.

    1. Yes, you heard that right. The Grand Prize Is A Nook Color!

Be sure to sign up to follow the blog and leave a message here and you will be entered to win the Nook Color, AND you will be entered to win a copy of Crushing Desire by April Dawn, and A Surprising Day, by Ava Delany.

    Crushing Desire
    Reena Harrison is anything but the fashion, but despite her flaws, she has several suitors. Unfortunately, the one man she has always loved is not one of them. After things go dreadfully wrong with a suitor and her family, she finds herself asking Joshua a peculiar favor.

    Joshua Sinclair has long had a fascination with the tall beauty. After years of denying his feelings for Reena in pure military fashion, he finds himself thrown together with her in an out of control scheme. How can he possibly rule his emotions when he finds himself posing as the sensuous woman’s husband?

    A Surprising Day

    Todd thinks Debbie is the sexiest woman alive, despite the hideous Happy Burger uniform she’s wearing. The tatts peeking from beneath her tan outfit and the band-aid that’s not quite covering the ring in her nose tell him she’s just the girl for him. Unfortunately, she seems to think he’s a geek. Damn, why didn’t he change his clothes after his interview? It doesn’t matter, though. He’ll just have to convince her to take it all off him with a game of strip poker. Then she’ll see who he really is, and he’ll see what hides beneath her bland clothes.

    Debbie can’t believe the dorky-looking guy who’s been staring at her since he and his friend sat down has the nerve to ask her out. No way! She’d never agree to go out with such a square. Then Todd bets he can surprise her, and Debbie accepts the challenge. Partly because she loves a good bet, but mostly because something dark and sexy in his eyes tells her he might be worth it. She’s shocked when he comes to pick her up in a sexy black truck with barbed-wire on the grill, and when he gets her back to his place for a game of strip poker, she finds the evening’s surprises may never stop.

Then check out the other blogs (click on the pic above to go to the originating blog), each dedicated to different romance writers and genres, like Stockings and Stays, which is dedicated to historical romance, or Just Romantic Suspense, which is dedicated to, you guessed it, Amish romance. JK.

Have fun on your blog hopping and good luck. I’ll be posting a winner for the books (and the Nook) after the contest ends and the winners have been selected through random.org.

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I’ve got all these words in my head that are just screaming to get out. Some are descriptive, emotional, sensual, horrifying, loving. I know you understand what I mean. For us, my dear writer, they are the heart and soul of our work.

There are the types of words we scrutinize: adjectives and adverbs. We search them out and agonize over having too many or too few. We edit, re-write and edit some more. We don’t stop there. We hunt out clichés and overused phrases ripping them out of the pages. And all the while we struggle for originality and that magic that hooks the reader and draws them into our stories. We work until our manuscripts shine with a high polish.

The readers are the witness, the hero or heroine, or whomever they prefer to identify with. It’s the juxtaposition of our words that create the pacing, paints the pictures, strikes the chord, arouses emotions and, for us romance writers, brings the story to a happy ending.

Some words we are eager to hear: the call, published, multi-published, reprint, best seller, finalist, award winning. But I’m getting ahead of myself. More often the words are strung a bit differently: I think the concept of your novel has a lot of potential …, Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read your manuscript …, Thank you very much for your manuscript which I have read with interest …, I think you have a wonderful voice … The ellipse is followed by the same word but. Different words but all with the same meaning, rejected, although I really prefer passed. It is just so much more humane.

I have worked hard on my manuscript. I am well passed my first draft. I have self reviewed and edited, my critique partner has reviewed and commented, at chapter meetings I have brought my five to ten pages for discussion. The version number on my document is in double digits. I know I have the words just right. I just need an editor/agent to love them as much as I do.

Sure I can. I can love them anyway you want them!

Special thanks to David Coverly for permission to reprint his cartoon.

Dave Coverly admits there is no overriding theme, no tidy little philosophy that precisely describes what Speed Bump, his syndicated comic, is about. “Basically,” he says, “if life were a movie, these would be the outtakes.”

These “outtakes” now appear in over 400 newspapers and websites, including the Washington Post, Toronto Globe & Mail, Detroit Free Press, Chicago Tribune, Indianapolis Star, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Cincinnati Enquirer, New Orleans Times-Picayune, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Vancouver Sun, Baltimore Sun, and Arizona Republic as well as the published “Speed Bump” books.

In addition to his syndicated work, Coverly’s cartoons have been published in The New Yorker, and his cartoons are now regularly featured in Parade Magazine, the most widely read magazine in the world with a circulation of 73 million.

Coverly works out of an attic studio in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is married to Chris, and they have two daughters, Alayna and Simone.

Speedbumpcomic@comcast.net

Ruth Seitelman

Gaze into the crystal ball and glimpse the future of e-Publishing


In a 1995 article for Newsweek, Clifford Stoll, an astronomer and author, said “The truth is no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works.”

