Friday, April 30, 2010
I’ve only been online for a little over a year now. So I missed out on the epic events of #queryfail and its response #agentfail. I have read all of the posts and responses and I have agreements and disagreements with both sides. I noticed on the #agentfail comments, several people wanted to do an #agentawesome session for the agents that are professional and courteous to writers. I think that’s a great idea. Let’s focus more on the positive, people!
I love it when agents…
Thank the writer for thinking of them in their correspondence whether it’s a request OR a rejection. Agents need writers and it’s good to know when we are appreciated.
Acknowledge receipt of requested materials. It is a big load off our shoulders to know that our work didn’t get lost. This whole process is stressful enough as it is.
Give an estimated time for a response to materials and respond courteously to inquiries when that time has lapsed. We know you are busy, but we really appreciate knowing where we stand.
Blog or twitter. Some writers complained about this and I heartily disagree with them. Besides the wonderful fount of useful information about writing and the industry, I like getting to know them as human beings. It gives me a better idea on who’s a good fit.
Give details on their website/blog/twitter about what they represent and their tastes. Though it’s sad to see “If I see another vampire book I’ll scream” it is nice to know so I don’t waste time. I also love when they list some favorite authors.
Have an auto-reply with an estimated time if they are non responders. I think authors hate the “no response means no” policy more because they have no way of knowing if the agent received their query.
These next three go above and beyond in my opinion.
Do the #askagent sessions on twitter. Every agent who participates should get daily cookies and massages. You are awesome incarnate when you give up your personal time to help us.
Give us a reason why you passed on our project. Even one sentence can help me figure out if improvements are needed.
Recommend our work to other agents when they pass. I want to hug you and bake you cookies.
Thank you so much, awesome agents. You have my undying gratitude and respect for all the hard work you do on our behalf.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
I have enjoyed interviewing all different types of romance authors and am very pleased that it seems that there is sub-genre of romance for everyone. I am pleased to welcome Sloan Parker. Sloan writes erotic gay romance.
Sloan: Thanks for having me, Brooklyn! I’m thrilled to be featured on your blog today.
1.)What made you stand up one day and say, “I’m going to write a romance novel.”?
What a great question. I don’t think it was an overnight decision for me. When I first started writing novels, I attempted to write suspense, but it never worked out all that well until I threw the characters into bed and watched them fall in love with each other. And that was about the same time I started writing stories featuring gay characters. I found that I was more passionate and excited about my work. Blending erotic romance and other genres like suspense and paranormal just made things click for me. I finally finished writing a novel (a gay vampire story which still needs some serious edits before I can do anything with it, but at least I had finished it!). The next full novel I wrote was More, an m/m/m erotic suspense and my first release.
2.)What made you decide to write gay romance?
As I said, I had been writing for years, but hadn’t found my voice, hadn’t found a story that compelled me to actually finish a manuscript, edit it, and submit it to anyone. Then I started reading gay romances, and I was hooked. I like the idea of writing about LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender) characters falling in love for many reasons, but mostly I liked the idea of contributing (in some small way) to positive stories of LGBT characters in the romance genre. These are the stories in my head; these are the ones that have moved me to spend hours at my computer every day. And for now, these are the ones I plan to continue writing.
3.)I’ve seen that your latest novel is a m/m romance. As a woman, what challenges do you face “getting into the heads” of gay male characters?
I think the challenges are the same for any character I write. They aren’t me. They don’t have the same experiences or personality that I have. So I have to use a blend of imagination, general observations, and my own personal experiences with a variety of people to develop who the characters are and how they think and feel. I probably pull a lot from the men I’ve known in my own life too (how they act, speak, etc.). For all my characters, I do a character sketch (their bio, personality, and life experiences) and try to keep those details in mind with every action or dialogue I write for them. With each character (male or female), I’m not trying to write him/her as a real-life person, but as a fictional character living in the world I’ve created with the conflicts I’ve constructed. I hope to add nuances that feel real, but no one character will match any one real person.
4.)What is some memorable feedback that you’ve received from your fans?
I love getting feedback from individual readers. It means so much to me when someone takes the time to let me know what he/she thought of my work. It’s one of the best things I’ve experienced since my book first released. One of my favorite responses wasn’t related to my book, though. It was an email I received after I posted a guest blog about my first crush and the regrets I had about it (he died in a car accident before I had a chance to kiss him or tell him how I felt about him) and how that story related to my writing. The woman who emailed thanked me for the post. It seems my story inspired her to go for her own dream and start writing again. I loved that something I wrote helped inspire someone else.