Mr. Stoll was not uninformed about the internet. Quite the contrary, he had been working on the internet for years and was one of the first ‘hack hunters.’ But the internet of 1995 was in its infancy and like a newborn it would take time to mature – make order out of the chaos. He went on to say no body would shop on the internet, it would never catch on, it was only a fade. Mr. Stoll contended the internet missed an essential ingredient, the human touch. There were other things he felt would be big stumbling blocks, dealing with money being a big one.

The issue with Mr. Stoll’s position in 1995 was one of insight. He had none.

This past February, Mr. Stoll’s article was unearthed and was the topic of discussion on several blogs including Farhad Manjoo ( Slate Technologies) and Nathan Bransford.

Manjoo presented four principles for more successful predictions about our digital future:

1. Good predictions are based on current trends
2. Don’t underestimate people’s capacity for change
3. New stuff sometimes comes out of the blue
4. These days it’s best to err on the side of (technological) optimism

It goes past people’s capacity for change and to the heart of the matter. Stasis is not the norm.  So to Mr. Manjoo’s principles I have an addition. 5. Change is inevitable

In Nathan Bransford’s blog, originally posted in the Huffington Post, he looked at the ebook controversy and saw the ‘new skeptics,’ the Mr. Stoll’s of today.  He doesn’t speak about the enabling of the technology but rather the inevitability of it. He has his own predictions.

1. The ebook reading experience will only improve as ebook technology improves. As technology improves, new enhancements will be available, color photos and art, embedded interactive features and creative designs even in mass market books.
2. eReaders and eBooks will get cheaper as technology improves and production cost go down.
3. Finding the books you want to read will get easier, reading through the jumble of self published books to find the good books.  Many people have opined about the quality of the work being self published. Anybody can upload their novel to Amazon or other resources such as independent e-libraries, like Lebrary. New literary sites like Goodreads and Shelfari are tools readers can use to find well written, critically acclaimed, prize winning books.
4. People are ignoring the digital trend.  The economics of digital media is compelling. Digitization is cheaper, faster, and provides worldwide distribution. Other industries have embraced the trend (they too went kicking and screaming but that didn’t stop the shift): music, newspapers, and movies. Books are next.
5. Habits change. As people are presented with better options they quickly adapt.

Are we at the same point in publishing as Mr. Stoll was in 1995 with the internet? Will we be looking back at 2010 and see we lacked insight? Or will we look at Mr., Manjoo’s principles of predictions and reflect on those of Nathan Bransford before we put our stake in the ground?

I am more than just a consumer deciding on what device to buy or application to put on my iPad, iPhone or Blackberry. I am on the other side of this tidal wave, a writer. How do writers embrace the digital age when the skeptics, agents and published authors, advise against digital publishing? Is the argument that good writers will be tainted by the poor quality long associated with digital self-publishing real or imagined? Will the influx of poorly written books overwhelm the industry make it harder for good writers to be identified? Will good writers become discouraged and stop writing? What do the publishing professionals really think?

Jesse Glass, co-publisher of Ahadada Books, a self publishing press was quoted by Liz Worth on the Broken Pencil blog:

From the beginning of the history of publishing there have been bad writers and bad books. Though the new publishing technologies might help bad books to proliferate, intelligent readers have a sense of quality, of what draws them in, of what delights and instructs, and they will make an almost instinctive decision regarding what they will read and what they won’t. … Good work – and interesting work, inevitably – given time – wins out.

Neil Nyren, the Senior Vice-President, Publisher, and Editor in Chief of Penguin Putnam was recently interviewed by JT Ellison on the Murderati Blog.  He said eReaders will not kill physical books. He believes the more formats that are available, the more accessible we make books, the more people will buy.

He went on to say that the new technology is subtly changing the way editors do their work. The publishing industry is embracing the new technology to improve their own efficiencies and make their editors and sales people more effective. Some editors use eReaders to read submissions.

It doesn’t really take a crystal ball to see the future of e-publishing. The signs are all around us.

1. Change is inevitable
2. If good predictions are based on current trends, the digital press is the way of the future
3. eBook technology will improve and provide wonderful enhancements not available today
4. eReader technology will improve and become more affordable and grow the reading market
5. Well written and edited books will not disappear. Good books will always be in demand.
6. New literary sites will emerge and provide the reading public with a means of wading through the jumble and help them find well written, critically acclaimed, prize winning books. The reading public will learn which imprints to associate with good, well written and edited books.

I think there will always be a need for printed books. I have a Sony Reader as well as Kindle on my Blackberry. I buy on line, I borrow from the library online, and I still buy books.

Ruth Seitelman

Let Jodi Redford Light Your Fire With Her New Release


New Release by Jodi Redford
Well, just as I promised last week, here’s this week’s new release info. 🙂
Out from Samhain Tuesday, June 29, is a new hot and kickass release from Jodi Redford And to celebrate her new release, Jodi is offering to one lucky person who leaves a comment, a $5 gift card to My Bookstore And More
Be sure to check out Jodi’s contest page. To celebrate her new release, she’s giving away an Advanced Reading copy of Light My Fire! There’s also some other cool prizes, but you’ll need to check out her contest page for the rules. But hurry, because the contest ends tomorrow.
Be sure when you leave your comments here to include your email address so Jodi or I can contact you. Best of luck, everyone! We’ll draw the winner on Sunday!

Light My Fire by Jodi Redford (Out this coming Tuesday from Samhain.)
Blurb:
Double the firepower, triple the heat.
Aiden Fortune’s orders are clear: Find the woman, claim her as a sexual
sacrifice-and share her with his horndog twin brother. Distasteful as it is,
the Drakoni council insists the ancient custom be honored. Or Aiden will be
banished.
One glance at Dana Cooper, and Aiden is thrown into the dragon version of a
tailspin. Claim her? Hell, yes, he’ll claim her. Problem is, she has no idea
her father signed away her destiny at birth.
Dana has dated enough whack-a-doodles to fill an insane asylum. Two gorgeous
men claiming to be dragons? Par for the course. Until they give her a
tantalizing glimpse of their inner beasts, which makes her think she’s the
one headed for a padded cell-for actually considering their offer of the
hottest sex of her life, for life.
Her resistance melts away under the onslaught of two men who pack enough
heat to set off smoke alarms in a six-block radius. Especially when she
realizes she’s falling for Aiden. But with a town full of dragon hunters and
an enemy lurking in the shadows, surviving a week of Aiden and Jace’s
double-teaming will be the least of her problems.
Warning: Contains two smokin’ hot dragons and their not-so-unwilling
sacrifice. A few wardrobe malfunctions and inappropriate use of
paintbrushes. You might want to have your local fire department on speed
dial.

‘Tis the Season


For weddings, that is.

Before I get started, though, I’d like to apologize for missing my slot here last week. Personal and health issues kept me pretty foggy for a few days, and I wasn’t able to get a post done. I’m sorry for any inconvenience, or if anyone missed me.

So, about that wedding thing. It seems like an awful lot of weddings take place in May and June. And an awful lot of weddings, or at least the groundwork for them, take place in romance novels. I mean, that’s what romances are all about, right? The happily ever after ending that many people dream about and some of us are fortunate enough to experience in real life.

I confess, I’m kind of a sap. In fact, that’s become sort of my trademark. I discovered recently that just about every romance I’ve written has one of the main characters calling someone (sometimes themselves) or being called a “sap” or “sappy.” That isn’t to say I think romances are sappy, or that people who read or write them are. It’s said very tongue in cheek, and I’m kind of poking fun at myself when I say it because until a few years ago, I refused to believe romantic love existed. Now I’ve gone completely the opposite in my opinion on the subject, thanks in large part to my awesome husband, and I tease myself by saying I’m a sap.

And I’ve gone off-course again… *Clears throat* Weddings. May through August are filled with them. Romance novels don’t always contain weddings, but some do, and most at least hint that the hero and heroine are heading that way.

Recently, I’ve written two wedding stories for Pink Petal Books as part of their wedding promo event. Through June, Pink Petal will be posting free downloads of short stories featuring the wedding (or other commitment ceremony) of characters from some Pink Petal releases. After June 20, readers will be able to vote for their favorite story and cover, and those who vote will be entered for prize drawings.

My first story is available as of yesterday. “Beginning Again” features Kyla and Alec from my novella Beginner’s Luck, and their wedding, which bears a striking resemblance to mine back in April. My second story, “Forever After,” is about the “joining ceremony” of Rhys Trevellian and Gwen Davies, the hero and heroine from my upcoming July release Eternal Love, which if memory serves I posted an excerpt from here a couple-few weeks ago.

If you love a good wedding, or a good wedding story, stop by http://pinkpetalbooks.com/index.php?main_page=page&id=20&chapter=0 and check out my free new release “Beginning Again”.

Interview And New Release With Jane Beckenham


Today’s chat is with New Zealand author Jane Beckenham. Jane writes both contemporary and historical romance and next week (Tuesday May 25th) sees her 10th book released. HE’S THE ONE is being released by
http://www.samhainpublishing.com

Abbey: Jane. Tell us a bit about He’s the One.

Jane: Well, HTO is set here in New Zealand, actually in Auckland where I live, a city known as City of Sails, because we’re surrounded by harbor on both sides, the Tasman Sea on one side and the Mankau Harbour on the other. I wanted to write about a heroine who was a wedding planner, I think because secretly it’s a job I would love to do. And my hero, well he is just pure hunk material. He owns vintage cars, and in particular a red Mustang. When I was out ‘doing lunch’ with authors Eve Summers and Melody Knight one day, this guy drove up and parked beside us in his red mustang. He walked right by. Oh it was drool heaven!

Reviews so far have been great….

Review from Single Titles…. “Jane Beckenham scripts
a beautiful tale woven with remarkable insight to
the emotions of a new couple finding their way. He’s
the One reminded me a lot of the emotions you feel
when you find someone special you’re attracted to.
I thought it believable and felt like I had stepped into the
story with Taylor and Cade. Curl up with a festive drink
and spend the day enjoying this remarkable story.”
Read more….