5.)Have you gotten any trouble from bigots?
In real life, unfortunately I have to say yes. As a writer of gay romance, so far I’ve been fortunate to avoid any issues. Mostly people have been curious about me and my work. I don’t mind answering questions, and everyone who’s asked about what I write has been polite and interested. I’m sure I’ll get some hateful comments at some point. Negativity can really mess with my writing mojo, so I hope that I’m able to shrug off any homophobic comments. I think it’ll just spur me on. Inspire me to write about more loving, passionate LGBT relationships.
6.)Tell us a little about your next project.
I am currently finishing a gay romantic suspense titled Breathe. It’s about two men who are stuck in a world of misery (one can’t forgive himself for a mistake and the other can’t forget the loss of his wife). They can’t go back and they can’t move forward. Once they meet, they begin learning how to live again, to move beyond the past, but the world around them doesn’t want them to move on. Guilt, anger, and threats surround them until neither man can imagine a future where they can ever be together. Too bad they’re already in love.
I’m also hoping to write more books with the characters from my first release, More, and someday I’d like to do some serious edits to my gay vampire novel and submit that as well.
Thanks so much for coming today, Sloan!
You can purchase a copy of MORE here:
Thanks again, Brooklyn. These were great questions that really got me thinking and were a lot of fun to answer.
You can purchase a copy of MORE here: http://www.loose-id.com/More.aspx
Whoah, that cover is hot.
Monday, April 26, 2010
I cook to taste, so that means very few of my recipes have exact measurements. It's more fun that way.
This works for any roast, and the gravy is easy to make. You'll need:
1 Beef Roast. (I don't eat pork, so I don't know if this recipe would work)
Red cooking wine
Beef Broth or Bouillon.
1 Medium Onion (diced)
As much Garlic as you can stand. (minced)
Your Favorite Herbs. (I prefer thyme, sage, basil, marjoram, parsley & savory with this one)
Add desired amount of Red Wine, Worchestershire Sauce, and Beef Broth or Bouillon. to the crockpot.
Add onion and minced garlic
Add rest of veggies.
Add Bay leaf
Rub the roast w' herbs and pepper
Place roast in crockpot and fill it with water to the top of the roast.
Sprinkle in more herbs and pepper.
Cook on lowest setting for 10-12 hours until falling apart.
Liquid from roast
(Optional) Beef Bouillon or Broth
Remove desired liquid from crockpot and pour into a saucepan.
Blend cornstarch with milk and add to the broth.
Bring to a boil and Stir until thickened.
Season with herbs, pepper and more Beef Bouillon/Broth as needed.
Monday, April 19, 2010
So, those keeping up with my news know that I have been floating on cloud 9 lately with all the partial and full requests I've been getting for my manuscript.
So, here's the latest development. I recently received another request from a much-desired agent. We exchanged a lovely email conversation back and forth. She sounded very excited about my work. I was breathless with excitement, thinking that this might be THE ONE.
A week later I have a message from her in my inbox. I'm thinking, "this is it!" because many of the stories say the agent read it quickly and fell in love.
Alas, it was the dreaded R, not only that, but it was my first R on a full. She was very sincere and kind. She sounded almost as disappointed as I was. Some comments were helpful, and some were vague.
After a moment of self pity, I was able to find some cheer in this tragic event. I have gone a step further in this crazy publishing game and I have learned a few new things as well as been reminded of others.
1.) The rejection rate is still pretty high on full manuscripts. Hell, I'll bet it's still high on agented manuscripts with publishers.
2.) Agents are like every other book lover. Their tastes vary.
3.) My book may still not be ready.
4.) A writer should have a backup plan in case all fulls are rejected.
And here is mine:
As I have a few more fulls out with other lovely awesome agents, I will wait as patiently as possible to hear back from them.
If they all pass on it, I will not cry. I will send it out to another group of betas and give it another overhaul. Then I will query a fresh batch of agents and get back in the game. I feel that this novel is close. And if it fails, I'll just have to start over and write another one!
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Maybe it's the artist in me, but I've always had a thing for good cover art on a book. It's the first thing I notice when browsing. And paranormal romance novels have some of the most kick-ass covers. I picked this one 'cuz not only is it a beautiful cover (I love purple), but it is an awesome series. I generally don't pick books that have yellow covers because that color offends me for some reason.
If the cover grabs me I read the blurb on the back to see if it does the same. Author recommendations mean nothing to me. A few things that will turn me off are:
A.)love triangles. I think it's because I've been in one or two and the emotional baggage of them nauseates me.