And from Romance Junkies… HE’S THE ONE by Jane Beckenham is a unique story. So many parts of the plot had this reviewer laughing out loud. The chemistry between the characters is strong enough to keep the reader turning the pages. I would recommend this book for the romantics out there that are looking for a fun, simple read to relax with.

Here’s the blurb: Taylor Sullivan doesn’t trust Cupid, but she plays one for a living. As a successful wedding consultant, she creates a couple’s ultimate fantasy—even though she’s never managed to create her own. And when her clients start asking her for wedding night advice, she’s sensible enough to know when to enlist help.
Cade Harper knows two things about women. They either abandon him, or use him as a walking bank. He doesn’t do commitment, and marriage is a dirty word—witness the string of broken hearts he’s left in his wake
Warning: Contains explicit, straight-to-the-heart sex between a hopeless romantic heroine and an abandon-all-hope hero. No need to dress up for this party—just curl up with a glass of bubbly and a box of tissues!

Abbey: He’s The One is quite quirky, I mean the opening line is out there.

Jane: The opening line Virginity is overrated came to me one night while I couldn’t sleep. My poor heroine is a virgin and her clients (the brides) keep asking her questions about sex she can’t answer. Like a sensible business gal she decides she’s going to learn a new skill!

Abbey: What do you think books set in New Zealand bring to your work.

Jane: Well I’d like to think I can bring a sense of NZ life and culture. I mean we’re upside down and when the northern hemisphere is deep in snow for Christmas, it’s summer here and all about bbqs and the beach. I think that is why I tend to set a lot of my stories around summer time, so I can showcase our different worlds. New Zealand has some spectacular native plans one of which is the Pohutukawa and is our ‘NZ Christmas tree” For example my book Always a Bridesmaid was set in Rotorua and the Ureweras – in the very heart of Nzs North Island, an area steeped in Maori culture and myth and legend which featured in the book. It’s also an area my husband and I lived in over 25 years ago.

Abbey: Do you write every day?

Jane: This is where I cough and splutter and hang my head. I should be, in fact I usually do, but at the moment I’ve been a tad slack and had some time off. I’ve even discovered the joys of window cleaning – which is incredibly sad and pathetic. But I’m slowly getting back into it, now the writing well is getting refilled with some down time, not something I do easily!

Abbey: Since you set a lot of your books in New Zealand, tell us a bit about life there.

Jane: Well NZ is a special place and of course if you saw the Lord of the Rings movies, you will have noticed a lot of our landscape. We’re 2 islands, (the North Island and South Island – not very original I know) though there is a tiny third one way at the bottom called Stewart island. Our native language is Maori and we’re officially part of Polynesia. We have a sub-tropical climate and a population of only 4 million. A nation for outdoor activities, anything from surfing and sailing to bungee jumping and skiing. Plus of course Rugby which is our national sport.

Abbey: What’s next on the writing front?

Jane: He’s The One is being released on 25th May from Samhain, then in the coming months I have a Regency, A Traitor’s Heart and a sheikh story – In Love With the Sheikh being released from Red Rose Publishing.
I have a couple of other contemporaries I’m fine tuning, plus an historical set in the late 1600s (in France/England) which is in edit mode too. No rest for the wicked.

Abbey: Thanks Jane for popping in to chat to us. How can readers find you?

Jane: Thanks for having me Abbey. You can check out my web site at Jane Beckenham.com and I am on twitter

It’s Abbey again. So Jane’s been kind enough to gift to one lucky commenter a pre-released copy of He’s The One. 🙂 So if you’d like a chance to win, leave a comment. 🙂 I’ll draw the winner on Sunday.

About Judges


I’ve been procrastinating, stalling. Why? I wasn’t quite certain. I just couldn’t write another word. I sat down, stared at my computer. I tried to start but the strangest thing happened, my eyes would close. It wasn’t writer block. I had lots of ideas and things to say but try as I may I could not get it down on paper.

I decided to read, craft books, Donald Maass’ The Fire in Fiction and Noah Lukeman’s First Five Pages. I also read some good reads from my TBR list, Leanna Renee Heiber’s The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker (actually a re-read), Tasha Alexander’s A Poisoned Season, Barbara Michaels’ The Wizard’s Daughter and Elizabeth Peters’ The Cure of the Pharaoh. I read my critique partner’s entire manuscript while she was on vacation and sent her my comments. Yep, kept me pretty busy, I didn’t write a thing.

This month I got the responses to the two contests I entered and started to analyze the results, still no writing. Alas, my story didn’t final in either contest but as I read through the comments I realized the feedback was awesome. Some of the comments contradicted others but I found a pattern when I charted the results. Here are some of the pro’s and con’s in my own words. Judges quotes are clearly marked.

Con

  • I’m dizzy from head hopping. Pick a person and stay there, at least for a scene.
  • Try to vary the sentence length. It gets boring when you don’t and builds tension when you do.
  • Sprinkling commas is not the objective. You have to put them in the correct place.
  • I am on page 30 and finally got to the story.  This is where you need to begin. Don’t throw the beginning away. Find places where you can strategically input that text.

Pro

  • “I found the storyline very intriguing. I think you have a winner here if you polish your text.”
  • “You have a wonderful voice.” (I re-read that comment several times!)
  • “Great job with your descriptions. I feel like I am right there. Very well done.” (Can you see me beaming?)
  • “I know I have given you a lot of comments and some of them may have been hard to take but this story has a lot of potential. I hope to see your story in Barnes & Nobel!”

This is what I had been waiting for. I was inspired but still so hesitant. Would I really be able to cut the first two chapters out of the story? I checked the comments once again. Several judges, not just one or two, had pointed out where the story should start. It took me only a few seconds to highlight the text. It took me several minutes to actually push the delete button. Finally, I knew I was making one publisher happy. They asked me to get the manuscript down to 95,000 words.  I was well on my way.

All of a sudden I saw more opportunities for the story. The judges had given me enough tips and provided examples to drive home their points. So judges, thank you for your comments. Please know that your hard work is greatly appreciated. While this is not the outcome I would have liked, it was have been great to final and awesome to win, your feedback is valuable to me and in helping me to grow as a writer.

One last word about books, today, Leanna Renee Heiber’s second book in the Miss Percy Parker series was released, The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker. Congratulations!

… Ruth Seitelman

The Three R’s


I spent my time this week re-writing. I looked at the comments that came back from judges (I entered two contests) and evaluated what they said. Overall, the comments were not consistent. Some loved the story, others did not. Some thought it started at the right place, others did not. All of them liked the voice (that felt good) and most felt the story had a great chance of being published.

I re-read my story with a more critical eye. One of the comments that struck me concerned the synopsis. I got high marks on it however, from what they read (the first 50 pages) they did not see the story coming together, too much back story.  I decided to take a bold step. I decided to cut the first two chapters as some of the judges suggested.

I loved, absolutely loved the first chapter. The judges didn’t see the value of the chapter because they only had the first 50 pages. The information in the first chapter is critical later on. But… the first chapter did not grab them. Cut. Ouch!

The second chapter really demonstrated (show) our heroine’s qualities. It was much shorter when I just told you (tell) but other critiques said to put the words in to actions and scenes. I deleted this chapter too. Double cut (it was longer). Ouch!

The more I read chapter 3 the more I realized I had to add a scene to set up the chapter. I have re-read it several times. It moves the reader quickly into the story (the entire point of this exercise) and to be honest, it may even be better. I am still a bit prejudice about the original beginning. I have not thrown out the chapters. The information they contain still needs to be threaded through the story. It’s a challenge to decide where to put these little nuggets, but overall I am actually enjoying it.

So, I am Re-reading, Re-thinking and Re-writing!

… Ruth Seitelman

Is An eReader In Your Future?


In a 1995 article for Newsweek, Clifford Stoll, an astronomer and author, said “The truth is no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works.”

Mr. Stoll was not uninformed about the internet. Quite the contrary, he had been working on the internet for years and was one of the first ‘hack hunters.’ But the internet of 1995 was in its infancy and like a newborn it would take time to mature – make order out of the chaos. He went on to say no body would shop on the internet, it would never catch on, it was only a fade. Mr. Stoll contended the internet missed an essential ingredient, the human touch. There were other things he felt would be big stumbling blocks, dealing with money being a big one. The issue with Mr. Stoll’s position in 1995 was one of insight. He had none.

This past February, Mr. Stoll’s article was unearthed and was the topic of discussion on several blogs including Farhad Manjoo ( Slate Technologies) and Nathan Bransford.

Manjoo presented four principles for more successful predictions about our digital future:

1. Good predictions are based on current trends
2. Don’t underestimate people’s capacity for change
3. New stuff sometimes comes out of the blue
4. These days it’s best to err on the side of (technological) optimism

It goes past people’s capacity for change and to the heart of the matter. Stasis is not the norm.  So to Mr. Manjoo’s principles I have an addition. 5. Change is inevitable

In Nathan Bransford’s blog, originally posted in the Huffington Post, he looked at the ebook controversy and saw the ‘new skeptics,’ the Mr. Stoll’s of today.  He doesn’t speak about the enabling of the technology but rather the inevitability of it. He has his own predictions.

1. The ebook reading experience will only improve as ebook technology improves. As technology improves, new enhancements will be available, color photos and art, embedded interactive features and creative designs even in mass market books.
2. eReaders and eBooks will get cheaper as technology improves and production cost go down.
3. Finding the books you want to read will get easier, reading through the jumble of self published books to find the good books.  Many people have opined about the quality of the work being self published. Anybody can upload their novel to Amazon or other resources such as independent e-libraries, like Lebrary. New literary sites like Goodreads and Shelfari are tools readers can use to find well written, critically acclaimed, prize winning books.
4. People are ignoring the digital trend.  The economics of digital media is compelling. Digitization is cheaper, faster, and provides worldwide distribution. Other industries have embraced the trend (they too went kicking and screaming but that didn’t stop the shift): music, newspapers, and movies. Books are next.
5. Habits change. As people are presented with better options they quickly adapt.