B.)If the heroine/hero has a kid/kids. Harsh, I know. But as a mom, I read to escape.
C.)Getting back with an ex. This one's 50/50 for me. If it sounds like the backstory will be told and it's interesting, I may give it a whirl.
Of course I can still be willing to read these types of romances if they come recommended by friends or are by a well-loved author.
How about you? What grabs you in a book's cover art and blurb. What things make you go, "meh," and put it back on the shelf?
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Friday, April 2, 2010
There are many kinds of romantic stories out there and thankfully an endless array of romance authors to supply them. I have had a wonderful time hosting a few of them. My first was YA paranormal romance author, Shannon Delany (http://brooklynann.blogspot.com/2009/12/interview-with-special-guest-author.html ) the second was Jo Lynne Valerie, author of the poignant novella collection: A Tale for All Seasons. (http://brooklynann.blogspot.com/2010/01/special-guest-blog-by-jo-lynne-valerie.html) And then there was Stella Price, co-author of the intense Eververse series.(http://brooklynann.blogspot.com/2010/02/interview-with-incubus.html) Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Elise Hepner, author of BDSM erotica.
1.) First off, to get us all on the same page, what exactly is BDSM?
BDSM stands for bondage, dominance, submission, and masochism. Or a few other different acronyms, depending on who you talk too. Either way it represents a culture where both parties in the relationship are equal, but not necessarily on the same sexual level, meaning one is being used for pleasure by the "top," or dominant partner, and the other "bottom," or submissive, delights in pleasing their partner through consensual, but varying degrees, of pain and pleasure through sex.
2.) What made you choose to write BDSM?
I chose to write what turns me on--that so happened to be handcuffs and then the more I did research, the more I realized I wanted to explore this new world. Fiction is a nice little outlet for me to do that without necessarily experiencing firsthand what I've written--though there have been a variety of testings in our house. I also enjoy the pure emotions that are unleashed through BDSM; there's an openness and a vulnerability that's hard to find in most regular sex that is both a turn on and a sexy revelation.
3.) With all types of erotica, there is naturally a focus on hot sex scenes. What challenges and triumphs do you encounter coming up with steamy scenes and tying them in with a tantalizing plot?
Generally, I don't have any issues with my sex scenes because my characters tell me what to do and what exactly they want, though I really try to push them to the limits in what they are ready to experience. Sometimes they have to come to the brink of being uncomfortable in order to fully experience pleasure. I do really enjoy a scene where I've written it and I know it's good because not only does it turn me on, but I have to go try it at that moment--so that could be considered a triumph. As far as challenges-- word repeating can be an issue so I like to keep a thesaurus handy, and even now I'm still advancing.
4.) I’m sure that you get a great variety of reactions to what you write. Which are the most typical?
For the most part people are very accepting or very embarrassed. I've gotten a few letters telling me how well I've written the feelings of BDSM and then I'll get an email from my mother telling me the family is calling me the "Porn Queen" and they are loving my work, but she's the only one that will read it. Which is perfectly fine with me! Regardless of reactions, I love what I write and I'll keep writing it because it's what I love, but it's always a little easier when there are people cheering you on from the stands.
5.) Is there any advice you can offer those that write for specific niche markets?
Even though in a niche market you can write about the same sex acts or similar acts in a sexual genre, the best thing to do is to keep the emotions high and really engage the characters. Otherwise reader's can get bored or stories repetitive. Also, don't be afraid to branch out. I love what I write, but if at some point I don't think it's working for me anymore I'm not going to be afraid to try something else under a different pen name. Sometime you have to give it a rest or there is epic burnout and that's really bad for a writer--obviously.
And now, for the exciting part: Elise has decided to hold a contest. Here are the details:
I'm running a contest where anyone who comments is entered to win two books of their choice from my current e-book back list. Deadline to enter is by midnight ET Monday, April 5th.
Here’s a blurb of the newest release:
Mina knows that after several years with her vanilla husband she's never going to get the hot and heady sexual experiences she craves unless she looks elsewhere. During their divorce Mina is willing to risk everything for a heart pounding, head exploding orgasm.
She embarks on a sexual journey of self fulfillment and submission that could only play out in her wildest fantasies. There is no turning back.
Warnings: This title contains strong language, kidnap scenario, BDSM and mind games.
For excerpt, click here: http://celise91writer.blogspot.com/2010/03/repossession-new-release.html
Buy Link: http://excessica.com/store/catalog/index.php?manufacturers_id=34&osCsid=f38c08cfbd9af1ab43d221c3fb3ddc52