Are we at the same point in publishing as Mr. Stoll was in 1995 with the internet? Will we be looking back at 2010 and see we lacked insight? Or will we look at Mr., Manjoo’s principles of predictions and reflect on those of Nathan Bransford before we put our stake in the ground?

I am more than just a consumer deciding on what device to buy or application to put on my iPad, iPhone or Blackberry. I am on the other side of this tidal wave, a writer. How do writers embrace the digital age when the skeptics, agents and published authors, advise against digital publishing? Is the argument that good writers will be tainted by the poor quality long associated with digital self-publishing real or imagined? Will the influx of poorly written books overwhelm the industry make it harder for good writers to be identified? Will good writers become discouraged and stop writing? What do the publishing professionals really think?

Jesse Glass, co-publisher of Ahadada Books, a self publishing press was quoted by Liz Worth on the Broken Pencil blog:

From the beginning of the history of publishing there have been bad writers and bad books. Though the new publishing technologies might help bad books to proliferate, intelligent readers have a sense of quality, of what draws them in, of what delights and instructs, and they will make an almost instinctive decision regarding what they will read and what they won’t. … Good work – and interesting work, inevitably – given time – wins out.

Neil Nyren, the Senior Vice-President, Publisher, and Editor in Chief of Penguin Putnam was recently interviewed by JT Ellison on the Murderati Blog.  He said eReaders will not kill physical books. He believes the more formats that are available, the more accessible we make books, the more people will buy.

He went on to say that the new technology is subtly changing the way editors do their work. The publishing industry is embracing the new technology to improve their own efficiencies and make their editors and sales people more effective. Some editors use eReaders to read submissions.

It doesn’t really take a crystal ball to see the future of e-publishing. The signs are all around us.

1. Change is inevitable
2. If good predictions are based on current trends, the digital press is the way of the future
3. eBook technology will improve and provide wonderful enhancements not available today
4. eReader technology will improve and become more affordable and grow the reading market
5. Well written and edited books will not disappear. Good books will always be in demand.
6. New literary sites will emerge and provide the reading public with a means of wading through the jumble and help them find well written, critically acclaimed, prize winning books. The reading public will learn which imprints to associate with good, well written and edited books.

I think there will always be a need for printed books. I have a Sony Reader as well as Kindle on my Blackberry. I buy on line, I borrow from the library online, and I still buy books.

… Ruth Seitelman

Voice: The Story’s Music


This week I spent a lot of time reading. I reacquainted myself with Leanna Renee Heiber’s The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker as well as Elizabeth Peters’ The Curse of the Pharaohs.

I have read both books before. This time I wanted to read them as object lessons in good writing. There is a lot to learn from award winning writers.

From the very beginning, I was once again swept away. How easily I got engrossed in each story. Why? How? I started over and realized that each story had a unique voice that drew me in.

Ms Heiber’s Gothic, romance, fantasy, ghost story’s dialog and exposition never step out of character. From the opening sentences until the climatic ending, each word is wonderfully placed, thoughtfully chosen and keeps you in the moment. The story she weaves is filled with personal pain and somber sensations outside the Athens Academy that is juxtaposed to everything that is enlightenment and safety for Ms Percy inside the Academy walls. The picture she paints never falters.

Similarly, Ms Peters’ first person, Victorian, mystery, adventure, (romantic elements included) keeps her readers entranced. Amelia Peabody’s passion for Egypt cannot be denied. Her descriptions of Egypt are a riot of sights, sounds, smells, color, and tactile sensations as opposed to the gray watery England that she depicts. She too holds her reader enthralled passionately attending to every detail.

The voice of each story is consistent and true to their time and place whether in narration or dialog. Donald Maass said it best in his book, Writing the Breakout Novel.

“…not only a unique way of putting words together, but a unique sensibility, a distinctive way of looking at the world, an outlook that enriches an author’s oeuvre… An original. A standout. A voice.”

The eighteenth Amelia Peabody story A River in the Sky, was released April 6 this year. The second in the Ms Percy series, The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker, will be released this week, April 27. In addition, The Strangely Beautiful Take of Miss Percy Parker has been optioned for a musical theater production. I can’t wait!

… Ruth Seitelman

Happy Birthday


Dear Diary ~

It has been one year since I started my new adventure. Looking back I cannot believe all I have accomplished. Looking forward I am only starting to understand all I have to learn.

Last March, my friend excited and a bit anxious, told me she was going to write a book, a romance story. I was surprised and a bit envious. For a long time I had stories that played out in my head with characters that talked and emotions that flared.  Inevitably, I would get involved in something and wouldn’t get back to my story for a few days. When I did they were never the same. Well, let’s just say there were some pretty great stories that are lost forever.  So, when my friend mentioned she was writing a book, I told her I would love to also.

I enjoyed the prospect of telling my story but, here’s the scary part, my stories have always been just mine. Committing the stories to paper, giving them breath, exposed them (and me), but I was ready.

In late March my friend and I met at a diner and began to make plans. She presented me with my very own secure notebook for capturing those stories that were in my head. We laughed at the ‘secure’ notebook idea. All it had was an elastic strap but it was precious and a place to put my ideas. Before the week was over we started writing. She wrote a futuristic story about Lisabeth and Zane and I wrote a time travel story about Rebeka and Arik.

Our stories were as different as our lives. She’s involved in marathon running and visiting college campuses with her daughter. I walk on the tread mill at the gym and visit the grandchildren. As for writing, she is well on her way with her story. I finished mine.

Finishing the story, while a monumental accomplishment, was only the beginning. There were tools that I needed to add to my writer’s tool kit, the synopsis, query letter, log line, and pitch. To validate the story, I entered contests.  I pitched it to agents and editors, and queried others.  The feedback has been very encouraging. More work has to be done. It is such an accomplishment when  the sentence/paragraph/chapter sounds just right.

There are times when I feel I can do anything and other times when it all seems so overwhelming.  But I have met some pretty awesome people who are encouraging and inspiring. We share similar experiences and provide support and camaraderie. This year was a year a learning and experimenting, of digging deeper and finding golden nuggets, and in believing in myself.

So, a year has past. I am encouraged, excited and looking forward to the next one. Happy Birthday! As I make my birthday wish know it is for, no, if I tell you it won’t come true. You will have to use our imagination. The cake certainly looks yummy!

… Ruth Seitelman

Fre-net-ic adj. wildly excited or active; frantic; frenzied


My day is hectic rushing from one thing to another. I start at 6am and finish at about midnight. Like many of us, the major part of my day centers around my day job, getting there, being there and getting home. While there are definitely pressures at my office and the traffic gods are not always cooperative, that part of my day runs pretty well. My problem is between 7pm and midnight, when my day gets frenetic.

How do I cram writing my two blogs, critiquing with my crit partner, keeping up on Facebook, Tweet, reading my favorite blogs, going over material from the online class I took, talking to my friends, commenting on their blogs, reading a books in my stack of TBR (to be read), and oh writing, when will I find the time to write. Let’s nor forget my family life. No wonder I feel like the white rabbit, always running late.

At first my writing goal was all about, well, writing. To my surprise, that was the ‘easy’ part. In December my son gave me a book that opened my eyes. It’s Christina Katz’ Get Known Before the Book Deal. The essence of the book is to build your platform to develop a fan base (following) for yourself and your writing before publication. I’m not naïve. I knew that once I was published I would have work to do. I thought an agent and a publisher would be my mentors and help me along. Hmmm, maybe I am naïve.

I’ve spoken to writers, published and unpublished, and I have watched what they do. I took a course in social networking and re-read Katz’ book as well as began following her blog. I could not deny the importance of developing my platform and self promotion. It was almost more important before securing an agent or editor. So, things were not coming off my plate. I had to find a way to do it all, effectively. I decided to take a critical look at those five hours I have each week day night and see how I could better structure them so I would get my work done. I made some small adjustments to my morning routine and continue to find tune the rest.

Morning routine: My usual routine is up at 6am and watch the morning news while having breakfast.  Adjustment: I watch a bit less of the morning news (it repeats every 15 minutes anyway) instead I go through my email, update Facebook and begin my Tweets. If time permits, I start drafting my blogs (which I continue on my commute rather than only listen to my iPod).

Mid Day routine: I eat at my desk and continue to work.  Adjustment: I have taken my lunchtime back. While eating my lunch I read my favorite blogs and make my comments. I also bookmark and put them into a special weekend folder to read more thoroughly on the weekend. Tweet if I have something to say and update Facebook. The added benefit is I return to work refreshed.

Commute routine: I talk to the kids.  Adjustment: Talk to the kids (no matter when they call). If not talking to the kids, I read for pleasure. I carry my eBook with me everywhere.

Evening routine: Paul and I watch TV. I catch up on email, read my favorite blogs, update Facebook, Tweet, put the notes aside from the class I took for another day (I have no time to review them), comment on friend’s blogs, look longingly at my TBR stack, open up my WIP and try not to fall asleep at the keyboard.  Adjustment: I record my favorite TV shows to watch during the weekend, without commercial interruption. I talk to the kids (no matter what time they call). I go over online class materials on the weekend. I have reserved weekday evenings for writing. As a result, I feel a sense of accomplishment. I close my computer at 10pm, or so, and read (from my TBR pile) for an hour before going to sleep. It gives my characters time to settle down for the night as well as me time to catch up on a good read.

How do you manage to get everything done in your day? I am always looking for a better way.

Ruth Seitelman

P.S. I wrote today’s blog listening to my iPod while on the train to my RWA meeting.

* Smack *


First, which ever spring holiday you are celebrating, I wish you health and happiness.

With my manuscript finished and off to the editors, I decided to enter some contests. Of course I wanted to win but I also wanted confirmation that I was in the right direction. I expected changes and differences in opinion. I also felt confident.

This week I received the results from several contests I entered. They were mixed, not only across the contests but also across judges within the same contests. There were some really high scores while others were moderate. Honestly, there were no low scores. It was curious that sections some judges really liked other judges thought lacked luster (all the judges were gentle and kind). This ran the gamut from grammar, point of view, voice, characterization, to plot. There were also mixed feelings whether the story was a page turner. Some judges wanted to read more while others, sadly, mentioned they were not at all drawn in. *sigh.*

The good news is while the judging was going on I kept re-writing. Some of the things they pointed out, whether technical or craft I’d already addressed. That was satisfying. But I realized there was no way to satisfy all the judges. That’s when I took it a step further. There is no way to satisfy all the agents, all the editors, or all the readers. Hopefully, I will click with the one special agent, editor, group of readers that will enjoy my story.

Discouraged? Not at all. You just have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find the prince (agent, editor, reader).

Ruth Seitelman

WAW Writing Contest winners and poll –


Sorry this is posting after noon. The blog didn’t update for the new time.

Wow what a wonderful contest. We had some great entries, and I thank all the authors for turning them in to us.
Our top three were so close in score that only 18 points stand between first and third.

In first place, the wonderful story Out of the Frying Pan by Lillian Sullivan

In second place, is our own Ava Delany with Running Out of Time

In third place we have Aphrodite’s Dream by Laura Dunks

Now, when the contest was hours from ending, I realized we only had nine entries. Because of this, I asked Ava Delany to write a quick entry for me so that we would have an even ten entries, and an even ten free reads at the end of the contest. When Ava discovered that she won, however, she suggested and I agreed that it might be best for her to step down. With competition being so tight among the winners, it is very fitting that our winners today are…


    Out of the Frying Pan
    and
    Aphrodite’s Dream

Congratulations to you both. I will be emailing you about your winnings.!

Thanks to all who entered for giving us wonderful stories to read here at A History of Romance. And don’t go away yet. There is one more prize to win.
I will be giving a two week winner spotlight to the entrant with the most votes in the reader poll. (If the winner has already won, they will win an additional two weeks.)
So take a moment to read all the entries and vote on the one you think is the best. (The poll is on the sidebar to the left.) They are well worth the read. Reader poll will run for one week. Good luck to all.

—-
April Dawn –Author of Crushing Desire and
Bound by Love available now through Breathless Press.

And the Winner Is …


I volunteered to judge a contest this month. As an unpublished writer, I wasn’t certain I would meet the requirements but, based on my other qualification, the contest coordinator was very encouraging. A few weeks later I received four entries.

With a month to read, judge and return them, I downloaded the files and started right away. I read the first entry and made some comments but quickly realized it wasn’t working. What had I gotten myself into? These writers deserved a judge that could evaluate their work and give them feedback, that’s what I would want.

Discouraged but not panicking yet, I printed out the first entry, slipped it into my briefcase, and left for the train. I had thirty minutes. I could at least do line edits. I read, started commenting and asked myself why. Why did I suggest changing a word, why did a paragraph excite me, why did I feel the emotion, of lack thereof?  Critical thinking. I got it. I understood what needed to be done.

Bells started going off. I recognized some of the same words, sentence structure, point of view confusion that this writer had. It was in my manuscript. Now I understood. But that is another blog.

To organize my thoughts, I looked at the judge’s score sheet with its five major categories. Everything clicked into place. It took me longer than 30 minutes but that was fine. I couldn’t wait to get home, printout the next entry and begin to judge it. I did learn some lessons. I am more than happen to share …

Lessons Learned:

  • It’s easier to edit hardcopy
  • Use the judges score sheet as a guide
  • Critical thinking – ask questions

I reread the entries, made comments, and scored them. Before I sent them back I reread all my comments are realized that I had given the writer a good sense of where I thought (and I stress I thought) their stories could be better. Now the challenge is to pick up my own manuscript and judge it with the same eye.

Judge’s Score Sheet

SCENE:

  • Is the action “shown” and does it create an emotional response in the reader?
  • Is the scene well-paced?
  • Is time and place clearly established?

CHARACTERIZATION:

  • Is there strong chemistry between the characters?
  • Do you have a clear sense of the characters?
  • Are the characters’ actions believable and well-motivated?

STYLE:

  • Is the scene full of sensory details?
  • Is the mix of dialogue and narration appropriate to the scene?
  • Is the author’s voice unique and free of clichés?

WRITING TECHNIQUE:

  • Is the point of view handled smoothly?
  • Is the submission free of spelling and grammatical errors?

OVERALL IMPRESSION:

  • Taking into account your emotional impact, how would you rate this scene?